I'm getting very excited about the upcoming School House Craft Conference happening here in Seattle next month.
I was lucky enough to find out about it last year in time to attend the very first one and I have to say I wasn't holding out huge hopes for a stimulating, let alone constructive, experience. It wasn't personal. I didn't know any of the organizers then. I guess it was mostly a knee jerk reaction to the fact that it was something put together by well meaning individuals and low profile groups as opposed to some giant, corporate machine. Old assumptions die hard I guess.
I smile now at myself. I have such tremendous respect for the handmade, small creative business, independent artist, movements. I LOVE the story of creative types of all kinds just doing what they love to do, telling their stories on blogs, and selling their work on once tiny upstart venues like Etsy, all the while unconsciously innovating and paving the way for thousands of other creative types to embrace their passions and gifts. I LOVE the way it all evolved. I LOVE that brilliant minds too introverted to shout from soap boxes have voices and are heard because of blogs, because we need them, their minds, their passions. I LOVE that handmade has strengthened the desires to act more locally, to support artists of all kinds, to see the value in objects made with true care and true quality of time and material. I LOVE that handmade has offered up support, information, instruction, and hand holding that we all sometimes need to brave the doubts in our pasts and try to make something of our own. I LOVE that handmade has reminded us that it is okay, no - it's good, to mend and make due with what we have.
But I digress......
That first School House Conference was amazing and it changed my life forever. I know of at least one person who ended up with a book deal as a direct result of attending that conference. Nothing so dramatic happened to me, but as my personal growth style would dictate, the information slowly seeped into my being. I began to take myself more seriously and to use the tools I gained to bolster that seriousness with things I could actually do to go from sitting still into movement.
I started a product photography business. While that is a work in progress and I am paying my dues, learning quickly how to do it better, it has given me a sense of legitimacy as a photographer and creative professional. I'm not making bank. I'd be surprised if I were making any kind of profit right now. But, it feels good to be on that road, to be paid to do what I do. There is a kind of pride in that that's hard get any other way.
I haven't given up on my first love, the more artistic photographs that I love to make. I'm gaining confidence there too, in part due to SHC. It's just a more mysterious route to success there.
So, I'm getting excited for this year's conference. There will be many familiar faces and new ones too. The class schedule seems to hold much promise and my only apprehension this year is in deciding which classes to choose. They all look so good.