A NOTE FROM DELILAH:
Dear Craftcation 17 Attendees-
Even though Nicole and I don’t get to “attend” Craftcation we have our own little one in a way. We get to meet some amazing people, make new friends and in our own way develop creative and business skills that we take home to better ourselves and our business–what an honor to be able to do that with you!
As I sit with some of the last of the items to put away and organize for next year’s Craftcation Conference–and a mountain of work ahead, I can’t help but still feel overwhelmed with feelings of pride; pride in the accomplishments of everyone in this fantastic community, pride in a team that works tirelessly in just a short amount of time to put on the event, pride in seeing connections and friendships being made…WOW, to be a part of that is incredibly special.
I think it’s an on-going thing but many of you know me as “Old Waterworks” towards the end of that great weekend and I just can’t help myself. I usually breakdown on Sunday and as much as I try not to, I just can’t stop the tears. To see so many incredible faces in such a short time…to feel the positive and empowering energy created by so many… to see that I have family (Nicole) that I get to share that with and that all come together is something truly special and yes, now there are tears!
It really is an honor to work and be a part of Craftcation and to be a part of this experience with you. Make we all take what we have learned from this magical weekend and make the most of it until we see each other again!
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A NOTE FROM NICOLE:
One of my favorite Craftcation 2017 moments this year didn’t even happen at Craftcation. It happened this week when I was looking through the photos that our photographer Brian sent over. Although Delilah I do our best to experience as much as we can and connect with as many attendees as possible at Craftcation, between all the events and workshops happening simultaneously and the behind-the-scenes work we do, we miss a lot. Looking through the photos gives me a chance to relive the awesomeness that I did get to experience and also see the moments that I missed.
I loved seeing photos of attendees waving from our school bus shuttle or proudly holding up projects they made in craft classes or listening intently during one of the business panels. All of those photos made me so happy, but there was one photo that really got to me. It’s of one of our attendees riding in the back of Delilah’s vintage VW bus to lunch. She looks so authentically happy and excited that my eyes started welling up with emotion when I saw it. Seeing that photo and her pure joy was one of my favorite Craftcation moments.
There were also so many other moving moments that I experienced first-hand at Craftcation. Seeing our moms, aunts and their friends jump in and work their fannies off when we were in a pinch, hanging out with our staff and volunteers who work as hard as Delilah and I do, having a rare moment to sit in on during a class and be part of an honest conversation about balancing what we think we should do with what we actually need/want to do, working the registration table and greeting first-time attendees or alumni with a hug or a heartfelt “welcome” (pretty much EVERY moment at registration as I see attendees walk-in, my heart is more full of joy and gratitude than it is any other time of the year), seeing so many amazing craft projects, slipping into one of the business panels and hearing one of the panelists share her journey from being on food stamps to being a CEO and almost every night sitting with Delilah and talking (something we rarely get to do in person). Those are just a few of my best Craftcation moments (if I listed them all, this would be a book, not a blog post).
Craftcation is my community, it’s the reason Delilah and I spend almost an entire year planning and organizing the best experience we can imagine for our fellow creatives and business owners. And even though we can’t connect personally with every single attendee or sit in during every workshop, we do our best to be present for as much as we can.
When I see an attendee sitting alone at lunch, I introduce myself. I do this because I want to do everything I possibly can to make their experience awesome. I do this because I want to make sure they’re sitting alone out of choice (to take a breather from all the excitement) and not because they’re uncomfortable or lonely. I do this because Craftcation attendees are the kind of people I want to talk to. They’re the kind of people I wish I’d met when I was young and uncomfortable in my own body and mind and sat alone at a lunch table wishing I could find friends who shared my interests.
This year, at Craftcation, I shared so many awesome moments with the very people that I would have loved to have sat next to at a table in my junior high cafeteria. People who were open to new experiences, risk-takers, talented creatives, people overflowing with energy and gratitude, those who came up to me out of the blue and started a conversation and people who weren’t afraid to share their journey (even if it meant crying to basically a stranger – me).
Despite the fact that I was ‘on’ and working for 16+ hours a day at Craftcation (and I’m a woman that NEEDS eight hours of sleep a night to feel like a human being) I woke up every morning and was tired for less than a minute before I remembered where I was and then jumped out of bed with the excitement as if I’d gotten 10 hours of sleep because I knew that I’d be spending the day with the coolest people ever.
The best example of this was Sunday morning. The moment I saw our attendees (who I could tell were also drained and starting to feel the post-Craftcation blues) walk in to our closing keynote with Tiffany Han, my tiredness faded and my excitement was in full force. I enthusiastically greeted attendees with a hearty “Good Morning” as they walked in. At one point, I even broke into a passionate impromptu good morning song. (Apologies to those of you that had to hear my less-than-perfect singing voice.)
During my off-key good morning song an attendee pulled me aside and said, “You and Delilah must feel great. What an accomplishment to create an event like this.” Yes, I thought, seeing something you spent so long creating come to fruition does feel wonderful but when I look back on those four days, I think more about the individual moments than the conference as a whole. I relish in the moments that I was present for and the ones that I got to live second-hand through stories + social media and blog posts from our attendees and also while looking at the photos, like seeing that joyful moment our attendee had riding in the back of Delilah’s van. Those are the moments that remind me why I do what I do for a living and l carry them with me all year.
Thank you and big hugs to each and every one of you that made those Craftcation 2017 moments happen! See you at Craftcation 2018! If you’re thinking about joining us at Craftcation 2018 you can join the event page here + the mailing list here for updates on when we open registration.