This year has been as you know an interesting one, to say the least! From nervous break downs to tv shows, it’s been a roller coaster and made me make all sorts of work life balance choices. My main things to readdress was the amount of pressure I was putting myself under with work when also trying to balance the needs of my physical and mental health and the complex needs of my children. You may know by now that I started back into the world of art because of a need to find a calming therapy and a sense of self worth, stitching and creating were central to this and I feel passionately about being able to help others in the same way.
So this year was all about going back to the beginning. Remembering why I started out and what I and my family needed from this. Well obviously I needed to make a living, got to pay those bills somehow, but how could I do that without the need to make countless time sensitive commissions, exhausting fairs and so much travelling. If I’m in bed ill for weeks how can I still continue to pay those bills, well teaching was the answer. It brings me such joy seeing people beam with pride after they accomplish something they thought they couldn’t. But teaching involves a huge amount of travelling so I have now limited my meet and make workshops to only two or three exclusive venues. I have launched the online workshops which are going very well and people all over the world can now enjoy them and experience some me time. But the newest and most exciting project has been the launch of my brand new Luxury Illuminating Embroidery Retreats.
These retreats give you a whole huge and wonderful escape and experience a package of complete creative relaxation. They are based in the village where I was born and my parents still live in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Lealholm is a very special village, it is where I first knew that I would be an artist, it’s where all my works stems from, it’s my inspiration and the reason why I have a deep need to make things. I went to school there, I bought my penny sweets from the shop, I played in the river, my dad played dominoes in the pub and white we could play on the green, I went to brownies in the old village hall. It’s full of stunning views, a few tea shops, a little garden centre in someones garden, now even has a few craft shops, its a hive of activity whilst still being a small peaceful little community. Basically is’s a bloody dreamland. So what better place to host these creative art holidays.
Accommodation is provided by the local pub, The Board Inn, over looking the village green and Esk River, surrounded by decking and fairy lights and in the winter a roaring open fire. The retreat itself is held in the church hall, now this isn’t any usual village hall, this is a bit special. Newly renovated with a large lottery grant it is now and incredible building full of light whilst still holding all the character of the old building set within the grounds go the local church yard. It has it’s own beautiful gardens which we can sit in whist the sun is shinning and enjoy the views over the valley. I have decorated the hall to bring my studio to you, full of overflowing baskets of fabric, thread, and all the materials you could need for creating your masterpieces. Lunch is served here too, a scrumptious selection of treats, as well as all the cake you can eat, to keep those brain cells working to pamper you a little more.
This retreat is just that. A retreat away from the world and your everyday routine to take time out to rejuvenate your soul so you can go back to your lives with a new sense of hope and excitement, and even a new skill. Everything is taken care of for you, you just need to get there. Three days of nothing to worry about other than getting new creative souls that you can forge new friendships from, gain confidence from. A massage is also included (but of course if it’s not your thing you don’t have to have one, but it is pretty mega so I would recommend it!) Amanda from Be You Holistic Beauty, will be on hand to give you an Indian Head massage, hand massage or even a taster of Reiki, the choice is yours, and you can discuss it with Amanda at length while you’re there. She has such a talent!
A few weeks ago now I invited some good friends to enjoy a weekend away with me to test out how these retreats would work and get their feed back to see if it was worth pursuing. These are the photos from that wonderful weekend…..
So what are we actually going to make on these retreats?
Well, the main theme is lampshade making. We will have enough time to make our very own 20cm drum embroidered lampshade, I can teach you all the stitches so you really don’t have to have any experience at all, all levels are so welcome! We can look at how I make shades and have lots of clever tips and a huge range of lining choices, as well as help with compositions and all the techniques you will need. But if that’s not something you want to concentrate on you are more than welcome to make a handgun picture, or embellish clothing you might have at home, this is YOUR weekend so although I have lots of projects you can do you might have something in mind that you want my help and input on. Thats okay, there are no rules and I want to remain as flexible as possible.
Each retreat will have have a small limited amount of places, I want to groups to remain intimate and more personal. I find between 8-10 people a perfect size to chat comfortably and get all the help you need when you need it. I will also only run a few of these retreats a year so they remain special and exclusive, like all treats should be. If you want further details on these creative spa weekends then do click over to the courses website where there are more details.
But in the meantime, I hope you love the photos (taken by Sarah Mason Photography) and this beautiful little film and lose yourself in the calm, peace and birdsong. xxx