It is rare in these days of too much stress, packed schedules, increasing workloads and pushing to do more, faster, with less, that we take the time to retreat. To slow down, breathe deeply, really “see” the amazing world that surrounds us. To reflect, refresh, and renew our minds and our hearts. To spend the time doing the things that we love. The Clearing Folk School in Door County, Wisconsin, is one place that allows us this space to “be”. I have just returned from my annual trip to The Clearing to spend a week teaching, immersed in fibers and spinning, surrounded by the spirit of Jens Jensen and his “school of the soil”.
It’s time to update the blog…there is so much to talk about when it comes to fibers! And I have a story to tell about a magical place that I visited recently during one of my trips to teach a spinning class. It seems that everything happens as it should and this is no exception.
The place? The Clearing in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin (in beautiful Door County). The Clearing is a residential folk school offering week-long classes throughout the summer as well as shorter workshops and winter classes. How fortunate I am to have friends of the Fiber Garden who promote my teaching. Last summer, one of those friends visited The Clearing to take a class. The director found out that she was a spinner. It turns out that The Clearing has wanted to offer spinning but didn’t know of a teacher. She recommended me and…the rest is history!
Jens Jensen, founder of The Clearing, “believed that environments have a profound effect on people and that an understanding of one’s own regional ecology and culture is fundamental to all ‘clear’ thinking”. The Clearing campus has no internet, we are asked to limit cell phones use to important calls only, and phones must have their rings muted. All of this to help us escape from our hectic day to day lives and allow for “a clearing of the mind.” The Clearing provides renewal!
What was so magical?? Everything! Where to begin…
Perhaps it was the tranquility as I walked up the path to my living quarters for the week…old stone buildings that have been impeccably maintained with flagstone paths throughout.
Or when I took my first peek inside my own private abode where handmade quilts were on the bed and three windows kept me connected with the outdoor surroundings.
Or could it have been my daily “commute” through the woods to the studio?
Or maybe it was the Workshop where we spent our days spinning and dyeing…
Perhaps it was the camaraderie among this wonderful group of beginning spinners. They’re showing off their very first skeins around their necks!
It could have been the dragon in the tree along the path to the Workshop!
The evening walks of the labyrinth?
I know! It was the dining room tables beautifully set with blue willow china…each meal a culinary delight! (Honestly, the food was amazing!)
The light shining through the lodge window signals the end of another day and a wish for a restful night.
It was, indeed, a magical week! My thanks to Faye for recommending me, Mike (Executive Director) for inviting me to be a part of your teaching staff, and most of all THANKS to the five amazing women who were part of this Clearing “first”! I look forward to returning again to help build the spinning program at the school.
To see all of the photos from Beginning Spinning at The Clearing, please visit my facebook page. And please be sure and subscribe to my blog posts (in the right column) to receive them via email.
Next stop?? Fargo North Dakota for the Fargo Fiber Arts Festival!