Gush, gush, gush, awesome unicorns and sprinkles, gushing inspiration overload, tasty beer, hot dogs, gush. My brain is a mush of gush. I expected to have a blast of course, but I didn’t expect to be absolved of all my design angst and stress about what I do. I lost all of that and the desire to make took its place, which is priceless. Too bad we can’t go to these things all the time so this feeling never has to wear off! If you go to no other design festivals next year, make it WMC Fest. Come as you are learning & inspiration is the best kind if you ask me. Plus I can’t emphasize the cheap factor enough, best bang for your buck in living memory.
+ Gear, cards, and many Tattlys from the likes Jennifer Daniel, James White, Vaughn Fender, Joseph Hughes, To The Moon Studios, and Tuesday Bassen. Somehow I missed out on the festivale goody bag though, whoops. I did pick up the ticket for it, but I promptly lost it and got distracted by awesomeness at every turn so I never remembered to go back. Ditto for the photo booth too.
+ If you live in the Kent area you have to go to Hollo’s Papercraft. Man, what I wouldn’t give to have a place like this closer to Chicago. Aisles upon aisles of delicious papers, materials, party gear, art supplies at super duper prices. Same goes for Cleveland’s thrifting, I hear it’s some of the finest. We did stop at the used office supply shop on Detroit Avenue near the festival & found a few goodies. That’s where I found the wooden pushpins for $1!
+ Great talks over all, but there were a couple of designers who gave real estate tours of their work. I guess it bears repeating once again, you shouldn’t only show your portfolio when giving a talk. I know how to use google dudes, I can look your work up if I want to. Doing this is a lot like a looking at slides from someone else’s vacation; it’s boring after 10 minutes. Interspersing fart jokes between slides is cute at first, but it’s a crutch and doesn’t add any depth. Up your game. Plus, winging it up there is insulting to the speakers like me who lost more than a little sleep and a few tears while putting our talks together. Bravado is crap on stage. Bring the real, please.
+ Happy Dog has better hot dogs than all of Chicago (ok, almost, Hot Doug’s excluded).
+ I was sad that so many people left early! I know, I know extenuating circumstances blah-de-blah, they do happen. But unless you’re Austin Kleon with a pre-scheduled cross-country book tour or a similar airtight alibi I find it hard to buy other reasons for leaving early. Trekking all the way there only to miss out on learning is like cutting school at recess. Kate Bingaman-Burt’s final keynote brought the house down with a full standing ovation, I wouldn’t have missed that if you paid me. And in fact, I lost billable hours because this meant I had to take Monday off as well, but don’t care, worth it. This holds especially true for speakers & the designers who were displaying work. If you got a free pass to the conference or an honorarium for attending, you better bend over backward to attend everything you can.
+ Jen Myers‘ talk on women developers was enlightening. Especially because it stirred quite the rumor mill, which is sign she gave a great talk. Engaging rumors online is a messy business, and generally not worth addressing, but in short, a few bros said her talk was nonsense and women don’t face discrimination when it comes to design or development. OH HA HA HA. HA. HA. Are we still here discussing this? Really? It’s actually probably better that I didn’t hear these things in person because I would not have been able to resist sticking my neck out. I wonder if this was stated in male-only company too. Pfffft. If you can’t or don’t say your opinion in front of the people you’re knocking it means you’re not giving us the chance to refute, and that right there is active discrimination. Congrats on proving that this inequity exists one more time.
+ Other people I got to hang out with who didn’t speak: Veronica & Beth Corzo-Duchardt, Jacqui Oakley & Poly Studio, Caroline Sewell, Jessi Arrington, Jason James, Troy DeShano, Mikey Burton, Fringe Focus, Max Temkin, Nick D, Jana Kinsman, Elaine Chernov, Mig Reyes & Kik McNally and all the rest of amazing Chicago designers who came and offered their support. It gave me much courage seeing so many friends in the audience while I was talking.
+ Finally a HUGE, huge thank you to Joseph Hughes & Jeff Finley for organizing this and giving me the chance to take the stage. You obviously know how to throw it down. It’s no small thing to create so much community motivation. You are the very heart of Cleveland.
+ Now for the trickier next step: recapping my actual talk. I said some important things and I want to make sure that even the people who went get a chance to take it in. Stay tuned!! It’s in the works, hopefully with video.
Other than the thinly-veiled hint or two, I’ve neglected to properly mention that (spoiler alert) I’m speaking at Weapons of Mass Creation in Cleveland this June. Further details about the event are still pretty murky at the moment, like uh, what exactly is going to come out of my mouth for the duration of 30 minutes (my vote’s on puppies!). And/or how Chad & I are getting there…At the moment it’s hard to say much else other than, hell yes, this is happening. And I’m really excited and trying my very best not to think about just how many awesome people are coming. (Real talk: it’s enough to make my brain melt. Go look at the line-up if you need more convincing.)
Every year there’s a fresh crop of conferences and seminars all touting to be the Awesomest Event to End All Events (at least since last year!). Most seem a bit grandiose like a traveling circus Freak Show promising thrills of the the century. It’s sometimes hard to believe they’ll really be so amazing, especially since most of them come with price tags that would make the world’s fattest lady seem small. That’s what’s so special about WMC Fest though, it’s as grassroots as they come. Huge effort has been poured into making it one of the most diverse design conferences around (did you check the line-up yet?) making it the type of high brow event that also manages to be come-as-you-are.
WMC takes this grassroots idea to genius with a sponsorship campaign on Kickstarter. It’s nicely produced and doesn’t feel sales-y. It’s just giving people another way to share in event, a small sense of ownership, even if they can’t go. Crowd-sourcing at its best right there, more funds for the funs. Might as well back the project if you’re thinking of going. Pledging $50 comes with the 3-day festival pass. You just bought your ticket in and made some people really freaking happy in the process, WIN!
If you’re already going, speak up and say hey would you! I can’t promise to bring puppies, but there are promises of awesome anyway, that I do know.
Oh, my dears. I’ve missed you. Thank you for being patient with me during my extended quietness here. I’ve been experimenting with my schedule & my billable hours, trying to find a better structure & schedule so I can bring home both the bacon and the blog. It’s been a tough process. And I’m slowly working out a re-design. This site’s been the same for almost four years now and I think that is a major part of my reluctance to write. The internet is different now than when I first created this site and doing some restructuring around here will do a lot in terms of re-investing my time. Never fear, I’m never going to pull the plug entirely, having a growing internet presence is too important to me personally & too important in terms of growing my business for that.
It’s funny, this process is so specific and personal. It’s like a ritual of sorts. I’ve been thinking a lot about the rituals of making things ever since my friend Vaughn Fender asked me to participate in the ninth issue of his online magazine, Peculiar Bliss. The theme of which is creative rituals. I didn’t even really think about what mine were until this topic came up, but now I can’t stop, and in some ways that’s kept me from producing here. Navel-gazing has diminishing returns after while…So here I am, consider this me getting over it. Jumping back in again, with a bang.
Vaughn’s done a lengthy interview with me on my process, background, and yes my rituals. The article also includes a whole bunch of my work that’s never been published anywhere, and my friend Julia Stotz was kind enough to take all the pictures of me. Ellen Hunter of Word Couture Consulting made sure I did my commas and grammar right. I owe major thanks to them for their hard work, you’re only as good as your fellow collaborators and these kids really threw down. Thank you friends, from the bottom of my heart.
Flip through the digital pages on ISSUU, Cargo Collective, or PDF. My piece starts on page 17, and there is plenty of other gorgeous illustration and photography on either side of the article as well. If you can take a few minutes to kick back and take this in, inspiration is sure to follow.
Have an excellent Friday! Next week is going to be a doozy over here. We’re talking WMC Fest, stories from our trip to Detroit, and a giveaway – which I never do, but this one is a unique one so I don’t think you’ll mind. :-)
It’s good to be back.