squam woods | photo credit :: Amy Gretchen
Between every two pines,
is a doorway to a new world.
It is a great privilege to have time and space for reflection, to slow down, to make sure our daily life is in alignment with what matters to us most. The photo above, taken in the woods by Squam lake, carries that message for me. Squam has always been about creating space and supporting people as they seek to make time for their creativity a priority in their lives.
Not in a heavy way, but in a light, joyful, community-based approach. That’s why I love the playful heart on the tree above. Keep it light. But in the busy demands of our life it is important that we don’t lose sight of making time for ourselves which does require a certain seriousness of intention.
This is on my mind, of late as I have been working with Nory Pouncil. Her Get Unstuck Coaching program has truly launched me on a journey that is opening up new vistas to me in the very best of ways. It wasn’t new to me to feel ‘stuck’, but earlier in the winter I became so aware to how ‘stuck’ I truly feel, every day.
With Nory’s wisdom, guidance and prompts, I have begun to find clarity around how it’s time for me to start walking the walk. It’s not enough for me to encourage others to put their creativity at the top of the list, I need to do that for myself as well. I love my job, but I also have long held dreams of doing some other big, more personal projects and it hasn’t always been possible to find a way to make room for both. As a result, I am making some shifts in my work/life balance to ensure a true commitment to my maker’s heart as well as taking care to show up for the other responsibilities in my life.
In addition, with regard to community and communication, I have been listening closely and reading deeply of the online discussion on racism in the maker community and reflecting on how I can take mindful and meaningful actions
And so, I’ve got two announcements here for you today.
First, for the next few months, I won’t be updating facebook, twitter and instagram. Instead, I am going to consolidate my time and energies to send out a newsletter twice a month that will land in your email box. My hope is this will be a far richer and more thoughtful communication with each of you. Since stepping into this role as event coordinator of the gatherings, I’ve been wondering how Squam can be a source of inspiration, healing, curiosity, and relevance outside of the retreats. How can our day-to-day lives have a little ‘Squam magic’?
The newsletters will have all the same goodness — sharing makers who inspire us, photographs and fun links– but so much more. There are so many in-depth articles, videos, books, organizations doing amazing work in the world, etc I have been wanting to share with you all that simply don’t fit the social media format and so I am hoping you will enjoy this approach, too.
These bi-monthly newsletters — love letters, if you will — will be from both Elizabeth and myself. They will feature makers we are inspired by, books and articles we’re reading, events that are happening, music we are listening to, things we’re seeing, — a twice-monthly dose of something that hopefully feels really good in your email inbox, and personal, too.
photo credit :: Abby Cameron
** SUNDAY, JULY 21st **
11:30 am – 3:30 pm
Providence, Rhode Island
And — because I like to save the best news for last — the other focus for my time and energies is on a new event launching this summer. I am honored to share that in July we will be hosting our first diversity discussion in Providence, RI.
Stitched Together :: a gathering to celebrate and
discuss diversity & inclusion in creative maker spaces
Together with Virginia Johnson, owner of Gather Here, we are hosting an event to help people meet in real life to share stories and best practices about how to improve and expand the representation of BIPOC and LGBTQ creatives and makers at Squam and other creative maker spaces.
This event will be free to all, and will include a panel of inspiring and esteemed creatives of diverse backgrounds. My hope is that this event will continue the much needed conversation of diversity and inclusion in the creative world — in person, face-to-face, where stories can be shared, healing and support offered, and paths forward can be discussed and put into action.
The day will begin with our guest speaker TIFFANY LATRICE of TILA Studios, followed by a panel discussion from inspiring and esteemed creatives of diverse backgrounds.
GAYE GLASSPIE of GG Made It. You may know her for her passion of the color orange, her fabulous enamel pins that celebrate all things knitterly, as well as being a fierce advocate for self-appreciation, love, and finding the joy in every little moment.
BRANDI CHEYENNE HARPER is a self taught knitwear designer specializing in natural handmade goods. She launched her brand, purlBknit, in 2012 with her ready made line of original knitwear.
VIRGINIA JOHNSON, founder of Gather Here (as well as maker extraordinaire and costume designer to the stars!)
MINDY TSONAS is an Expressive Arts Teacher, Embodiment Artist and Embody Love Movement Facilitator + Trainer.
DIANE IVEY is the founder of Lady Dye Yarns, an indie yarn company based in Jamaica Plain. Diane has been blogging about inclusivity in the fiber arts industry for many years :: The Lack of Diversity in the Yarn Industry.
MICHELLE VITALE is a holistic therapist born and raised in Venezuela who also leads workshops on diversity and inclusion for The Equality Works Group (UK). She is the panel host and moderator for this discussion.
Our first newsletter– going out today– also included these details! But don’t worry– we will be sharing further info for Stitched Together here on the blog, next week. So you can check back here to read about it then if you are not interested in receiving the newsletter. (If you are not signed up, but would like to be, simply go to the home page of our website. You will find the sign up box there.)
I am, as always, excited to be on this journey with you. If you have questions, ideas, suggestions — I would love to hear from you. Please email me at: hello AT squamartworkshops DOT com