Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Craft Conference: Day 1

It was a slightly cool autumnal morning in Brisbane - I grabbed a coffee from BlackStar Coffee and made my way to the Convention Centre (near West End - so about 20 minutes walk from home)...I was excited by the anticipation of what was to come - inspiration, lots of incredible crafters to meet, I was feeling a little overawed. I arrived to what I guess sounded something akin to a chicken farm - the deafening noise of clucking, gaggling, tutting and a sea - a sea - of grey hair, comfortable shoes, sensible trousers and women called Maude...I was quite possibly the youngest person in line by about 15 years (I exaggerate)!

I was entertained by the surrounding conversations by women who had driven from places in regional Queensland like Gympie and Rockhampton. I wondered whether I could gain craft knowledge by osmosis. These women are hard core crafters of a different generation and I evesdropped into their conversations on the pros and cons of hand verses machine embroidery and how Tuesday's quilting group is not quite like it used to be. We all waited patiently to be allowed into the main auditorium. Welcome to the 2009 Stitches and Craft Show!

The first section I happened across was The Incubator - ah ha - THIS is where all the hip, happening young crafters and blog divas are - I started to feel at home. The people putting on the show (Living Creatively) made this space to showcase indie crafters they identified by trawling the blogs and markets of Australia. This will be my favorite part - I can see that already. The first stand I came across was for Mixtape - an awesome little zine out of Melbourne which is quickly gaining a cult status in contemporary craft circles. After having a chat and recommending a good place for coffee in town (and cheap movies) I made my way to the ladies of Ink&Spindle - oh - all the fabrics I have been swooning over online were right in front of me (see below)...I was their first sale of the day - I have promised to send photos of the precious things I'm going to make.

The first of the workshops I had booked in for was to learn how to hand carve my own stamps. It was run by the delightful Holly McGuire at Two Cheese Please in Melbourne. On arrival we were each given a little pack containing instructions, carving rubber and tools and began drawing our designs and carving rubber! Holly's instruction was great and everyone carved and chatted and ooohed and aaahed at how splendid everything turned out. I did two designs - a coffee pot and a bird - and saved one piece of rubber for later (I have a plan!). I really liked how the stamps are a bit rustic and almost childlike...and easy peasy to carve!

After grabbing a quick coffee (double-shot flat white - not bad either), I then raced over to see Thea Samios (in action below) from Thea & Sami demo screenprinting your own designs - and hats off to Thea as it's a sticky business working with paint (2 colours), a screen and a small bucket of water! Thea showed how you can design onto and use contact to then stick onto a silk screen and do small, repeat two colour prints. I want to book in for one of Thea's weekend workshops soon!

The second workshop was run by the dynamic duo (Sam Messina and Ellie Beck) of Red Seed Studio. Myself and Holly (from Two Cheese Please) were the luckiest girls alive as we got both Sam and Ellie to ourselves for 2 fantastic hours of stencil work! Firstly we had to draw something that could be used as a pressure...about a month ago I drew a stylized drawing of Australian gumnuts - time was ticking so that will have to do! We got to transfer our drawings onto contact paper, cut out with exacto blades and then hand stencilled onto a great hemp bag, cotton fibre cards and another hemp fabric. There was also time to make a quick stamp. The time passed so quickly as I felt like I was hanging out with old friends, chatting, laughing and being creative - a great experience. Thanks guys!

Blogcards given out: 5


  1. way to document your time at the conference- this sounds exactly like something i think about doing and then don't last minute because of sheer laziness.

    i just came to check out your changes, danielle and i am liking what i see, woo!

  2. Looks like an awesome conference!

  3. SO Jealous. Sounds like you had a ball. Even if you were surrounded by ladies with grey hair called maude.

  4. Hello Danielle,
    It was so lovely to hang out with you yesterday.
    I so love your excel organisation for the workshops - so many great ones, you don't want to miss any!
    Enjoy the rest of your week at the show.

    I'll be having a better read of your blog, after the tiredness of the Show ends!

    Thanks, Ellie : Red Seed Studio : Petalplum

  5. Oh what an embarassing photo! I do appreciate everybody being so supportive under the less than ideal conditions. Love my camel brooch!

  6. Thea - Tsk - you look gorgeous - glad you like the brooch!

    Ellie - I noticed that you and are will meet again in the Brisbane Brown Owls - can't wait!