Over the weekend I was lucky enough to attend The Creative Connection in Minneapolis. One of the Sponsors was Lark Crafts, a publisher of lovely craft books. Lark sponsored a contest featuring a prize of an all-expense paid trip to The Creative Connection. To enter I had to submit an essay (well, not really an essay. It was only 250 words.) explaining why I’d like to go. I was thrilled to find out I was one of three winners. Here’s what I wrote:
With six children between the ages of 4 and 14, my house is the scene of lots of noise, lots of laughter (and tears), and lots of energy. I love it that way and try to be the best mother I can be. It’s the grass-roots way I have chosen to change the world.
Taking care of the needs of many tiny people can wear a woman down to a shadowy incarnation of the scintillating woman she really is. But there is a force that can undo the mothery wear and tear; there is a way to revive a flagging woman and help her unfurl her true self: this magic power is creativity.
Creating things can seem pointless and selfish to anyone with a busy schedule. But it breathes color into the repetitive grey that can take over our lives. I’ve learned how to make all sorts of things from soap to jewelry. The things that I have learned to create have gilded my life and helped me recognize the strong and creative woman I have been all along.
But sometimes I run out of steam. My brilliant ideas flit away and I can’t seem to catch them. Attending the Creativity Connection would be just the gust of wind I need to get my creative sailboat heading in the right direction again. It would be wonderful to spend a weekend resuscitating my spirit and getting to know other people who are passionate about creating what’s meaningful and lovely.
And what a gust of wind The Creative Connection was! I don’t have a crafty business but I’m guessing many of the attendees do. I can do many creative things decently, though (I have come to realize, though, that I am more of a copier. I have an impossible time coming up with brilliant ideas of my own).
The conference featured several Creative superstars like The Pioneer Woman (I gave her an apron. Like she doesn’t have ten million of those already. But it was adorable and I stand by its cuteness), Amy Butler, Heather Bailey (who designs some of my very favorite fabric), Mary Jane Butters, and lots of other incredibly inspiring people.
The funny thing is that none of these women seemed pretentious or snooty. There was one woman I started talking to while waiting for an elevator. I told her I loved her necklace and she replied that she’d made it herself (I have never seen such an abundance of great, interesting jewellery as I did at The Creative Connection. I felt totally lame wearing my store-bought stuff.) On my flight home I was reading a magazine and who should I see featured in its pages but that lady waiting for the elevator! I never would have guessed that she was a well-known designer. She seemed perfectly nice. Well-known people are usually not nice. Maybe it’s just well-known Hollywood people that are awful.
In addition to the big events at TCC, there were tons of great little classes taught by some wonderful women. I loved them all.
One was a charm necklace class taught by Kaari Meng, from French General (check out her amazing jewelry kits!), who not only was a great teacher, but had lots of juicy Martha Stewart gossip. She helped us transform this pile of odds and ends:
Into this fabulous necklace:
I took another necklace-making class taught by Debbie and Shea of A Gilded Life (I was so happy to find out that they’re just over in Dallas and host crafty events all year long.) This cute necklace contains a tiny little paper, pearls and charms. They also taught us how to make a pretty little display box covered in German glass glitter (not that crappy kind of glitter that you find everywhere.)
Lastly I took a class that I thought would be a breeze. Maybe an hour, tops. It was a class about sewing heirloom stuffed animals. We made a tiny little 5″ rabbit out of real mohair–the kind used in the olden days (angora on a cotton backing). It was stuffed with cotton–fresh out of the gin–and wood shavings. Totally an all-natural toy. But that little sucker took almost four hours to make! I enjoyed it but it is one hobby I will not be taking up. One of the other women at my table loved it, though, so there’s no accounting for what speaks to our hearts. Here is my poor little rabbit that looks like he’s suffering from a bout with depression:
It was really great to spend several days focusing on my creativity. I realize I had kind of been in a rut and I need to step it up a little bit. In a way creating things is rather like therapy. Day after day we take in all sorts of drama and stress. We keep building up the pressure inside unless we can let it out. Creativity is like the air valve on a pressure cooker. It creates a way to get out some of the bad feelings, stress and anger that pile up inside of us. (I hear that exercise does the same thing but that is so not my style.)
So here’s to creativity, fabric stashes and German glass glitter! And to Lark Crafts who were so generous to send me to The Creative Connection!
(here I am with Nicole, one of the Team Leaders over at Lark)