Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10: Squam Art Workshops 2014

After six months of anticipation, it's hard to believe that my time at Squam has already been and gone. It's an intense experience (so many people! so much nature!), but this was my fourth visit and I feel that I've unlocked the secrets to having a good time: reveling in the little things (a bite of chocolate cake; a shared joke; a stolen moment in the forest), focusing on the good in people, concentrating on process over product, and managing expectations. A lot like life, I suppose.

After the whirlwind of check-in, I dumped my bag in my room and headed to the dock. It's one of my little traditions – surveying the water, stretching my travel-tightened limbs, taking the classic shoe-gazer photo. It was cool and overcast; the clouds sat low in the sky, obscuring the treeline on the hills opposite.

I was back in the same cabin as last year, Everest, but with all new housemates. There were nine of us altogether – six from the US (Sarah, Karen, Shelly, Heather C., Emily and Heather W.), plus Fiona from Ireland and Sarah from the England, who made up the Commonwealth contingent with me. It was a really good group and we had lots of fun – one of the highlights being fireplace s'mores, courtesy of Emily.

The opening ceremonies, with their fairy lights and general air of excitement, got things started off on a good foot. There's always such a buzz in the air on the first night: reunions happening, new friendships being forged, and a lot of knitting talk.

Unlike last year, I didn't take any knitting classes. My Thursday class was with Joetta Maue – an artist who works in embroidery. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially given that I already knew the basics, but it was a terrific class and hearing her talk about her work really changed the way I thought about the ancient art form. (More about that later, perhaps.) This little sampler is simple but it makes me very happy.


The second class, taught by Maya Donenfeld, involved stamp making, fabric printing and sewing (hand and machine). We did the printing and most of the snap pouch on Friday afternoon and the zippered pouch on Saturday morning. The view (above) was lovely and I really enjoyed working with Stewart and Wende, fellow embroiderers and rabble-rousers.

I didn't learn anything earth-shattering in this class – the techniques are basic and I'm pretty confident with X-Acto knives (too confident according to some! but hey, no bandages required, so no harm, no foul), ink pads, rotary cutters and a needle and thread. I am pleased with the finished projects, though, which will likely become a project bag and a pouch for embroidery notions.

By Saturday afternoon, the weather had finally taken a turn for the better, and we spent the afternoon down on the dock. One of the girls had rented a canoe, so we all had a chance to do some paddling...

...which was a new experience for me. (I'm in the front, being surprised at my heretofore unsuspected canoeing abilities.)

The rest of the afternoon was spent dock knitting, and it was wonderful. I had been looking forward to that moment for months, and it was definitely worth the wait.

The Saturday night art fair was also well worth the wait – as usual, there were tons of vendors and all sorts of tempting goodies. I came away with some Brooklyn Tweed yarn and a couple of the beautiful linen bento bags from Fringe Supply Co (I was happy to meet Karen in person), plus a copy of the delightful Kerry Lemon's new book.

Sunday morning was clear and calm, the water like glass. I'd have loved to have stayed all day, but it was time to pack my suitcase, bid my housemates farewell and head back down the I-93. There's always next year.  I'm looking forward to it already.


  1. Yay! It was so fun hanging out with a fellow law breaker! Already looking forward to next year.

  2. Fearless Drawing was the only thing I purchased at the art fair, believe it or not—it's like having Kerry's six-hour Squam workshop in book form. I made "process, not product" my mantra, which (funny thing!) resulted in a drawing/glorious ink mess I'm happier with than if I'd tried to make it look perfect.

    Hope our paths cross next time around—sounds like we had Squam buds in common (I knit with Heather C. regularly in Boston) but I never met you! :)


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