Thursday, June 10, 2010

Squam, beautiful Squam

Hello again from outer space!  At least that's where it feels like I've been!  This is a very short diary of my time at Squam Art Workshops.  This is a view from the lake of our cabin...there were 10 of us in there, ten happy, welcoming, talented and hilarious women!

This is the view to the lake, where the lovely lady above is heading...

So that she can join all of these OTHER women descended from planet fabulous on the dock for some wine and sunshine. 

We spent time together in the cabin, marching through the woods in the dark with flashlights, being entertained (that's an understatement) in the Playhouse at night, and eating 3 squares a day in the dining hall.  On the last night we had an Art Fair that was open to the public.  This is what my display looked like, after all the work I did before I came to Squam.  There were so many (37 to be exact) artisans there and everything was just amazing, thanks to Peg Hendel and a cast of hard working volunteers!

Let me get back to the entertainment....the first night Jenny Doh talked about her past and her experience with Art and the remarkable transformational effect it has had on her life and that of ofhers. 
The second night, we were entertained by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee who is the most unassuming looking person, but let me tell you, she had us holding our sides with laughter as she talked for 2 solid hours about knitting and her adventures in life.  It was just great!
On the last night of entertainment, we heard a beautiful and inspiring story told by Jen Lee and then got the insider's scoop on the birth of Ravelry from Jess and Casey, the founders.  (May I say that the birth was both difficult and funny--now, not so much then.  Thanks to them, though, we have this incredible resource!)
The classes I took were with Charlotte Lyons, who taught us to make charming felt cottages with repurposed materials.  The next class I had was with Megan Ingman from Lettuce Knit which taught us to knit the cutest baby sweater.  (By the by, Megan is one of the most gracious, patient and adorable women ever!  Thank you, Megan!)  And finally, I learned to make mobiles with Lizzy House.  She is just plain fun and delightful, as I expected her to be.  This class reminded me of being in school in art class and it was just wonderful!  This weekend I'm going to make mobiles with Ava when she comes visiting Grandma!
Throughout the entire event, we were serenaded by Jonatha Brooke, with her beautiful folky rock music.  I must get some of her CD's!  And people, if you could have seen her the night of the Fair, the hotness, I'm telling you!   

All in all, thanks to Elizabeth MacCrellish and her dedication and energy, I had a truly overwhelming experience.  And you can still sign up for the September session...seriously, DO IT! 

I could show you pictures of my finished projects and more beautiful environment pics, but truly the magic of Squam lies in the people who are there.  There was no whining, snubbing or other genrealized ego meanness; just people who brought their open hearts and vulnerabilites and kind generosities full throttle to a place where the pieces of me that were hiding and sad could come and feel welcomed and celebrated.  This remarkable alchemy was not really noticed by me until I returned home and found that I really could not stop my upbeat friendliness and ability to speak up when necessary.  I went there with my health thingey still bothering me, but I'm sure that my new state of emotional buoyancy will help with the healing.  It's just good to get away somewhere without worries, and with a big fat blanket of warm acceptance to fold into.   


  1. Beautiful post, Susen. It was an enchanting experience. I enjoyed knitting that baby sweater with you!

  2. And I enjoyed your adorable Southern self! I'm watching for that sweater to turn up in your Etsy shop!

  3. It has been my dream for a few years now to make it to Squam. The location alone is amazing. I am heading over right now to look at the September classes.

  4. Thank you for this lovely post and most especially for your last paragraph. I was regretfully unable to return this year, but your words sum up my experience at Squam in June 2009 perfectly.

    Squam was a life-altering experience, a holistic rejuvenation that came at the most needed time in my life. It may in fact have saved my life.

    I was on a precipice, just starting to come out of a horrible year filled with illness, artistic stagnation, and severe clinical depression. Attending Squam and absorbing some of the magic facilitated and the warmth that the instructors and campers and Elizabeth personally radiate into this world were a tremendous boost to my healing at exactly a time when things really could have gone either way.

    Upon my return home I slid back a bit (post-workshop backlash) and it took a while to recover my equilibrium and continue to climb out of my rut. But I stayed the course and fed on the experience of Squam as I rebuilt my fervor and determination to continue moving towards a healthy, creative and satisfying life. Now things are completely turning around, personally, professionally, artistically, socially, spiritually - in all areas of my life.

  5. Dear Mezzo, Thank you for your comment..isn't it funny how people we have never met can feel like soul sisters the minute we check into our creative selves? My eyes filled with tears as I was driving to Squam as i thought about how I have starved my creative self for so many years without even realizing it. I treated her to her first vacation at Squam and it was certainly worth it, on so many levels. I so hope that your turnaround continues and wish you health in EVERY area of your life! S