The meetup was in the Fashion and Textile Museum, and I'm terrible at guessing the size of a crowd on sight alone. There were perhaps fifty people? The running joke of the evening was dialogue that went like this:
Person A: Wow, your work is amazing. How do you do that?
Person B: Oh, that's easy, really.
Everyone else: Don't say that! You're giving away your secrets!
The thing was, every single crafter I spoke to said this, when in reality the things that they called "easy" aren't at all. They just have a talent for it.
One of the people I met was Janine Basil, who is a milliner (that's a hatmaker for the non-fashion educated, like myself). She had a whole hatbox full of her wares, which include everything from vintage style fascinators to rhinestone encrusted comic art and even a crown. When someone asked her how long it took to make the crown, she said, and I quote: "Oh, nearly a whole day. I woke up that morning and thought, I'd like to make a crown, but I didn't really know what I was doing so that's why it took a long time." Yes, according to her, one day is "a long time" to figure out how to make a glitter and ermine crown from scratch. When I pointed out to her that most people could not accomplish this, she admitted, "Well, it wasn't really that morning. I had the thought the night before."
I also got to meet Maria Frederiksen of Porsby Design who does beautiful work with pearls and other semi-precious stone. She claims that pearl knotting (where a jeweler knots the stringing cord between each pearl so they don't scratch each other) is "easy" and apparently learned to do it merely by looking at other pieces (I am currently trying to learn from tutorials that are laid out step-by-step with a ton of pictures.) She has a gorgeous necklace of chunky turquoise beads up for sale in her shop that we got to see last night and she explained that you can tell whether turquoise is authentic by its temperature. Turquoise is cool to the touch while fakes are not. And yes, her piece is definitely made of the real stuff.
Then there was also Heidi of Polka Dots and Blooms who makes textile items out of vintage fabric. One of my personal favorite pieces are these little cat purses she does, such as the one here (and if that link fails because the item has sold, just go to her shop. There are others.) Her IPod/IPhone covers make me wish I had an IPod to cover!
Heidi Adnum was also at the meetup with tons of advice on how to take good pictures for selling items online, something that continues to give me fits. But I picked up her handout and will be reading through it most carefully.
Over the next little while I'd like to find the Etsy shops of other sellers I met who, like me, didn't have business cards printed up, so if you were one of these people, please email me or post a comment or convo me on Etsy!