Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Squam: Reinvention 1 and 2

Power, wisdom, and insight abound when women gather... there are often tears and always wild belly laughs. Most of all, there is potential for deep connection... a witnessing and truly seeing one another. Oh, Squam Art Workshops you are so much more than just a creative retreat, and I feel grateful to have spent another week where time stood still on the shores of your lake. The forests, boulders, and shoreline are not just a backdrop, but a breathtaking stage for the truly transformational work to be done. My classes were filled with brilliant creatives who took some amazing risks and stepped out of their comfort zones. I believe that we all learned a great deal together about courage and play.
 I invite you to peek into my two Reinvention classes. They were based on the clever re-use of recycled materials and the satisfaction of resourcefulness.

Each day a dozen women walked out to the edge of camp, where LONGHOUSE stood perched above the lake with wrap around porches and walls of windows. They came ready to reinvent simple and forgotten fabrics into items of use, beauty, and sometimes quite significant meaning.
reinvention facing the light
They were greeted by work tables facing the lake and a brand new Singer sewing machine! That's right... Singer generously donated a total of 20 new machines to SAW. 20!! We blessed them with burlap, linen, and gratitude! Thank you Singer!
reinvention facing the hearth
I created a large cutting station in front of the hearth and kept it blazing during the cool mornings. Many of these lovely women did not believe they were sewers as they arrived, but through a morning of linen "sampler scarves"  their confidence grew as they saw what they were truly capable of creating through stitching.
 reinvention- cutting
This opening project was intended as an opportunity to make friends with their machine and practice some basic techniques and de/reconstruction. It also provided an avenue for me to demonstrate my style of sewing and teaching- which is playful and exploratory. One insightful new sewer asked me if we were "baking" or "cooking". Oh, definitely COOKING! Baking is a science with very clear steps and measurements, and I wanted them to feel liberated to sew without a recipe... or "right way" to do things. This is not to say that there weren't new skills to learn, but it was shared with the idea that each sewer should experiment to find her own style. As the mornings flew by, those scarves grew and grew into gorgeous, artful and wearable collages. It was quite thrilling to watch.
reinvention scarves
reinvention scarf other side

reinvention scarf sampler
reinvention scarf-you did it michelle!
Now as accomplished sewers, the afternoon was spent focusing on burlap buckets or t-shirt skirts. My personal heaven. As you can see, I'm not the only one that finds t-shirts exciting and burlap inspiring.
reinvention- smiles
reinvention-bucket fun
reinvention bucket and scarf
reinvention -bucket pride
I missed getting a class picture on Thursday before everyone departed, so apologies to those of you not included in the below group shot... you were all quite loved!
reinvention thursday partial class
Here's Reinvention on Friday when the sun decided to come out!
reinvention friday
Huge thanks to both of my Reinvention crews... I was quite fortunate to have so many amazing women share their hearts and creativity with me.

For more insight into another teacher's experience, give Pixie Campbell a visit, she was my wonderful Squamie roommate and my love and admiration for her runs deep and strong. Squam's home page will also have a growing list of links to various blog posts of teachers and attendees. Pin It


  1. I feel an ancient longing as I write this that I haven't remembered since I liked a boy and he didn't like me back... x

  2. what a spectacular retreat + inspiring experience, both for you and your participants, maya. your workshops + photos have me hoping to one day go to Squam, as well! xoxo

  3. Where do I sign up for this retreat?! Look and inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Considering how inspiring I find it to be reading about it, I can only imagine how inspiring it was for those who took part on the workshop itself. As a beginner sewer, I often feel I NEED a pattern but maybe I don't. I am very determined to figure out how to make one of those skirts though.:0)

  5. What a blissful day! AND having a maya*made burlap bucket and a reinvented scarf by the end of the afternoon, who could ask for more!?
    Lucky ladies!
    Thanks for taking us there Maya!
    ~ joey ~

  6. That looks like SO much fun! Wish I was in the area so I could join you at the next one! ;)

  7. I will never forget how much your students adored you and sang out, "REINVENTION!" after class. They were all so proud of their creations!
    You are deep like a river in my heart, my love. Thank you for our sacred and FUN time together!

  8. That looks like an incredible retreat. You can see the creative energy in the pictures :).

  9. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [09 Jun 12:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  10. Maya! They are great! I love them so much! I'm glad you had fun! Someday I tell you! Someday!

  11. Maya...thank you. Surrendering to an uphill battle with renal failure, my father entered hospice care three days after I returned from SAW. Since then, I've been wearing my reinvention skirt much like my children carry their lovies: it gives me peace and comfort in a difficult -- but beautiful -- time. I'm already imagining how I'll reinvent some of my father's clothes after this phase of his journey ends.... Thank you for everything you are, and for being a source of comfort without even realizing it. Much gratitude, Wendy

  12. I am still processing my time at Squam. It is no coincidence that my first SAW trip, in my 51st year began with my first class with you. I remember putting out my hand to shake and you pulled me in for a hug !
    I still tear-up and I am not even sure why but the smile on my face as I sew brings some clarity--THANK YOU