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”.
For spinners in the Fiber Garden community, spring and fall are times when we escape the daily grind for more peaceful and creative time. We pack up our fibers, load our spinning wheels, and hit the road to Baraboo, Wisconsin and “The Glen”. Durward’s Glen Retreat Center! For four days our spinning wheels turn a quiet rhythm and through the artists’ hands, amazing yarns are created! We recently returned from our spring retreat where we celebrated our spinning community and the breakthrough of spring!
What an amazing year in 2016!! The generosity, kindness, and support of everyone in the Fiber Garden community fills me with gratitude. So many of you who have been a part of the Fiber Garden throughout the years continue to bring me joy each time we meet. And I met so many new fiber friends who ventured here to explore the Fiber Gardens’ home in Black River Falls or who joined a fiber class or retreat at another venue that I was fortunate to teach at. You helped us grow our “Garden”!
Enjoy the memories of the past year and look forward to some inspiring fiber workshops, retreats, and travel 2017!
Inspiring, energizing, uplifting are just a few of the words that I would use to describe our recent spinner’s retreat. Spinners unleashing their creativity, bonding as a community of fiber artists and enjoying a hearty dose of laughter. What could be better?
Until we gather again in the spring, may your spinning wheels always be in motion! Thank you for the honor of sharing these days with you!
Plan now to attend the 19th Annual Holiday Country Retreat! The perfect way to begin your holiday season!
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!
Plan now to attend the 18th Annual Holiday Country Retreat! The perfect way to begin your holiday season!
New England in the fall…what could be more inspiring to spinners and fiber artists? You, your family and friends, and your spinning community are invited to join the Fiber Garden for a nine night New England/Canada cruise in October 2015. It sounds so far away and yet planning early is key in order to get space reserved on board the cruise ship for this popular itinerary. The Liberty of the Seas is one of the ships in the fabulous Freedom Class of ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet. You can ice skate, rock climb, or surf on board! If you prefer activity on the milder side, you can stroll the shops along the Royal Promenade, attend a program, enjoy a movie, or find a lounge chair and watch the ocean roll by. And did I mention spinning?? There will be plenty of time for spinning including three full days of workshops at sea. Complete details and reservation forms can be found at https://www.fibergarden.com/travel/spinners-cruise-october-2015/. Although we’re more than a year away from the sail date, deposits are due by December 15, 2014. Please start planning and saving your pennies so you can be part of this grand fiber adventure at sea!
It’s catch up time! Many inspiring workshops have happened here at the Fiber Garden since my last post in April. One of these workshops is Dyeing Self-Patterning Yarns. Two private group workshops were conducted with beautiful results! One of the … Continue reading
Twenty years. Two decades. One-fifth of a century. More than 1/3 of my lifetime. Any way you look at it, 20 years is a long time! And that’s how old the Fiber Garden is this month! In April of 1994, Mary, Sue, and Sherry arrived enthusiastic and ready to learn to spin in the very first Beginning Spinning workshop held at my first home. Each of them purchased a spinning wheel when the class ended. Then came a long line of others who made their way to rural Black River Falls and soon became fiber friends. Within a few years “we” had outgrown that house. A tiny bedroom was squished full of fibers and supplies, spinning classes were held in the living room, weaving classes took over the dining room and…there simply was no room left for a person to live!
On to house #2 tucked back into the woods with a small barn-like outbuilding that became the first mercantile. Classes continued in the living room, and we even did some dye classes with the carpeted floor! It was a wonderful place, but…”we” outgrew that one too!
And finally we found a home that will be more permanent. (We’re nine years and counting here!) The list of workshop offerings has grown, fiber friends have come from all over the country to develop their talents in spinning, weaving, and dyeing…and twenty years have passed. Most businesses as small as the Fiber Garden never survive more then a few years. And that can only mean one thing…the Fiber Garden has the best friends in the world! “Thank you” is not a big enough phrase.
So on to our next decade. We’ll see where it leads us. No doubt there will many more hours of enjoying the fiber arts together both here in Black River Falls and perhaps out on the open seas or traveling the highways and byways of Europe or other “fibery” destinations!
(For information on the 20th anniversary SALE-abration April 5 and 6, visit our Facebook page and read the post.)