• Craftcation 2018!

    Craftcation is a makers and business owners conference. It's where you can learn about developing a social media strategy in the morning, sew a bias shift dress in the afternoon, and then have dinner among hundreds of the best friends you've never met before.


    The conference is four jam-packed days, and this was my second year of being a Craftcation presenter. This year I moderated a self-care panel and taught an Inventory for Makers class!

    Of course, I forgot to take ANY photos of either class or panel, but it was due to excitement/nerves. Plus I tend to neglect taking photos when I'm so busy having fun!

    But I DID manage to capture the crazy amazing hotel bathroom lighting while I was wearing one of the five shirts I made for the conference (yes I made five and yes I totally sewed them in the two nights before I left home).

    Both classes were a BLAST and I felt like I really helped people, including makers who signed up for Office Hours with me, where they had 15 minutes to help get un-stuck on something that will help further their business. 

    I also hosted an event called Iron Craft America. If you've been following along since last year, Craftcation has an event called Wanderings- it's an art walk where you can create an experience in your hotel room (art, pop up shop, etc.). Attendees take a Wanderings passport and go from room to room to enjoy the experiences fellow attendees have created!

    Rob and I came up with the idea of a little friendly competition á la Iron Chef- a time limit, competitors, and a secret (craft) ingredient. It was perfect to have in my room as my Wanderings event. Last year I held the first Iron Craft America in my hotel room and it was MADNESS. It was hilarious and I was shocked at what people could make in five minutes with googly eyes and washi tape. It was so much fun that Delilah and Nicole (the founders and movers and shakers of Craftcation) decided to bring it out of the hotel room and into the Lobby for Happy Hour.

    Iron Craft America                 iron craft america




    Sharon Fain of Academy of Handmade (and my friend!) did SO much legwork to coordinate everything- she selected and contacted judges, arranged the prizes for the contestants, and planned all the logistics it took to do this event. I'm eternally grateful for all her hard work- it wouldn't have happened without her.

    Mark Montano was my co-host, and he was SO perfect to work with- always the right amount of banter, always knew where to add commentary and humor, and seriously so flipping nice. We had a lot of fun hosting the event.

    iron craft america with holly marsh and mark montano

    We had wonderful hosts in Vickie Howell, Robert Mahar, and Amy Tan. They took the job SERIOUSLY and I love them for it. Contestants were judged on craftsmanship, innovation, and use of the secret ingredient.

    iron craft america

    Watching the contestants sweat and make their craft in the span of five minutes felt like an eternity, but it probably didn't feel like an eternity for the contestants!

    Shannon Miller was the big winner, and including a huge prize pack, she won a ticket to Craftcation 2019. Her team at Lucky Break Consulting (founded by you know, Lela Barker, who is phenomenal and I've learned so much from) brought giant signs of Shannon's head (like people do for NCAA games), and it was hilarious and really added to the energy of the event.

    Iron Craft America              iron craft america

    Other highlights include Robert Mahar's embroidery class (I FINALLY learned how to do a French Knot, yay!)....


    ...which was the class I was sitting in when we had an EARTHQUAKE. Yes, like a real one- a 5.5 off the coast! I wasn't freaked out by the earthquake itself (I've been in them before), it was the longest and most intense earthquake I've experienced. I was more worried about a tsunami warning, given that the earthquake's epicenter was right off the coast and guess what? We were at the Ventura Marriott, a few blocks away from the beach. Thankfully, there was no tsunami warning, and embroidery resumed as planned.

    This was my third Craftcation, and each year it's different in the very best way. The conference is magical in that it gives you what you need right at that moment in your life.

    First year- Rob and I needed a vacation like nobody's business and I was ready to learn about scaling my business, and we got both.

    Second year- I had a very active toddler at home and needed alone time in a hotel room of my own with a King size bed. Plus teaching, plus mentoring others really really helped refill my cup.

    Third year- I've been feeling isolated and while I know people, do I really ˆknow them? I've been craving connection because life as an entrepreneur can deprive you of that unless you actively seek it out regularly. I also work full time for Aeolidia and being able to talk to three of my teammates (who came to Craftcation, too!!) including our fearless leader Arianne!) face to face was so so worth the trip.


    I got to fly down with my friend and co-worker Helen (we almost didn't make our flight, which was awful and totally my fault), and it was so fun spending time with her on the plane and then the subsequent train ride to Ventura.


    This was a rare trip where I not only packed my running gear but I actually USED it. More than once. Training for Hood to Coast plus too many drizzly days at home equals going insane and running while on vacation. It was wonderful.

    I seriously cannot wait for next year's conference. Will I bring and use my running gear? Only time will tell. 

    Holly Marsh
    Holly Marsh

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