This year, for the 5th time, I traveled to Europe at the end of January to attend the Creativeworld trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany. The show was only a couple of years old when I first began to attend. It has been an interesting experience watching the show grow and mature over the years I’ve been attending.
[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of Scrapbook Update.]
Messe Frankfurt, a joint venture of the City of Frankfurt and the State of Hesse, owns the massive exhibition ground where Creativeworld is held and organizes the trade fairs held there. Many Americans know “the Messe” (as it is known around Frankfurt) for its hosting of the famous Frankfurt Auto Show and its Book Fair.
Above you can see a few of my necessities of life for visiting Creativeworld. Of course, you need to bundle up to visit northern Europe in winter (especially if you’re a Florida girl like me). But thanks to the Messe’s wonderful coat checks you won’t have to lug that coat around all day. Then there’s the messenger bag for comfortably carrying my things all over the huge Messe (but that opens easily for the security check at the entrance). And last but not least…the scarf that is a part of my wardrobe every day in Europe, whether doing business or sightseeing.
I always arrive at Messe Frankfurt via the Tor Haus entrance, from the S-Bahn train station. After you enter through security there, the signs direct you to head to the left to go to Hall 4 (where Creativeworld is located). After a few feet, these escalators are in front of you. I think I’ve taken this picture every year. There’s just something about this moment that makes it feel like you are descending into a different world. After the hassles of the commute, and getting through the crowds at security and admission, it’s the spot where I take a deep breath and focus on actually being there. Let’s do this!
The seemingly endless hallways of Messe Frankfurt can sometimes feel impossibly empty during the middle of the day, when most people are in exhibit halls. Taking a walk to venture from one hall to another can bring a few minutes of almost eerie quiet as you make your journey. It’s a welcome respite from the cacophony of the exhibit halls. It’s impossible to believe walking this hallway that elsewhere in the complex are thousands of people.
Messe Frankfurt’s halls and lobbies are filled with glass that lets in light and allows visitors to see views out onto the Messe grounds and the city. This year, that view probably made most show attendees glad they were spending the day inside for most of the show’s days. Damp foggy weather even obscured much of the view at times!
Once inside the show, it seems that every year there are more and more things to do! This year, one of the hottest things to see on the show floor were the appearances by lettering artist Frau Hölle, who was making appearances in the Tombow booth. Each of her appearances that I happened to pass by were mobbed by a long line of fans waiting to meet her and ask her to letter their name for them.
As in past years, Creativeworld 2018 featured an increasing number of opportunities to get hands-on with products and learn new skills and techniques. This year, the Creativeworld forum area – located right on the show floor – offered a packed schedule of workshops from a variety of manufacturers. All of the workshops were offered free, with seats on a first-come-first-served basis. Presentations (like the Art Resin one below) are mostly in German or English, depending on the presenter, but live translation headsets make it easy to participate. I’ve used the headsets several times. While the slight delay in the translation can be disorienting at times (you hear laughter and then the joke a moment later, for instance), overall it is an easy-to-use tool.
You may not have much time for sitting down and doing workshops, though, if you want to see the whole show floor. The Creativeworld show floor has grown every successive year that I’ve attended. Originally occupying one and a half floors of Hall 4 at Messe Frankfurt, the show has now grown to occupy all of floors 4.1 and 4.2 in Hall 4. The centers of the floors are occupied by larger booths, with the floors’ perimeters ringed with aisles full of smaller booth. It’s easy to get distracted at first by the big productions of the booths in the center of the floor, but wandering into the outer area will bring you to delightfully intimate aisles like the one below where smaller, up-and-coming companies are bringing new and interesting things to the industry.
One thing that is always a special delight for me at Creativeworld is the abundance of art supplies on display, as all of the major European makers of fine art supplies have a large presence showing off their oil and watercolor paints, pastels, and other products. In the U.S., where so many industry segments have their own specialty show, we do not get the chance to see such comprehensive displays from every craft segment under one roof. Walking the Creativeworld show floor in past years has inspired me to try out some things in the fine art segment like watercolor and pastels.
There’s so much more that I can’t wait to share with you all about my trip to Creativeworld 2018! Don’t miss the rest of my reports coming soon!