While Canberra may be better known for its policy makers than its crafting abilities, it is also home to an emerging creative community using craft to bring people together.
Leading this charge is designer, photographer, blogger and founder of Canberra Creatives, Mikaela Danvers. Since launching Canberra Creatives in 2012 as an online community for like-minded creative folk, Danvers has expanded the business to offer boutique workshops on topics ranging from blogging to crocheting and silversmithing. She has also opened drop-in studio space The Makers’ Hub in Macquarie and launched The Makers’ Box, a monthly craft-in-a-box project kit delivered by post.
“People can often feel isolated when it comes to creativity. They feel like they’re the only weird ones who enjoy making things,” Mikaela says.
“My friends, for example, are very analytical and definitely not creative. I knew there were other people like me out there, and I wanted to connect with them.”
Mikaela, a former graphic design teacher, initially ran the business in her spare time, offering resin jewellery workshops in community centres and other non-permanent locations. Eventually, the hassle of packing, setting up and bringing home craft equipment for each workshop drove Mikaela to seek a more practical solution.
“I wanted my own space where I could run workshops and connect creative individuals,” she says.
She completed a business plan, got the green light from her accountant and opened The Makers’ Hub in March this year after crowd-funding some of the start up costs. Mikaela and her team of craft and small business experts offer weekly workshops, as well as access to a kiln, 3D printer and printing press and a small exhibition space.
“My accountant is a bit of a mentor and she had an instant belief in what I wanted to do,” Mikaela explains. “I had a backup plan in case things didn’t work out. If I failed, I knew it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
“You don’t know when it’s going to be the right time. I’m lucky that my husband has a good job and can support us both while I’m in the early stages of launching the business.
“My last goal was to open The Makers’ Hub, and now it’s time to sit down and think about what’s next. My plans evolve all the time.”
If you’re keen to see what Canberra Creatives has to offer, Mikaela is running a Makers’ Day on Saturday 6 September from 12pm at Majura Community Hall. It’s a community event where you can meet other designers, artists, crafters and illustrators, and includes mini workshops, demonstrations and creative challenges.
“I want to encourage people to not be afraid of dropping into the Hub or trying a class. You don’t need to bring a friend to our workshops – it’s perfectly fine to come on your own. Come and say hello and give it a go,” she says.