Squam Art ::  The magic of Nicola Taylor

I really can’t tell you when I first learned of Nicola’s ethereal images, but they captured my imagination from the first time I saw them.  I had decided to go to the fall Squam Art Workshop partly for scheduling and partly because the workshop offerings were not really fiber-based (the June Squam offerings skew much more toward the fiber arts in general) but collage, and mixed media and jewelry making and photography.  Things that were not in my comfort zone.  At.  All.  Time to experience something new.

I was soooo excited to see that she was coming all the way over from North Yorkshire in  England to teach at Squam and I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with her.  “Finding your Inner Muse”.  Que the hand clapping and jumping up and down.  If that wasn’t enough, there were two of us in the Thursday class so we got to spend loads of time on our projects.

First up… Finding our muse.  We had brought/collected items that had some meaning for us, that we were drawn to….of course we had each brought many things, so we had to whittle them down to 6 (ok, 7 snuck one in ) write about each of them, create kind of a collage and then form a statement to guide our work.  (It was really much more in-depth and thoughtful, trust me this is the cliff-notes version)

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After lunch it was time to take the photos that evoked our muse.  Let me just say at the outset that I love to take pictures but I am in no way a professional photographer.  I couldn’t get my (just purchased and taken out of the package) remote shutter release to work, my camera was a little wonky on the tripod (which I had used several times before ) and my long lens decided to stop working… oh and did I mention that it started to rain…and Nicola had to tutor me on the proper way to fling fabric to make it look effortless

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…in the rain, when you’re on the dock in your bare feet and a nightgown and a prom dress rolled up underneath for a petticoat…It was fun anyway and Nicola and our helper and my classmate were lovely and encouraging and so so patient with everything…and I’m very happy with my images… just a little bit of magic and a whole lot of learning.

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When we were done with my photos, we worked on several photos of my classmate who was expecting her first baby and wasn’t sure she would ever have a photo of herself expecting.  We made the most beautiful photos for her and then we all had a good little weep.

Sublime.  Divine.  Nicola’s magic on the moors transferred to a lake in northern New Hampshire.  Thank you Nicola for your grace and generosity in sharing your work and yourself, it was a day I won’t soon forget  xo

Squam Love

I have been delaying writing this post because, really, I am having a wee bit of difficulty putting my weekend at Squam Art Workshops into words.  To be honest, last year I attended the Ravelry weekend at Squam Art Workshops and I felt a little lost as it seemed like everyone there already knew 100 other people, and their knitting was a.maze.ing.  I knew no one and I was swatching an afghan.  Then I met my cabin mates for the night and got in to the swing of things, and shopped at the ArtFair, and I felt a little better.  Still not super-thrilled …. but, I decided I really wanted to give it another shot.  I had heard about SAW since it’s inception and I wanted to go and have the entire Squam experience.   I’m so glad that I listened to that little voice inside that said … go…give it another go…you will get so much out of it…this was the year.

I packed up the big grey bus and headed north to Squam Lake, to a big cabin called El Dorado and a big gang of fabulous, crazy women and a chance to make art for the weekend.  And it was sublime and relaxing and oh so much fun.

The best parts??  here ya go…

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*magical woodland-where fairie houses appear in the night and wood sprites leave wreaths to mark the trails (sorry so blurry!)

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*magnificent northern lake-complete with haunting calls of an elusive loon

Eldorado family pic

*kindred spirits ready with a smile, a hug, a glass of wine and hours to sit on a dock or in front of the fire and talk about life, art, and the essence of being alive

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*phenomenal teachers to guide you on your artistic explorations with kindness and generosity

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*a glimpse of the universe in the milky way and the northern lights against a background of infinite stars

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*time to make art, to laugh, to walk, to swim, to chat by the fire, or just to be quiet and listen (photo by cjweinstein)

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The gathering of like minded giving souls is magic.  The setting is sublime. The lake will be calling us back again, I know.  It was lovely and restorative and far far too short.  Thank you Squam…see you next year!  xo.

12.5 hours…not that i’m counting…

and I’m leaving to head up north to NH for Squam Art Workshop! Squeeee! excited yes!  bummed that it’s p.o.u.r.i.n.g. rain – slightly but the truck is cleaned out and filled with gas, i’m thinking about packing and I’ve decided what to have on the needles while i’m there…

yarn to afghan

was going to start a sweater for Charlie but I cannot find the pattern for the life of me so…afghan blocks it will be!   I have 4 skeins of this yummy yarn so I’ll start with blocks of this and see where it takes me.  Should knit up quickly on size 11’s.

12.4 hours…see you at Squam!

getting ready for an adventure…

Squam Art Workshop….I have been wanting to go for years, first no $, then no time, then kept missing registration but FINALLY!  I am going…if only for A Taste of Squam this weekend!  Hoping for a full week next year.  Can’t wait, starting to think about what to bring…maybe some of this?photo

There’s a certain special guy who has requested some knitted items (!) no better time to start than at a Ravelry Revelry now is there!

Day after tomorrow!!  yippee!!

If you are curious about what Squam Art Workshop is all about, click on the “Squam” button in the sidebar to visit their site…and maybe I”ll see you there next time!!