Editor’s note: I met Nicole & Delilah of Craftcation at Alt Summit and immediately adored them both! So I invited them to share their amazing event in Ventura with us all- instead of the usual promo post Nicole shared the heart of why she was moved to create Craftcation and it is so beautiful + inspiring! Be sure to cheerlead her on in the comments & also share your own inspiration for a chance to win a ticket to attend their conference of awesome!
A guest post by Nicole Stevenson of Craftcation
When my mother was a childless rebel—parking her car in the middle of my grandmother’s lawn after a night of boys, backseats and booze—she was an artist. I found this out when I stumbled upon a box of her paintings in our attic nestled next to a box of Halloween costume leftovers—Peter Pan’s green felt tunic, Clepoatra’s black bob wig and Dolly Parton’s red satin western shirt. I asked if I could have one of the paintings and my mother replied, “Take it” as if it was a decade old holiday sweater embroidered with eight tiny googely eyed reindeer.
That painting hangs in my studio above my desk—the epicenter for my own creative pursuits—collaging, sewing, writing—and my not so creative pursuits that I must do to pay the bills—agonizing over spreadsheets, sifting through emails and the dreaded task of bookkeeping.
My mother’s painting is the evidence of the secret creative life she lived before I was born. As a single mother, she traded in her paintbrushes for a vacuum and bottle of Windex and started a house cleaning business to support us.
Like my mother, the need to make something with my hands has always been with me and so has her entrepreneurial spirit.
In junior high she taught me how sew and together, we reworked vintage 1960s muumuu’s into a patchwork skirt. Those sewing skills fueled Random Nicole, my line art inspired clothing. Running a crafty business meant often staying up all to the wee hours of the night with a few towels under my sewing machine so the rattling wouldn’t wake my roommates as I wore out VHS tapes of Sunset Blvd. or Dirty Dancing while sewing purses for a craft fair in the morning.
At those craft fairs I met so many other creatives who I wanted to help make a living at making. There are few things finer than paying the rent through doing something you love.
I started Patchwork Indie Art & Craft Festival with my aunt Delilah Snell to give makers a venue to sell their goods. We saw that these crafters needed more. Their creativity flourished but their business skills were lacking.
Delilah and I were driving to Ventura to scout a new location for Patchwork when we hit horrible traffic. A two hour drive turned into a four hour brainstorming session about how to give the community of creative small business owners a quick intense business school and a chance to connect with each other, and Craftcation was born.
We envisioned Craftcation as a place where business and making came together. A place where newbies and seasoned business owners would learn new skills in hands-on DIY workshops in art, craft and food, build their business knowledge at panels and lectures led by industry professionals and connect in person with inspirational fellow makers. Last year we held our first conference and it was nothing short of amazing. Being present in a group of so many talented creators finally getting the knowledge, skills and kinship they were so hungry for blew my mind.
This year we celebrate our second anniversary March 21-24th in Ventura, Ca with a roster of diverse speakers like Kathy Cano-Murillo (The Crafty Chica), Kari Chapin (The Handmade Marketplace), Diane Gilliland (Craftypod), Kayte Terry (Applique Your Way), Brittni Mehloff (Paper n Stitch), Kelly Lynn Jones (Little Paper Planes) and many more. With the growth of the artisan food movement, we’ve expanded our workshops to include more hands-on food classes and food business classes. There’s down time too—yoga, nature walks, food tours, beer and wine tastings, happy hour networking, the 80s dance party and our ‘Into the Woods’ themed opening celebration.
Most of my work planning this conference takes place at my desk looking up at my mother’s painting and her perfectly shaded yellow daffodils. That painting doesn’t just remind me of what she was before me—an artist but also what she was after me—an entrepreneur. Craftcation aims to give attendees the best of both worlds—making a living at making. When I feel overworked and overwhelmed I look at those flowers and remember why I work so hard—to do everything I can so makers can keep their paintbrushes and pay the rent too.
YOUR WORDS & INSPIRATION AT CRAFTCATION 2013
What words inspire you to create or have a business? Do you have a favorite quote that keeps you going when the going gets tough?
Nothing inspires us more than hearing from you. We all have those special something’s that sum up what we do and why we do it. This year at Craftcation we’ll be celebrating the words that inspire us. The Craftcation décor will feature selected quotes from your entries that move us to create, live and work with intention.
Send your words-text or images (and source if it was someone other than yourself) along with your name or business name to EITHER:
–Facebook (please post on Craftcation’s and your wall and use @craftcationconference before your quote)
–Twitter (please use @craftcation before your quote)
–Instagram (please tag #craftcation)
We’ll randomly select one entry to win a ticket to Craftcation! Winner will be notified via the social media outlet they posted on and announced on ALL of ours and in the comments!
We will also post a collection of these inspiring quotes on our blog with tags/credits to you.
Entries must be posted by February 15th and winner will be announced February 20th
Register now for Craftcation by visiting www.craftcationconference.com