by Kristi Caterson

Trends, Trends In Progress (TIP’s), and Emerging Trends (Whispers)

Have you ever noticed what you notice?  As Cherish Flieder and I travel to major cities and walk different art-related trade shows, especially the Atlanta Gift Mart, we often talk about trends and things that stood out to us on a visual or an emotional level. She passed along a great quote she gleaned from spending time with the pattern designer of the iota brand, Kelly Alford — “notice what you notice.” Cherish-Flieder-Kristi-Caterson

It’s something I’ve always done intuitively, but giving it language was somehow very affirming. Those words helped me understand that, as an artist/creator, there is purpose and reason for what I notice and why.

Now, every place I go in the world, I look and listen with that affirmation in mind. What I hear and see is a visual and emotional symphony that speaks to me with clarity and boldness— or sometimes like a small, shy child who wants to be known.

Some themes sparkle. Some sing. Some declare a promise of joy or whimsy, heartfelt emotion or encouragement. Some speak to those who are all about purpose and the “BIG picture.” Others speak to those who live in the realm of hopes, dreams, and possibility.

Noticing TrendsAs these themes and ideas rise up from different parts of the planet, the conversation is woven together, as if whole people groups, from different continents and countries, are speaking the same language, connecting on an emotional level. Form and function, design and style, theme, material, and color all become very personal. As they are married together by creatives, their expression is formed and a new trend is born.

Walking AmericasMart with that in mind, there are themes and trends in every showroom and around every corner that seem to sing their song. Some stand out and say “look at me!” Sometimes they shout wildly, “Here I am again.” Sometimes they go on so loudly and so long I wish they would just. shut. up. Lol!  But seriously, there’s reason for that as there is sundry of messages out there.

Then, there are the themes that whisper. Those are the ones that intrigue me. They seem to introduce themselves quietly saying, ”I’m new here.” Or, “something special is about to begin.”

My friend Kim, whose husband gives Ted talks, produces films and speaks to people all over the world, once said to me, “some people speak to an ocean, some people speak to a pond, and I… I speak to a puddle!” We rolled with laughter. It sounded funny at the time, but as I think back, I realize how important a whisper like “speaking to a puddle” really can be. Important things begin in ponds and puddles and eventually make it to the ocean. Truly, in our ecosystem, none would exist without the other.

When the creative soul is singing the song of the heart, the connection that is felt and communicated to those in ponds, puddles or ocean, is authentic and true. It has the power to reach broadly and to bring people together, face to face. And honestly, on an emotional level, life is most fulfilling when lived in circles, as around a table, rather than rows, like soldiers marching in unison to one man’s command.Ultra Violet Pantone Color of the Year 2018 Trends Purple

For me, it’s the themes that whisper, the ones that begin in puddles and ponds, that are eventually shared with the oceans. I pay special attention to those themes that say “I’m new here,” and “I have potential to connect with the ocean of people out there.” I believe that many of those whispers have the potential to become HUGE.

Those little sparks of greatness, those little gems that whisper of great things to come are the ones I love to discover and get to know as I travel, research or walk the gazillion floors and showrooms of AmericasMart.

So, wherever go on your creative journey, notice what you notice in the things you are passionate about — the things that inspire you. Take that inspiration and use it as fuel for your creativity. As you use your own beautiful, unique voice, sing your song to your people, wherever in the world they may be.

Imagine the possibilities.

Dream, create, inspire, connect.

The big, beautiful, blue ocean is waiting for you to be who you were created to be.

Now for the trends that Kristi and Cherished noticed as they walked the Mart - Portfolio members can download the free 7-page PDF in the Trends group.


Also, don’t miss ALSC Member, Joan Beiriger’s blog about her perspective on the trends this year at the show. Art Licensing Editorial: January 2018 Atlanta Gift Market Success & Trends


About Kristi Caterson:
From the earliest age, Kristi has felt most comfortable connecting authentically with people from all walks of life. She considers herself a lover of souls and a creator of joyful art. Kristi’s mission is to look for beauty and inspiration in others & in the world around her and to reflect that beauty by creating art that uplifts and encourages others towards gracious living.
Connect with Kristi on Art Licensing Show | View her website | Contact her Agent

1 response to Trends, TIPS & Whispers – Reflections from Atlanta Gift Mart Jan 2018

  1. Loved this article, very poetic. I particularly liked the para that starts ‘Some themes sparkle…’ That is what we all hope, that someone will see the message we place within our art.

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