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.
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.
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!