You’ve been hearing a LOT about the Creative Connection event around here…and for very good reason. Lark Crafts was a proud co-platinum sponsor with our friends at Etsy, we had a bunch of our fabulous authors and publishing partners in attendance, and in general we’ve been pretty darn excited about the whole thing since we heard about it earlier this year. This constellation of entrepreneurs, authors, bloggers, crafters, and enthusiastic creatives came together from all over the country (from 46 states, I believe!) to join together to share, instruct, and inspire each other over a period of three days in the lovely city of Minneapolis. Perhaps you read Vickie Howell’s recent on-the-ground report chronicling just the first day of the event? Quite the whirlwind of activity, no? Well, I can tell you as someone who was there the entire time, from preview of the Handmade Market to the goodbyes at the Cupcake Farewell that the excitement, inspiration, and fun just kept coming for the remaining two days. And I have the photos to prove it. Check out my extensive set on Flickr chronicling the weekend’s adventures. You’ll see me, some of our authors, some celebrities in the creative world, and our wonderful trio of scholarship winners.
Speaking of those scholarship winners: I adored them. Seriously, you couldn’t find more enthusiastic ladies to send to an event like this. So when it came down to providing a recap of our time there, I decided that they could encapsulate the experience far better than yours truly ever could. And so I asked Kerrie, Suzanne, and Jennie for their reflections of the event.
What does Creative Connection mean to you?
Kerrie: “Creative Connection to me means networking with others who are passionate about creativity and then sharing new knowledge and skills with others in my life – particularly my students.”
Suzanne: “Before I got there, I was afraid it meant I was going to spend a weekend feeling totally out of place as a blogger among real talent. Instead it was an eye opening opportunity to connect with women who are at all stages of their journey, from just having a dream to being wildly successful as entrepreneurs and business women doing what they love. I met some women I have admired for years and many, many more I now admire.”
Jennie: “It was incredibly inspiring to meet so many clever and creative women. I realize that I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk and seeing so much loveliness around me has been motivating! How wonderful to be surrounded by women like me who are attempting to live a life that is handmade, creative and deliberate.”
What did you most enjoy about the event?
Suzanne: “Can I say the food? The meals were totally phenomenal, right down to the centerpieces, and getting dessert twice a day was heaven for this pregnant woman. More seriously, I think the panel I attended on the Digital Marketplace was an incredibly source of information – where else can you get real life answers and advice about selling online from women like Lisa Leonard and Heather Bullard? And I don’t even sell anything!”
Jennie: “The classes were a great introduction some new skills and ideas. It’s usually scary to try something new, but the class atmosphere was not at all intimidating. I loved finding some new materials and ideas for future projects. I also enjoyed the panels and keynote speakers; what an enormous resource of knowledge and experience. I could have listened to any one of those women for hours!”
What was the best part of being able to connect with other creative and entrepreneurial women?
Kerrie: “It was empowering to meet other ‘amateur’ crafters because it made me realize that people who are ‘artists’ are really people just like me. I don’t have to write books or sell millions of dollars worth of my creations to call myself an artist. I also realized that through social networking, I can broaden my circle of friends and colleagues in the world of handicrafts.
Suzanne: “The inspiration! Every single woman there had a passion and a vision they’re trying to bring to life, whether it’s through jewelry or fabric or paper or glitter or food. Just having that much creative energy in one building made me feel more creative personally. I’m surprised the whole hotel didn’t suddenly explode with pretty flowers and glitter.”
Jennie: “I loved hearing how people find inspiration and manage to balance their endeavors with their other priorities. There was so much wisdom and encouragement to be our best selves and make time for creativity. It’s so great to hear from other women that it is possible!”
How do you think the event will impact your future plans for business and / or creative growth?
Kerrie: “This event has already impacted my future plans. I am more focused than ever to develop my after school creativity program for teens. I have a long list of project ideas to explore!”
Suzanne: “I bought sewing patterns from Heather Bailey – because, really, how could you not? – and have already dragged my sewing machine out of the attic. I learned so much about starting an online shop I may even dip my toes into selling some of my knitting. Possibly.”
Jennie: “I’m realizing that I need to allow creativity to play a much larger part in my life. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the boring trivia of day to day life. I’m happier (and so is everyone in my house) when I’ve got a regular creative outlet. I need to make time for that. There are so many new things I’d like to try; no more putting them off!”
Be sure to check out the FABULOUS recaps written by these lovely ladies. They’re so well written, contagiously funny and energetic, and filled with photos. Read Suzanne’s two posts here and here and Jennie’s here. Seriously, go check them out.