Craftcation 2024: Event Recap and Photos

We creatives don’t need fancy offices or studios flooded with natural light to make art or run a business – (although, let’s be real, those things are pretty damn awesome). We’re scrappy, carving out space and time for our dreams from whatever we’ve got.


Sometimes that means trading a night out to prepare for a craft fair, or quitting a full-time job to nab a part-time gig that may not be our favorite, all to free up more time to build our business. It’s about waking up early or staying up late to seize those moments of inspiration.


And once a year, for 500+ creatives, it means retreating from our everyday lives to converge in Ventura, California for a week of making, meeting, and learning at Craftcation.

as we celebrated our 10th Craftcation anniversary this April. . .

. . . I was reminded (just as I am every year) of how incredibly grateful I am for Craftcation.


Our team dedicates a significant portion of the year to meticulously planning and executing every detail of the five days that make up Craftcation. We aim to create a space where creatives of all kinds can explore, learn, and connect. As much as I love seeing all of our hard work come together to transform the Marriott, the true magic happens when the hotel is brimming with our attendees. 


And isn’t it fitting? Especially since our motto this year was “Make Your Own Magic”.


I witnessed countless attendees creating their own magic moments at Craftcation. I saw the expression on an attendee’s face, a mix of relief and joy and being seen, as they walked into the Pride-themed Wanderings room. Someone shared a story with me about how they were so nervous to come alone that they almost turned around and drove home, but they pushed past the fear, and now they swear to never miss a year. I watched attendees bursting with a brand of confidence that I wish I could bottle and give away as they strutted the fashion show runway in garments they made. I listened as an attendee introduced me to another attendee, emphatically singing their praises as if they were lifelong friends (they’d only met that afternoon!).


And those are just a few of the moments I experienced. I know there are many magic moments I missed: AH-HA moments in a business class, breaking through a creative block in a craft class, or making a connection with someone you never would have met if you weren’t both at Craftcation.


When a first-time attendee asks me for my top Craftcation tips, I always say…

  1. Don’t overschedule yourself.
  2. Stock up on essentials at Trader Joe’s when you arrive.
  3. Talk to strangers.

I know #3 might make my mom cringe. I mean, she’s the one who drilled the idea into my head of never talking to strangers. But Mom, I promise, Craftcation is the only/best/perfect place to talk to strangers. Craftcation is why the phrase “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet” was invented. Craftcation is the only place on the planet where I not only feel a sense of acceptance that I’ve longed for my whole life but where (more than anything else at the moment) I want to give that same sense to anyone who crosses my path.


We are the ones who need that sense of belonging. We are the creatives. We are the misfits. We are the ones who people often “don’t get”.  Craftcation was built for us, for you. It’s the place where you’ll find people who admire you for your quirks that make you different. It’s the place where what you make in a craft class is free from pressure because who cares if it’s ugly. It’s the place where you’re welcome to ask ANY question in a business class.


Craftcation is the place I wish existed when I was young, a place that showed me that people like me existed. It’s also the place I longed for when I started my creative business and needed guidance.


Every year, for the past 10 years, we have built it, and you have come. THAT is one of my proudest accomplishments. Being a part of giving our community a place to be themselves, to create, and to make goals happen.


Thank you to everyone who made Craftcation 2024 happen!


Below you’ll find a selection of photos from Craftcation. You can view the full gallery here. Thank you to our photographers Max Duckworth, Caroline Haws and Yours Truly.

Welcome to Craftcation

To celebrate our 10th anniversary at Craftcation 2024, we transformed the Ventura Beach Marriott into a mystical folk forest with mushrooms, owls, moss, trees and custom wallpaper I designed and printed with our decor sponsor Spoonflower.

Gift Bag

Attendees were greeted by Craftcation Managing Director Katie Mac and her welcoming Crew members who handed out our incredible gift bags that  were overflowing with goods from our sponsors including: Beacon Adhesives, Snak Club, Constant Contact, Pipsticks, Soft Flex Company, Monster & Ugly Baby, Bobbiny, DecoArt LLC, Kai Scissors, MAKE, The Designing Chica, Uehle Tax Services, Clover, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Avery, Westcott, Ryobi, and Tony’s Chocolonely, plus coupons from Co-Create Studio, Create Arts Online, Dawline-Jane Art & Illustration, Ecommerce Arcade / hollymarshmallow, Make It Work Crafts, Rebecca Inkrote, Scale Your Creative Brand, SewMel Handmade, SJB, Creative Ventures, LLC,, Victoria Ann Meyers.



Special thanks to our VIP bag sponsors Cambria for the bottles of Pinot Noir and Avery for the Amy Tangerine Planners, stickers and other goodies to make these Presenter and Ambassador bags awesome. And to Mary Ann who once again managed the gift bag assembly as well as helped people every chance she got.  

Craftcation Mezzanine

Aside from the wallpaper, there were so many decor highlights all conceptualized by me and our Decor Director, LeAnn and (and built by LeAnn).  The Forest Lounge featured the Tote Bag Magic craft station where attendees could use a variety of supplies including a cordless Ryobi glue gun, Hilos Iris embroidery floss and Clover needles to personalize their gift bags as well as The Tree of Ta-Da that LeAnn built where attendees wrote their accomplishments on paper leaves and hung them on the tree.


Throughout the mezzanine there were thoughtful decor details like the woodland scenes with hand painted mushrooms and moss on Walnut Hollow’s live edge basswood rounds, the same rounds transformed into signage which LeAnn adorned with upcycled egg cartons she handcrafted into mushrooms and forest-inspired floral arrangements in vintage glass vessels. 

Sponsor Marketplace

At Beacon’s Bonding Bar, attendees had the opportunity to experiment with their full range of glues, bonding everything from shells and rhinestones to mushrooms and trims onto their badge holders. 


Walnut Hollow’s DIY project booth featured a variety of rotating make and takes where attendees tried their hand at burning wood keychains, leather and more that they could then color with Holbein colored pencils. 


At the B&H Photo & Video booth attendees got to test out B&H’s document cameras. These cameras were used in the craft workshops to help students get a closer look at what the instructors were doing with their hands as they taught. 


Oliso showcased a beautifully blinged out iron at their booth, inviting attendees to explore the features of their luxurious irons, including the Tula Pink collaboration, while also creating personalized name tags.


Grant House Sewing Center & SVP Worldwide displayed a variety of sewing machines and accessories which they demoed throughout the week.


And Constant Contact helped attendees connect with each other via their business card exchange wall.

Pop-Up Shop

For the second year in a row, the pop-up shop was held in its larger space, brimming with handmade, one-of-a-kind and unique creations from attendees, presenters, sponsors, and beyond.


Special thanks to Briana, our in-store manager, for her exceptional management, Katie Mac for overseeing the digital setup, and Rachael for leading the display and merchandising efforts. And of course, we thank Briana and Katie Mac’s daughters, the two Lilys, who served as the very BEST apprentices.

Business Workshops and Panels

The Craftcation Business workshops delved into a range of topics including branding, marketing, finance, sales, and more, aimed at empowering creatives grow their businesses. We also offered panels featuring a variety of experts who provided valuable insights into challenges and strategies related to ADHD, product development, book writing, embracing failure, and more. Attendees also had the opportunity participate in Think Tanks and Office Hours, receiving personalized one-on-one and small group coaching sessions. 


A special thanks goes to our A/V Manager, Sunday, for ensuring our tech was flawless throughout the conference. And to B+H Photo and Video for the AV equipment and microphones! 

Craft Workshops

With a selection of over 150 craft workshops, Craftcation attendees had the chance to explore nearly every craft genre imaginable, including sewing, wood burning, watercolors, mixed media art, apothecary crafting, needle arts, photography, printmaking, and more. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our craft workshop sponsors: Bramble Berry, Walnut Hollow, Blue Buddha Boutique, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Bobbiny, Holbein, Ryobi, Scout Books, Soft Flex Company, The Clorox Company, Avery, Clover, DecoArt LLC, Hilos Iris, Houston Acrylic, Jacquard Products, MAKE, Oliso, Pipsticks, and Beacon Adhesives for generously providing supplies. 


Special thanks to Nik Vandeventer and Katie Newman for expertly managing this huge and ever bustling department, and to my husband Seth for his invaluable assistance in running errands throughout the week.




needle arts and textiles

paint and paper



wood burning

crafty lab

Special thanks to teacher Kelly Affleck who created and led The Craft Lab, a series of open crafting workshops where attendees could finish WIP or start new projects in a no pressure space geared not just for crafting but connection and community. 

Dyeing Workshops

Attendees who attended workshops in our Dyeing Annex got to use specialty dyes and supplies from Jacquard Products and bleach from The Clorox Company in workshops like Discharge Dye, Ice Dyeing, Botanical Bundle Dyeing, and more. 

Sewing Workshops

For the third consecutive year, our Sewing Annex featured three distinct sewing brands, each showcased in its own dedicated space. We were thrilled to host SVP Worldwide and their renowned brands Pfaff, Husqvarna Viking, and Singer, alongside local dealer Grant House Sewing Center. Attendees also enjoyed the luxury of an ironing station provided by our sponsor, Oliso. We welcomed back Spoonflower as a fabric sponsor and introduced attendees to our newest fabric sponsor, Lucky Deluxe Fabrics, a local thrift store specializing in sustainable sewing supplies. This year, we re-introduced The Sewing Lab, offering after-hours sessions where attendees could complete sewing projects with assistance from our experienced instructors.

Special Events: Meet & Greet

Katie Mac and our Craftcation Ambassadors welcomed first-time attendees to her annual Meet & Greet which offered everyone a chance to connect with new friends and have their questions answered. 

Special Events: Opening Ceremony

We kicked off Craftcation with our Opening Ceremony and Crafty Hour, highlighted by wine generously provided by Cambria, a woman-owned and operated winery. The event featured multiple make & take crafts and a warm welcome from Katie Mac and myself.

Special Events: Beacon Picnic

Beacon Adhesives extended a special invitation to some attendees to join them for a beachside picnic. Those in attendance had the opportunity to sample various glues while crafting beach-inspired creations, indulging in snacks and refreshments, and fostering connections with both Beacon representatives and their fellow attendees.

Special Events: Casual Board Game Party

Our Casual Board Game Party, hosted by Holly Marsh, returned for its second year with an exciting twist. This time, the room was cleverly divided into two sections: one for quiet games and another for louder ones. What a smart idea, Holly!

Special Events: Iron Craft

Iron Craft is a beloved special event among our attendees. It’s a friendly competition where attendees sign up to flex their crafting skills. We randomly draw names at the beginning of the event, and those lucky enough to be chosen compete in three rounds of crafting showdowns. Here’s the twist: each round, contestants must use a surprise craft supply, just like the secret ingredient in Iron Chef. It’s all about creativity, thinking fast, and having a blast as we crown the next Iron Craft Champion. PLUS! The winner gets to come back the following year to defend their title against the new contestants.


Those who attended the 2023 conference may remember the showdown between 2022 Iron Craft Champion Kelly Affleck and 2023 contestant Jenny Lounibos. Well, the saga continued at Craftcation 2024. Kelly tried to pull a fast one and ‘kidnap’ Jenny to steal her spot in the competition, where she had a chance to defend her title. We even received a series of hilarous videos that captured all of the drama! But in the end, a new champion emerged: Lauren Sadler! Huge shoutout to our hosts Holly Marsh (the brains behind Iron Craft) and Emily McDowell (they were simply amazing!).

Special Events: Crafty Trivia

New to Craftcation this year was Trivia, proposed and led by the witty AJ Young. WOW, this was more popular than we could have guessed and my fingers are crossed that AJ will host again next year.

Special Events: Dance Party

Attendees outdid themselves with their imaginative costumes focused on our Enchanted Forest theme for the dance party. Their creativity with their costumes which included trees, woodland creatures, fairies, butterflies and moths, mushrooms, snails, and more was astounding. Shout out to our costume competition winner, Sofia Pinelli!  

Special Events: Fashion Show

The Craftcation Fashion Show, hosted by Marisa Lynch and Monica Tetteh, was an absolute hit! Attendees had the chance to flaunt their creations made at Craftcation and strut their stuff down the runway. It was truly heartwarming to see people confidently showcasing their caftans, skirts, and more.

Special Events: Wanderings

Wanderings allows attendees to transform their hotel rooms into incredible experiences and we all wandered through the rooms making, eating, drinking and meeting new friends. The rooms were SO creative this year including a Christmas-themed room, black light experience, an immersive experience of the 80’s country craze, a Pride room and more, I know attendees had a hard time picking a winner. Congrats to Craftcation 2024’s attendee-chosen winner the Hospitaliano Suite (an Olive Garden themed experience, you had to be there!). 

Art Showcases

We tried something new this year by inviting attendees to showcase their creativity through art installations displayed throughout Craftcation. And wow, did they deliver! From vibrant painted murals to intricate crocheted portraits and curated photo ops, each installation was truly outstanding. I can’t wait to see what next year’s installations will bring!

Wellness Activities

As always, our mediation and yoga sessions (including yoga on the beach!) were a highlight. 

Special Events: Closing Ceremony

To wrap up the magical week, we gathered for our closing ceremony. I had the honor of delivering the closing keynote, urging attendees to embrace presence and mindfulness as integral parts of the creative journey. We also took the time to celebrate another incredible year filled with new friendships, boundless creativity, and flourishing businesses.


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