Words and even the 100+ photos that I uploaded cannot express this past weekend at The Makerie in Boulder, Colorado. It was beyond wonderful. When I registered to go with Katherine a couple months ago, I thought it would be fun to take some cool classes in another city. I had no idea how emotionally charged, inspiring, relaxing, energizing, exhausting and full of wonder the weekend would be. OMG.
Katherine & I flew into Denver airport on Thursday morning, rented a car for the weekend and drove to check out South Broadway in Denver. Our first stop was Fancy Tiger, a seriously adorable fabric & craft shop. We couldn’t resist buying some fabric and chit chatting with the gals in the shop. Lucky for us, Fancy Tiger was participating in The Makerie and we got to hang out and get to know them over the weekend.
The entire weekend took place at Chautauqua Park in Boulder. It is located right at the base of the mountains! We literally could just roll out of bed and onto the hiking trails from the adorable cottage we stayed in. Boulder is a beautiful place and Chautauqua Park was the perfect setting for the retreat.
We had our choice of two classes for the retreat and it was pretty clear to us which ones we would take – shoe making & block printing! Yes, that’s right – shoes!! We spent Friday learning to make ballet flats that we adorned with handmade flowers and bows with Jessica Hernandez of Joyfolie. Throughout the day we learned about Jessica’s journey to creating and growing her company that started out making shoes for babies. Jessica was so generous with her skills, creativity and ‘trade secrets’ and the shoes that the class made were pretty incredible. I am pretty excited to be able to make myself some pretty party shoes out of any fabric I choose in the future.
On Saturday we took Block Printing with Lizzy House. That would be Lizzy House, the designer of Castle Peeps and the upcoming 1001 Peeps fabric collections. I was especially excited to take this class from someone that I already admired so much. We sat down to have breakfast with Lizzy on the first day and became fast friends over coffee cake, yogurt and granola. You gotta a love a girl who has a thousand great ideas, opinions and knows her astrology.
My strategy for this class was to design something really simple and geometric since my drawing skills are not my strong point. I started by drawing stars all over my blank sheet of paper. I looked over at one point and noticed a recycling bin in the corner so I drew an arrow on my page. Lizzy passed by and casually commented, ‘I like that’. That tiny bit of encouragement burst into inspiration and I started to build a little bundle of arrows. Lizzy showed me how to take my design and create a repeat from it. MAGIC!! I have always been fascinated with pattern and couldn’t believe I was finally trying it out.
After our designs were finalized, we started carving out our linoleum blocks. We took a break for lunch and regrouped to start printing out our designs on fabric. Everyone’s designs were really impressive. Some people brought tea towels and tshirts to print on. Jaime printed her blocks onto printed fabrics and the effect was really great. I chose to do white ink on Kona Charcoal Solid fabric and I love how it turned out. I’m so so proud of my arrow print. My goal is to make a dress or skirt from my printed fabric, so watch out for it!
A real highlight for me was my Makerie partner in crime, Katherine. We spent every second of the four day weekend together in perfect unison. A parking ticket (still gotta pay that!), nearly lost favourite bracelet and flight delay home hardly fazed us. We are solidly firmed up as retreat partners and friends for life.
I really can’t say enough wonderful things about my experience at The Makerie. I think everyone who was there felt just as grateful and inspired by the experience that Ali created for us. Taking time away from our everyday lives, letting go, opening up and making new connections with people face to face was a real gift. The date has already been set for next year’s event and I urge you to mark your calendar.