Welcome to our first Q & A Thursday! We are thrilled that our first interview is with the lovely Becky Wareing, Denver Handmade Alliance Board President. The DHA is a fantastic, inclusive group of hand-makers in the Denver area. Gobble up all the good stuff that DHA has goin' on!
Horseshoe (HS): Can you tell us a little bit about how Denver Handmade Alliance came to be? (when you started, inspiration…)
Denver Handmade Alliance (DHA): The DHA started with a conversation in the summer of 2009 between a group of crafters who wanted more from their local scene and decided to do something about it. We had our first official event in October of 2009, Art by Craft, which was a month long exhibit focusing on craft based mediums shown in a fine art setting. The closing reception was a craft market to help further connect the local community to it’s local hand-makers and we are excited to be hosting the 2nd Annual Art by Craft Exhibit and Market this coming October with the support of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
HS: How many members do you currently have?
DHA: We currently have about 70 members but applications are flooding in on a daily basis.
HS: What does it mean to be a part of the DHA? What are the benefits of membership? Can you tell us a little more about what the committees do?
DHA: The DHA is a completely volunteer run organization so membership fees go directly back to the members, whether it’s for social events, workshops, markets, etc. The benefits of membership are numerous, you get to stay in the loop with our monthly member’s only e-newsletter, a nifty membership banner for your website, a membership to the DHA Etsy Street Team, discounted rates for DHA workshops and markets, but best of all you are part of a wonderfully, supportive group of hand-makers in your area.
The committees provide other opportunities for people to get involved with the group. Since we are volunteer run we are always looking for more people to get involved with event planning, markets, workshops, social events, website, blog, you name it. It’s a great way for people to get their voices heard.
HS: What’s been one of the greatest accomplishments/events/milestones for the DHA?
DHA: We are in the process of applying for non-profit status and with the help of our trusty board and our fabulous Secretary we are well on our way to finishing mounds of paper work and in my book that’s pretty darn exciting. It’s also been just incredible to see the support from the local community, it hasn’t even been a year and we’ve partnered with so many wonderful organizations, hosted two craft markets, three workshops and various social events.
HS: What’s in store for the DHA in the coming months? In the coming year?
DHA: We are busy with planning the Art by Craft Exhibit and Market for October (applications will be out soon) and some great workshops for the fall to help get our local hand-makers get ready for the holiday market season. In the next year we plan to add a summer market to our yearly schedule as well as continue on with our Spring Market the Crafty Ballyhoo! that we did this past spring in correlation with Create Denver Week. But I think most of all we just really want to continue uniting the local handmade scene, while educating the public about buying local and handmade.
HS: Where do you think the future of handmade in Denver is going? What is DHA’s role with that?
DHA: I see so much opportunity in this city, the handmade movement is taking off worldwide and I really think Denver can be one of the leading forces in that movement. We already have an amazing art, design and music scene so I am really confident that our city will keep moving forward and really make a name for itself in the global scope. I see the DHA continuing it’s efforts in getting people involved and opening up a dialogue about more craft-based mediums that I think have been a bit shunned by the art and design world in the past.
HS: Do you have any advice for a novice hand-maker looking to get connected to the crafting community in Denver?
DHA: I think the most important step to take is to get involved. If you don’t see what you’d like to see happening then get out there and do it. We love empowering our members to take ownership of their ideas and make something incredible happen. Find a local craft night in your neighborhood, I met so many wonderful people at Fancy Tiger Craft’s Open Craft Night that they host Tuesdays from 6pm-9pm. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and get exposed to different crafty mediums. Oh yeah and join the DHA!
HS: What are some of your must have handmaking/crafting resources?
DHA: Etsy! It’s a great resource not just for shopping but they also have an incredible blog with all sorts of great information for individuals looking to start or improve their small craft-based businesses. I also really enjoy Ravelry for knitting and crochet patterns. As far as local goes, Fancy Tiger Crafts has been a huge support to the handmade movement in Denver and they offer really amazing classes.
HS: Favorite spots to craft in Denver?
DHA: Well of course craft night at Fancy Tiger, busses, parks, a friend’s house, really anywhere I find myself with materials in tow.
HS: Favorite place to eat?
DHA: I love Le Central! They have the best mussels and it’s incredibly affordable.
HS: Best coffee?
DHA: I actually don’t do coffee; I have enough energy naturally so it just kicks me into over-drive. Although I love the hot chocolate at Sweet Action, they use their hot fudge to make it, yum!
Thanks so much, Becky! Get involved, all you crafty-folk! Also, become a member of DHA and you will receive a discounted booth at the Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market! Also, don't forget to Fan us on Facebook and follow this blog to be eligible for upcoming crafty GIVEAWAYS.
As DHA likes to say, GO CRAFT :)