from the field: forage symposium

What began as a Facebook group conversation about the challenges of working for oneself and building a creative business developed into a gathering of creatives on a small island off the west cost of Canada this past August. Presenters included Fiona Richards (Cartolina Cards), illustrator Douglas Jones, Leslie Shewring (A Creative Mint), Tamara Komuniecki (Delish Magazine) and moreKari Woo, a jeweller living in Canmore, shares more about the Forage Symposium

Bryan and Mariko, Feedlot Studios

Bryan and Mariko, Feedlot Studios

photo by Jenn Chic

photo by Jenn Chic

Mariko Paterson McCrae, ceramic artist a co-owner of Feedlot Studios on Gabriola Island courageously came forward early in the conversation to offer her studio as our venue. Luckily for everyone Feedlot is co-owned by Mariko’s husband, graphic designer Bryan McCrae, who was very much the all-things-technical support team. This magnificent setting provided the perfect retreat ambience for this fine gathering and a stellar behind-the-scenes crew of local artists, supporters, and small businesses helped to bring it all together.

A Gathering of Ideas + Makers, the symposium was an opportunity for inspiration and learning. Three days of jam-packed content included topics on how to use social media successfully, where to find funding for creative projects, partnership and collaboration and how to find your audience. We discussed the pros and cons of consignment vs. wholesale venues; brick and mortar vs. online; outsourcing production vs. keeping it in-house. Panels deliberated about time and money management, delegating, prioritizing and balancing family life with work.

Thanks to size and magic of our venue it felt like we were sitting around someone’s (albeit large) living room facilitating the intimacy of our discussions. Panelists were open and honest, sometimes standing on the edge of vulnerability. They shared both victory moments and challenges, advice about what to do and what not to do based on lessons learned, as well as valuable technical and industry information.

Personally, I already see the tangible outcomes that my attendance is having on both my creative and business practices. The nuggets that I gleaned from this bounty of information were solid affirmations with philosophical and practical implications. We are all scared, but who cares? Get over it. Just do what you want to do. Do your research and figure it out. Be prepared for success!

UPPERCASE was happy to provide complimentary magazines to Forage participants. Up next: more about Kari Woo.