February 16, 2015

I Am A Maker

I'm a Butcher, I'm a Baker. . . 

Forget the candlesticks, I'm a Maker.

Last weekend I had another little escape.  I know what you are thinking, "TWO consecutive weekends away!?!"

Gluttony, I tell you, sheer gluttony.

I went away to a Maker's retreat, where for 48 hours I buried myself in threads and fabrics, needles and yarn with 45 strangers.

If you are going to go tuck yourself away for a spell to do such a thing, I highly recommend this place:

The Salamander Resort.  It is the essence of old hunt country Virginia with the most luscious bed I have ever slept in.  I was tempted to spend the whole weekend in my room, toasting my toes by the fireplace at the foot of my bed, but after a good night's sleep, my sewing machine was calling.

The Maker's were a curious site to the other hotel guests.  We each had our fill of questions.  "Who are you all?" was asked of me no less than a dozen times as the 45 of us sat hand piecing fabric around the grand fireplace in the Great Room on Friday night.

We buried ourselves into our work from the dawn to dusk, breaking for some scrumptious eats in town and an occasional stretch that we allowed ourselves to roll our shoulders back that had become stiff from being hunched over our machines.  Leading our group was a celebrity in the sewing world, famous for her patterns and own fabric line.  To sit at my machine coached through a garment modification by her was amazing! I soon, however, labeled myself a Faker Maker.  These incredible Makers had honed their craft.  They were at the retreat wearing wardrobes that they had entirely made themselves.  {insert out of my LEAGUE!} When they saw my scarf and bag, they excitedly asked what pattern I made it from.  Um, yeah, I told them it was from the Charming Charlie collection. 

So what makes a Maker?

The Maker's are the women who were pinning long before Pinterest.  They are the women who were making things before it was even cool to do so.    Said the owner of the Finch Sewing Studio that hosted the retreat during the kick-off party:

"[Our hand-crafting] will stay above the cliche.  Making things is important.  Finch opens a space where something we know in the quiet of our hearts is confirmed: that hand-crafting is vital to who we are.  It fuels our curiosity and challenges our ability to learn and grow.  It builds our sense of self-worth and simultaneously brings us together. . . during this restorative retreat weekend, I will dwell in the company of kindred spirits."

And kindred spirits we were.  Makers hold a magical connection.  To meet one is to love one and there is a kinship and connection that forms immediately.

The best part of the retreat was not the cute dress, skirts and satchels that I made, but what happened when surrounded by Makers.  What started as a room full of strangers soon became this:

After the first evening of sewing a dozen of  Maker strangers-turned-best friends adjourned to the firepit for some overpriced s'mores and to laugh until our faces hurt, only then to look at our watches and realize that somehow it had become 2am.

In this pocket of delightful company at first unrecognizable, I soon found the warm and cherished familiarity of Makers.