“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was a simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The first still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.” ~Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds
I’d have to say that the rain became sort of a defining element of my Lucky Star Art Camp experience this year – there were rain jackets and galoshes and puddles and even a river running through, but none of it seemed to dampen anyone’s spirit. We just rearranged, worked it out, pulled up our galoshes and such and trudged right on through. That spirit of pursuing your passions without restraint was only lifted and magnified by the rain.
So, here’s how it all went… I got up bright and early Tuesday morning, loaded just about everything I own, puzzling it all out so I could get what I needed when I needed it and also have room for MORE stuff (cause there was going to be shopping, oh yes there was!) and set out for Lewisville Tuesday afternoon. In Lewisville, I met up with my sweet friend Laura to spend the night and prepare for the final leg to Lucky Star on Wednesday. There was a grand tour of Laura’s amazing studio, puppy cuddles (that’s Beau, pictured above), a trip to Ikea (my first!), a yummy meal and a soft place to lay my head before we jumped back on the road and headed for camp! Laura is a most gracious hostess and we’re already planning our next adventure to Canton Trade Days in early 2016!!
We had a fun drive down to Hunt and arrived to greet lots of familiar faces + some new ones (there were hugs), check out our cabin, eat the first of many to-die-for dinners, listen to an inspiring and heart-felt discussion with Bernadette Noll, and then wrap it all up with Mandy Rowden’s truth-telling – sorta near the fire (oh, the rain!).
Thursday morning, I was up with the sun to put the finishing touches on my classroom and jump into the first of my two classes, Monoprint Heartsongs Folio. My students were so amazing – absolutely fearless and eager to try everything I threw at them. And their books!! Each one was a unique expression and truly beautiful. I know there was a whole BUNCH of well-deserved bragging that evening.
Friday I taught my Monoprint Longstitch Journal and had so much fun. It was a bit rainy, but we were cozy and warm, listening to music, chatting and working oh-so-playfully. We tried a few different printing techniques and then used our favorite papers in the afternoon to make our books. I think you can tell from those smiles that everyone was thrilled with the end result.
Saturday I got to be a student and take an AMAZING class on Shibori, Making the World a Bluer Place. This was a class I’d been drooling over every day because the Thu and Fri classes were hanging their work right outside my classroom window. Let me tell you, Erin Lane was such a great teacher and she created just the most comfy and safe atmosphere for this slightly scary process. I absolutely ADORE what I made and cannot wait to do more!
Saturday evening was Lucky Star Show and Tell – there was Irish dancing and a guitar girls performance and lots of show and tell, including several of my students who stood up in front of everyone to brag about their beautiful books (my little ole heart just about burst with pride)! Oh, and there was a vendor fair too – that’s my table pictured above. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by – it was so much fun seeing your delight with what I had on offer and just talking and laughing together. Loved every moment!
If you’ve followed me over the years, you’ve seen me write about many different retreat experiences – I’ve stayed in adobe huts, creaky farmhouses, family camps and yurts. I’ve studied under people I consider masters in their fields – a world class triathlete, famous authors and “real” artists. I’ve connected with people from every possible walk of life – learning about their passions and struggles and coming to understand the many ways in which our passions and struggles intersect and (often) run parallel. I’ve often wished there was a way to capture the feeling I have when I’m in these places, standing side by side with these like-minded souls, because there is always that moment when I’m back in my studio alone wondering if it was even real – struggling to imagine how connected I was just a heartbeat ago.
Here’s what I know… the women I connected with last week at Lucky Star Art Camp were the real deal – passionate about living their lives holistically, from a place of vulnerability and truth, expressing their light in the most courageous ways imaginable, making what they make with pure joy and zero apology, loving without regret and growing tall and bright in the sunshine of those like-minded souls who gathered in that most beautiful place.
This year was unique for me in a number of ways. First it was my first time to attend as a teacher – I laughingly told someone that I’d been promoted. I suppose if anyone has earned a promotion, it might be someone like me, someone who probably barely said a dozen words the entire duration of my first retreat ten years ago – this year there were conversations and hugs and daring choices and it was liberating and life-affirming and I can barely stand the wait for next year.
I was also there with a group of women who truly and completely understand and accept me – flaws and all. It didn’t matter that I was hyper-focused on my classes the first two days, it didn’t matter that I got super quiet as the day started to wind down, it didn’t matter that I was a little late coming home after class – they waited and applauded (literally) when I walked in the door. It’s hard for me to even express how that lifted me up – I felt embraced, my demons stayed out on the front porch, and that safety net that was created for me, made it so much easier and natural for me to extend the embrace to others when they needed it.
I’ll just close with this last thought – if you’ve ever considered going to an art retreat, this is the one. You will be fed in so many ways – good food, of course, but also good connections that will most certainly remind you of what you might have forgotten – that life is a gift, meant to be shared and celebrated.