News updates and goings-on

  • World Oceans Day: Inspiring Ugly

    At last night’s workshop at Plush, one of the participants made a fish – a pretty gnarly looking fish she named Mightia Uglianus. She was inspired by World Oceans Day, which is a UN-designated oceans conservation day held on June 8th every year. Her message is, well, grim:


    She’s not the first participant to channel her anxiety about the state of our natural world into her creature. Here’s Pam’s video from the workshop last month:


    Have you channeled your fears, feelings or anxieties into things you create?

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  • Workshop Next Week – Register Soon!

    June 7th Mighty Ugly Workshop

    Just a reminder, dear uglies, that the next workshop is Monday, June 7th, from 7-9PM at Plush on Main in Vancouver. It’s filling up, so if you’ve been holding off, now’s the time to register!

    What: Create a hideous creature, thus using your brain and your creativity in shiny new ways, while chatting with others and getting your craft on (no crafts experience necessary!).

    How much: $35 (includes all supplies, use of tools, and pointers if you want ‘em)

    Who: You. And me. And bring a friend. And make some new ones.

    Register: Please contact Barbara at 604-708-5199 or to reserve your spot (only 12 spots available!).

    Note: Because Plush’s workroom is used for serious work, no food or drinks are permitted. Please grab a bite to eat before you come. You’ll be so focused on creating your ugly you’d forget to munch, anyway.

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  • Mighty Ugly at the Summit of Awesome

    Summit of Awesome graphicShoshana and I are going to hit the road in a couple of weeks, with a trunkful of Mighty Ugly. We’re chill and modest, so we’re thinking of it as our INTERNATIONAL DEBUT.

    The Summit of Awesome is put on by promoters of handmade business Hello Craft, and here’s how they describe it:

    The Summit of Awesome is an annual conference that brings together crafters and makers from across the U.S. to learn, grow, and be prosperous in this ever-changing economy.
    The sessions strike a good balance between business and crafts, and I’ll be leading three of them:
    • Mighty Ugly: Challenge Yourself to Make Some Ugly – Without even realizing it, since we were kids we’ve taken on some major pressure to create pretty, good-looking, cute, and dare I say even perfect things. When we have a tough time of it, sometimes we give up. We limit our crafting to the techniques and mediums we feel most confident with. We judge ourselves harshly enough that we even feel great stress. Well let’s turn all that upside-down, shall we? Come spend an hour making a creature that’s hideous. On purpose. Free your mind. Giggle nervously. Relax into the safety of failure, which in this case is kinda pretty. It’s the Mighty Ugly project, and it’s time you took the challenge.
    • How to Pitch a Magazine or Blog (with Jena Covey) – Every crafty entrepreneur loves press coverage, but you can’t wait for the press to find you – you have to knock right on the virtual door of media outlets and introduce yourself! We’ll discuss how to pitch your shop and products to blogs and magazines: which publications you should pitch to, the dos and don’ts to include in your intro email, what to expect, how to follow up, how to approach an editor or blogger about writing an article or a guest post, and much more. You’ll find the confidence you need to get out there and start showing the press how awesome you are!
    • Taking the Pressure Off: When Ugly is Mighty – Ever have crafts block? The ideas dry up, even when you feel huge pressure to be making things for business or just for fun. Ever have an idea for a new product, but you can’t quite seem to make it look or feel right? Of course you have. As crafters, we spend much of our time striving for beauty and even for perfection, and we avoid the squirmy uncomfortableness that comes with exploring beauty’s nasty underbelly: hideousness. So let’s talk about ugly stuff. If we allow ourselves to go there, we can end up inspired in ways we never imagined, fearless and fuelled up to create magnificently beautiful things. That’s what this talk is about. You should come.

    If you’re going to the Summit, make sure to say hello to Shoshana – it’ll be her first time across the border, and she’ll be nervous. We’ll have loads of Mighty Ugly Moo mini-cards to hand out, and I’m going to make up buttons, too. So saying hello to Shoshana will be rewarded with prizes!

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  • Stories from the May 10th Workshop

    Mighty Ugly Crafts NightLast week, a dozen people filled the workroom at Plush on Main for our first workshop. How I fell in love with that space! And with each and every one of the participants and their creatures (ok, yes, I was already in love with the ones I’m related to – my partner and his mom were there, too).

    Folks had some pretty interesting things to say about their motivations and their experience, and I’m pretty sure the level of laughter in the room indicated everyone had a good time. Imaginations were on overdrive, as you’ll see from the stories, below: there’s mention of nuclear disaster, a bender in Vegas, technology as the antithesis of art, anxiety about the health of our oceans, gender identity confusion, the gangster crafting underworld, a little bit of murder, fear of crafting, thoughts on colour…

    Here’s the playlist of videos from the evening. To navigate between videos, simply move your mouse over the video, and thumbnails and arrows will appear; you can also click the rectangular button next to the “play” button to make the navigation appear. If you’d prefer to watch and comment on the videos individually, you can do so on our YouTube channel (and don’t be shy – we’d love to be your YouTube friend!). Photos from the evening are in the Flickr group.

    Jen, creator of the bender-in-Vegas creature named Battina, wrote about her experience on her blog.

    The next workshop at Plush is on Monday, 7th June. *nudge nudge*


    (If you attended the workshop and you’d like to add to your story, let me know! Also let me know if I spelled your name wrong and I’ll correct it right away.)

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  • Gettin’ Ugly at Northern Voice

    Last weekend was the annual Northern Voice personal blogging conference here in Vancouver. I had a great time handing out the new Mighty Ugly Moo mini cards, but beyond that I was psyched that some ugly creatures got some sweet attention.

    My friend Kimli Welsh led a session at the conference about overcoming social anxiety in part by using online social media. And she gave out some swag bags. And into ten of those swag bags went creatures people made at the very first Mighty Ugly crafts night I held at my house. I joked with Kimli that she might give out the first swag bags in the history of swag bags that recipients might want to return…

    Thanks to Monica for these great pics!

    ETA: Check out Ariane Colenbrander’s post about the ugly doll she got in her swag bag.

    Mighty Ugly @ Northern Voice

    photo credit Monica Miller

    Mighty Ugly Moo Mini Card

    photo credit Monica Miller

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  • All the Ugly News That’s Fit to Email

    It’s been nearly a month since I launched the project. What a month! I’m so enjoying hearing from you all about your adventures in ugly.

    And so I figure it’s a good time to start up an email newsletter. Not a frequent newsletter, just a good way for us to keep you informed about upcoming events, workshops and special offers, and about any special challenges Shoshana and I have up our sleeves (mental note: make Shoshana sleeves).

    We won’t annoy you and we won’t share your email with anyone. So sign up today (there’s a sign-up form in the sidebar, too)!

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