As I write this, I’m sitting on a plane somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean. It’s 3am (although, on a transatlantic flight, time doesn’t have much meaning!). Most of the fellow passengers around me are asleep, but I’m far too excited for sleep…
Because I’m flying home from Salt Lake City, where I attended the Cricut Mountain Make-A-Thon 2018! It was the MOST AMAZING week! I’m honestly still full of adrenaline from all the stuff that’s happened… where do I even begin?!
The Cricut Make-A-Thon 2018
The Cricut Make-A-Thon was, without a doubt, the most exciting, inspiring and downright fun craft event I’ve ever been to. A whole 2 and a half days of crafting, networking and learning. I don’t think I can quite explain how amazing it was… but I’ll try!
This year’s Cricut Make-A-Thon took place in the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. You guys, it was so fancy. I did a little tour over on my Instagram if you want to see more (including a look at my huuuuge hotel room!). Just head to my Instagram and watch the “Utah” Stories highlights.
The main conference suite was decked out in the most insanely intricate sets you could imagine. Of course, most of it had been made on a Cricut. 🙂 Yep, even the quilt, table decorations, wall art, cushions, vinyl stickers, toys and clothes you can see in my photos. I’m telling you, Cricut machines are bloody awesome!
Let’s get this party started
The Make-A-Thon kicked off with an opening ceremony from Cricut CEO Ashish (who’s a total dude, by the way – everyone went crazy for him!). Ashish set the scene of the conference with a little overview of Cricut’s past, present and future… with some teasers at new products to come.
In true Cricut style, the opening ceremony had to include some hands on crafting. Within 30 minutes, we were already hard at work on our first project of the week; a vinyl-decorated reusable cup! Yep, the whole 375 attendees (plus staff!) all crafting at the same time. It was pretty cool.
My talks at the Cricut Make-A-Thon
Not only did I attend the event, I also spoke at it too! In fact, the awesome peeps at Cricut UK flew me out to Salt Lake City and put me up for the whole event (seriously, am I dreaming?). They even let Gareth come with me!
I was actually the only man on the line-up, and one of just a handful of international speakers. It was awesome to be repping it for all the guys out there, and for the British crafters that couldn’t make it such a long distance.
I ran three events across the Cricut Make-A-Thon, each one focusing on using the Circuit Maker to cut fabrics. It was a great opportunity to combine my love of sewing and my obsession with Cricut!
The talks went really well; I got some great feedback from attendees and fellow staff that managed to sit in. I’ve said this before, but I flipping love talking at craft events. I really, really, really love it. Getting to connect with a room full of fellow crafters is just so special to me. Fingers crossed for many more events to come!
I was not prepared for this…
Something that I was totally not prepared for was the amount of recognition I got. It seemed that every time I walked down the main hallway, someone would stop me for a selfie, or tell me that they love reading my blog.
I was even interviewed live by the Australian Cricut team, after one of their fans requested that they feature me! Apparently, I have lots of loyal Aussie readers, which blows my mind. (Special shout out to Linda from the Aussie Facebook group, who I hope is reading this!!).
All of this recognition really surprised me, and moved me. I pinch myself every day that people actually read this blog. After all, I’m just a guy, sitting in his craft room, making stuff!
If you’re one of the people I met at the conference, THANK YOU for making it such a special event (and for making me feel like a celebrity for a few days, haha!). It means more to me than you know. Thank you.
Rubbing shoulders with the greats!
Although I primarily attended the Cricut Make-A-Thon as a speaker, I did get a few chances to sit in on other classes. I learnt photography, styling and craft tips from some super cool teachers – including Cori George (from Hey, Let’s Make Stuff), Charynn Olsheski (from Pineapple Paper Co) and Kristen Johnson (from A Girl and Her Glitter).
I was also lucky enough to bump into the ohhh-so-amazing Lia Griffith and her team. If you don’t know Lia, she’s an absolute master of paper flowers. I’m talking serious skills. So much so, that she’s launched a full range of crafting products, books and collaborations under her brand. Serious inspiration right there. It was amazing to meet her!
As if all of this wasn’t enough, the keynote speaker of the event was the paper-craft queen herself… Anna Griffin. I really enjoyed her live Q&A, where we got to learn more about her career journey, love of crafts and her favourite paper craft styles.
Repping it for the Brits!
Now, I mentioned earlier that I was one of the few British speakers at the Cricut Make-A-Thon. Do you want to know who the others were? None other that the super cool duo behind Bespoke Bride, Jess and Emily!
I first met Jess and Emily at a Cricut event in London earlier this year. It was so great to meet them again over in Salt Lake City! We actually spent a lot of time together throughout the Cricut Make-A-Thon; going for dinner and hanging out between classes. We even went to a suuuuper cool interactive art gallery one evening (more on that in a later blog post!). I feel like we became besties by the end of it!
Christmas came early!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Cricut conference without plenty of goodies! I ended up with more craft supplies than I could fit in my suitcase… thank goodness I had Gareth with me, so I could overflow into his luggage! 🙂
I was blown away by the generosity of Cricut and the event sponsors (Jo-Ann and Michaels). I’ve come home laden with vinyl, paper, card, cutting mats, craft pens, Cricut mats and blades, and even a Cricut BrightPad. It really is like Christmas has come early!
I can’t wait to get crafting with it all and to show you guys what I make with it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share more about Salt Lake City itself, and what I got up to outside of the conference.
But for now, I want to end on a huge THANK YOU to Cricut. At the risk of getting all soppy, I’ll be forever grateful to them for inviting me along. This blog post has barely scratched the surface of what an amazing event the Cricut Make-A-Thon 2018 was.
I learnt a heck of a lot, and truly developed my skills as a crafter and a speaker. I made some invaluable contacts, which have opened the doors to some exciting new business opportunities. Not only that, I also made some seriously awesome new friends. I’ll never forget this week; it was bloody amazing.
Same time again next year?! 🙂 – Mike.