The fourth edition of Midwest Craft Con, happening Feb. 28 to March 1, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio, is going to be chock-full of craft business experts, and tickets are on sale now!
Our keynote speakers for 2020 are Twinkie Chan and Sara Trail of Social Justice Sewing Academy.
Sara Trail learned to sew at the young age of 4, and is now a successful author, sewing teacher and pattern and fabric designer. At age 13, she wrote a nationally published book, “Sew with Sara” that teaches teens and tweens how to sew cute clothes and accessories for fun and profit. At 15, she starred in a nationally published DVDs, “Cool stuff to Sew With Sara.” She then designed two fabric collections, Folkheart and Biology 101 a pattern collection with Simplicity, “Designed with Love by Sara.” Her pattern collection features prom dresses, backpack patterns, hoodies and jackets as well as aprons and tote bags. While attending UC Berkeley, Sara created a quilt in memory of Trayvon Martin and her love for sewing and passion for social justice intertwined. After graduating from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, she founded the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) to be a platform where youth create art that engages and educates communities.
Twinkie Chan is a crochet deigner, author, blogger, YouTuber, and CreativeBug instructor known for her colorful, food-themed accessories like cupcake scarves, hamburger mitts, and slushee cup purses. She lives in San Francisco with a rainbow wall of yarn and a billion pom poms.
Twinkie’s unique work has been featured online, in print, and on television, from BuzzFeed to Mollie Makes, to HGTV to “Fuller House.” To make her signature designs more accessible, she launched a licensed brand Yummy You! which was carried at retailers like Hot Topic, ThinkGeek, Nylon Shop, and Modcloth.
The Demand for her crochet patterns inspired her to write her first book, ” TwinkieChan’s Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies: 20 Yummy Treats to Wear,” published in Fall 2010 with Andrews McMeel Publishing. Her highly- anticipated second book, “Twinkie Chan’s Crocheted Abode A La Mode: 20 Yummy Crochet Projects for Your Home,” was published by Creative Publishing International in Spring 2016. She has also written patterns for Michaels.com, a column for Simply Crochet Magazine, and created promotional projects for the Craft Yarn Council, Lion Band Yarn, Lily Sugar ‘n Cream, Sanrio, and McDonald’s.
Breakout sessions will include expert advice on everything you need to know about running your small business, from marketing and social media to legal and accounting advice to ideas for stoking your creativity. Featuring…
Columbus, OH • Instagram
Olivera Bratich is a terrible crafter. She has very little artistic ability and even less patience with the creative process. Because of this, she has a deep respect and admiration for makers and works hard help handmade businesses succeed. She has owned and operated the super-fun handmade gift store Wild Cat, formerly Wholly Craft, for over a decade. Wild Cat features handmade goods from more than 400 crafters, artists and independent designers and offers workshops, parties, and events designed to help everyone get in touch with their creative side (whether or not they are any good at crafting). In addition to keeping the shop, Olivera is a community organizer, cake lover and mother to a rambunctious toddler.
Louisville, KY • Instagram
Michelle is a Cincinnati native who currently lives in the most Midwest of Southern towns – Louisville! She is a compulsively crafty person who loves to dabble in every medium, but is primarily a paper and fabric maker. It all started when she was ten years old – her siblings were playing sports and she was creating ball gowns for her Barbie doll and learning to use her mother’s sewing machine. She sells her handmade goods on Etsy @HotWheelsandGlueGuns and teaches creative classes locally. During the day she works for the City of Louisville in the disabilities field. She’s equally passionate about inclusiveness and promoting the lives of folks with disabilities as she is about teaching people to access their creativity!
Durham, NC • Instagram
Betsy Greer has been called a lot of things, among them a crafter, an unsung hero, and the godmother of craftivism. She got her M.A. in Sociology from Goldsmiths College in London in 2004. Her master’s dissertation was on knitting, DIY culture and community development. In November 2008, her first book, Knitting For Good!, was published by Roost Books. In 2014, Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism, an anthology of 33 distinct craftivist voices from around the world, was published by Arsenal Pulp. By showing how different people interpret the construct of craftivism, this book also works towards helping others use their own unique talents as a force for good. Currently, she writes, edits, and dreams up creative projects with others. You can learn more about those endeavors over on her freelance site, hellobetsygreer.com.
Maineville, OH • Instagram
Tara Heilman curates craft shows, teaches workshops on crafting, writes passionately about being a crafter and supporst other crafters building crafty empires of their own. Her work has been featured on television, in newspapers & magazines, in galleries, craft shows and conventions throughout the Midwest. Her company, Robot Inside, is a community partner with Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. She teaches hand sewing at the Girl Scout Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and travels to Troops in the GSWO area to teach them crafting including sewing, crochet and embroidery.
Tara also teaches people of all abilities to craft. She loves making crafts with all of her friends from LADD (Loving Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled) , PLAN of Southwest Ohio, TALL Institute, Starfire and My Independence. She’s collaborated with many local artists and galleries including Neltner Small Batch, Warnick Art, Wax Nostalgia 1994 at BLDG, For The Children (A Wu Tang Clan inspired art show), A Tribute to The Bends (Radiohead) and has had her work featured in local shops including Jospeh-Beth Booksellers, Red Tree Art Gallery, Broadhope Art Collective and Dandy Haberdashery. Her studio is currently located at the Morrow Arts Center in Morrow, Ohio.
Chicago, IL • Instagram
K. Hill is a self-proclaimed craftaholic and veteran of the television and ﬁlm industry with over ﬁfteen years experience in Creative Services & Product Development, having worked for top tier entertainment companies and non-proﬁts including Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
An educational background in Mechanical Engineering combined with an unyielding creative spirit and thirst for knowledge makes her a hybrid of sorts. She uses this left and right-brain synergy to help Artists & Makers’ small businesses succeed and dominate online. http://www.HandmadeHybrid.com
Allie & Adam Lehman
Columbus, OH • Instagram
Adam and Allie Lehman operate The Wonder Jam. Focused on helping small — even tiny — businesses with their brandings, photography and web design, The Wonder Jam has helped 200+ brands. They love hosting workshops, traveling and drinking both too much La Croix and too much coffee. The Lehmans met in 2005 on Allie’s very first day at college and they were married in 2009. They moved to Columbus, didn’t know anybody and jumped in headfirst to building a strong network of creative, ambitious people who are still the backbone of their business today. In helping brands and businesses much larger and more sophisticated than The Wonder Jam, the Lehmans have constantly wrestled the impostor syndrome and have some helpful tips they’ve learned to help them win and continue to step into new opportunities.
Columbus, OH • Instagram
Toni Lipsey, the heart and hands behind all things TL Yarn Crafts. She spends every possible moment creating new crochet designs, teaching the craft, and connecting with all the makers she possibly can. Her favorite things are meeting her Insta-friends in real life, smiling with all her teeth, and adding to her craft stash with frequent trips to her local yarn stores. She shares this craft life with her Hubs of 8 years and her feline fur babies Peanut Butter and Sheba.
TL Yarn Crafts was born in 2013 out of my desire to build community around her craft and share this excitement and experiences with other creatives.
Elaine Grogan Luttrull
Columbus, OH • Instagram
Elaine Grogan Luttrull, CPA, PFS, AFC is the founder of Minerva Financial Arts, a company devoted to building financial literacy and empowerment in creative individuals and organizations. Elaine teaches at Columbus College of Art & Design, where she served as the Department Head for Business & Entrepreneurship from 2014 – 2018. Previously, Elaine served as the Director of Financial Analysis for The Julliard School and in the Transaction Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young in New York. Elaine is the author of Arts & Numbers and she contributed regularly to Professional Artist magazine.
Chicago, IL • Instagram
Stephanie Rohr is a cross-stitch designer, fiber artist, and author. She is the lady behind StephXstitch, and her book “Feminist Cross-Stitch” came out in early 2019. She is a lifelong crafter who turned a love of sassy cross-stitch into a small Etsy shop in 2010, and expanded that into a full time-gig of creating cross-stitch pieces, kits, and patterns over the next few years. In addition to her online craft business, Stephanie teaches cross-stitch workshops, sells her stitch wares at craft shows and art fairs, and most recently wrote and published her first book. Over the years her crafting as taken on a more political and feminist bent, though she still stitches naughty words and funny phrases too. Stephanie is a firm believer in being yourself on social media, finding your crafty niche and using that to your advantage to build your following and your business. Her cross-stitch work has been featured in Cross-Stitcher Magazine, Cross-Stitch Crazy, Selvedge Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Chicago Reader, London Sunday Times, Paste Magazine, The Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed. Her book is an Amazon #1 best seller in Cross Stitch.
Johnson City, TN • Instagram
Tara Swiger is an author, podcaster and fostermom. She helps crafty women become their own business expert and begin to trust themselves, through her weekly podcast Explore Your Enthusiasm, her workbook Map Your Business and her community of accountability and small-biz education, The Starship.
She began her entrepreneurial journey as a yarn-maker, and quit her day job in 2009 to be a full-time maker. She has been writing and teaching about handmade business for over a decade and her superpower is translating complex business principles into the language of makers and turning theory into doable action plans. Tara’s taught marketing and business foundations to traditional artists in rural North Carolina, to yarn shop owners at TNNA, to makers around the world (including all the MidwestCraftCons!), along with six classes with CreativeLIVE.
San Francisco, CA • Instagram
Adrienne L. Wiley is the founder and lead designer for Frolick Jewelry. She launched Frolick in 2004, from a desire to create a collection of jewelry that was vintage inspired but contemporary and effortlessly chic for women of all ages. In the beginning she made her designs at the kitchen table and sold them to friends and family. Six months after launching the line, Wiley decided to leave her job at a Fortune 500 company to pursue Frolick Jewelry full time. She spent the first year traveling around the country participating in shopping events and searching for premiere retail locations to carry the line. Today Frolick can be found in over 900 boutiques worldwide, as well as in Covet Boutique, which Adrienne owns in San Francisco. Adrienne is also the author of Adventures in Wholesale, a book dedicated to helping emerging designers navigate what they’ll encounter while building a wholesale business.
Columbus, OH • Instagram
Cheryl Williams is the founder of 86 & Norman. 86 & Norman accessories helps eclectic stylish women carry what they need while looking super cute with handbags, clutches, and wallets. During the day, she’s a Lead Business Analyst, during every other time of day, she’s sewing away in her home studio in Columbus, Ohio. Cheryl started her business as Double Clutched in 2015 after getting a sewing machine from her DIY savvy mom and step-dad for Christmas. She branded to 86 & Norman in February 2019 which aims to make women feel bold, confident, and beautiful. You can see all the bold, beautiful colors on Instagram @86andnorman.
Workshops are designed to allow for a creative release from class room style instructions. There will be a total of 4 classes offered each day of the conference. Attendees can fill up there day with crafts or sprinkle it in over the course of the weekend. Featuring…
Pittsburgh, PA• Instagram
Al Hoff is a founding member of Handmade Arcade, Pittsburgh’s largest and longest-running independent craft fair. She’s also a veteran of craft-show “industry” get-togethers, such as Craft Congress and Midwest Craft Con. Al crafts while watching bad TV and enjoys working in felt, plastic canvas and small sewing. 2019 Goal: Organize her multi-decade fabric hoard, and make that now “Fleabag”-style jumper from a recently unearthed sewing pattern purchased in the 1980s.
Wadsworth, OH • Instagram
Nicole Pearch, is the Owner and Founder of Party’n With Plants, which is a Succulent Fairy Garden business. Nicole, came up with the idea in 2016 after she wanted to learn how to make a fairy garden but couldn’t find any classes or afford fairy supplies. So, she taught herself and decided to recreate the old traditional expensive large fairy gardens, into something easy, affordable and fun.
Since launching her business, Nicole has taught over 8,000 customers in Ohio how to make fairy gardens and another 5,000 customers globally by shipping our garden kits. Nicole has had her Fairy Garden kits recognized in Akron Life Magazine as an Editors Best Pick, Featured multiple times on Fox 8 News Cleveland and the 2018 Athena Young Professional Award Recipient. Most recently in September 2019, Nicole was recognized globally as an Etsy Leader and started a partnership with Etsy to offer Free Etsy U workshops to other inspiring and current entrepreneurs to share their talents on Etsy.com. Nicole lives in Sharon Center, Ohio with her husband and 2 kids and even though she’s lived all over the world, Ohio is where her roots are.
Natalie Keller Pariano
Columbus, OH • Instagram
Natalie Keller Pariano is a lettering artist and sprinkler of positivity confetti from Columbus,Ohio. She has been described as the Kimmy Schmidt of paper–colorful, quirky, socially conscious and fun! Natalie launched her brand, NatterDoodle, in 2015 when after months of sharing her creations on Instagram and mailing doodles across the country to anyone who asked (for free!), she realized her hobby was turning into a jobby! NatterDoodle features Natalie’s fresh take on wordplay, equal parts sappy and snarky. In addition to her hand lettered goodies, Natalie hosts creative lettering workshops or “Pen Parties” across the country! With a popular Instagram known for its rainbow theme, knack for storytelling and a keen eye for color, Natalie has carved out a place as the Queen of Confetti and an artist to watch! NatterDoodle products can be found in some of the coolest boutiques across the country and you might even spy Natalie’s designs in stores like HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning. Launched in 2018, the NatterDoodle shop and store in Columbus’ Clintonville neighborhood boasts a full collection of lovingly lettered goods for happy homes and hopeful hearts.
Austin, TX • Instagram
Jennifer Perkins is an Austin based creative content designer and kitsch enthusiast. She has hosted television programs, Facebook Live and You Tube series, been a brand ambassador and taught classes all over the country. Her work has been featured places like HGTV, Country Living Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Flea Market Decor, Apartment Therapy and many more. When she is not decorating Christmas trees, hanging out at ﬂea markets or gluing pompoms to something she hosts the Creative Queso podcast. In each Jennifer talks with guests about the business of being creative and the creativity behind running a business..
Ann Arbor, MI • Instagram
Betsy Salzman has been advocating for Science through Craft since college. Her business The Science Bee focuses on the beauty of the human body and promotes science for young children through shrinky dinks, clay, old medical slides, and new apparel. Betsy is an active part of the Detroit craft scene and loves building people up.
Dayton, OH • Instagram
Yetunde Rodriguez is a Textile Artist and Designer with a focus on Block Printing. Yetunde taps into her Nigerian heritage for inspiration. She creates bold, meaningful, images which she interprets in a joyful celebration of color!
Yetunde has a background in Graphic Design, with an B.A from Hampton University. She has done a little bit of a lot over the years. She and has taught young and old, with the ﬁrm belief that when you teach, you learn.
She continues to teach, partnering with local arts organizations and public libraries to lead workshops and give presentations. She is passionate about empowering the youth to see the possibilities in using creativity to shape their future and achieve their goals. She is out spread the message of creativity as a mode of therapeutic self-care for stressed out adults, as well as team building for corporate professionals.
Yetunde lives and works in Dayton, Ohio with her husband, daughter, and 2 sons.
When is Midwest Craft Con returning?
Crafting your own adventure at Midwest Craft Con will start on February 28th – March 1st, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio! If you haven’t been to our conference, prepare yourself for a an endless weekend filled with pom poms and googly eyes, while you build your creative business. Get ready for our keynotes to fill you with inspiration, meet your creative heroes you admire online, and prepare to see colleagues you only see across the aisle at festivals. Make new friends who help provide the extra drive you need to keep your business growing, long after the conference has ended.
Our theme for 2020 is Craft Your Own Adventure. We will return to the concrete cornfields (Google it!) of Dublin, Ohio. Our craft headquarters will be the Embassy Suites outside of Columbus.
Stay tuned for the full schedule of events, caravans, scholarship forms, trade show details and so much more!