My favorite moment of Craftcation 2022 . . .
. . . wasn’t even officially during Craftcation. It happened two days before when our staff got together for a pre-Craftcation dinner. You would think that after three years without seeing each other (thanks to our COVID Craftcation postponements) our staff would need some time to break the ice but the second we all saw each other, we broke into hugs, laughter, tears, cheers and a half a dozen other expressions of pure joy.
It reminded me of when I was in high school and asked my dad how he could still consider his high school best friend his best friend when they only saw each other once a year. It was impossible for my 16 year old self (who was basically joined at the hip with my bestie) to understand their relationship. My dad explained to me that they didn’t need to see each other every day and that when they did see each other it was as if no time had passed.
When I see our Craftcation staff, the badass women who work behind the scenes making EVERYTHING happen at the conference, I understand exactly what my dad was talking about. Although I’ve had very little contact with them (except for our year-round staff) in the three years that we’ve been waiting for Craftcation to be back, we slipped right back into the closeness we’d built over the previous years.
I know I may come across as an extrovert who puts herself out there, and in some ways I am. But in other ways, I hold back parts of my truest self. I don’t do it on purpose, there are just parts of me that only emerge when I feel 100% safe and accepted. Being with people that offer that level of safety doesn’t happen often. But, it does happen at Craftcation.
I got to spend that night with our staff experiencing what many of our Craftcation Alums love about the conference. The connection. The community. The feeling like you are with your people. The safe space to be your authentic self. The acceptance. There were deep conversations where tears were shed and loss was shared and there were also moments of laughing until I almost peed my pants. It was all there and it only took gathering a dozen women, who live all over the country and probably would have never met without Craftcation, to get it.
While I love that Craftcation creates a space for people to explore their creativity, get the skills they need to start or grow their businesses and get a break from their everyday hustle and obligations so they can reconnect with themselves, the reason I love it the most and why I think Craftcation has lasted for 10 years (how did I not mention that this conference was our 10th anniversary!) is the people.
There are Craftcation attendees who although I’ve only been in the same room as them a handful of times, I’d trust them with the keys to my house or car or even to watch my son Luca (Holly Marsh, I’m talking to you!) although less than five people have babysat Luca in his whole life and only one isn’t a blood relative. YES, that’s how strong and pure the Craftcation bond is.
For those of you who haven’t been to Craftcation yet, if you’re reading this and thinking, “YEAH! That sounds like my kind of place”, click here to join the waiting list for Craftcation 2023 (April 19-23, 2023). We sell out every year so as soon as we announce tickets are open (which happens in September for alumni, October for first-time attendees) get on it! Take a tour of Craftcation below and see what 5 days at the beach in California with 500 welcoming creatives and over 200 craft classes, business workshops and social & wellness activities looks like.
For those of you who were at Craftcation 2022, THANK YOU! YOU are the heart and soul of Craftcation. Staff, crew, attendees, presenters, sponsors (Especially our presenting sponsor Spoonflower… Thank you all and I can’t wait to welcome you back to our wonderful and weird family of creatives.
Welcome to Craftcation
The motto of Craftcation, Make it Together, was printed on our gift bags which overflowed with goodies from our sponsors including Bramble Berry, Clover, Dharma Trading, Fabric.com, Handprint & Walnut Hollow, JOANN Stores, Constant Contact, Recess, Shirtspace, Spoonflower, Westcott Brand, WOMEN CREATE, Yazzii USA LLC, Tandy Leather and Victoria Ann Meyers.
Craftcation Mezzanine & Sponsor Booths
The highlight of this area was the Spoonflower Sticker Lounge where you could sit down at the bar and choose from custom stickers we designed that were displayed in vintage cocktail glasses. The lounge featured wallpaper, pillows and wall hangings from our presenting sponsor Spoonflower and mid-century plant stands & wood shapes, a custom bar and artwork we created with wood from Walnut Hollow and Handprint. Attendees had the opportunity to get to know our sponsors Shirtspace, Walnut Hollow, Handprint, Bramble Berry, Oliso, Women Create, Fabric.com, Clover and SVP/Grant House Sewing Center at their booths which featured giveaways, crafting, demos and more.
Business Workshops and Panels
The Craftcation Business classes covered topics like branding, marketing, finance, sales, podcasting and more and included Wholesale Line Sheets, Look Books, and Catalogs, Creating Engaging Craft Videos, Content Planning for Creatives, Website Content That Sells and Drives Traffic, Streamlining the Back End of Your Business and almost 30 other workshops to help creatives grow their businesses.
With over 135 craft classes to choose from, Craftcation attendees had the opportunity to explore almost every craft genre including sewing clothing AND shoes!, wood burning, watercolors, resin, mosaics, mixed media art, punch needle, leather working, glass etching, photography, printmaking and more. Thank you to our craft workshop sponsors Creativebug, Bramble Berry, Maydel, Handprint, Walnut Hollow, Tandy Leather, The Oxford Company, Dick Blick, McPhersons, Stabilo, and Jacquard Products for providing supplies and sharing their expertise through teaching workshops.
We were proud to welcome back our Dyeing Annex sponsor Dharma Trading Co. who provided lots of our dyeables, dyes and supplies. In addition to the socks, scarves, tea towels and totes from Dharma Trading Co. attendees got to dye blank tees from Shirtspace. Attendees also got to use specialty dyes and supplies from Jacquard Products including their acid dyes.
For the first time ever, we had three different sewing brands (each highlighted in their own room) in our sewing Annex. We were proud to welcome SVP Worldwide and their brands Pfaff, Husqvarna Viking, Singer as well as local dealer Grant House Sewing Center. Attendees also experienced a lux ironing and cutting area thanks to our iron sponsor Oliso and our cutting table sponsor Studio Designs. Our Fabric.com Fabric wall offered attendees the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of fabrics for their projects. We’d love to give a special thank you to JOANN for sponsoring Monica Tetteh’s sewing classes.
Special Events & Activities
We had so much fun at local restaurant/bar Barrelhouse 101 where Fabric.com and Walnut Hollow & Handprint both hosted parties. We also crowned a new champion at our Iron Craft Ventura competition (congrats to Kelly Affleck!) and we drank amazing Golden Rule Spirits margaritas and old fashioneds as we watched the contest. We paused Wanderings: Our Self-Guided Artwalk this year and welcomed a new event, the Makers Trunk Show where attendees set up mini displays of their goods and we all got to shop from each other. As always, our mediation and yoga classes (including yoga on the beach!) were a highlight. The theme of our dance party this year was Roller Disco and the costumes were… outstanding. Congrats to our costume winner Sofia PInelli (Kelly Affleck’s Rainbow Brite was a close second!). At our closing ceremony we gave out prizes from Ellison, Handprint & Walnut Hollow, Oliso, Yazzii USA LLC and more + we honored MaryAnn Ballestero who works tirelessly helping at the conference even though she isn’t technically staff.
The best part was when the whole room sang Thank You for Being a Friend acapella to commemorate another amazing year of friendships being made, businesses sprouting and growing and a never-ending love and appreciation of The Golden Girls.