Tuesday, May 7, 2013

the makerie sewing 2013

I can't believe it's been over two weeks since my time in Boulder for the Makerie Sewing retreat. I had an amazing time with friends, both old and new, and came home feeling totally inspired and more excited than ever to be on this creative path that I'm on. 

I flew in a day early to do a little sight seeing, and Boulder just happened to get hit with a huge snow storm that day as well. So, while I left 70 degree weather in Ohio, I arrived to winter weather in Colorado. But in all honesty, the fresh snow was pretty magical. The Makerie Sewing retreat took place at Chatauqua, which is an amazing park with quaint cottages and beautiful community buildings that is on the National Historic Register. That's our sweet little cottage in the snow in the photo above.

And here's a little tour of the inside. Our cottage was built in 1932 and it has amazing Craftsman-style throughout. It was really quite large and was full of beautiful woodwork and great attention to detail.

I loved the built-in bookshelves in the dining room.

Ali, the creative genius behind the Makerie retreats, is so thoughtful and kind, and she left a sweet card and fresh flowers for me and my roommates,  the incredibly adorable and talented women Cal Patch and Tamar Mogendorff.

These were our bedrooms, and each bed was decorated with a vintage inspired quilt.

I especially loved the red and white quilts! 

My friend Denise, who lives outside of Boulder, picked me up and took me to the lovely Fabricate, an adorable fabric boutique and sewing studio. I picked up some lovely Essex linen and Denise and I listened in on a sewing class full of little boys who were about ten years old. It was a riot, and the boys were really excited to be learning how to sew backpacks. And I must say that they had the most patient instructor ever.

Denise and I had originally planned on heading down to Denver to see Amy Butler at Fancy Tiger Crafts that evening, but the weather was too bad and we didn't want to risk the roads.

So, we had an amazing Indian dinner in Boulder instead. I've been dreaming of those black lentils ever since...

The next day was the the first day of the Makerie Sewing Retreat. As I said above, Ali and her team are  so incredibly creative and they made sure every detail was just right, from the adorable handmade signs that were posted throughout Chautauqua...

...to the handmade name tags and pinecone souvenirs at the registration table, and everything in between. 

The fresh snow was so beautiful, so after I registered I spent some time walking along one of the trails of the Flatirons. It was really one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and these photos just don't do it justice.


And then I explored Chatauqua park. This is the dining hall where we ate many of our meals.

All of the historic cottages throughout the park have been lovingly restored and are really quite adorable.

That evening, all of the teachers took part in a welcome panel discussion that was led by Amy, where we were all able to introduce ourselves to the participants of the Makerie.

On Friday morning I had my first class. I taught three workshops on Improv Patchwork and my students had the choice to make either a bolster pillow or a mini quilt.

I asked everyone to bring a bag full of their favorite scraps and a yard of coordinating solid fabric and then we started cutting and constructing.

I provided written instructions for both projects so my students could make the other project later at home,  and the generous folks at Bernina and The Presser Foot provided sewing machines as well as technical help for all of my students. Check out the amazing work that they produced in my first class!

Everybody really did an amazing job, and I'm so proud of the work that they created. It was so much fun for me to watch them design their improvisational patchwork blocks and incorporate them into their projects.

Friday afternoon I taught my second workshop. Again, it was so fun to see everyone work and design their patchwork blocks using just their scraps and their intuition. 

Such stunning work, right? It was really amazing.

That evening we had a creative panel after dinner, and Ali asked each of the teachers a series of questions about living a creative life.

One of the many great things about the Makerie Sewing retreat was that each teacher was allowed to take one class that was taught by another teacher. All of the classes looked really amazing, but I chose to take Amy Butler's workshop on Creating Your Own Color Story on Saturday morning. Amy is such an incredibly talented colorist and a dear friend,  it's always great to spend time with her.

She brought us some goodies and asked us to bring a stack of inspiration materials and paint color chips from the hardware store. 

I brought a few older Country Living and Martha Stewart Living magazines and a wide range of colors to work with. And then I started cutting out photos of all sorts of things that caught my eye.

Aren't those glasses great? Then,  I pasted the paper down to a sheet of poster board. 

And here's how far I got on my inspiration board in class. I really love it and I can't wait to finish it now that I'm home! It was so much fun to develop a color palette this way, and I definitely plan on doing more of this type of designing in the future.

As I said, the teachers at the Makerie were allowed to take one class, but Amy and I were lucky enough to have the chance to dye some fabrics using a shibori techniques and natural indigo with Kaari Meng of French General during our lunch break on Saturday.

Kaari gave us a long strip of a hemp fabric and a silk scarf and taught Amy and I how to create areas that would resist the dyes, using simple things like corks and marbles. 

And even thin pieces of wood, clothes pins, and popsicle sticks.

We worked quickly to prepare our fabrics for the indigo dye bath, 

which was the most amazing color. 

We quickly dyed our goodies and hung them to dry, along with the work by more of Kaari's students.

Saturday afternoon was my last class, and it was completely full! You might recognize the student to the left in the front row. Amy took my class and it was so great to have her take part in my workshop.

And here's a photo of my students and their completed work! As I said before, it was really an incredible experience to be with so many creative people. Some of my students had done some work with improvisational patchwork, but many of them had not, and I hope I was able to teach them a lot of sewing and quilting skills that can be used in all sorts of projects. It was really amazing to see their confidence in designing, and in relying on their own creative intuition, grow as they worked on their improvisational blocks.  

And I'm truly grateful that I was part of the Makerie Sewing retreat.  

On the morning of our last day, Ali gave us all a heartfelt goodbye, although I think most of us didn't want to leave.

Here are Cal Patch (in the center) and Jaime and Amber from Fancy Tiger, all wearing the cutest handmade clothing. Check out Cal's fun leggings!!

Here they are with Liesl and I. I miss these girls like crazy.

Before I left our cottage, I took another brief walk along the trail by the Flatirons and I was amazed at how quickly the 8+ inches of snow had melted.

There was barely any left from the storm which was just a few days earlier. Amazing!

I left the Makerie feeling incredibly inspired. Day to day life, especially with two young children and all that that entails, can sometimes be draining, especially to one's creativity. But I really feel filled up and recharged as a result of spending the weekend with so many kind, generous, creative, encouraging, and inspiring women in such a beautiful setting. It was really magical, and a much needed mini escape from the outside world, at least for a couple of days, where we could all focus on friendship, creativity, and community. And I can honestly say that was an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Thank you so much to Ali, Emily, Liesl, and everyone else who made the Makerie Sewing retreat possible. And thank you to all of my students who spent time with me in class. I am so proud of you all and I can't wait to see what else you all create. 

If you have the opportunity to participate in a future Makerie retreat, do it. You won't be sorry! Ali is planning some amazing things this summer and I wish I could join her for those too! 


Kara {me and elna} said...

This post is so inspiring to me!!!

the Makerie said...

What a special treat it was to have you teach! ~xo

Shar said...

It looks like you had a great time!

RainbowMom6 said...

Heather, YOU ROCK!!! I haven't had this much fun in a loooong time! God Bless Ali and you teachers for providng so many special gals with this opportunity! Love, love, love your blog post. Can't wait to do more improv quilting. . .

jeifner said...

Sounds like such a lovely time. Would had loved to have been there :)

Fancy Tiger Crafts said...

Great post, Heather! It was so great to meet and hang out with you! I hope we get to see you again soon.

jaime and amber

Darling Jill Quilts said...

It looks like it was a fantastic time! I'm so glad that you had the chance to go and to teach!

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