Susan with Kevin Sorbo (Hercules TVseries)
Susan Hood is a well known Nova Scotian lamp work glass artisan and instructor whom I've featured before. She had a wonderful experience earlier this fall when her Glass Harp Jewelry made an appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival's (TIFF) Gifting Lounge.

Now how does one get into such an event? What happens there? And is it worth the effort? Those were the questions I had when Susan and I began emailing each other back and forth.

Susan was originally one of 4 Nova Scotian designers selected to design for the wives of the G8 Summit Leaders held in Muskoka, Canada earlier this year.  Her Size Six - Every Woman's dress brooch and matching hat and purse earrings were a hit.

The Nova Scotia Business website ran a fantastic article on what each political wife got. Shown here is the Lauren Collection which was for Lauren Harper, the wife of the current Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.

April Telek (Amazon Falls)

You know how things can snowball. Well, the Los Angeles entertainment  company, DPA, who host gifting lounges for the Emmys and the Golden Globes happen to be looking for designers for TIFF's gifting lounge. One of the owners, Natalie Dubois, found that article and was charmed by Susan's work.

Whitney Able (Monsters)

Gifting lounges are a high level form of advertising. The designer has to pay a fee and all his or her own expenses. Products are displayed and are also given out as gifts to celebrities. The press coverage at such events as well as the boutique reps who attend do much to boost the profile of a designer's work.

Susan explains, "Stars and the entourages- publicists, stylists, directors, producers and media are invited to come to the suite - invitation only with appointment times. We are told who to give to, what films they starred in etc. It is the choice of every company who they wish to gift." She gave away a total of 36 necklaces. Susan kindly sent me these pictures of various people wearing her creations.

Canadians : Cory Lee (Degrassi High) and Sook Yin Lee (Shortbus)
Emmy award-winning producer, Michael Sucsy and his wife

One of the better known stars was French actress, Catherine Deneuve who at first picked the necklace below left and then settled for the simpler black one on the right. The film industry is tough on aging actresses as the 67-year-old Deneuve declined to have any close up photos taken! The group photo with some of the gifting lounge representatives shows her waaaaay at the back right!

The 10-day TIFF was back in September. What was the experience like? Susan ruefully likens it to doing both a craft show and Survivor! For starters, Susan is not a celebrity watcher so she didn't know who was who. There was a learning curve to this unique experience. But now that she has a CD full of celebrity pictures which she showcases, she finds having them draws a crowd. They validate her work and makes her designs more saleable. The additional newspaper and blog exposure don't hurt either!

Susan definitely found the long tiring days worth the effort. Would she do it again? Absolutely. She said, "I will be doing the Golden Globes in January - Beverly Hills here I come!" Here's hoping her not so secret wish for George Clooney to wear her cuff links comes true!

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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