Funner than school...and work! Yes, school was out and there were heaps of 'young folk' milling about today. What I loved about that was their enthusiasm to try everything and anything, from classes to having a go at the Craft Bars...or just doing what teenagers do and sit around with their mates having a laugh ...wait...that's what I've been doing.
Only one workshop today - a very nice sling bag - materials and instruction by Julie McLachlan of Thread Den in Melbourne. Apparently Julie failed sewing in high school only to get back into it later on and now be teaching - I love that! It was an easy bag to sew (all material was precut for us), with some darts on the bottom for shape and the cute tie handles make it quite stylish. I even managed to do a little topstitching! The sewing machine I used was l-o-v-e-l-y (you need to spell it so Contessa, my trusty 1970s model, doesn't hear).
After the class I thought I'd check out the Craft Bars that were scattered around the venue. These are small areas set up like a bar with a menu of 4-5 projects using one type of craft skill (knitting, hand sewing, embroidery or paper box making) so people could learn how to do something new for free. There were usually 3 'bartenders' behind the bar ready to get you started and to help out when you got stuck or to give you advice. I think I liked the stitch bar best as they had embroidery patterns from Sublime Stitching which were great fun, for example - a drum kit, cassette tape, headphones, naughty librarian, kinky cowgirl etc. You chose from the menu, the bartenders iron transfer the print to some muslin and then it gets placed in a hoop and away you go. There were take away instruction sheets and you got to take it all with you (not the hoop) to finish at home. These bars were a total hit!
Scattered around the venue was some pretty awesome crafty displays, from crazy crocheted Psycho Toys by Luisa De Santi to tea cosies by Tara Badcock that really are works of art (not figure hugging crocheted/knitted ones - I cannot lie, I was slightly disappointed). My favourite exhibit though was by Jodie Carleton (AKA Selvedge Queen). Jodie has used selvedges sent to her from around the world to cover a chair, make an umbrella and also she designed and made this amazing dress! It's a gorgeous thing to stand in front of!
It was that time of the afternoon to go and see Handmade Nation - this is a documentary by Faythe Levine about the indie craft scene across America. If you're interested in seeing it, have a look on the link for screenings. As far as I know, in Australia you can only see it at the Stitches and Craft Show (at the moment). What did I think? Well, I have been following some of the indie crafters interviewed for years - so it was nice to see them immortalised on film and to hear how they got started and see where they created...to me it was preaching to the converted, but it did make me feel good about the work I love and support. Hopefully it gets a wider screening so other parts of society get to view it. What I really, really, really hated was the handheld camera work - warning if you suffer from motion sickness. I actually left after seeing about 3/4 of it and the headache lasted for hours - the same thing happened during Blair Witch and Bjork's film Dancer in the Dark...oh well...final Craft Conference day is tomorrow!
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