I am so inspired by being here at the Craftcation Conference. I woke up early this morning and left at 6am so I could beat the traffic. When I arrived in Ventura, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hotel was literally on the beach. I get to do yoga on the beach every morning that picture on the right is the view from my window. Pretty gorgeous. I registered and receive the great goodybag (shown below), just packed full of awesome things from the conference sponsors including gluten-free cereal, Bust magazine, scissors, pro-biotic chocolate, a monkey plush, T-shirts, glue, postcards, and a water bottle.

My goody bag

I am indeed a crafty-ass bitch

I went to four great workshops today. Two were with the Urban Craft Center and involved making actual crafts. One was on making a personalized apron. I got some good advice and practice on using iron-ons (and how to create my own with my printer), freezer-paper stencils, and fabric paints with stamps. The other craft workshop UCC ran was on embroidery. I learned three stitches, which I already sort of knew how to do–running stitch, stem stitch, and backstitch. We worked on this great kitschy fabric with old-style clocks printed on it. I kind of love that little square of fabric. And there was a also really cute little “take and make” hosted by Super Buzzy at the welcome dinner tonight where I got to make a little flower pin.

My apron

Kitschy embroidery

Flower pin

The other two workshops were on the business side. One was a panel with three great women (the founder of the Urban Craft Center and the two founders of the conference) about how to grow your business “beyond the kitchen table”, that is hiring help, getting a brick and mortar space (if you decide that’s the way you want to go), and a little bit on what to outsource (i.e. should you hire a payroll service or a marketing service). This is obviously not something immediately relevant to me right now, as I do not have a business, but if I ever do, these women provided me with some invaluable information. The other workshop I attended was hosted by Etsy and it was all about making your Etsy shop the best you could–picking the best keywords for you items, your niche, etc. I do want to open an Etsy shop sooner rather than later, so this was really valuable information.

After the workshops, there was a welcome barbeque and keynote speaker. It was held at the WAV, a really cool working/living space for artists. The food was delicious, there was music, adorable hand-made decorations, a photobooth, and a great keynote speaker–Evan Kleiman of Good Food. She spoke so well about craft and what it means in the world. And when she said that she hoped that the resurgence of the DIY movement would cause American to be a producer again, and cause us to make things, people clapped and cheered.

And that is why being here is so inspiring. It’s great to learn new techniques and ways to improve my craft, but more important is the community. Everyone is really supportive of each other. They are genuine in their good wishes, advice, and complements. There is an emphasis on trade of materials and skills, which is really heartening, because a lot of people are growing their businesses, and the ability to trade for services is so helpful when money is tight in a new business. And there is a general undercurrent of a desire to change the way things work. We don’t have to buy things from corporations who exploit the people of the developing world. We can make our own successes with our own hands.

I can’t wait for tomorrow.