Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Squam Art Workshop - Spring 2016

As mentioned, I went to Squam at the beginning of the month.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Squam Art Workshops, I invite you to think of a summer camp for crafty adults.  You're in an idyllic setting in the middle of New Hamphsire, you share a cabin with fellow campers, you're fed three meals a day in a dining hall (they ring a bell at mealtimes), you make all kinds of great stuff, and you do a regular tick check.  Clearly I loved it.
Exterior of dining hall

The cabins were rustic but comfy.  I only had four other roommates and had opted for a single room for my first time (the cabin had three double-occupancy rooms and one single) .  Each cabin that was on the lake had its own dock, and each had fireplaces whose wood boxes were refilled each day.  We also had an actual ice box, which was also checked each day and refilled as necessary.  They harvest the ice from the lake in the winter and keep it in, yes, ice houses all summer.

This was how they delivered the ice.
And here's our iceman, standing in front of the ice box.

Registration had occurred in November.  Over the course of the retreat there are two main workshops: a six-hour session on the first day (Thursday) and then two three-hour sessions on Friday and Saturday.  I was lucky enough to have a class with Mary Jane Mucklestone - Fair Isle Squam Style - on the first day.  She taught us about figuring out colour combinations for fair isle knitting, and we worked on wristlet samplers.
There'd been a Squam KAL initiated on Ravelry (inviting people to knit a design by one of the teachers at the session).  I made the Fair Isle skirt by Mary Jane, using yarn that I've had for years from Lismore in Nova Scotia.  Incidentally, I also won some yarn through a random draw of KAL participants.
Yes, I'm a keener.  This is me with Mary Jane in the aforementioned skirt.
My second workshop was the Ondawa Wrap, a sewing class.  I'm glad that it was over two days because I can hit a sewing wall where everything seems to go to hell in a handbasket.  I had to finish my project at home and don't have any pictures of it, but I do love it.  Sarah Waldo Jagger was a patient and clear teacher, and I learned some new techniques, which is always great.  In fact, Mary Jane had asked us why we were taking her class, and I said, "To up my game," which was true for both workshops.

On Thursday and Friday we also got some free time.  There were informal workshops, and I took the Enchanted Paper Cutting workshop with Tierney Barden, who also happened to be in my Ondawa Workshop.  It was fun just to play.  My pieces didn't make it on the journey home, but I did take a few photos.  Here's one.

After the paper cutting workshop, I ran into a classmate from the fair isle class who invited me to use one of her kayaks.  I'm not the type to turn down such an opportunity, regardless of what I'm wearing.

The following day, three of my four cabinmates and I hiked up Rattlesnake Mountain and then enjoyed a little more kayaking, swimming in the lake, and chilling on the dock.

View of the lake from the top of Rattlesnake Mountain
I call this "Suffering at Squam."
On Saturday night, there was the big Squam Art Fair & Ravelry Revery  All kinds of vendors from yarn companies/producers to ceramics to bags to clothing and more had tables there.  It is a much-anticipated event.
Waiting for the fair to open
I went in with the goal of finding yarn for a specific project and found some dreamy yarn from The Woolen Rabbit out of Conway, NH.  I've started knitting with it, and it's pretty damn divine.  (Details to follow.)  I also bought a single skein of heavy laceweight yarn from Yoth and some naturally dyed squares of fabric from Tierney to play with.  I'd like to give a shout-out to Ravelry for getting a keg and offering free beer.  Just a little slice of heaven.

There were other things at Squam like the goodie bag you received when checking in as well as the swap table where you could bring yarn or items from your crafty stash, leave them for others, and pick up if you'd like.  I brought some stash yarn and got a copy of Last Minute Gifts, which I'd wanted, and a skein of amazing sock yarn in return.

But what was it about Squam that I was only able to understand after I'd come home?  Firstly, there was no stress.  I was chill pretty much the entire time.  Secondly, it is great to be among people for whom knitting and crafting is a matter of course and you can totally geek out on knitspeak.  They also really appreciate your handmades because they know what it takes.  But the big reveal for me was that I was seen as a maker as a matter of course.  I didn't have to provide bon fides to support that I'm a writer, a knitter, an artist, an anything.  It was just assumed, and that has really shifted my centre.  It was a great gift to me.
Someone had written this along a path; it's the perfect description.

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