Me, attempting some hand-stitching on a beautiful spring day at Squam. Photo source: Maya Made.
It has been over a week since I returned home from my second annual trip to Squam Art Workshops. I've waited to blather on about it because the task of capturing the profundity of it all is staggering and because I am sure to fall short.
Nighttime knitting in our cabin. Photo source: Julie Dillion
When we arrived the first night, excited and anxious, wondering what was coming next, we were greeted by the retreat's founder Elizabeth, who directed our attention to a handmade banner that read: "This is It!" She reminded us that the retreat would be best approached with an open heart and with no expectations.
I needed to hear it. I knew it to be true, but still, the charge that "this was it" was both comforting and terrifying to me. I knew that in the quiet and calm of the New Hampshire woods I would certainly have the opportunity to rest and to stitch but that I would probably miss my family too and that the time and space might allow for thinking about things that were hard.
That being said, this trip, like the last, was primarily joy-filled. My cabinmates were hilarious and whole-hearted in their efforts to help and care for one another. I whiled the hours happily away with my roomate who is a gifted writer, a truly generous soul, and a night owl. We could not have been more skillfully matched. There was yarn bombing galore - toadstools poking out from the underbrush, canoes in sweaters, large stones wrapped in handknits, nothing is safe...
The things that I made were humble but carefully crafted. I spent one day working through different methods for making short rows. If you are a knitting nerd you know what short rows are, but if not - they are used for adding shape to garments and they are all the rage. You can use short rows to add a bit of ease in to the bust of a sweater (as in the swatch example below), you could use them to shape a hem or neckline, I did so here. Here is another example of short row shaping used to make the overlapping circular fronts of a sweater. Gudrun Johnston taught the class. She was charming and clever. It was a dream to meet her.
I spent two more half days learning to print on upcycled fabric with the luminous Maya Donenfeld. We then used our printed fabric to stitch up a couple of pouches. The stitching was done primarily by hand and primarily out-of-doors. I loved the freedom to get away from the machines and to be outside.
The retreat is celebrated on the last night with an art fair. There were many rare treats to be found there including the gorgeous knitting tools sold by Fringe Supply Co. and Cal Patch's original designs to name a couple. I was thrilled to be included as a vendor this year too. It was such a fun way to meet people. One sweet woman (Angela, are you out there?) even admitted that she had recognized me from the blog. Wow!!! And I met others who I had connected with via Instagram. Sometimes I love you so much social media...
Photo Source: Heather Classen.
I think that Elizabeth's reminder, that - this is it! is so totally right on. And, I think that if you're thinking of attending Squam, there is one thing that you CAN expect. The group is relatively diverse, last year I met my dear friend Felicia from Australia and this year, Maltina, from Germany. In spite of their diverse reasons for being at Squam, though, one simple thing is sure, each attendee is there to make time for art. We make time for art.
And you? How are you making time for art this summer?
Joining Frontier Dreams today over here:)