As an industry, we are seeing a new found interest in decorative painting, home décor and techniques.
Manufacturers, designers and product developers are at the TOP cycle of creativity. Crafters, artists and designers are exploring new possibilities and are putting aside their fears and trying new things. As a product designer, artist and crafter myself, I am experiencing a new vitality in my own designing and approach to teaching and product design. I am thrilled to see manufacturers embracing technology and updating their websites, pairing with social networking and bloggers to discuss their products, creating projects and listening to the end users. This makes for a very exciting time for all of us!
The internet has not only increased product awareness for the manufacturers, it has got them thinking in new ways. It used to be if a new craft/technique was on the rise, we would have to wait for a couple of years for the manufacturers to get on the wheel of discovery, invention, development and product availability. Long hours and dollars were spent studying trends, mailing prototypes back and forth and trying to come up the proper distribution avenues. Today, companies are working more streamline with face-to-face contact with factories, (via Skype, videos, etc.) and are more efficiently working out potential problems, developing packaging, tweaking products and creating easier marketing channels.
Not only are the manufacturers reaping the benefits of all this technology and interaction, students are learning in new, innovative ways…from online classes to posts on blogs, videos, and searches. I love that I can go online and type in a technique or product and get information about how to use it and what pitfalls to avoid, but better than that, to see what everyone else is using it for and get inspired by their creativity.
Visiting a company’s Facebook or web page can give the basics of what products are available, link you to projects and bloggers, but that is only a part of the story. A visit to YouTube or a click to a blogger/teacher/artist website or crafter channel will give you an opportunity to see the bigger picture. I remember working with a manufacturer in the past that said he loved to gather with the artists using his product because they never used it for what it was originally intended. Isn’t that what we are all about? Technology has increased our desire to learn about everything and to gather information and it is a huge benefit for us in our path to discovery.
Pinterest is a great place to find so many great ideas gathered in one spot, but be warned that you need a good pillow, snacks and an intervention once you get started. If you search for “jars” on Pinterest, you will get ideas about using them to decorate your kitchen, canning recipes, home décor ideas, recipes for ANYTHING in a jar, how to color them for holidays, spray paint them, decoupage them, add chalkboard labels, use the lids for crafts, frames, ornaments-well…..you get the picture.
From these inspirations, new ideas arise and then a new cycle of development and creativity occurs.