When Etsy seller AliBaliJewellery proposed a weekend of crafting, the rest of the girls signed up immediately. They settled on the Lake District as a central location for those travelling from Scotland and England and discussed it for months, organising the cottage, travel plans and what to bring. Expectations were high as the date drew closer and finally, with an exchange of mobile phone numbers, they headed for Wordsworth territory.
Nominated voice of the group, Maisy (a.k.a. OneLittleHouse) gives us a round-up of their adventure with comments from each of the talented women present. This is great inspiration for DIY gatherings worldwide — get together, Etsians!
Online friendships are ace. You chat away with a group of folk in the Forums and get to know them without actually knowing them at all. Then one day someone suggests a “meet” and suddenly the cyber cakes and coffees are scheduled for real. You seem to get along, but will the crafty chemistry be there in real life? Fortunately for my group of Etsy friends, the answer is a resounding yes!
Photos by QuercusSilver
Sian, a.k.a sainsburys: “The location was breathtaking and it was brilliant to see the cottage come to life with laughter and activity springing up in each room. As Ali hauled her kiln to the firing room (back porch) through Mel’s gocco studio (the kitchen), it was clear this was going to be a great weekend!”
There was the danger that the occasion could have been a big anti-climax but the fear evaporated in a group hug, as we all put faces and voices to the online identities. That a group of strong-willed, creative women could meet and spend a weekend in each other’s pockets and have a blast is a testimony not only to good planning but to friendships with pots of chemistry.
Siobhan, a.k.a moocowhandknits: “What I loved most was meeting the girls face to face. Within moments of the initial hug-fest we were off and chatting! There wasn’t a bit of awkwardness — it was as if we’d been friends all our lives. I also loved the fact that we called each other by our shop names all weekend.”
Ali and Maisy get beadilicious,
Photo by siansburys
Friendships and food! Mel’s malteaser chocolate fudge, Deepa’s earl grey marshmellows and Clare’s chocolate cheesecake muffins — all washed down with copious cups of tea, naturally. We all have real life commitments: jobs, college, and family, so spending time doing what we love best was bliss.
Deepa, a.k.a. lazygiraffe: “Running your own business can be isolating so it was really nice to meet up and learn new techniques and crafts. I came home with lots of ideas and I finally learnt to knit — kudos to Moo for teaching a left-hander! I loved how much we all had in common, despite our different backgrounds, crafts, and lifestyles.”
Clare, a.k.a. ClareBears: “It was great to get together with like-minded people and learn more about what they do. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the gocco and metal clay, and would do both again. It was fun to get to know everyone without hitting the refresh key!”
Clare made a beautiful bunny for her shop, tried her hand at gocco printing with Mel, made lovely silver art clay earrings and pendants with Ali, and helped Deepa start her own bear.
Deepa made gorgeous new earrings for her shop and as well as her bear, she tried needle felting with Mel and made a mini bear (though we did wonder whether it might be a cactus) and proved to be a natural knitter under the guidance of Moo.
Caro, a.k.a. CarolineHardy: “The best bit was the freedom to experiment and the cross-fertilization of ideas. Suggestions, friendly critiques, possible collaborations — all sorts of sparkling new ideas! I came away full of inspiration. new techniques to play with and a renewed excitement for making.”
Ali made lovely new fine silver pieces for her shop and ran a mini art clay workshop, looking contentedly smug that her idea had worked out so brilliantly.
Ali, a.k.a. AliBaliJewellery: “Dry felting was definitely the biggest hit of the weekend — it was like being surrounded by a group of madwomen, all frantically stabbing away at their new creations!”
Su was a model student and took to needle felting like a duck to water. As Mel’s own felted menagerie grew, Su produced a mini bear (with beach ball), a penguin (with parachute?!) and a ridiculously cute sheep (with leg warmers).
Su, a.k.a. QuercusSilver: “The highlight? Discovering needle felting: a craft I can do inside, sitting down, whilst chatting and sipping a glass of wine — no masks or goggles required!”
Sian finished a bundle of new monkeys for upcoming craft fairs and the rest of us looked on enthralled as their individual personalities took shape.
Mel, a.k.a. feltmeupdesigns: “The whole weekend was a great experience. The best part was meeting all the people I chat with on a daily basis and finding out that they really are all as totally mad in real life as they seem in the Forums. Adopting a monkey was fantastic too!”
We’re already looking forward to the next meet. There’s still much to learn and those girls make seriously good snacks. Next time though, we will not go unprepared…
Su, a.k.a. QuercusSilver: “In case of emergency: Swiss files and a hammer make a great corkscrew.”
Thanks to the adorable 9 for inviting us all into their cosy little gathering! Check out a selection of their goods and Maisy’s UK picks in the Related Items below.