I'm back in San Diego. Tampa was wonderful and I feel fortified and inspired.
Unfortunately, I don't really have pictures to share. I did not register for Convergence this year - just bought day passes a few days and checked out some of the exhibits and the vendor hall. Since you cannot take pictures in the exhibits anymore, and since I seem to always forget to put the extra battery in my purse anyway, and since I think about taking pictures as it is getting close to time to leave, I don't have much to show.
Favorite exhibits? I enjoyed the small format tapestries in the lobby of the TECO building, even though I had set my reading glasses on the table in the hotel room and didn't have them with me. :-/ I loved the yardage exhibit - a circular area with fabric attached to a rail upstairs and hanging down to the lower level. They had handling pieces on the rail upstairs so you could see the fabric up close and touch. My friends and I thought it would have been a good idea if they had placed the handling pieces across the circle from the yardage they went with - so you could glance from the handling piece to the yardage and back. The other exhibit I really liked was the display of items from the fashion show. Small Expressions, the one I was most looking forward to seeing, was, well, small. A few of the pieces were exquisite. A few puzzled me as to why they were there.
The vendor area had some lovely stuff, and I enjoyed browsing even though my current finances are such that I didn't do much actual shopping. It seemed to me the vendor hall was quite a bit smaller than I've seen at past Convergences, though it has been a long time since I've been to one, so perhaps that has been a gradual change? My first Convergence was Minneapolis, my second and last one was Atlanta. Both seemed huge and crowded. This seemed well organized, but not really crowded at all. It would be interesting to know how many attended. I wonder if the time of year and the state of the economy affected the numbers? It did look like lots of folks were buying, so maybe my perceptions don't reflect the reality of the situation.
I've never been to Tampa before, and found it to be a lovely city with a very nice convention center. The weather wasn't too bad - not as hot as I had anticipated. In fact, I FROZE in the vendor area - something very rare for me. I'm usually the one asking 'Is it hot in here or is it me?' It was my own fault. I was told to bring something in case it was chilly inside, but figured that didn't apply to me. Wrong.
Mostly, though, I got to spend quality time with some of my dearest friends. It's rare for us to meet face to face. We first met each other on the Compuserve Crafts Forum back in the early 1990's. As I've said before, the Forum is long gone, but the friendships continue to grow. The Forum did have a sort of resurrection on ForumsAmerica, though I no longer participate and there are only a few of the old crowd there. I have lots of notebooks of the spinning and weaving and braiding swaps we did years ago in the Forum - makes me smile as I peruse the names of friends I've long ago lost touch with, but can remember the fun and excitement we shared as we explored our crafts together.
It will be interesting to see where Convergence will be held in 2010. Perhaps it will be in the Southwest? I'm amazed that HGA hasn't announced it yet, though perhaps they have and I just haven't heard the news. We'll know when it's history.