29 July 2011

My Winding Journey to Joy

"The gathering of gifted and kindred souls in the name of creativity has unforeseeable wonders ready to unravel in each twist and turn of our winding journey to joy."

~ Jill Badonsky

The older I get the more that I agree with this statement. It is no longer a luxury for me. It is a necessity.

My birthday is next month (stay tuned for more fun to come!). I share a birthday with someone who has become one of my very best friends. Heather Powers.

I first spotted her (beads) on the pages of a magazine.

I contacted her through her blog.

We grew a friendship through email.

We connected over art beads.

We met in real life and it just keeps getting better.

I feel very blessed that our paths crossed.

When we first met in person, Heather trusted me enough to share a secret. She was writing a book. Or at the time, a book proposal. And driving around (okay, getting lost in) Milwaukee (with me just pretending we were seeing the pretty sights) I was completely enamored of the idea that someone I might know would write a book. Because that is a hope of mine one day.

It has taken a few years, but that little seed of an idea that Heather shared with me has grown into the most marvelous of books. I know. I have seen the proof copy with my own eyes. I have held it in my hand and oohed and ahhed. It is something you will want on your bookshelf or coffee table. Trust me.

To spread the seed of creativity to others, Heather came up with a brilliant idea: the Inspired By Nature retreat. What would be better than spending a nice long weekend on the shores of the beautiful Lake Michigan, soaking up the creative juices from a respected and prolific artist? To be in a serene and lovely setting with other like-minded individuals creating and sharing and inspiring each other. That, my friends is heaven.

As a birthday present to me, I signed up for the Inspired by Nature retreat. Last time I checked there were only 3 spaces left, so if you are interested, you should rush right over and find out if you can join in the fun.

Earlier this year I had went to ArtBliss in Washington, D.C. put on by the ever lovely Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix Ryan. The class was with Stephanie Lee of Semi-Precious Salvage fame, and it was one of those defining moments for me. It was a great time. I met new people. Connected with friends (like Tracy and Lori) I only knew online. Created things that I never thought would be possible for me. It was marvelous.

I really value the time that I spent in these creative communities. If you haven't gone to a creative retreat yourself, I highly recommend it. It will nurture your creative soul to be surrounded by those who 'get' you. You will come away with a renewed sense of purpose and a completely enhanced skill set. You will make friendships that will continue even across the miles.

I think that from now on I will be making creative retreats a permanent part of my year. I will be seeking a new one out to either go to solo or to attend with a friend. And maybe I will even seek out retreats that that aren't jewelry related, because pursuing other artistic endeavors allows me to expand my own creative horizons.

Here are some other art retreats that I have considered in the past (and will consider for the future - anyone interested?):

Valley Ridge Art Studio - This retreat is held right here in my home state of Wisconsin. This southern Wisconsin art collective is nestled among the rolling hills in a most bucolic setting. They attract big players like Thomas Mann, Susan Lenart Kazmer and Keith Lo Bue. But they fill up fast. Taking something there is going to be a goal of mine for 2012.

Art & Soul - I think that these might be the granddaddy of them all. How cool would it be to wing my way to Portland (a city I would love to visit!) and soak up the indie community there while immersing myself in art.
Here are the upcoming dates:
Portland 2011 ept 26/Oct 2, 2011
Virginia 2012 March 1-6, 2012
Las Vegas 2012 June 14-18, 2012
Portland 2012 Sept 30/Oct 6, 2012
Maybe one of these years!

Art Unraveled - Sounds like a lot of fun! The next one is starting on August 1st with a theme of Coloring Outside the Lines. And along with that, they also put on Adorn Me that will be in February 2012. The amount of variety in the classes is just staggering. And the talent! I would want to take classes from Diane Cook, Jen Cushman, Lora Hart, Janice Berkebile, Mary Hettmansperger, Thomas Mann, Jane & Richard Salley, Tracy Stanley, Kim St Jean, and Deryn Mentock (to name but a few). This one is a must do one of these years! Who's with me?

Getting away to a cabin in the woods to create? That sounds like the best sort of vacation to me! I have always had my eye on the Squam Art Workshops for that purpose.

And last, but certainly not least, the ArtBliss workshop that is coming up this fall is shaping up to be one dynamite event. If I hadn't blown my class-taking wad on the mini-ArtBliss this spring, I would be signing myself up for this one scheduled for September 23-25 in D.C. Classes with Kerry Bogert, Robert Dancik, and Christine Damm? I would have a hard time choosing!

But even if you can't get to a retreat, why not find a friend locally and get together for a little creativity session of your own. My friend Sharon and I have our eye on doing just that in the coming months! Or try a virtual creative meet up with people all around the world with the upcoming Bead Soup party... sign-ups are August 1-3!

Your turn...

Have you ever been to one of these creative retreats or another? Do tell so that we can live vicariously through you!
What would you like to do at a creative retreat... learn new skills? connect with others of the same mind? relax and be free? try a new art form? eat, drink and be merry? would you go alone or with a friend? would you travel across the country - or world - for one, or only if it were close by?
Do tell!


Kristi said...

Fun story, I can imagine exactly how you feel. I can't wait to get the book!!

I'll be at Art and Soul in Portland, 2 classes with Barbara Lewis. So looking forward to it. Hope to meet other online friends too!

Tracy Statler said...

What a great summary of the creative retreats out there right now! I have been eyeing Art & Soul for awhile now - I think VA Beach could be likely - but I would want to go with a friend. I am going to join Cindy and Jeanette in September at Art Bliss (for more than dinner) and yes, I am having a hard time choosing my classes because they have put together so many great options! Sure would be great to see you soon at a future event. Definitely Bead & Button next year! Heather's book does look beautiful. Looking forward to it!

EmandaJ said...

Twice a year (whether I need it or not -- and I always do), I sign up for our Quilt Guild's four day retreat. This is a time for me to fill the well and spend precious time with my wonderful, creative, supportive, artistic friends. I LIVE for retreat!


Kim Stevens said...

Oh and don't forget Adorn Me! in Houston next year at the end of February, beginning of March!!! It's in my neck of the woods . . . go to artunraveled dot com and Adorn Me will be right beneath it!!

JeannieK said...

I think it's so important to have the support of friend(s)that have the same passion you do. Especially in this business. You lucky girl.

I have never been to one of these retreats and I don't see any in my future. The only retreats I have ever attended are the Health and Fitness ones I teach at.

Brandi said...

I've never gone to a retreat, but I'd love to one day! Maybe ArtBliss to see Cindy and Lori...

Holly said...

I've never been to a retreat, but it's on my bucket list, that's for sure! Don't forget about Art Is... held in my home state of Connecticut - here's the info http://www.art-is-you.com/mysitecaddy/site3/

Off the Beadin' Path said...

How timely! I could use a retreat right now, somewhere shady and peaceful, except maybe there would be the sound of hammers or torches and laughter!! And yes, we do have our own "Patina With A Friend" retreat coming up! We're both caught up in a whirlwind summer right now, Yikes, could it go any faster?! You introduced Heather's book in such a nice way, who could resist it? To answer your question about what I would do at a retreat, it would be everything you mentioned except I would prefer to stay closer to home, just to save time! Unless it were located in Italy, of course!

Shaiha said...

I haven't attended a retreat yet though I have promised myself that I would attend Artfest. I really have no excuse as I live within driving distance. Only about 90 miles and it really is a beautiful drive.

steufel said...

Ohhh, if only I could join all of you someday. I vote for retreats in Europe. Now:-)

Designs by Dawn Marie said...

Hey Erin, sooooo excited for you and Heather! Excited that you are able to explode your creativity in a class setting meeting other artisans and excited for Heather about her new book. It looks absolutely divine!

I'm going to live vicariously through you! Can't wait to hear all your stories and see your creations. Happy pre-birthday! We all need reasons to celebrate on a regular basis!


Softflexgirl said...

This is such a sweet and thoughtful post!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin