Isn’t that a perfect name? I love it.
Back in November when I was craving a break, after much browsing on the internet, and conversations with different people who’ve been to a few retreats, I signed up for the Makerie. They are holding a number of retreats this year and they all looked like so much fun. At this one weekend retreat alone there workshops in block printing, letterpress, painting, leather work, ceramics and more! Upon reading the workshop list, it took me only seconds to decide to spend both days, cooking and learning food styling and lifestyle photography with Aran Goyoga of Cannelle et Vanille fame (and Small Plates and Sweet treats).
Fast forward to April and suddenly we were moving houses and the retreat was a week away, then just days away. After spending the week painting and unpacking like maniacs, this little trip was a sweet, sweet reward!
The Chautauqua was like a winter wonderland when I arrived, iced in fluffy glistening snow. It was so beautiful that I was almost disappointed when it melted less than half a day later!
My first order of business was a slow meandering walk down Pearl Street all the way through downtown Boulder to the kick off event at Anthropologie. There I had the pleasure of meeting two people who I follow on Instagram; Kate and Teryn. They made my first nights in Boulder one of the best nights of the whole trip!
The next day I met my cabin-mates, 3 amazing, energetic and encouraging strangers who I immediately felt comfortable around. After returning from our respective classes we spent time talking and sharing what we’d created that day, and each night after dinner we spent more time eating (we were the wine and cheese cabin) and chatting late into the night. Cara, Paula, Tracy – for me the Makerie was just as much about meeting them, as it was taking the workshops. We talked about getting together again one day and I can’t wait.
I also met several other amazing people including Ali, the creator and force extraordinaire behind the Makerie; Emily – who gave me the best compliment on my last day, and so many other people that I loved getting to know and who I’ll introduce bit by bit in future posts.
As I knew they would be, the two workshops with Aran were amazing. On the first day our group of 13, armed with recipes created and chosen by Aran cooked up a storm at the Lyons Farmette. Together we created quite the spread – I’m particularly proud of those little pea pancakes my partner and I made. Thank goodness we got to eat first otherwise taking pictures of all that food would have been torture!
Aran was generous, approachable and beautiful. She has such a great approach to sharing her knowledge and her energy was so amazing yet calming. Some of her tips will stick with me always “food styling is like make-up, less can be more, don’t try to emphasize everything”. We had plenty of time to practice food styling which I’m not very good at, but I hope my plates will look a little better from now on. The downside? I now have a serious yearning for pretty plates and table linens and I want my food to look this good all the time!
While the first day was focused on styling, the second day was definitely more about the technical aspects of photography. There were varying levels of knowledge about photography in the group, but it worked out so that we were all able to learn from one another.
After shooting several versions of that tray of roasted tomatoes (I had to step away before I ate them), I decided to focus on using Aran’s tips on shooting in natural light to get some candid shots of the people around me – everywhere I looked there were relaxed, happy, smiling faces, I could have taken pictures for hours. Wait, I did do that. If you’d like to see more – I posted them to my Flickr set.
I could go on and on about how fabulous the weekend was – Ali and her team thought of every last detail, from the lovely check-in and handmade name-flowers; the amazingly crafted lunch boxes; the creative lounge; the teacher’s panel; the amazing book we all got to contribute to and then assemble as a take away; opportunities to meet and mingle, or reflect in quiet – everything you could have wanted on such a retreat, it was there.
The Makerie was gave me exactly what I needed, and so much more. Now I need to find ways to keep that spirit and energy going here at home!