Going: Craftcation2014 Round Two

This past weekend I headed off to my second Craftcation Conference in Ventura, Ca! This time I had my two lovely friends Holly Bobisuthi and Dianna LaFerry with me. We headed out on Wednesday afternoon in the middle of a crazy hail storm and braved the traffic north to the wonderful beach side community of Ventura.

Craftcation is a wonderful way to connect with the handmade community and a great opportunity to learn new things and refresh your approach to things you may think are old hat for you. I make a point to sign up for the business, marketing and social media oriented classes because quite frankly, I can make things till the cows come home 😉 Learning how to represent myself online and the nitty gritty details like how to get the most of wordpress and social media are things I continue to strive to learn and push myself to get better at.

One of my favorite aspects of Craftcation is that it is held in a smallish town at the Crown Plaza Hotel right on the beach. You can walk to everything and all of the views out of the hotel are just stellar.

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Here we are just setting off! I tend to totally forget to take these type of group shots so I’m extra proud I remembered to turn the dang camera around. Cocktails on the balcony are of course, an excellent way to kick off a great weekend.  Yep, I travel with luxardo cherries! Wednesday evening we took some time to get settled, unpack our things and hook up the snacks for the hotel room.
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Thursday we were off and running! I took a workshop on making a zipper bag taught by Christine Haynes.  Even though I tend to focus on the tech and learning classes I like seeing how people teach others and there was enough time in the class for me to make a second bag with materials I brought from home. Using some of my hand silkscreened canvas and indigo dyed cotton I whipped up a long and narrow fold over bag I used that evening at dinner. Can you see where this might be going? Give me a few months, I’ve got a lot of projects in the works.  On Thursday I also took in a  panel talk on being a successful entrepreneur and enjoyed the info provided by Michelle Ward  during the panel. She’s very down to earth but very focused and I enjoyed that perspective. Thursday night dinner was a great welcome meal provided by Craftcation and some fun times catching up with friends from last year!

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Friday we got up bright and early to take in a full schedule.  The sessions I went to included an informative talk on intellectual property, some detailed info on line sheets and catalogs by Marlo Miyashiro, a panel talk covering advanced social media and a quick class on making a light box for taking product shots. Whew! Yep, all crammed into one day. and it was only Friday.
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Friday night we also got up to a little fun with a pop up speakeasy that we hosted in our room, The Blind Tiger. A few months ago I saw that Delilah and Nicole (the founders of Craftcation) hosted a speakeasy in their room at another conference. Directly inspired by that we decided to take it to the next level by bringing the things we make to share with folks that might stop by. I brought my new coasters, pennants and some of my smaller prints. Holly brought her hand made jewelry and Dianna brought her embroidery transfer and sewing patterns.  Honestly, we didn’t expect to sell things. We just thought at a conference of makers it would be fun to share the physical objects that we make.  I feel really blessed and honored that so many friends and neighbors stopped by and choose to take our work home with them. Big, huge thanks to everyone that came by! Big thanks to Delilah and Nicole for being so graceful about us hosting a little shop in our room. Craftcation has it’s own pop up shop where they offer things for sale that have to do with the classes and a wonderful selection of books for learning new skills, we all spent money in there as well this weekend!
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Oh hey, theres something new I’m working on in that photo above! Last weekend I was able to create a prototype of a new product I’ll be continuing to work on. Hand silkscreened silk scarves in my own patterns and designs. It was super fun to wear my prototype all weekend and get some of the most useful and informative feedback a girl could hope for. If I bent your ear about this project thanks so much, I can’t wait to get printing on more of these with some tweaks to the end result. Lovely mystic eye earrings by Holly Bobisuthi. Diana and I had a great time trying on new jewelry each day and wearing her work around Craftcation.
Saturday, it was starting to feel like a bit of a blur. But that’s how it goes when you share a room with 2 other wonderful makers and have to make yourself turn in and then every day is filled with new things to learn and new friends to make! Let’s see, I went to a talk on crafting your writing style, and then a branding talk followed by a e-commerce talk by Se Reed. I’m just gonna take a minute here and talk about how awesome Se Reed is and the info she offers and the way she shares it with you. Seriously, I have nothing but good things to say about her talks. I have some more private suggestions and constructive thoughts about Craftcation to share with the organizers (and they welcome feedback!) but one of the things I will say publicly is that I don’t feel that SE Reed’s time was made the most use of. She has more classes that she teaches than were offered and one of her sessions was pushed to the very last session on Sunday. It was a lot to rally our brains on Sunday but her talk was hands down the best one I listened to all weekend. She has the ability to reduce complex topics (for artists;) down to serious action steps while still explaining how you can get help and do it yourself. Truly awesome!
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Saturday afternoon I had registered for a off site tour titled “Makers Tour” I was a bit wiped out by this point but I’m so glad I got on the bus and went along for the ride! We went to a 2 really amazing studios at The WAV in downtown Ventura. Of course, it reminded me of all the times I’ve spent in my own warehouse space and various friends studio combined with living spaces. We happen to live in a sweet little mid century hunting cabin these days but I wouldn’t be surprised if the mister and I end up back in a mixed use space at some point. We visited with a shoe maker and the painter Geoff Pocock. It was a real treat to hear his stories and add into the conference the perspective of someone older who has been making things for decades.  After The WAV we went to the cute shop Super Buzzy and then another talk at the Ventura library by a local lawyer turned baker. The makers tour was another of the highlights of the weekend for me. Perhaps it was the perfect antidote to all the tech and business learning to see and hear how other makers are actually living and making a go of it!

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Sunday was one final breakfast in the room and one final photo of that amazing view! We headed downstairs to catch the closing talk and one more session. It was a blur and we got in our last goodbyes to old and new friends from across the country. The girls and I headed off on one last adventure before we parted ways- more on that in my next post.

I’m so excited about all of the awesome things I learned and the amazing people I met! I have a to-do list a mile long and so much to follow up on in addition to running our audio company and continuing to work on projects I already have in progress. Wish me luck in the upcoming months as I tackle it all! and then come back to it again when I get sidetracked by life.  Thanks to the best housemates ever Holly and Dianna, thanks so much for coming on such a fun adventure!

This entry was posted in Going: Los Angeles and Beyond....