Picture it. The place where "On Golden Pond" was filmed. Rustic wooden cabins with fireplaces and screened porches and lake views. Down comforters and crisp mornings. Mountain air, a scenic lake, tall forest trees, fabulous food (I can't stress this enough), angels in human form all in one place making a dream together. Now add in art supplies, several hundred artists, my blogging heroes and one brilliant Blue Poppy (and her help meet T.) and you have the miracle of Squam Art Workshops.
I was lost but now am found. amazing grace . . . you blew our worlds wide open. thank you isn't enough.
posted on: September 15 (a comment posted on Elizabeth's site this morning)
Of course we knew it would be good. You could figure that part out just from the photos of that pristine lake and forest in the uplands of New Hampshire. But how good. Just how good it would be I (for one) never could have guessed.
It was so good I have teared up and even cried a little at the sweetness of so many uplifting souls gathered in one place, just being incredibly perceptive, inspiring, and creative.
One wonderful thing for me was getting to stay in the house with all the teachers (OMG) so I got to meet them up close. Here are just a few.
First came Andrea Scher, whose blog has been a beacon of beautiful observations and kindness. This was her first time teaching at a retreat of this sort and her students were glowing with praise and gratitude that she came. She is incredibly warm hearted. She helped me make a big decision that was weighing on me. She knows how to sort things out.
And oh, gosh. I got to meet Jen Gray who came to help Andrea. Can you say girl crush? I am mad for everything this woman touches. I just want to follow her around and learn how to be so cool. Watch her Wonder Woman video here. What a brilliant artist and lover of the good things in life.
Penelope Dullaghan - the moment she rolled her car window down and asked for directions I just said, "hi Penny" and we made a connection. Love her blog, her work, her baby bump and her good, sweet self. She has a wry wit and I challenge you to get a photo of her with a straight face. Such an honor to meet another one of my blog friends.
Liz Elayne came to take classes and help Elizabeth with the details of setting up the camp for us. What a love she is. We never did get around to doing yoga but you can partake of her beautiful writing at her blog. I can feel her big, warm hug right now.
Andra Hepler came to teach doll making. In the photo above she is wearing an apron that Liz Elayne made. We had many sparkling moments together and we have Andra to thank for helping Elizabeth get to her first Artfest several years ago which was helpful in getting the idea of organizing Squam Art Workshops to emerge.
Kelly Rae came with Mati Rose and together they led a panel discussion on the theme of "Taking Flight Into the Creative Life" which is also the title of Kelly's new book. You can read Kelly's words about Squam here. This was a huge leap in the professional careers of both of these young women. It was thrilling to witness their happiness, their nervousness and their success.
I met Catherine Slye, seamstress and purse maker extraordinaire. Funny, smart as a whip, the life of any party. She can say the funniest things with a completely straight face and the purses her students made were gorgeous.
Elizabeth Bunsen and Susan Tuttle. Go to their blogs and bask in their creative brilliance. Oh, the beauty of the spirits present was overwhelming. The faces, shining with love and joy.
Elizabeth's beautiful journal.
This is the big cabin we stayed in.
Swirly Girl Christine Mason Miller celebrated her new book, "Ordinary Sparkling Moments" at a party on Friday night. The room was softly lit and golden as rain pattered hard on the rooftop. We all congratulated Christine on her own sparkling moments at Squam; a book launch with hundreds of new friends.
Lisa Occhipinti taught in the room next to mine and I grew to adore her huge laugh and wonderful stories. She's the only one who got more mosquito bites than me so I stood close to her for protection. She's funny, gorgeous, accomplished, kind and super creative with several businesses to run. Wowsa, girl.
That's Ms. Blue Poppy herself on the right. The rumor was that she and her man gave up their work vacations to build dividers and otherwise prepare the camp for all of us. What an incredible gift to the art world that was. I thought about it all the way home. What a difference a person who is inspired and who carries out their dream can make. Because I believe each of the women who came to SAW will take with them, back to their various communities, a spirit of optimism and hope that will lift others too. Oh, Elizabeth. How we love you and treasure the gift you gave each of us. Thank you a hundred times over.
I'm exhausted and haven't unpacked yet so I'll close for now with this picture of my sleeping quarters at SAW. Those are down comforters, pillow top beds, sooooo warm and comfy. Everyone who attended is already saying "next year". Even John is planning to come. Elizabeth is going to have her hands full accommodating all of us.