Thursday, September 30, 2010

Retreat is a Treat

This week I am hosting a quilting/fiber retreat at my house. Guests arrived this afternoon, and it's 11:39 pm as I write this, and we're just settling down for bed. (Save me, the night owl, who scampered off to my room with my laptop to write this!)

The creativity is already flying! I have a top nearly quilted already - just some final touches and then embellishments to go. We've been "watching" the Quilting Arts series on DVD while we sew/quilt/paint/draw/sketch away! Another has a top put together for Quilts of Valor and may be quilting on it tomorrow already!
I randomly stop everyone for a "tutorial" some some product or technique I have been toying with. This is such an invaluable opportunity for me, to be able to practice teaching/sharing information with others. So far we have covered: paint sticks, Inktense Pencils and a new pattern/technique I am working on.

It is so very important to have people to share these sort of things with. Even if it's just one or two people that you know. There is a certain flurry of creativity that can happen in a group dynamic that feels completely different than when I am working alone. You start to feed off one another's energy adn creative levels. You learn new things, you share new things with the others. Ideas are formed, projects started, and experience is gained.

Personally, I am not the type of "retreater" that comes with a laundry list of UFOs to work on and complete. I don't care for that - to me that is simply bringing some guilt along with me. I prefer to start the retreat with no specific projects in mind - or ideally there to start new ones. I retreat more like artist retreats work.

I am simply there to let creativity start through sizzle and snap and run through me in electric currents. I am there to try new ideas, absorb ideas and opinions from the others. I also have a big desire to share things I have discovered with the others. Most importantly, I want to get them to try new things!

So what makes a perfect quilting retreat for me?
  • Awesome and open minded friends/peers
  • Everyone shares two or three (or more) techniques they've come across or invented
  • I have a clean slate to start a new project
  • Visit at least one quilt shop/fabric store
  • Sketchbook
  • Camera
  • Quilting/Creatively inspiring media/music
  • Good food, coffee and wine!
The best part for me right now, is having a sounding board right here in my home, for what to be offering here at The Fiber Nation!

I also am appreciating the physical nature of our work. Our hands are involved in every bit of our art, and I thought it might be interesting to start documenting hands at work and play at my retreats and those I attend! So here are a couple of hands in motion so far:
You'll noticed on the sidebar that I have a poll started, on footwear preference while sewing. There is a definite preference at this small retreat:
 Please take a moment to answer our poll! (And if you want, send me an image of YOUR foot preference at and I will post them on the site here!)

Now we're off for a bit of shopping - Hello Blick Arts!


  1. Keep having fun at your retreat. Wish I was there! Terry

  2. PS--my preference to sew without shoes.