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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teaching and Learning at an Industry Trade Show


At the end of April, I attended the Window Fashions Vision 12 Expo conference in Chicago.  This event is the largest conference for designers, decorators and window treatment professionals in the United States.  I was there to attend a few classes as well as to present two classes...it was so much fun!

The event was held in conjunction with KBIS, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, which is really massive but we did not have time to visit their exhibit floor at all.  However, KBIS' keynote speaker was my personal favorite TV designer, Candice Olson.  She was easy going, light-hearted and very funny.  There were literally thousands in attendance to hear her presentation.


Another speaker was Tobi Fairley, of Tobi Fairley Designs in Little Rock, Arkansas.  She rocked the roomful of attendees awake at her 7:30 a.m. presentation.  She is a ball of energy and ideas and her presentation was terrific.  Below is a photo of me with Tobi following her class.


Between presenting and taking classes, we had time to visit the vendor hall and see what is
 new in our industry.  As always, I love seeing new fabrics.  The fabrics below are from
Catania; aren't they gorgeous?: 

Embroidered silk in neutrals

Beaded raspberry silk - yum!




Embroidered linen

There were some wonderful new hardware designs also.  I loved the flexibility of Orion's new line: 
it comes in 54 standard finishes (plus custom finishes). 


You can select the rod style and finish, as well as the finials and their finish, and also the decorative inlay pattern, whose finish can match or contrast the other choices you have made.  So many options!



After an inspiring spin on the showroom floor, it was time to teach some classes.  The event hosts had designated some attendees as "Vision Spotters" and they took photos throughout the event during classes and on the showroom floor and posted them on Pinterest.  Here are a few photos the Vision Spotters took in my classes:
It is always fun to teach at the Vision events!

Attendees asking questions after class
Giving a demo on the showroom floor for designers & workrooms
We did not have any time to visit the beautiful city of Chicago - but it was so pretty and full of tulips in the esplanades and with wonderful architecture.
It was also fun to visit with colleagues from around the country and to meet new colleagues and friends as well.  I had a great time.

The host and producer of this extraordinary event is Grace McNamara.  She puts on a terrific show with great classes and top notch vendors - it is a winner every year.  This is my fifth year to teach for Vision.  Below is a photo of me with Grace - thanks, Grace!

 Hope you enjoyed my trip - I know I did!

I hope to see you soon...
Susan Kostelecky

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