Very few of us welcome it with open arms. We fear it, claiming that we are comfortable where we are. We humans like normalcy, routine and even, dare I say it, the dull. Most of us resist change, some of us just passively go along with what ever happens. There are some strange individuals out there however who not only like change but embrace all the challenges that go with change.
The Living Creatively Team took up this challenge when they decided on the massive task of revamping the Stitches and Craft Shows. In an effort to reinvigorate traditional crafters and introduce new people to the 'craft side' they have boldly tried the untested.
Has it been successful? Good question. Over the first 2 days Customers and Exhibitors appeared to fall into 2 categories. People either loved it or hated it. There was no middle ground. The thing I found most interesting was that the opinions were split over age demographics. Some people that may be described as frail aged loved it, others in that same group hated it. The same splits ocurred across all age demographics.
Yesterday, Day 3, we noticed a change in the opinions. The opinions appeared to be more in favour of the new way. What was different? The only thing that stood out to me was that we had a large group of high school students from Grace College. They were in uniform so everybody noticed them. There was another reason everybody took notice, there were boys in the group.
I had 4 boys sign up to take my Kumihimo class. Customers and exhibitors started taking notice. There were boys sitting up at the Knitting Craft Bar learning to knit from the Lincraft Ladies. The buzz followed them everywhere. Boys were seen stitching at the Stitching Craft Bar. There were rumours they were also seen at the Paper Craft Bar.
The outcome was that people started to get ' the change'. These young people felt so comfortable in the environment that they were willing to try something new to them. Everybody was thrilled that we had contributed to introducing a new wave of enthusiast to craft.
Instead of customers complaining about the lack of advertising they understood that this age group sources its information from the internet. They don't bother with craft magazines when they can get great ideas in craft forums. The penny started to drop. People across all age groups started to admit that they too buy less craft magazines than they used to. When pressed they were also accessing forums and e-zines.
Is the change process complete for the Living Creatively team? I hope not . See, I am one of those people who love change. The world moves on, change is inevitable.I believe that if we stay where we are , in our comfort zone, we are in fact going backwards. I hope the Stitches and Craft shows keeps changing and continues to be relevant to crafters of all ages and interests.