Still processing the whole event and coming back down to earth with a bit of a bump and a bug.
Although the painting workshop ( more of that next time ) was the main draw for me, as well as simply the fact of attending an art retreat at all, there was a lot more going on too. In order to help people work out how do to what they love or give them some resources and information to help them grow, Beth had lined up an impressive group of speakers.
Of course all the tutors spoke about their work and took questions. In charge of the painting workshop was Flora Bowley. Well, if you’ve never painted before , but want to , this is the workshop to get you going. Book -maker extraordinaire Rachel Hazell led her very enthusiastic group through the intricacies of creating and filling a personal book. The workroom was full of all kinds of amazing papers, snippets of maps, ribbons, stamps – a real treasure trove. And finally Priscilla Jones taught her group how to make very intriguing textile sculptures transforming wire, silk and wax into creations- from cupcakes to lamps -that wouldn’t have been out of place in Alice in Wonderland.
In addition a few invited guests came along. For me the most relevant was Rachel Taylor, of Rachel Taylor Designs. She talked at length about her path from graduation to that of successful surface designer with her own label as well as freelancing for other companies. It was also lovely to meet Hannah Nunn and see her amazing lamps – she had a lot of inspirational advice to share. It was also rather a coup to have Matt Stinchcomb from Etsy Europe come along to give us an insight into where Etsy is going. They are gearing up for a big conference in Berlin in September (which I am also going to attend) – the line – up of speakers there looks very good.
Like so many others who were there, we had read about all the different workshops and retreats held in America and jumped at the chance to go to one closer to home. ( I should add though, that a good number came from overseas, America, Canada, Italy, Ireland and Denmark – many using the retreat to make their first visit to the UK – this international aspect really enhanced the flavour of the group ) .
Although the painting workshop was amazing and all the business discussions were inspirational , maybe the best part of all is the opportunity to mix with about 50 lively creative people – all open to learning , sharing their experiences and encouraging each other.
Huge thanks have to go to Beth Nicholls for having the vision to pull it all together. The attention to detail was noticed and appreciated – little inspirational notes on the table at the first dinner, beautiful decorations inside the Tipi and the cafe area, a generous sprinking of bunting throughout – and the most gorgeous little goodie bags to welcome us at the start.
I will definitely try to make time and funds available to go to other events in future. ( The next DWYL is planned for next April)