I had this crazy idea in December to create a Craft Exchange.
Not craft like toilet paper rolls and paint and google eyes, but truly handmade gifts of the grown-up variety.
And so by leap of faith, several of my friends (including one guy) agreed to play along with my silly notion that we should all exchange our handmade gifts a few times a year.
Because who doesn’t love a handmade gift? It’s like Craftmas every four months! I guess it was an easier sell than I thought.
Until you actually get into your project. There’s this period of excitement, “I’m in! It’s happening!” to “OMG, what do I make???” Then as you’re making it, “Yeah, this stinks. Why did I choose this to make? Why did I agree to this?” to “This is horrible, no one will like it! I’m so embarrassed!” And finally we round out with, “Just get it done!” and “Whew! It’s mailed!”
The best part, by far in all this… is the big reveal. The anticipation grows as the packages arrive – but you can’t OPEN them! NO! We all open our gifts at the same time. And that’s when the self-doubt melts away. (Well most of it anyway.)
Make no mistake, it’s a big, huge, intimidating deal to make things for other people. You’re vulnerable. You aren’t sure if they’ll like what you made, or they don’t appreciate the effort it took or the resources you purchased.
The thing that’s different about this group is:
It’s not an art show.
I wanted this group to be an excuse to be creative, to stretch ourselves. A safe haven to try something new that you haven’t done before. It’s OKAY if it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. How many times have you tried a project, only to hate it and throw it away? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Every single one of us has been there.
A huge element of the exchange is the crafter’s presentation. It’s their moment in the sun to tell what whey used, how they made it and what challenges they faced, what they’d do different the next time. A teaching moment for the rest of us. This group is NOT a home for judgment, it’s a support group for makers and our crazy obsession with tools and supplies and learning new skills and sharing all those wins and fails.
If you’re a maker like us, it’s only natural to want to share your experience with friends who also craft and that’s the beauty of it. It’s a giant show and tell.
Our first exchange was beyond my dreams awesome (see a summary here), and our little group quickly doubled in size as my friends invited their crafty friends to join us. We had crafters from all over the country participating and we did a live exchange via Google Hangout.
Our second exchange was on Saturday night and can I just say that the talents of this group ah-maze me? I continue to be overwhelmed with the imagination and skill they all have. We did another Google Hangout for all the members. I was so gobstopped that this last time I forgot to take many pictures. Or give the first few time to give their presentation. Or tweet like I promised. Or Instagram. Or Facebook. AGHHH! I just got so caught up in the moment. #FounderFail
Prior to our reveal this weekend, I had every intention of giving you a summary of all these fantastic projects today, but it just wouldn’t do it justice to mash it all in one post. So stay tuned as I feature them individually over the next few weeks. (Warning: Prepare to be wowed.)
Here’s my project that I’ve literally been about to bust because I wanted to share it with you: upcycled wine glasses made from wine bottles. I can’t believe I kept it a secret for four months. Cheers!