It’s been awhile since I’ve had a Travel Tuesday post (and this makes me very, very sad) but all my recent trips have been foiled by Zika virus, leaking roofs and other mishaps. I started seeing social media posts about the Midwest Craft Con which was being held in Columbus, Ohio – a mere 2 hours from me. I checked it out and due to current circumstances decided against attending for the entire weekend but considered driving down for the day. And then, Frekol, the new platform on which I’ve opened a store held an Instagram contest which I won! And the prize was a weekend pass the conference.
Because this is a Travel Tuesday post, let me say a few things about Columbus. I travel there often (especially when I was at my old job) but usually it’s for work or an Ohio State football game so I don’t actually spend a lot of “tourist” time in the city. This trip was not too much different as the conference was packed full of activities. We did, however, get a 2 hour lunch break on Saturday and it just happened to be 70 degrees – a temp not often seen anywhere in Ohio in February. The break allowed for a little exploration time.
The conference took place at the Hyatt Regency which is where I stayed. I will say this about the Hyatt – it needs some updating. I can’t recall the last time I stayed in a hotel where I could clearly hear all of the conversations my neighbors were having, I was less than impressed. The exciting part was that is was a block away from the North Market. I had heard of the market but never had visited so I set off during our lunch break. It was packed – nice weather bring out a crowd. There was a mix of prepared food vendors and grocery vendors. I was there to check out the donut place, the Belgian waffle place, the pretzel place and the ice cream place – tells you something about my food preferences, right??? Even I realized this was an excessive amount of starch so I ended up with a red raspberry/hibiscus donut from Destination Donuts and a single scoop of ice cream from Jeni’s – it was 70, clearly it was ice cream weather! The donut was the best donut I’ve ever had and according to the market website they just won Donut Showdown on Cooking Channel and I can see why. Next trip will be all about the waffle and the pretzel!
Now, a bit about the actual conference. I had no idea what to expect which can be a good thing. It was attended by craft business owners from all over the Midwest. The crowd spanned from makers, store owners, and show organizers. I was definitely not near as established as all these people. There were keynote speakers set for both Friday and Saturday and Abby Glassenberg kicked it off on Friday. I have followed her on Twitter for awhile now so it was very cool to hear her speak and to actually meet her and chat with her. Abby publishes sewing patterns and writes about the business of craft. She gave lots of useful time management tips and just, general, how to make it work tips. Saturday’s keynote speaker was Lisa Congdon. I was not familiar with her, probably because she is an artist and illustrator – worlds I don’t wander into often. However, her speech was so inspiring. She spoke about finding your own path and steering your own ship and it really has stuck with me. I will be thinking about things she said for quite awhile.
After the speeches they had Craftivities which were about as fun as they sound! Friday night included a crafty spelling bee (I made it to the 3rd round) but most of the final round words I had never heard of before so it would have been hard to spell. Saturday night featured a version of Craft Corner Deathmatch (if you never watched it was a show that was on in 2005 and what I did not realize was hosted by Jason Jones), oh, and karaoke! And, while all that was going on you could learn cross stitch, make a friendship bracelet, play with googly eyes or just work on your craft of choice.
Saturday and Sunday were packed full of sessions given by a variety of experts. There was a choice of 3 different sessions in each time slot which meant there was always as least one of great interest. One of the sessions was given by a literary agent from New York. She also made herself available for 10 minutes one on one sessions which you could sign up for. I got a slot and I think that was the best 10 minutes I spent during the entire conference. I really want to write but I get stuck and she was so clear with her advice and gave me an outline and a starting point and told me to e-mail her when I got the book together. It can’t hurt to have a connection in the book world. I shared with her some of my ideas and she weeded out what she could sell and what she could not sell. She also gave a great talk on craft book publishing with lots of things to consider. Thanks Kate for your time!
My other favorite session was given my Mei Pak and was on social media. I think I can use the information she shared for both my knitting and for the non profit I work with as we are in need of some social media savvy. Mei makes food jewelry that smells like the food it is shaped. Check out her stuff at Tiny Hands!
It was a great weekend! And, it at least scratched my itch to get out (I still need a real trip and soon but that’s for another day…). It’s taken me a day to really sort out all of the swag we got (so much!) and connect with the crafters I met and set up my writing plan and that must be the sign of a successful conference! Below are some pics from the weekend!