In 1982, Bruce Voyles and Jim Parker did something spectacular - they started Blade Show. Bruce and Jim co-owned Blade Magazine at the time, and decided to start a show that was originally advertised as 'The Blade Magazine 1982 Knife Show', per Steve Shackleford in a May 25, 2021 online article for Blade Magazine. Within a few short years, Bladeshow became the largest knife show ever, and as they say, the rest is history.
As knifemakers, it's easy to get focused so much on our work and self-expression, that we also become self-involved. But there are reminders of how much we rely on others to become successful, and hiding in plain sight are the silent heroes that help us shine.
The knifemaking world turns by these individuals who tirelessly plan ways for our work to be shown. In a world of so many avenues to showcase work now, the knife show is still the staple for our craft, and Bladeshow is the largest example of that ON EARTH.
Starting in 2008, Alicia Newton had been the event coordinator, and then in 2018 (after the acquisition of Blade Magazine and Bladeshow by Caribou Media), she became the Director for Bladeshow. With 22 shows under her belt, she's rocketing the show to new heights in attendance, atmosphere, and as the go-to platform for helping knife industry makers sell their wares. You'll find that it takes a passionate and caring person to foster great show culture, and Bladeshow goers and exhibitors alike should agree, Alicia has those qualities in spades. She takes her job seriously in constructing the center stage by which others are able to exhibit their magic.
In getting to sit down with Alicia, I've been able to gain a deeper perspective for the complexity, investment, and passion required to run the Superbowl of knife shows, and we got to cover a great many areas including show culture, The Pit, awards, women in knives, and social media.