The magic is in the making: Craftcation 2016
October 3, 2016
A couple of years ago I learned about Dear Handmade Life, an organization for makers run by an aunt and niece duo. I love their blog, and I participated in one of their shows in Oakland last year, but I’d never had a chance to go to the Craftcation conference.
Craftcation is basically four days of classes and rad people held in Ventura, CA — there’s something for the small business owners, the aspiring small business owners, the hobby maker, and everyone else in between. Attendees can take business classes to shore up those skills, or maker classes to learn new techniques.
I remember I missed the opening of Craftcation 2015 registration by something like two weeks, and of course by the time I discovered it it was completely sold out. So I did what any rational maker would do: signed up for the newsletter, and stalked the site obsessively for any news of 2016’s registration. I bought my ticket within hours of it opening, and booked my hotel — despite not knowing if I was going to even be in California anymore, or if I could afford to go. I felt like I needed to go, for my creative self — and for whatever business I hope to build.
In the time between my registration and the event itself, I got engaged, moved across the country to Baltimore — incurring a metric ton of debt –, looked for and started a new job, and generally turned my life upside down. Craftcation 2016 fell five weeks into my new job and overlapped a business trip to Argentina. I vacillated on whether to go, posting my ticket for sale on the conference’s closed Facebook group and looking into canceling flights and hotels. A big part of me felt like I couldn’t justify the time and expense, given everything else that was going on.
As you may have guessed, I did end up going. I missed the last day in order to get to Argentina in time for work, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but the three days I was there were 100% worth the time and effort to get there. I met so many amazing, encouraging and inspiring people — too many to list! I ended up focusing mostly on the making classes, instead of the business ones, which gave me a moment of pause: was I screwing up by only taking the “fun” classes? (No, no I wasn’t.)
I took a bunch of block-printing classes, which introduced me to my newest obsession and left me with some great fabric to play with. I kept all the stamps I made, along with a list of other supplies, so that when I actually have some free time I can get back to it relatively quickly.
I also took a sewing class, where I immediately saw why Bernina sewing machines sell for as much as they do…I might have spent some time considering whether a sewing machine is appropriate for a wedding registry (not so much, I concluded). I made a simple shirt, which came in handy for work the next week, but the best part about it was simply receiving instruction from someone who really, truly, knew what she was doing.
Really, the three days I was there were so packed that I can’t even remember all the details — but I do remember coming away from Craftcation feeling amped to go make things, and grateful for all the people I met. I had a chance to show off some of my own work, and it’s validating to have other makers ooh and ahh over things that come from your hands — and to have a chance to ooh and ahh over others’ work as well!
I’m already registered for 2017’s Craftcation. There will be no indecisiveness when it comes time to go this time around! Want to join me? Registration opens October 13, and in the meantime you can sign up for Dear Handmade Life newsletter. Do it. You won’t regret it.