In my reading of blogs and websites over the last few months, I have become exceedingly envious of folks who are going on or have just come back from artists retreats. They come back with such a love for the work they have been doing, for the people they have been with, for the dedicated block of time they were able to spend learning about their craft and themselves, and are looking ahead to the work they are going to do. There are beautiful photos of the place they went to, usually by water somewhere, cabins in the woods, inns by the ocean, and of the friends they made while there. There is a sense of warmth that comes through their writing of the transformative effect that their trip has had on them.
I want this. I want to look forward to, and plan for, something that is upcoming. I want to put kits together of materials that I will need, I want to have a few days of focus on that topic only, I want to look at things differently either through the lens of my camera, or through a paint brush, or through the colors on my wheel, or the stitches in my hand, or through essays written.
I am confined by my financial situation. I am not able to go to a mountain retreat for a few days, or buy a plane ticket to get there, or to even buy lunch during a break in a work session. But I am not confined by my imagination, or my surroundings, and certainly not for lack of supplies to work with. Yesterday the ideas that have been swirling round in my head for so long came together and made themselves into a plan. I suddenly realized that I can make my own retreat. A summer- and fall- long retreat. I can create the agenda, I can decide what the lesson plan will be, I can complete goals set for myself.
What I want to do is to give myself blocks of study in different media. And in different settings around my own home. I live in an area where this is common:
And if I am surrounded by different versions of this, then I should be able to find inspiration everywhere I look. It is not only on the making of things that I want to focus on, this I do anyway, but on learning new approaches to what I already do, but more importantly I have been thinking about the making of art (and craft and fiber and jewelry and writing) as a means of meditation and as a mode of spirituality. What I intend to do is to combine these ideas and see what comes of them.
How do we turn this:
into an inner feeling of peace and contentment that we can carry within ourselves through the physical means of fiber, paper, paint, dye, writing, weaving, photographing, exploring? This is the question that I am going to try to find the answer for this summer and fall. I think it will be an interesting time and I am looking forward to finding my own way in this.