I have been trying to work out what the collective noun for a group of creative people would be. An exaltation perhaps? A company or a clutter? I think maybe a chatter of creatives is the best way I can describe the group of entertaining and talented individuals I have been fortunate enough to spend my weekend with. I have been away by myself, for the whole weekend, for the first time since Pip was born, at a crafting retreat in Rye organised by Natasha from 'Taking A Moment in Time'. I got to spend three glorious nights asleep, without waking to find a small person stood silently in front of me wanting a cuddle at 3am or needing to deploy my peace keeping skills as soon as my eyes open at 7am (who am I kidding? Try 6.30). It is not often in my life that I get to spend such quality time with a group of individuals from the yarn world that I spend so much of my life inhabiting. A very awesome bunch they turned out to be.
Let's be honest, a retreat is a bit of a risk. This was my first, so I went into it with no real expectations, but I have since discovered from others that they don't all turn out quite so well as this one did. First off, you have no idea who else is going. I was sharing a room with a complete stranger, which is in itself something of a leap of faith. What if I snore? What if they do? What if I need a really big fart in the middle of the night? Will I have to hold it in while I try and tiptoe to the bathroom to expel it discreetly, in the hope that everyone else will be asleep and there will be a good few hours for the gas cloud to disperse before anyone has to walk in to it? The answer to that last question is yes by the way. Then there's the food. I can be something of a picky eater - although I am getting better as I get older, I have never had the most adventurous palate. Three days of someone else's cooking could either be marvelous or leave you ravenous. And, I think the biggest concern of all, what if I don't actually like anyone? 72 hours confined in a relatively small space with a group of people who make me want to snap my own crochet hook - let's be frank, it's a worry. As it turned out, I needn't have been concerned about any of the above (apart from the bathroom trip in the middle of the night). Natasha is an exquisite host - warm, welcoming, generous and funny. She is also a fabulous cook and is meticulous in her presentation and her care for her guests. The house in Rye had breathtaking views and a swimming pool in the back garden, perfect for the kind of first thing in the morning swim that leaves you feeling virtuous (and entitled to eat cake) for the rest of the day. The food was healthy and delicious and the company, that most unpredictable of factors, could not have been better. Our last night was riotous, some of the conversations are unrepeatable. Suffice it to say that it has been a long time since I have laughed so much I have been unable to walk.
The best thing about the whole weekend though is how inspired I now feel. I have been mulling the idea of starting a blog on and off for about 18 months. After this weekend, I have finally found the courage to get on with it, thanks in no small part to the encouragement and advice I have received over the last couple of days. I have discovered the joy of dying my own yarn thanks to the hugely addictive workshop run by Kristina from Written In Cloth. The photography workshop with Dean Hearne and Lobster & Swan from The Future Kept has helped me feel like I can actually find my photographic voice, I have attempted colourwork knitting with Janice Issitt and I have finally learnt how to crack instagram and join the 21st century! All in the space of a weekend.
Being one creative being is a lovely thing, but being one among many is infinitely better. So welcome to my blog, I hope it will be a place for many creative beings to get together, be inspired and feel a little less like we are doing it on our sofas or in our craft rooms in the middle of the night on our own.
By the way, I cannot recommend a 'Taking A Moment in Time' retreat highly enough. Natasha's next retreat is to Romania later this year and if you would like more details you can find her on Instagram and Facebook.