It’s hard to believe that I has been two weeks since I returned from sunny, warm Ventura, California and Craftcation … a creative person’s conference . I thought I would share an overview of this unique creative person and business owner’s conference. This was my third year attending this glorious creative entrepreneur’s conference but my first time as an instructor. I arrived on a Wednesday, taught a class each day from Thursday to Sunday. In total, I taught four 3-hour classes…2 classes on how to make a beach skirt and 2 classes on making espadrille shoes. It’s not an exaggaerationg to say that Craftcation left me super inspired and energized. I will confess to feeling pretty tired after teaching much more than I’m accustomed to.
I’m naturally an introvert but I love the energy of Craftcation people so I’m always pulled in two different directions. Part of me knows I need to recharge alone but the other part of me wants to DO ALL THE THINGS! I just loved being able to connect with so many other creative businesswoman. My brain came home bursting to full with ideas and plans.
(You will have to forgive my iPhone photos, I didn’t bring the fancy camera with me on this trip. )
These lemons were growing in the yard of a house that was on my morning walk to get coffee and I found that so ridiculously delightful. My New Jersey friends are thoroughly convinced I should have plucked one. It’s hard for us East Coasters to get over things like lemons growing in your yard. Ha! Oh California, you have no idea how good you have it!
I really love teaching at Craftcation. The classrooms are stocked with fully loaded sewing machines and the most lovely Bernina representatives are there all weekend helping out with any machine mishaps. Everyone is so supportive and excited to be there. It was an incredible amount of creative energy to soak up for 4 days and I loved it. Plus, I was able to hang out with so many super inspiring friends including Anna Joyce, Anne Weil, Sonya Philips, Carla Wilking, Meghann Halfmoon and Kimberly from Straight Stitch Designs. People I so deeply admire that I could sit with a talk about creativity and business. It’s invaluable, that time with peers.
The class that really caught everyone’s attention was my Espadrilles class. I taught a packed class twice and every time people loved making these shoes. Look at these beauties! Isn’t it amazing how fantastic and unique these shoes look? I really love teaching this class because people are so thrilled to see the shoes come together. I had a few students try out some adaptations as well and I’m so inspired to keep playing with new patterns for Espadrilles. Watch for that in the near future. 🙂
My relaxed beach skirt class was also a delight. Look at these beautiful women and their amazing skirts! It was so fantastic to introduce so many sewists to the joy of sewing with knit fabric and watch them dance around the room in their new skirts. I kept running into people all weekend who where wearing their skirts and they would spin for me. It is an instructor’s dream.
I pulled together goody bags that were loaded with fun stuff and also essential tools for all of my students. I promise to write more about that later because they were a huge hit and a very helpful addition to the class. Plus, everyone went away with an instruction booklet so they can sew more at home.
The conference also includes parties and dinners including a Golden Girl’s theme party that was awesome. Another highlight is what is called The Wanderings, which is an evening when different people decorate their hotel rooms and you wander from room to room for different experiences from tarot card reading to postcard painting to vodka shots and faux tattoos. The keynote speaker this year was Debbie Stoller, the editor-in-chief of BUST magazine. (Did you know she is also the author of the Stitch N’ Bitch series of knitting books?! I did not know that and was amazed.) It was fascinating to hear the story (and struggle) of Bust magazine and their continued efforts to be financially solvent. It makes every endeavour so human to hear their stuggle.
This year’s conference was also really special because the Ventura area suffered from such severe fires last year and the Craftcation community has done so much to raise funds to help the people who were impacted by the fires.
I can’t wait for next year, already. If you are a maker or own a creative business and have the millions of questions that come from working, often relatively isolated, on your own thing I really recommend a conference like this. I’m not selling anything to you when I say that I specifically recommend this conference! It changes everything to hear that other people deal with the same things and the same doubts; and to gain the power of a collective problem-solving session over dinner!
Oh, I nearly forgot! There was an earthquake. Nothing like a visit to California for this east coaster, huh! I was teaching my skirt class when the floor started to shake. Everyone stood still for a while and then all of the Californians were back to normal while my heart was still racing and I had to stand against the wall for a good 10 minutes. It was nuts!
Until next time Ventura. Maybe with a bit less drama in 2019, ok?