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Craft and Hobby Blog



Elmwood Park, NJ, (October 9, 2014) — The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the industry's most prestigious service awards: the Meritorious Award of Honor, the Industry Achievement Award and the Special Recognition Award. All awards recognize exceptional contributions to the craft industry and the world.


The Meritorious Award is the highest honor the Association can bestow and acknowledges an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to the Association and industry. This year’s recipient is Herb Lantinga.

Herb Lantinga is the CEO of Notions Marketing, the world’s largest creative arts distributor. In 1968 Herb purchased Notions Marketing from his father, keeping true to the original vision of supporting the industry through the promotion of independent retailers and making choices to support small vendors and their products.  He is a visionary leader, one of the first people to utilize internet fulfillment that resulted in the momentum and prosperity of introducing and building US craft brands into 80 countries and distributing craft products to key ecommerce retailers.  He also served on the CHA Board of Directors where he created the Standards Committee whose policies and tools are still used by the industry’s largest chain stores. He has stayed true to the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the company resides, revitalizing the neighborhood and renewing very old industrial buildings. Herb is the ultimate gentleman and respected by so many.

The Industry Achievement Award is awarded to a CHA member (individual, group and/or company) that has made a significant contribution to the growth and vitality of the craft and hobby industry as a whole.  This year’s recipients are LaDorna and Robert Eichenberg.

LaDorna and Robert Eichenberg, founders of Ellison®, invented the very first hand-operated die-cutting machine in 1977, forever changing the arts and crafts landscape, while simplifying and perfecting the process of shape-cutting.  From the classroom to the craft room, their revolutionary achievements have inspired numerous people and related businesses, shaping a legacy of creativity that has since been unmatched.  It all began when LaDorna, a traveling art teacher in Orange County, sought to find an easier, less painful way to cut shapes so she could spend more time with her students.  With the help of her husband Bob, an engineer, the couple risked their entire life savings that resulted in the creation of the Ellison® and the Sizzix® brand.  Over the next decade, they were responsible for numerous unprecedented accomplishments that shaped the trends of the crafting industry.  Over the years they have extended their generosity to many worthy causes including those that promote the arts within educational communities, giving just one more reason to honor them with this prestigious award.

The Special Recognition Award recognizes an individual or group for extraordinary contribution positively showcasing the craft and hobby industry.   This year the recipient is Joann Pearson.

Jo Pearson’s interest and love of crafting started when she was seven years old.  In 1985 she saw a help-wanted sign in the window of a St. Louis Michaels store and applied for the job.  Since that time she has become the Creative Expert for Michaels, dreaming up literally thousands of projects and inspiring millions of people to embrace their creativity.  Jo’s approachable demeanor, passion, humor and sensitivity around crafting and her ability to make crafting look so easy resonates with everyone, from the novice to the experienced crafter. She has introduced crafting to new audiences through her class instruction and television appearances, encouraging wild imaginations, thinking outside the box and creating the unexpected while enjoying the journey along the way.

"Congratulations to all of the winners. Their contributions to our industry are an inspiration for the next generation of craft entrepreneurs."- Andrej Suskavcevic, President and CEO, Craft & Hobby Association.

“The CHA Awards Committee is proud to present this year’s award winners. There were many highly dedicated and qualified nominees that were considered and discussed at great length and we thank them for their service and dedication to the creative industry. This year’s award winners exemplify excellence, passion, and contribution to the industry.” -  Jessica Goursolas, CHA Board Member & Awards Committee Chair.

The awards will be presented to the recipients or their representatives at the CHA 2015 Conference & Trade Show (CHA MEGA Show) in Anaheim, California, on January 11, 2015. Visit www.craftandhobby.org/chashow for more information.


The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is an international nonprofit trade association consisting of thousands of member companies engaged in design, manufacture, distribution and retail sales of products worldwide in the U.S. craft and hobby industry. For more information about CHA, membership or its award-winning CHA Conference & Trade Show, visit www.craftandhobby.org.