AHAS 2016 Master Maker Award

ahas_awards2 copyPhoto credits: Charlie Wright, AHAS

I was honored recently to receive the 2016 Master Maker Award from the Academy of Handmade Artists and Supporters (AHAS).  AHAS is an independent organization that provides professional support to the maker community through an active calendar of programming and online resources.  Their signature event is an annual awards ceremony  – an evening designed to recognize and celebrate creatives for handmade product development, entrepreneurial endeavors and community building.  It was a lovely event spearheaded by AHAS president Sharon Fain, her tireless crew of amazing volunteers and generous sponsors.

ahas_awards1Photo credits: AHAS

It was my pleasure to share a few words of thanks at the awards ceremony, which I’ll share with you here as well:

“I’m fairly certain the last time I received an award in front of a group of people was in the gymnasium of the elementary school I attended in the third grade, so thank you very much! I want to say thank you to the wonderful folks at CreativeLive who I know have sponsored this portion of our evening.  I also want to extend a very sincere and warm thank you to the Academy of Handmade.  When you work in an industry like ours that is largely self regulated, without anything like a union to look out for our best interests – we look to independent organizations like a AHAS in part for tools to help us grow our businesses, to help us develop best practices and to help us build community – which I think is so important not only for support but also inspiration.

I have to confess that when Sharon initially contacted me about this, my immediate reaction to the designation of master maker was equal parts flattered and panicked. In my mind a “Master Maker” was someone who had it all figured out…and I am here to tell you that that is simply not the case.  Well into my 40s I am still working hard every day – working hard to do good work and to figure it out.  I assume that most of you in this room are entrepreneurs or small business owners, or perhaps like me you are part of the “gig economy” working as an independent contractor and juggling multiple jobs – hoping that at the end of the day they equal one full job.  It’s a real challenge.

I think as creatives, as designers and makers and artists we are presented with a very unique equation to solve and that is balancing a pursuit of passion, the desire to live within one’s giftedness, and the desire to use the talents we’ve been given – balancing all of those with the very real necessity of making a livelihood and paying our bills.  And as someone who has worked in this industry for many years, I can tell you one thing that will make working through that equation so much easier and that is collegiality. There is no room in what we do for speaking ill of one another or tearing one another down.  We are going to get so much more out of our small businesses, out of our daily creative practices and quite frankly our lives by building one another up…and simply being kind.”

In advance of the awards ceremony, AHAS featured an interview with me on their blog, which you can find here.

To read a full recap of the evening’s events, please see this post on the AHAS blog and see the great video feature below! And to learn more about the Academy of Handmade Artists and Supporters, their programming, resources and membership, please visit: academyofhandmade.com