Craftcation Business and Makers Conference 2018 Recap

From Nicole:

Before I got married, a friend gave me one of the best pieces of advice for my wedding day. She told me to sneak away for ten minutes with my husband right after the ceremony. The thing she knew that I hadn’t yet experienced is that although I’d spent eight months obsessing about and planning every detail of my wedding day, the actual day would go by so quickly that the whole thing would be a blur. Taking that ten minutes to slow down, focus on my partner and breath in a quiet place was one of the best parts of my wedding day and it required no planning (except agreeing to take that ten minutes together).

For the past few years at Craftcation, I force myself to do the “wedding ten” as I call it. I take ten minutes to pause and be present because I know that even though I spend an entire year planning for Craftcation, afterwards it’ll all be a blur of non-stop movement. Many of our attendees have told me that they feel the same way. They count down the days to Craftcation and then… it’s over in a flash.

If you’re like me, after Craftcation, you slip back into your routine and a reality where you can’t just turn to the stranger next you and start up an amazing conversation or don’t feel like you fit right in if you’re knitting at a bar. I’m back to being alone and sitting at a computer pretty much every day. I’m back catching myself talking to my dog about things that I shouldn’t talk to a dog about (like my frustrations with some new error message on the backend of our website). I’m left with my hazy Craftcation memories of starting to cry when I walked into the Golden Girls-themed temporary tattoo parlor Wanderings room and saw not only how much work the team who created the room put into it but also that they had created a tattoo with Delilah and my face on it (and several people actual got that tattoo!) or helping set up an indigo dyeing workshop in the hotel parking lot and feeling proud at how DIY Craftcation is (using every possible space) or getting to introduce one of my heroes, Debbie Stoller for the opening keynote or getting all choked up listening to our closing keynote speaker Lela Barker talk about taking risks or watching our staff work so hard and take ownership of their jobs and Craftcation. I could go on for hours.

Even though in seven years I still have not taken a single class at Craftcation and am working the whole time I’m there, I miss it when I get home. I miss those moments that made me laugh or cry or feel proud. I miss seeing all of our hard work come to fruition and the result of all the planning actualized into experiences. I miss the feeling of being surrounded by women (and a few men) who exude this openness and creativity that I don’t find anywhere else. I miss so much but that longing is what fuels me during the rest of year when I’m alone and using my dog as a sounding board for new business ideas or forcing myself to get dressed before work even though no one will see me or on hour ten of compiling planning info on a spreadsheet.

If you came to Craftcation this year and didn’t do the “wedding ten” or your own version of it (walk on the beach, journaling, meditation) I highly suggest adding it to your Craftcation 2019 schedule. If you have the post-Craftcation blues (like me) that little sliver of presence, gratitude and reflection might be just what you need to get you through the next 360 days until we get to spend a magical week together again in Ventura.

Big thanks to everyone who helped make Craftcation happen: attendees, presenters, sponsors, venues, partners, staff, volunteers and our family and friends who always support us and go above and beyond helping.

-Nicole

P.S. – Mark your calendars for the next Craftcation Conference, March 27-31, 2019 in Ventura, California. Click here to get notified when tickets are released this fall.

P.P.S. – If you’d like to see all the photos from our amazing photographer Heather Shane, click here. Feel free to use any of Heather’s photos for your blog posts or social media but please credit/link to her and to Craftcation/Dear Handmade Life.

From Delilah:

Every night when I return home from my other job, I’m reminded of Craftcation for a simple reason: our living room is STILL covered with equipment, fliers, and glitter.

And each box has a memory. The knives, tongs, and mixing bowls remind me of the great meals we had all weekend. The projectors, screens and tripods call back all the amazing presenters. My phone is a stream of Instagram tags. The washi tape is a shoutout to our pop-up shop, as volunteers prepped shipments of goodies for our attendees. Even my drive back brings back laughs from many of you who I ferried to and from different locations.

Craftcation is a collection of moments and people. It’s impossible to process all of it together in one giant essay, but that’s what makes it so special–little things that add up to yet another great experience. To many more to come!

XXOO, Delilah

 

Delilah’s other business Alta Baja Market sponsored our Mexi-themed registration decor.Craftcation Business Makers Conference

Craftcation Business Makers Conference

Craftcation Business Makers Conference

Big love to Darice (Craftcation’s official craft supply sponsor) for supplying the bags and to Sticker You for the irons-ons featuring Nicole’s artwork.

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Our photo bingo hunt was a new addition to Craftcation this year.

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Our Wednesday night pre-parties at Ventiki, T & A Leather and Fluid State Beer Garden featured food, drinks and DIY fun from Teresa Remple of Texture Clothing, Todd and Anthony of T & A Leather, and our friends at Loome.Craftcation Business Makers Conference

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We had such a variety of craft classes this year including new drop-in casual crafting sessions (thanks to Kelly Affleck for this idea!). Big thanks to our official craft supply sponsor Darice who provided the majority of the supplies for our craft workshops.

We had lots of awesome embroidery classes featuring DMC embroidery floss. In one of the workshops, Robert Mahar helped students create a embroidered wall map on custom-printed fabric from Spoonflower.

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We had a wide variety of jewelry and accessories workshops including metal etching, crocheted jewelry with beads from Darice, painted wooden bead necklaces with leather cording from Love + Lemon Craft Co., paper flower crowns with crepe paper from Paper Mart, metal stamped jewelry with ImpressArt and naturally dyed tassel earrings + make your own silver ring from California Native Jewelry.

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We utilized every space of the hotel including the parking lot where we had our dyeing workshops using Jacquard dyes and inks and Dharma Trading Co. dyes and textiles.

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Dame Sannae taught attendees how to make natural bath products including scrubs, bath bombs and body washes.

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Students got their hands dirty making bowls with air-dry clay and moon phase mobiles with polymer clay and tools from Darice.

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We loved seeing all the unique designs that attendees created in our block printing workshops using supplies from JacquardDharma Trading Co. and Darice.

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Last year we had wood burning classes for the first time and they were so popular that we brought them back this year. It was awesome to have the president of fellow family business Walnut Hollow who manufacturers the wood and burners for the workshops join us.

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Presenter Brandi Chalker not only was back with her terrariums class featuring unique glass containers from Darice but also led a Wednesday night meet-up for first-timers and introverts.

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Intermediate weaving and weaving a zipper pouch featured DIY “looms” (cardboard from Paper Mart) and a variety of yarns from Darice, JOANN and Fair Isle Yarn.

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Craftcation Business Makers Conference

In Anne Weil’s arm knitting workshops, students created cowls and pillow covers with bulky yarn from Darice and JOANN.

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Students created mini-weavings on Clover mini looms that Jennie Lennick helped them turn into necklaces.

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One of our casual crafting sessions, Bohemian Wall Hangings gave attendees the chance to explore juxtaposing color and texture with a variety of yarns and trims from DariceFair Isle Yarn and Love + Lemon Craft Co..

Craftcation Business Makers Conference Craftcation Business Makers Conference

We had tons of fine art workshops including abstract painting, mixed media collage, still life flower sketching + painting, DIY abstract art collage and art journaling that featured supplies from Reeves, DecoArtLove + Lemon Craft Co. and Darice.

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Craftcation Business Makers Conference

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In Amy Tangerine’s Traveler’s Notebook workshop, students captured their Craftcation experience on film using Fuji Instax cameras and printers.

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Mark Montano’s art journaling workshop used a gel press printing technique and DecoArt paint.

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Storey Publishing author Emily Neuburger led workshops to ignite and explore creativity inspired by her book Journal Sparks: Fire Up Your Creativity with Spontaneous Art, Wild Writing, and Inventive Thinking.

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At our Italian-themed opening dinner, Debbie Stoller, creator of the Stitch n’ Bitch book series and editor of Bust Magazine delivered an inspiring keynote featuring 25 things she’s learned in her years as a creative business owner. The party also featured author book signings, a DIY Cannoli Chip dessert bar and make and takes from Reeves, Scout Books, CloverFair Isle Yarn and Love + Lemon Craft Co..

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Craftcation Business Makers Conference Craftcation Business Makers Conference

In business workshops attendees not only built their business skills in marketing, finance, social media and more but also life skills in sessions on mindfulness, craftivism, productivity and balance.

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Iron Craft Ventura hit the big stage this year as attendees competed in timed quick crafting head-to-head challenges for tons of prizes including a ticket to Craftcation 2019. Big thanks to Holly Marsh and Sharon Fain for spearheading this event, our celebrity judges Vickie Howell, Mark Montano and Amy Tan, our grand prize winner Shannon and all of our sponsors for the amazing prizes including Knock Knock who supplied awesome prize ribbons!

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The theme for our pop-up shop this year was deep space and our crew decorated the conference room to look like you were inside a space ship. The coolest thing in the shop? Our Fujifilm Instax lending library where attendees could heck out a camera for a few hours to document their Craftcation experience then post their photos on our Make it Awesome Community Photo Board.

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We upped our sewing annex this year by adding a JOANN fabric wall where attendees had hundreds of fabrics to choose from for their sewing workshops. Big hugs to the women of Baron’s Sewing Center and Bernina of America for providing not only our sewing machines and sergers but also lending their expertise to students during classes. One of the most popular workshops was Melissa Quall’s DIY shoes featuring Dritz’s espadrille shoe kits.

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In our marketplace area attendees participated in make and takes and got to know our some of our sponsors: Bernina, AFCI, Darice, DMC, ImpressArt and Reeves.

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Friday’s lunch was at Ventura city hall overlooking downtown and featured a make and take from Darice and Saturday’s lunch was hosted at The Tavern. Thanks to IZZE for the refreshing drinks and Justin’s for the sweet peanut butter treats.

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Wanderings (a self-guided art walk where attendees wander through hotel rooms that have been turned into experiences) is led by Rosalie Gale of Ugly Baby Shop. Thanks to all the Wanderings room participants who pulled out all the stops this year creating truly transformed rooms and unforgettable experiences including the winner who turned their room into a Golden Girls inspired temporary tattoo parlor that brought both Delilah and me to tears when we saw the tattoos they created with our names and faces.

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At our “Thank You For Being a Friend” Golden Girls themed party at The Tavern presenter Jenice Anderson led a Golden Girls Trivia game, attendees channeled their camp memories with our DMC friendship bracelet making bar, everyone captured the awesome costumes with our DIY Fujifilm Instax photo booth and we all felt the Miami spirit from our custom printed Spoonflower tablecloths.

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Lela Barker delivered an inspiring closing keynote that helped me remember the importance of taking risks and making tough choices. Lauren, Birte and Kelley, three of our attendees who organized a fundraiser for victims of Ventura’s Thomas Fire took the stage to announce the winner of their raffle and shared that they’d raised over $6,000.

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4 Comments

  1. this was my first Craftcation and it exceeded all of my expectations!! thank you so much for your vision and all the hard work you do!!

  2. Wow! Looking at the pictures made me realize how much I missed! Guess I’ll have to plan better next year. I loved every moment of Craftcation. Thanks, Nicole and Delilah, for all the hard work in making this event so memorable.

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