Craft Congress was awesome!

{Stephanie’s recap of Craft Congress.}

Wowza, I totally agree with everything in Lish’s recap of Craft Congress. I still feel like my mind is racing with all the ideas and “me toos” being thrown around during the weekend.

Craft Mafias Jenny Hart

All of the Craft Mafia members at Congress. Photo from Jenny Hart.

My highlight of the weekend was the people. From small fairs to large ones, important indie projects to major outlets and media, Congress had a representative from them all (and yet, still, it was just a small slice of all the inspiring folks across the country who do amazing DIY work).

As you might imagine, all of these people in the same room really gave the Congress a unique cross-section of what’s happening with DIY right now. Sessions were focused on craft organizing; everything from embracing our political power to helping fair vendors sell (oh yes, expect that last one is sure to pop up a bunch in the future). Lish’s session on Guerilla Marketing was awesome, leaving me incredibly proud. The only downfall was that with such ripe topics, Congress could’ve very well lasted a full week.

In many ways, Congress was a starting point for organizing DIY on a more concrete national level. We asked and I suspect many of the participants will continue asking themselves: Where do we go from here? What are we missing? What do we need to keep the movement sustainable? On the immediate level, Congress will be putting forth some type of web venture (a wiki perhaps) where everyone can throw out and discuss ideas related to craft organizing. And Congress will return next year.

As a sort of personal side note: The Congress left me with an inspired and clarified focus about the work we (all) do. Christy from ICE Atlanta summed this feeling up in a really excellent article for Get Crafty that I encourage everyone to read. “You are a part of something big” she writes. “We share ideas and encouragement and this is a rarity in today’s society. So here’s my plea to you—let’s nurture this community and really take good care. Together we can accomplish a lot.”

This community exists in Detroit. It exists because you wake up and turn your sewing machine on, because you post your work online, because you haul your work down to Baar Bazaar or purchase something from an HD event. And it’s growing. We hope you are as proud of it as we are.


Lish and I at the AIR reception. Photo by Amy of DIY Trunk Show.

My pre-Congress column on “what is DIY craft?”

Craft Congress Flickr group