Well I finally made it to Squam and boy was it worth the wait! Squam Art Workshops has been around for 11 years and it is definitely one of the most special and magical retreats I have ever been to. It was four days of quintessential adult summer camp. From the dining hall to meeting new cabin mates to the lake dock (where this picture below was taken).
The setting is Rockywold-Deep Haven Camps on Lake Squam where On Golden Pond was filmed in New Hampshire. The lush trees, picturesque water, chimpmunks and cute cabins were almost more than I could stand. This Florida gal was in awe of the stunning surroundings. Just what I had always thought camp by a lake would be like. I never went to summer camp as a kid, but now I can say I have been.
There were 200 attendees and yet it never felt that big, even at mealtimes. The food was fantastic and the workshops wonderful. You get two full day workshops and plenty of downtime and space to reflect. I think that is terribly important so that you can really process what it is happening and not feel overwhelmed. Taking time for yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone for an introvert like myself often means mixed emotions and a need for recharging.
My first workshop was called Sacred Journey. It was taught by the most amazing team of Tif Fussell + Elizabeth Duvivier. Self discovery and learning to trust yourself is what this class was all about. We used journals, nature, symbolic ceremony and sewing to explore our hearts and inner most desires.
This class helped me kick off The Artists Way book and my morning pages. Clearly I am beyond excited after class with the founder of Squam, Elizabeth. Her energy is magical and calm, wise and strong. She has transformed so many lives and mine was one of them.
Natural beauty was all around and I finally got to do some real Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. It is the Japanese concept of taking in the forest atmosphere for health and well-being. Basically being in nature helps prevent us from becoming ill and allows to become more intuitive and creative. I love my tropical backyard and spend my weekends outside but being in a forest is completely enveloping like a hug and the energy is so much stronger.
My second workshop was called Box of Wonder with Ann Wood. This was my second class with Ann. She is a Brooklyn artist who works with vintage and found materials. She is an old soul with an amazing spirit. She values the past and nature while putting a fresh whimsical twist into everything she does. We were asked to bring something that inspires us and something to share. She supplied the rest. Here is what I started out with:
We learned about dioramas, storytelling, texture and the possibilities. This is how mine turned out:
Thank you Ann for inspiring us and encouraging us to take chances!
Squam is all about nuturing oneself, the creative spirit and reconnecting with ourselves so we can better navigate this messy, beautiful world. It is what I hope for with The Paper Seahorse. It is what drives us in everything we do. I think you will enjoy their manifesto:
And last but not least, here are the women I shared my journey with. My flatmates from left to right: Rebecca, Kate, Me and Pauline. New friendships and an unforgettable time. Thanks for making my journey the best it could be. For that I am eternally grateful. Until next time...