All Things Silhouette is a crafters conference held 1-2 times a year in Peachtree City, GA for crafters that work with cutting machines, embroidery and sublimation. Silhouette is a brand of cutting machine with a more robust software than most others, so many come who use other machines but utilize their software. The conference is put on my Terri Johnson Creates. Terri has a licensing course for instructors and also puts on several other events. She is the Queen Bee of the Silhouette crafting community.
I have now attended the conference twice, once in November of 2018 and just recently June 2019. In November I was very nervous and unsure of what to expect, while in June I felt seasoned and a little more able to not only enjoy the time but realize I didn’t have to do “everything”. A quick overview of what to expect, the conference is 2-3 days (depending on the package you select), Saturday you can take up to 5 classes and Sunday you can take up to 3 classes. If you opt for the “ultimate” package, you get an extra longer class on Friday and a meet and greet with Silhouette America (at least this time you did). There is a vendor hall and they have anywhere from 10-12 large vendors there. This year there was even an overflow room and Michael’s was there doing a fun make and take cup. Friday evening the vendor hall opens and Sparkleberry Ink has sponsored a fun key chain make and take while you shop. Other vendors there included All About Blanks, Sparkleberry Ink, Heat Press Nation, Siser North America, Craft Chameleon, SewingMachine.com, Swing Design and H&H signs. Those were the ones there both times, a few others joined in this year as well, one selling echo park paper and the other another vinyl shop. The vendor hall is open specific hours throughout the conference and has a lot of good deals, but you do have to careful they are actually good deals, some seem better than others. I almost forgot about the goodies bags! This year we actually got 3 bags with the Ultimate package and a storage bin! Tons and tons of vinyl, tools and goodies, while I would never sign up just for the freebies I did think this year they had better ones than last year!
Classes, if you take ALL the class slots you would get 9 classes in the Ultimate Package, but beyond turning in your ticket to enter, no one takes attendance, so that is really up to you. Classes cover everything from designing to creating items. I find the design classes are the best for me, and other people go solely to make things and have fun with it. This year We R Memory Keepers sponsored a class using their new foil quill, so that was fun to see in action. My objection there was the project was too big for the time slot. This seems to be a common problem, so I do wish some classes would be longer to allow for projects to actually be finished. The instructors are incredible, friendly and kind. I always enjoy learning from them, of course I end up with ones I connect with more than others, but that is trial and error and learning/teaching styles for you. They all know their stuff though!
The main reason many of us go is to be around other crafters and creatives. You learn a ton just listening to others and learning what they do and how they do it. I’ve been inspired to create an entirely new craft or try something new, just by having a drink at the bar with someone. During lunch time they offer an optional swap time. You create 9 items and sit at a table with 9 other people and then each person hands out what they made for the table! Anyone from a beginner to seasoned people can participate and its really just to see what others are doing and creating. There are 2 other things to participate in, the first being the t-shirt contest, this is something everyone votes on which one they like the best. I don’t find this ends up being the most creative shirt or the best made one but the one that just resonates with people the most, and that’s ok too! As long as you know that going in. Last you can enter up to 3 things in a showcase, this is just a room with items displayed with directions to inpsire you to try new things and see how they did it! I entered 3 items and one was such a hit several instructors asked me how to do it and I did a tutorial on it here. It made my entire weekend that people who teach and do this for a living asked ME how to do it! At the end of the conference there are SEVERAL drawings for anything from a heat press, printers, cutting machines, etc. In November I won a printer that specifically prints cute little stickers and photos.
Ok so its not all rosy and perfect, everyone and every event can be improved upon. Here are my suggestions or wish list changes. First and this is by far my biggest annoyance, they need some basic classes for understanding things like installing fonts, basic design, understanding the send panel, etc. Almost every single one of my classes that were supposed to be advanced were slowed down by these questions. Some basic rules on items you should know and be proficient in before signing up for a class would help too. Second, I have food allergies and peanuts were EVERYWHERE, I ended up on so many medications my brain was a fog, I really wish they would opt for another snack. Third is the hotel itself, and this will be resolved, but it seems like the renovations are endless! So only two more and they are short, first far more advanced classes that maybe take up 2 time slots for more robust projects and lastly utilizing the space a bit better. I find they are a bit set on what it looked like before and not open to being more efficient with the space, its their conference but as someone who used to work in event planning it ends up with me rearranging the space in my head to make it work better for them! And don’t worry I’ve shared and will share all this with them, not complaining just looking at the less rosy side.
By far the best part of this conference is the people. Everyone is there to learn, create, be inspired. I chat with so many people, well with everyone if I am being honest, and learn from them but I feel like I give as much as I take. I am always inspired to try something new, improve something I am already doing or make new friends that maybe I wouldn’t have connected with before. I don’t know anyone that left there feeling like they didn’t get something from it, whether it be friendship, inspiration, creativity, new items to try, whatever it was, everyone took something positive away from it.
The next conference is November 8-9, 2019 in Peachtree City, GA. They are also doing a Sparkleberry Ink retreat in September, that will be smaller classes and more Sparkleberry Ink and I do love their product and people! It may be great for those intimidated by the size of the conference at 420 crafters, I’m sure the retreat will be a little more personable.
Did you attend ATS June 2019? Did you have fun? What did you learn or take away from it? Will I see you in November?
What a terrific overview! If folks have questions about the Conference, the organizers should send them here. Agree with you about the advanced classes. I think they are more about inclusion about that’s why they make the parameters more vague.
I liked meeting you at this Conference and now enjoying your blog! Thanx, Jerri
Thanks for checking out the blog Jerri! It was great to meet you too! I am glad you liked my review. I feel it’s honest without being judgmental. Big conferences are very hard to plan and be inclusive in! I totally agree that is likely why they do it, but I also think it may deter more experienced people from returning. I find the people I meet and the time I spend with other creatives to be worth it. Keep in touch!!
In the friday Curio class as we barely finished 1 of 2 projects scheduled. I love Elly and she shared a huge amount of info. I wish I had done more research on how to work with the Curio before I went. She did have several people from Sulhouette in the room helping people to troubleshoot problems. That was an enormous help. All the rest of my classes were lectures. Now I want to go back and do the fun stuff. And definitely take more Curio classes! I have to add, Elly did make a 55 minute video for us so that we can complete our second project.
Yes I loved Elly! I also did lectures my first ATS and then went back and did more hands on fun classes this last time. It was great! Do a balance between learning and having fun for sure! I downloaded Elly’s video but haven’t had a chance to do the project! I look forward to it and appreciate her doing that for us!
Christine Gravel says
Your overview of the conference is excellent. Your suggestion on a basic class is spot on and also my number one pet peeve. I also think more advanced classes for me would be beneficial. I’ve been using the cameo since 2011 so I need something that will challenge me more so I hope they see your blog which is very well written and take your suggestions. Your point of being around other creative people hits the mark of why I go to ATS.
Thank you! I appreciate that. I hope they do too! I remembered to fill out the survey this year so hopefully they hear it 🙂 Can’t wait to spend time together in Nov again!