conference · News · Sponsors

BIPOC Scholarship Opportunity

Thanks to the support of sponsors, attendees and donors who have chipped in to our scholarship fund, we’ve got one full scholarships available to a crafter of color who resides within the Midwest. 


The scholarship includes a full-weekend pass and access to all the activities of the conference, a total value of $1,000, including access to the Membership platform for one full year. Scholarship winner will receive a suite at the MCC partner hotel. Lodging covers room for two evenings Friday and Saturday of the conference. Transportation is the responsibility of the scholarship winner. Recipient of scholarship will receive a $300 VISA gift card to use for travel and meals. 

To apply for the scholarship, fill out this form by 11:59 p.m. January 30, 2023. The organizing team of Midwest Craft Con will review all the applications and select recipients based on that application by February 15, 2023.

Thank you!

One should never craft alone, which is why we are grateful for the support of: Ohio Arts CouncilMaydel and BLOOM by Bel Monili for directly supporting our scholarship fund. 

Advertisement
conference · craft shows · keynotes · News · speakers · Sponsors · workshops

Craft Con in the Time of COVID-19

“It’s better to have loved conned and lost quarantined…”

90747878_10221348308127977_3750535227219378176_o
All photos courtesy of Chris Rutan Photography

As I think back to our glorious time at Midwest Craft Con 2020, I feel really lucky to be part of such an incredibly community. It was such a timely reminder before such an isolating time full of uncertainty.

001_MWCC2020

We learned. We shared. We brainstormed. We crawled, crafted, karaoked. We grew as professionals, creatives, human beings. We bonded as sisters.

Thanks to our craft supply sponsor, Darice, for inspiring our instructors and offering casual crafts between sessions. We’re so happy to work so closely with an Ohio-based supply company who prides itself on supporting independant artists!

We were inspired by our speakers and instructors. Sara Trail, whose message of justice for all (and quilting for all!) resonated profoundly, despite being the youngest speaker we’ve ever had. Jennifer Perkins got us comfortable being out of our confort zone with her mixed media painting class. Elaine Grogan Luttrull got us over our fear of taxes with tips and tools. Plus many, many more.

As we move forward, before we even think about future programming (although we did announce that we will be hosting some kind of one-day event in the summer of 2021!), we want to make sure that our community is ok and want to help everyone stay connected.

We’ve hosted some virtual karaoke parties and happy hours in our private Facebook group, but we’d like to set up a more structured schedule of programming as we move forward.

Starting in April, we’re planning the following:

First Thursday: Craft Crawl: go Live in our Facebook during the day and share your craft projects, a book you’re reading. Share what you are working on or how you are passing the day.

Second Thursday: State of Craft Panel Discussion via ZOOM. We will record it and share if you can’t attend. Different topics each month with some panelists. We will record this if you can’t view during the specific time.

Third Thursday: Karaoke DAY – Dance, sing, lip sync for your life.

Fourth Thursday: Office/Happy Hour – Share a skill or offer advice.

Save the dates and we’ll get more details out soon! The best way to stay in touch is to sign up for our Newsletter.

331_MWCC2020

Until next time, stay healthy and stay crafty. There are good things to come!

Sponsors

Sponsor Love: Chris Rutan Photography

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we are getting to know Chris Rutan of Chris Rutan Photography and Rigmarole.

profile

Brit: How long have you been in the creative scene? How did you get your start?

Chris: I have been a professional photographer for over a decade. I went to the University of Akron’s Myers School of Art and earned a BFA in fine art photography. However, my artistic interests are not limited to photography. I also studied printmaking, sculpture and metalsmithing. I completed a minor in computer imaging. The education I received at the Myers School of Art is really the backbone of everything I do creatively and professionally today. During college I worked at two independent photography studios — honing my photographic chops while learning the ins and outs of the business. Today, I specialize in event and lifestyle photography. In addition to commissioned portraiture, I also work for local businesses and the Akron and Canton Museums of Art, and have had my work featured in various local publications.

Brit: What services do you provide to your community?

Chris: I love being involved in the local art scene. I find it immensely rewarding. We’re so supportive of one another — it’s inspiring! When I’m not working, I can be found in and around Akron, photographing my adventurous girls and sharing their exploits on my blog or Instagram. I’ve also had the pleasure of guest writing for a few of Akron’s local blogs. 😉

Brit: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

Chris: As a small business owner, I’m most proud of being a part of my local community. When I’m hired to photograph for the museum or a local theater, I feel that I have the opportunity to capture something great that is happening in my own backyard. I feel the same way about portraiture. I love capturing the moments and personalities of the families, couples and individuals who comprise our community.

In addition to photography, I have a handmade side business named Rigmarole. My products are featured in several shops around the country and are available at local craft shows. I do freelance craft work for Jo-Ann Fabrics. I’ve guest lectured at the University of Akron and I’m teaching my first set of workshops at a local paper boutique this month!

Brit: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?

Chris: One mistake to avoid when starting your own business is being too afraid to say “yes.” When an opportunity presents itself, it’s easy to overthink it, feel intimidated, and begin to convince yourself that you can’t do it. Just say yes. Growth doesn’t happen in the comfort zone.

Brit: Any big goals for the new year?

Chris: This year, I’ve set a goal to vend at more craft shows. I’ve yet to venture out of the Akron area craft scene. This year I’m going to branch out.

You’ll see Chris taking photos at Midwest Craft Con in Columbus, Feb. 19-21!

Sponsors

Sponsor Love: SOAK

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we are learn more about Soak, a modern laundry company.

Soak was founded by Jacqueline Sava in 2005, after completing a BFA degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design, Sava founded Jacqs-Hats, a Toronto based knit accessories company. Soak was conceptualized in 2003 as a secondary product for her knit accessories and continued to grow into the company it is today.

The flagship product, Soak Wash, is described as modern care for the laundry you love. It is perfect for knits, quilts, lingerie, stuffed animals and so much more. It is a pure, gentle and deliciously scented way to wash the delicate items you care about most. The formulation is also very eco-friendly and was developed to be as easy on the environment as it is on your clothes. Other products in their line include Flatter, a starch-free smoothing spray, Handmaid, a luxury hand creme, Heel, a restorative foot cream and beautiful gift sets.

Soak’s goal is to create purposeful products supported by strong visions. Jacqueline’s business philosophy is to have a company that, through product development, serves its customers and employees as well as the various businesses along the development and distribution channels.

Learn more about the Soak products at soakwash.com and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sponsors

Sponsor Love: The Wonder Jam

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we are meet from Allie and Adam Lehman, founders of The Wonder Jam, a consulting and branding firm based in Columbus.

wonderjam

Megan: How long have you been in the creative scene? How did you get your start?

The Wonder Jam: Allie has been a part of the Midwest creative scene since she was a child! She participated in art contests, painting classes and more. Once we married in 2009, we moved to Columbus and dived into many creative projects and opportunities.

Megan: What services do you provide to your community?

The Wonder Jam: We run our creative business out of a studio in Grandview (a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio) where we offer photography, branding and website design for other businesses!

Megan: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

The Wonder Jam: When we see growth and success for our clients. We love seeing their ideas come to life and give back to their own community.

Megan: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?

The Wonder Jam: Don’t be afraid to take it slow and keep inventory low when you first start! Surround yourself with a great community. You’ll do great.

Megan: Any big goals for the new year?

The Wonder Jam: We offer workshops and classes in our studio and warehouse. We can’t wait to continue to host amazing teachers and share some of our own lessons!

Sponsors

Sponsor Love: Frekol

Frekol_logo_72dpi_250x125_pixels

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we are hearing from Trent Schulz, founder of Frekol (pronounced “freckle”), a Cleveland startup providing a platform for conscious consumers to buy handmade goods locally.

Here’s their story:

Frekol is a startup founded by a couple kids from Cleveland. It’s so simple that it’s unique — we provide a localized online platform that allows you to purchase the incredible things your neighbors make.

IMG_0544

As the saying goes, sometimes your best ideas come to you when you least expect it. So begins the Frekol story, at a birthday party for a 4-year-old, and this cake!

kids with cake

We had to know where to get a cake like this. Turns out, the “lady down the street” made it. No, not out of her bakery, out of her home.

We began to wonder, what other incredible things are people in our neighborhood making? We were surprised to discover the most unique, diverse and high-quality handmade and homemade products were exchanged in a market we never knew existed! A market driven by creative, inspired, super-passionate individuals, and so convenient that you pass it by every day. This market is your neighborhood and our community.

You can learn more about Frekol by visiting their website, which is in its beta stage. There you can purchase incredible things made by your neighbors or set up your own shop where your neighbors can find you.

Check out the video below to learn more about just a few of makers that are already on Frekol!

Meet Trent and the Frekol team at our Trade Show at Midwest Craft Con in February! 

Sponsors

Sponsor Love: Wholly Craft

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we meet Olivera Bratich of Wholly Craft, which you can visit on our bus tour and shop with at our trade show!

olivera photo

Megan: How long have you been in the creative scene? How did you get your start?

Olivera: We have been in business just over a decade. When we first opened our doors in 2005, we knew a lot of people who were making fabulous handcrafted goods and struggling to find viable retail outlets. So we stepped in to fill that niche and found a very welcoming audience of customers who were excited to find unique, well-crafted and light-hearted gifts.

Megan: What services do you provide to your community?

Olivera: In addition to the retail shop where we represent handmade goods from over 400 crafters and artists, we host workshops and events throughout the year to encourage folks to make time for creative play and skill building. On our typical event schedule you’ll find introductory level workshops in knitting and crochet, special crafty workshops hosted by favorite local vendors, free monthly skillshare, and Pinterest Parties where participants make fun themed projects.

Wholly Craft is also home to the Supply Closet, a pay-as-you-wish recycled craft supply resource. We accept donations of unused craft supplies throughout the year and offer them up on a pay-as-you-wish basis to the community. A portion of all Supply Closet sales is also donated to Women Crafting Change, a local program of Global Gallery helping women develop marketable craft and business skills.

And finally, we work hard to build meaningful relationships with our vendors and other members of the local craft community. We offer creative business workshops throughout the year to help improve the skill sets of our crafty comrades, and we try to offer valuable feedback to our vendors to help their businesses succeed. Plus we always jump at the chance to support and sponsor local and regional events that help crafters — that’s why we’re a part of the Midwest Craft Con!

Megan: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

Olivera: I think I’m most proud of our longevity and our reputation in the craft community. We’ve worked hard to build a sustainable business that offers excellent service to our customers, vendors and staff members. And I think we’re doing alright there. Making money is nice, of course, but I also feel the need to earn the respect of my community.

Megan: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?

Olivera: Don’t wait until everything is perfect and all lined up correctly because that day will never come. Do the best you can and dive in. You’ll make mistakes along the way, as everyone does, but as long as you’re always willing to learn and grow from them, you’ll be just fine.

Megan: Any big goals for the new year?

Olivera: We’re always scheming and planning big things and this year our list includes building up our regular communication with vendors and finally adding our inventory to our website and launching online sales. We’ve spent a decade focused on the in-person customer experience at Wholly Craft, and I hope we can translate that to a wider audience online.

Megan: What are you most looking forward to at Midwest Craft Con?

Olivera: Meeting all the fantastic fellow handmade business owners and learning from each other. It’s such a great line up of keynotes, speakers, and participants. And I love how interactive it is, too!

Meet Olivera and the Wholly Craft crew at Midwest Craft Con in February! 

Sponsors

Sponsor Love: Igloo Letterpress

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we showcase sponsor Igloo Letterpress, owned by Allison Chapman. Igloo Letterpress has grown from a personal passion into a full-fledged printing business with many employees and lots of loyal customers.

11012710_10152732221503341_57187097589315983_n

Igloo recently made the move into a new facility around the block from their former space, a sprawling print studio that also houses a retail shop, Swoonful Gifts, and classroom space for teaching others the printing craft.

12291919_10153226262313341_4411402882228297346_o

Look for Allison and members of her staff to be on site during the trade show where they will be selling greeting cards, journals, crafty kits and posters. You can also visit their new space on our Crafty Tour of Columbus!

Megan: How long have you been in the creative scene? How did you get your start?

Allison: I inherited my printing equipment and started getting crafty in 1996. My grandfather was a hobby printer, and I was lucky enough to be his assistant. Igloo really started to grow when my family moved to Columbus in 2008.

Megan: What services do you provide to your community?

Allison: Igloo is a retail destination, community classroom and production facility. We provide letterpress printing and hand bookbinding.

12273662_10153226260853341_8724172243233558556_o

Megan: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

Allison: Providing year-round employment for Igloo’s talented staff.

Megan: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?

Allison: Don’t over-promise on what you can deliver. Don’t agree to make something if you haven’t done it before.

Megan: Any big goals for the new year?

Allison: Increase production in our new studio!

 Meet Allison and the Igloo Letterpress team and so many other makers at Midwest Craft Con in February! 
Sponsors

Sponsor Love: Alison Rose

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we meet Alison Rose, screenprinting legends who have been making stuff Columbus for over a decade. Nick and Alison Nocera, a wife and husband team, whom have clothed Columbus for over a decade in shirts with cats and Ohio mixtapes. You can meet at the conference within our trade show, where they will be bringing their live printing cart (making special Midwest Craft Con tees!) and selling a collection of wallets, new enamel pins and koozies.

152061541f29210d-alisonrose_pics1

Megan: How long have you been in the creative scene? How did you get your start?

Alison Rose: We started Alison Rose in our tiny apartment back in 2003. At college we were making T-shirts and clothing for family and friends, and it was something that we’ve always wanted to explore more.

Megan: What services do you provide to your community?

Alison Rose: Aside from our own line of goods, we offer high quality custom printing and design services. We pride ourselves on hand printing (no robots here) monitoring and inspecting every shirt to ensure top quality.

Megan: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

Alison Rose: We are most proud of the blood, sweat and tears that go into our small business. We are very hands-on when it comes to any project we are involved in. We take pride in knowing that we built this from the ground up, from a idea to now our full time jobs.

Megan: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?

Alison Rose: Pick your focus, and put the time into that focus. Don’t let your business rely on a trend. Trends change, so center around a classic idea and adapt to trends as they come and go.

Megan: Any big goals for the new year?

Alison Rose: We’d like to expand our line and hope to reach out to more shops around the world.

Megan: What are you most looking forward to at Midwest Craft Con?

Alison Rose: Seeing and meeting some new faces! There is always more to learn no matter how long you’ve been in the game!

Extra special thanks to Nick for designing our logo and branding for Midwest Craft Con! Meet Nick and Alison and so many other makers at Midwest Craft Con in February! 

Sponsors

Sponsor Love: The Smithery

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we meet The Smithery, the brainchild of two talented jewelry makers and longtime friends who have curated the finest selection of handmade jewelry from around the world. Jen Townsend and Anne Holman have combined shopping, artist studio space and DIY workshops into an adorable storefront in Grandview Heights — which you can visit on our bus tour!

Make sure to find Jen and Anne during our trade show, where they will be selling a selection of jewelry representing many of the artists in the store and will have information about their classes. They will also be speaking on a panel about developing good relationships with retail shops.

The Smithery cofounders

Megan: How long have you been in the creative scene?

Jen and Anne: We have been actively selling our jewelry for a combined total of over 22 years. Together, we founded The Smithery early 2014 and opened our doors October 2014. We have both always been making things our entire lives and found our individual passion for metal while studying other media in art school.

Megan: What services do you provide to your community?

Jen and Anne: The Smithery encompasses a number of facets. We provide project-based workshops on a weekly basis to the public, as well as host private events for groups of individuals seeking a hands on activity. Our Make Your Own Wedding Band workshop is a unique offering we provide to couples seeking one-of-a-kind rings. We provide custom jewelry services making commissioned work for individuals. We also have built a selling venue to support independent artists as well as bringing a well-curated collection of fine craft to the Columbus area.

Megan: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

Jen and Anne: We are most proud of our commitment to build something we dreamt about, from the ground up, with integrity and respect to independent artists.

Megan: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?

Jen and Anne: Not be afraid or hesitant to put yourself out there. It will never be the “right time.” And trust your gut when you are doing business with other people. If you feel hesitant, there is usually a good reason.

Megan: Any big goals for the new year?

Jen and Anne: Staying positive. Working more on The Smithery’s in-house collaborative jewelry line, wedding jewelry, as well as our individual work.

Megan: What are you most looking forward to at Midwest Craft Con?

Jen and Anne: Getting to spend some time with other creative people and welcoming you to Columbus!

Meet Jen and Anne and so many other makers at Midwest Craft Con in February!