Lotta’s Creative Workshop & Nature Retreat 2019
This summer I had the chance to go to Lotta Jansdotter‘s creative workshop in the Åland Islands in Scandinavia. Last summer my friend went on the retreat, and had nothing but amazing things to say about it…so this year I signed up. And boy she was right…it was amazing! A once in a lifetime opportunity. Here is a little glimpse into my trip. :)
The workshop was located on the private island of Silverskär, and it is one of over 6,000 islands that make up the Åland Islands between Sweden and Finland. The island was absolutely beautiful, and the hosts of the resort were absolutely lovely. We stayed in the cabins on the island, gathered in the large barn for the workshop, and ate each day at the dining hall. We had some downtime to explore the island, relax in the sauna and hot tub, as well as get an actual Swedish massage!
I was in my happy place…making things and being creative ALL DAY LONG. It was amazing. :) We spent our mornings and afternoons in the barn learning and practicing printing methods. We started out with potato prints (flashback to elementary school), then to lino block printing, and then finally stenciling.
The amount of creativity that was in one room was astounding. I was so impressed and blown away by everyone’s unique designs. I was in awe of the different styles and patterns they created, and learned that I need to stretch myself to get out of my comfort zone.
FOOD & FIKA
First off the food on the island was AMAZING. Here is a glimpse of a few of the dishes we had, as well as my introduction to Fika. What is Fika you ask? It’s a Swedish custom to break from your daily activity to drink coffee, eat cakes or other light snacks, and relax with others.
Most importantly, I met some beautiful and talented women that I hope to keep in touch with for the long haul. Their creativity inspired me and I hope that we can meet up again in the future. Skål!
Sweet Paul Makerie Retreat
I had every intention to share this post with you all in a timely manner…but life got in the way. I won’t go into too many details, but I can say without a doubt that the month of April was a doozy. There were highs, and there were lows. Some of which were the lowest of lows. But in the midst of it all I would have to say that the 2016 Sweet Paul Makerie Retreat was one of the highest of highs. :) It was a refuge in the midst of some chaos…and a well-needed creative break.
I was a first-timer at the retreat, and all I can say is WOW. I was blown away! This retreat was amazing. The venue was suburb. The food was unreal. The talent was inspiring. Sweet Paul and the Makerie put on a tremendous (and organized) event that I can’t wait to attend again next year (plus I’ve already recruited my friends to come with me next year!)
(Above: Sweet Paul and special guest, Tiffani Thiessen of Dinner at Tiffani’s)
The retreat was held at the URBN Corporate Campus at the Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, PA. If you aren’t familiar with this campus, I highly suggest you check out some of the photos of this space. Mine do not do it justice. The remodel of the old naval buildings is something to see. They retained much of the old character but added in some nice modern touches to make it an inspiring place to work. Little touches like adding the lantern lights to the ends the old jibbooms, transforms this old building into something magical. URBN added some of their own ecclectic flare to the space including a fern garden and mirrored wall as you walk in. It was the perfect venue to hold a creative retreat.
I don’t know why I was so infatuated with the jibbooms. Maybe it’s because they have such a great name. :) I just love how they transformed such utility into something useful and beautiful. Not only did the architects keep the spirit of the environment in their designs, they added natural touches like this fern garden as you walked into the building. The mix of the ferns and the industrial chains is totally up my alley.
And with sunset views like this…how could you not be inspired? Absolutely stunning.
The food presentation and spread was gorgeous and delicious. All the food was inspired by Sweet Paul’s recipes and makes other conference meals pale in comparison!
Now for the main reason I went to the retreat…crafting. :) First up was chalkboard lettering with Valerie McKeehan, of Lily & Val. We used her new book, The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering: Create & Develop Your Own Style, as a base for practicing our techniques. We started by practicing lettering in a Sans Serif and Serif alphabet. This brought flashbacks of hand-lettering in my high school design class! What is super cool is in the front and back cover of her book, there are practice chalkboards! Super handy!
Using an example from Valerie, we sketched out the layout, and over the top finalized our designs using the techniques she taught us.
Wooden Spoon Carving
Next up was wooden spoon carving with Melanie Abrantes, of Melanie Abrantes Design. This was the class I was most intrigued by, and the one I had the least amount of skill going in. Did Melanie turn me into a wood spoon carver? Maybe not quite yet…but I definitely enjoyed it and would like to try again!
Here is my finished product below. Quite beautiful ain’t she? :)
Wooly Tattoo Weaving
This was the last craft session which was taught by an amazing mother and daughter duo. I had such a great time learning the ways of weaving and wooly tattoo’ing from Tif Fussell and her daughter Meg Fussell. They were terrific instructors, and had such fun stories to share as we all sat around working on our little pieces. And to top it off, they live in the northwest too! I hope I run into them around town.
THANKS to Sweet Paul and the Makerie for making us all feel like part of the family! I can’t wait to see you next year!