The Scrapbook Papercraft Expo 2016 at the Brisbane Exhibition Centre last weekend was my idea of a delightful way to spend a mildly chilly winter Saturday afternoon. Every year at around the time of the Queen’s Birthday public holiday long weekend (however, tragically no longer for Queensland this June), I can be found whiling my hours away ogling at or being inspired by all sorts of eye candy at the craft expo.
From scrutinising to photographing the elaborate scrapbooking galleries to hovering over other eager crafters at the hands-on demos, there’s usually not a dull moment watching the vendors help bring creativity to life with craft tools, gadgets and other nifty products.
You’ll find me trapped somewhere in the web of the crowded expo halls threshing the bins of craft supply stalls if I’m not picking up more tips, techniques and paper craft trends from the stage presentations. This year I chanced upon a most inspiring little local stall, CHIYOGAMI DESIGNS, specialists of genuine Japanese origami paper with its mind-blowing array of rainbow-hued washi tapes in any design or colour one could dream of.
While always a fun annual pilgrimage for eager crafters and paper craft lovers like myself, this year’s craft expo, however, is notably less at the top of the game than in the previous years. The endless queues have clearly disappeared and if you ask me, probably due to the hike in the entry ticket fee of A$17 (rather than the fact that visitors now have the option of paying online in advance).
The reason for the fallen numbers is obvious: the sea of grey and mature attendees hints at the noticeable drop in younger crafters this year who are more technologically savvy with greater access to shopping competitively for craft online; a sign of the times. There has also been a surge of online video (craft) tutorials and craft workshop subscriptions (paid and free) accessible at a mere click or swipe on devices.
The challenge presented to the show organisers is perhaps how technology has and will continue to impose on the sale of tickets to these craft expos in Australia. It is becoming increasingly difficult for those who know their way online to justify paying an entry fee to access craft tutorials as well as the hefty $17 privilege to stick their leg in the door. There are probably too many ways to spend A$17 online on Etsy, Craftsy, Ebay and other online craft shops. Note to craft show organisers: Expo entry fees are just not one of them? Well, something for the organisers to chew on! Redeemable tickets above a certain value of purchases at the expo would do nicely, I imagine. After all, look what this ‘redeem your shopping dollars for free parking’ idea has done for the sales of Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in the western suburbs of Brisbane for example. Just saying!
Their next annual event is the Craft and Quilt Fair 2016 from October 5-9 at the same venue as the Scrapbook and Papercraft event at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Southbank.