It’s been about 10 days since Craftcation 2014 and I am still waking up several times during the night. A week before the conference, that was explainable; there was a list a mile long of things to do, people to contact, materials to buy, etc… I was so paranoid about forgetting something or screwing something up that I would rather not sleep! Now, that panic is replaced with an excited energy in seeing so many possibilities, ideas and JOY of what is to come.
In a way it is kind of funny that I feel this way because I really don’t “attend” Craftcation. I am working both in the scene and behind the scenes, solving problems, checking in with Nicole, staff, hotel and people at the event- which is something that I love to do. However, there was a sense at this years’ Craftcation that was a little more intense than at our previous years… A strong positive energy that permeated out from everyone. It was as if the entire event was one big workshop of collaboration, togetherness and community- you could see and feel a massive coming together. Does that make sense… If you were there, did you feel it too?
In the beginning of March I closed my 8-year old retail store Road Less Traveled. To be honest, I was ready- I was so overworked with Patchwork and Craftcation while running a retail store that I could not think straight- I couldn’t focus or enjoy anything I was doing. I decided to close right before Craftcation (many of my shops displays were in the pop-up or other decor), to start the conference with a “clean slate”. It was the best decision I’ve made in the past 12 months. The freedom I have been feeling coupled with meeting amazing and inspiring attendees, speakers and staff… THAT ENERGY you created- I didn’t have to take a workshop- I just needed to meet you! And now I feel renewed and looking forward to a fantastic 2014.
A few weeks ago I was standing on a stage in a banquet room in Ventura looking out to the crowd of nearly 400 makers and creative entrepreneurs at the opening party for our third Craftcation Conference. Although I’ve given dozens of speeches and taught hundreds of classes, I still get a bit nervous. I took a deep breath then gave a short speech welcoming attendees and introducing them to our keynote speaker Lisa Congdon. In my speech, I told the story of one of the biggest risks I’ve taken, dropping out of graduate school to pursue a career as an artist. It’s long story and I won’t recount it here but you can read a bit about it here. I talked about how hard it was to take that first risk but how it lead to so many possibilities and amazing things. It’s not just what that risk led to but also the act of taking a risk that changed my life. Each risk makes the next leap a little easier.
The motto for this years Craftcation, ‘make it happen’, fit perfectly with my pro-risk speech as well as Lisa’s keynote “embrace the abyss and other lessons”. I thought about how Delilah and I took a huge risk when we produced the first Craftcation. There were many sleepless nights wondering if it was all going to work out.
Looking out to the hundreds of attendees who had already started to ‘make it happen’ just by attending Craftcation was such a lovely feeling. It’s hard to describe what Craftcation is like to people who have never been there. Craftcation is four days being surrounded by authentic creatives while you learn, meet and make with the ocean just a stone’s throw away. That’s what Craftcation is, but not what it feels like. It feels awesome and overwhelming at times and there are few other places I feel more alive and connected to the creative community! I walk around slipping in and out of workshops with a sense of wonderment fueled by the loveliness of being in a beautiful place filled with inspiring people.
Thanks to all of you who helped make Craftcation 2014 happen. Hope you enjoy the photos from our amazing resident photographer Matthew William below from this years conference. Click here to see the full gallery including the Mad Men dance party photobooth images. I can’t wait for Craftcation 2015!