Craftcation 2024 Presenters

AJ YOUNG (HE/THEY)

AJ Young is the owner of Big Shoulders Fiber Company in Fennville, MI. Big Shoulders offers creative workshops and classes founded on the belief that all humans are inherently creative and being an adult shouldn’t be boring. AJ’s teaching experience runs from textiles & fiber art, to general crafting, to the university classroom. He has been crafting since he was very young, but started knitting seriously in 2014 while working on his dissertation. That led to taking classes in quilting and bag-making and he was hooked. AJ dabbles in pretty much anything with fiber or textiles – dyeing, weaving, crochet, etc. – but also has a longstanding love for printmaking & mixed media, especially when fabric is involved.

 

His personal art practice is heavily influenced by modern, folk, and mixed media art; themes of history, identity, & documentation; as well as his love of books, language, and nature. AJ and his husband Han, a non-profit manager and yoga teacher, are currently working towards opening their own creative arts & yoga studio in SW Michigan. You can find Big Shoulders Fiber Co. on Instagram at @bigshouldersfiberco!

ALEX BYRNE (SHE/HER)

Alex Byrne is an artist and entrepreneur living in Oakland, California. Originally from the UK, she lived and worked in London for more than 20 years before moving to Tokyo, Japan, and then to San Francisco in 2014. She has taught and studied quilts in all three countries. She became President of the SF Quilters Guild in 2016, serving for two years, and co-chaired the committee behind the very successful “QUILT San Francisco” quilt show in March 2023.

After time at Art College, Alex’s career took her into science, not-for-profits, and big-tech, while she continued to create and teach classes in sewing, embroidery, knitting and crochet. In 2023 she launched her company “Lixie Makes It” and organized the QUILT2024 event happening in January 2024 (quilt2024.com). She has used her extensive e-commerce experience to help artists increase their visibility online and to develop new and additional income streams related to their art, as well as providing coaching services related to creative business set-up and development. At the same time she continues to create and exhibit her quilts, lecture about quilting, and teach craft workshops. You can read more about her at lixiemakesit.com.

WORKSHOPS:

ALLIE MASON (SHE/HER)

Allie Mason is an Instagram expert, researcher, and experienced copywriter and content producer having worked across government, journalism, wellness, radio and television production, and entrepreneurship for almost 15 years.

 

She is also the CEO of Something Greater® and Something Greater School of Social™, where she offers social media management, education, consulting, & speaking from her decade of experience working in social and running her own social media management agency.

 

Allie has become well-known in her industry for her deep understanding of social media insights and analytics, and her ability to optimize social media strategies that remain true to her clients’ values, individuality, and business goals.

WORKSHOPS:

ALLISON KREFT (SHE/HER)

Allison Kreft is an artist, designer, & photographer with over 20 years of experience in the DIY, crafting & photo industries. While working to bring her own creativity to life in different mediums she also loves to collaborate with other artists and designers to help them with their vision.

Allison worked as an art director & designer for the silk-screen company Hambly Studios making unique papers and products for the paper crafting industry. She then focused on creating her own line of crafting products in addition to licensing her designs to different companies. You have likely run across one of her products at your favorite crafting or homegoods store. Allison also spent several years in the startup world working with other brands & illustrators to bring a new perspective to personalized photo books and cards.

In her free time you can find Allison pursuing her passion as a glass artist. She also enjoys looking for vintage treasures as her next source of inspiration (or just for her colorful home).

Alyson Toone-Aguilar (She/her)

Alyson Toone-Aguilar is the founder of Make It Work Crafts through which she teaches arts and crafts classes throughout the Los Angeles area. Although she is a jill-of-all-crafts, Alyson specializes in textile crafts because of her background as an apparel designer. She worked as a designer for ten years in New York’s Garment Center. Before moving to New York City, Alyson earned a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design from Columbus College of Art and Design in her hometown Columbus, Ohio. Her experiences have culminated in a business that teaches crafts with a feminist perspective and a design thinking/STEAM focus. She currently resides in sunny Southern California with her husband and daughter.

ALYSSA BLACKWELL (SHE/HER)

Alyssa Blackwell is a life & business coach for entrepreneurs, specializing in ADHD, spirituality, women’s wealth and mindset reprogramming. She helps women to live a “f*ck yes” life by empowering them with the right strategies and teachings to live an easier, happier, more productive life.

AMY GUERRERO (SHE/HER)

Amy Guerrero is a creative entrepreneur and runs the Arizona-based business, Sunshine Craft Co. A graphic designer turned craft instructor; her studio welcomes anyone to try a DIY project or attend an artisan workshop. Named 2019’s Best Creative Facilitator by Phoenix New Times, her love for design, handcraft, and helping people explore their creativity merges throughout her career and work.

AMY TAN (she/her)

Amy Tangerine is a multi-passionate maker who thrives on providing creatives with the tools and space to see the bright side of life. She’s taught crafty workshops on all of the continents except for Antarctica, filmed tons of YouTube videos, and worked with awesome celebrities and brands. Her mission is to inspire and empower you to be mindful and intentional while finding joy and confidence through creativity. She’s obsessed with paper, inks, paints, and her family.

ANA MANZANO FAIRBAIRN (SHE/HER)

As a Creative Strategist and Mentor Mama Bear, I have the privilege of helping makers scale their brands with sustainability, not burnout. I’m on a mission to make systems sexy and talking about money less taboo.

 

From bartending nights and building my handmade children’s apparel empire by day, to working tirelessly to get my products into Whole Foods & boutiques nationwide, to the epic journey of opening a store & workshop space — I’ve hustled, made mistakes, celebrated victories, and earned an MBA worth of lessons in small business.

 

Along with helping makers thrive, I’m a Mama to 2 human children and 3 canine ones. I love dancing hula & salsa, making fart jokes with my husband, and am on a lifelong search for the perfect bowl of noodles. And I can’t wait to meet you.

bethany bayless (SHE/HER)

Bethany Bayless is a graphic designer, illustrator, proud Mama of 2, and the creative mind behind Wildwind Lane.

 

For the past decade, Bethany traveled the world as a professional speaker, and emcee. But as it did for many, life took an unexpected turn in the wake of 2020. It marked the arrival of her first child, a global pandemic, as well as an abrupt ending to a career she built for years. That pivotal moment brought forth not only uncertainty but a new beginning as well.

 

During those uncertain times and early days of motherhood, Bethany turned to art and design as a form of therapy. As a way to encourage herself and others, she founded Wildwind Lane, a brand that seeks to cultivate kindness and encouragement through stickers, prints, stationary, wall hangings, and drinkware. Bethany believes that something as small as a sticker can brighten someone’s day and spread light to those who need it.

BRIDGET HAGGERTY (SHE/HER)

Bridget now works on the Creator Marketing team — B&H Creators — for B&H Photo Video educating content creators on how to advance their production quality. She is the lead creator educator which keeps her busy curating workshops and webinars for the community.

Getting to this role was 10+ years in the making. After art school she worked as a photo assistant. Taking what she learned she turned into a photographer and brand director for small businesses. It was about helping them present themselves in the best light possible through their marketing creatives. She now focuses on supporting individual creators to produce consistent quality content.

CHRISTY NELSON (SHE/HER)

 

Christy is the creative business owner of Makit Takit, a drop-in craft studio in Lincoln, Nebraska. A true boss, Christy enjoys the strategic business planning as much as making things. This has lead to her expanding her business to include a mobile pop-up splatter unit, a yearly maker market, business mentoring/retreats, and a grown-up craft camp called Makit Together. She loves to travel, drink Diet Dr. Pepper, and go to therapy. She has a husband, two grown children, and her mom is her biggest fan.

DARI LITCHMAN (SHE/HER)

Dari Litchman is an artist and crafts instructor in Brooklyn, NY. She also goes by her alias “The Craft Whisperer”. Dari has taught arts + crafts to people of all ages for 20+ years starting way back when in summer camp. Dari has led workshops with BUST MAGAZINE, BROOKLYN BRAINERY, BROOKFIELD PLACE, FROST VALLEY YMCA, CRAFTJAM, and has been featured in SWEET PAUL MAGAZINE.

 

Dari is the owner and operator of The Craft Salon, a super fun arts and crafts studio in Brooklyn, NY where the motto is #LETSMAKESTUFF. The studio caters to kids, adults, and in-between. Dari loves making things and can often be seen sewing, knitting, decoupage-ing, decorating, embellishing, cutting, and gluing. She is partial to rainbows and glitter. Lots of glitter. Dari lives in NY with her husband Jonathan, 15-year-old daughter Love, and a rescue dog named “Mister P”.

DAWLINE-JANE ONI-ESELEH (SHE/HER)

Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh is a California based visual and teaching artist. She works with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to facilitate spaces where they can nurture their creativity. A lover of material and exploration, she is well versed in a wide range of art materials and techniques.

Her personal arts practice is rooted in storytelling and observing the ever changing world we live in. Dawline-Jane’s art work has been displayed in galleries across the US and abroad, and has been featured in Teen Vogue, ProPublica and WNYC’s Science Fridays.

Debi Kuennan-Baker

For over 30 years, Debi has been sharing her passion for creating unique garments, embroidering, and quilting. Her artistic eye blends piecing, fabric weaving, machine embroidery, serging and many other embellishments to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces that inspire all who lay eyes on them.

DEL FRIDAY (SHE/HER)

Del Friday is a lawyer and mom living in a suburb of Vancouver that you will never visit. She is well-known for her laugh, enthusiasm, and ability to make even a rock talk. Her legal career could be described as unremarkable, but Del is perfectly satisfied with her accomplishments and her tiny law firm. The firm provides her with the time to pursue her many passions, including starting and sometimes finishing craft projects and facilitating workshops and educational webinars for the legal community. “If I can get lawyers to engage in vulnerable conversations, imagine what is possible at Craftcation! I can’t wait to gather together to share and grow our collective business knowledge.”

EMILY MCDOWELL (SHE/HER)

Writer and illustrator Emily McDowell is best-known as the founder and former CEO of the stationery brand Em & Friends (formerly Emily McDowell Studio), making greeting cards and gifts for the relationships we really have. In 2015, Emily’s signature Empathy Cards for serious illness and loss, created as a more supportive and honest alternative to traditional sympathy cards, inspired a sea change to the greeting card industry.

Emily’s work has been featured in hundreds of major media outlets, including The New York Times, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, BBC News, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She is also the co-author and illustrator of the book “There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life Gets Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love.”

In March of 2022, Em & Friends was acquired by Union Square & Co., the publishing arm of Barnes & Noble, and Emily did not move forward with the brand. Today, April 1, 2024, happens to be her first day of freedom from seven years of noncompete agreements, and she can’t wait to get to work as an advisor, consultant and teacher, helping you learn from her experience, successes, and mistakes. You can find her on Substack, where she writes the newsletter “Unqualified” and is working on building a career without social media.

EVELINE FELDMANN (SHE/HER)