Work of Art

When I think about what exactly it is that I want for women to take away with them when they leave me on the Sunday morning of camp after a week of sheer joy, belly laughs, discovery, and awakenings, three words come to mind:  Work of Art.  I want for them, with all that I’ve got, to begin thinking of themselves as a Work of Art.  Something to be prized, something truly special, something that gets even better with time.

As you can imagine, after four years of doing this, I have thousands of beautiful photographs from my own camera, and also from several very talented photographers and videographers.  I have photos of the river that meanders through camp and of the horses that surprise us by coming down to the river’s edge to get a drink of water and splash about.  I have hundreds of photographs of colorful, inspiring artwork and I even have pictures of the double rainbow that appeared in the sky on the first morning of camp last year, literally encapsulating us inside the magical bubble we already imagined was there and now had photographic evidence of.

These photos are all so dear to me because they remind me of the sights and sounds of each passing year.  But the thing that really stands out to me are the faces.  Each sparkle, each smile, each line, each and every face that I see reminds me of Lucky Star in its live form.  You see, I can invite you to one of the most beautiful places on earth, curate the most wonderful classes with the most talented instructors, order up the best food in the land, give you all the supplies you need, and watch you make the most beautiful art…but in my eyes the real Work of Art is you.  So, if there is nothing else that you take away with you when you leave, know this… YOU… wonderfully real chaser of dreams, sprinkler of stardust… are a Work of Art!

 

Why Go to a Sleepaway Camp for Grown-ups?

Many people ask me this question, so I thought I’d take some time to share my thoughts here-

My first inclination is to ask why you would send your CHILD to sleepaway camp, but then I’m tripped up momentarily by the fact that I am surrounded by beautiful, top notch kid’s summer camps and I even have several friends that own wonderful summer camps or work at awesome summer camps very near our home and I still haven’t worked up the nerve to send our 8 year old son yet.  It’s not him, it’s me.  I’m just a big chicken when it comes to sending my sweet boy…away…and here I am making it my life’s work to encourage WOMEN to go to camp…to go on an adventure!  And that’s when it hits me…the reason I WILL send him and our daughter to camp some day is for all that I know they will miss out on if I don’t.

I will never forget the time I spent at 4-H Camp or Student Council Camp or the time I spent as a counselor at Muscular Dystrophy Camp when I was in high school.  I remember the nervous excitement of meeting my roommates, making new friends outside of my normal circle and meeting people I felt like I’d somehow known forever because they just “got” me.  I loved learning new things and collaborating within a group to create something really cool that I could never have done alone.  I especially liked listening to music under the stars around a campfire and dancing myself into a sweaty oblivion.  And then there were the water balloon and shaving cream fights and so many other fun activities that encouraged us to dive in whole heartedly, get dirty, make mistakes, and laugh at ourselves as part of the process.

All of these things are parts of life I don’t want my kids to miss out on.  And all of these same things are the exact things I love about going to sleepaway camp as a grown-up!    Why should kids get to have all the fun???

I was recently interviewed by blogger Jen Allen of www.piercedwonderings.com who asked some really great questions.   I’d like to share her questions and answers here in this blog post because it really reveals the behind-the-scenes thinking and the “why?” behind Lucky Star.

A few months ago, I stumbled across Lucky Star Art Camp and thought to myself, “How incredibly cool is this? How amazing would this be to attend?” Time and space to learn and create with other women? Yes. Please. Because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to truly appreciate the value of supportive, nurturing relationships with women and because there’s so much that I want to know.

Lucky Star is the dream of Lisa Field – a landscape designer, event planner, mom, wife, and gardener – who defines artists as those who “can be found in the kitchen making a lovely meal for their family, in the garden planting a row of peas, in the wee hours of the night sewing a Halloween costume, or in a gray on gray cubicle using a rainbow of colorful file folders and sticky notes to do anything to brighten the day.”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Lisa about Lucky Star, how it came about, and why it is so important for women to make the space for an experience like this.

From what I can tell, this will be the inaugural Lucky Star Art Camp. How long has this been in the works and what was the impetus for making Camp happen?

This IS the first year for Lucky Star!  It has been a dream of mine for years, but it was a year ago that I really physically began the process of building a website and putting together a business plan.  The driving force behind creating the event has been my desire to bring women of all ages and backgrounds together to share and learn and create.  Women give so much of themselves every day, but rarely take a break from it all to recharge.  I know first hand how hard it is to leave town, to line up someone to cover for you at work and arrange for help with the kids and pets.  It takes aligning the moon and stars to make it all happen.  But the hardest thing is getting over feeling guilty or selfish for doing something so focused on YOU.  I want to encourage women to let go of the guilt and embrace the notion that they and everyone they love and tend will benefit from the experience they will have at camp.  I have experienced this first hand for the past three years while attending a similar retreat in the Northeast.  I have always loved bringing women together and forming clubs and groups and co-ops over the years.  When I discovered art retreats, a light went off…that was it!  I had to do my own version in the town where I live which is home to some of the best summer camps in the land; not to mention it happens to be beautiful!  So, Lucky Star was born.

You have a very broad and accessible definition of art. How did you come to your definition and why is it important to have it be expansive?

I am a mother of five; two girls and three boys who range in age from 4 1/2 to almost 21.  My husband already had the oldest three when we married, so I quickly went from foot loose and fancy free to Super Step-Mom.  I dove in wholeheartedly and loved my new family.  Because I was only a part-time mom, I still had plenty of time to myself to do as I pleased which at that time was scrapbooking (more accurately: collecting scrapbook supplies) and photography.  I had no idea until I started having babies just how hard it can be to have a hobby once you are a mom.  I had seen so many creative thinking women like me begin to feel trapped in this situation and I vowed to never let this happen to me.  So as my kids have gotten older, I have developed a new attitude that I try to share with as many women as possible.  My theory is that no matter what their specialty, creative types have an instinctual desire to create.  It keeps them sane.  And I think that WHAT they create is ART.  This applies to all women, not just mothers.  Creatives need to create and I just don’t think the emphasis needs to be on WHAT they create, just that they DO.  So… I try to see the “art” in the everyday things like cooking a beautiful meal for my family, for instance.  I put together something tasty, make it look pretty, take it outside and photograph it and then share it on my blog.  All in one chunk of time I covered culinary art, food styling and photography, and writing!  I might only do this once a month, but when I do, it satisfies that need within to create art.  It feeds me and I feed my family.  Win-win!  The point is, there are many people out there in the world who will tell you what art is or isn’t.  You must develop your own definition to fit the season of life you happen to be in and adjust as you go.  Don’t let your job or your family be the reason you stop creating and end up feeling all empty and deprived inside.  Just change your perspective!

In looking at the list of instructors for Camp, there are some amazing women who will be joining the participants and providing their guidance. How did you decide who to invite to be a part of this experience and how did you go about making the invitations?

Lots of research, prayer, meditation, and some serious throw-caution-to-the-wind COURAGE.  I put everything I have into creating this team.  It started with thinking about what I wanted to offer people, which for me was broad because I’m sort of a “Jill of all trades” kind of girl.  I am a landscape designer, organic gardener, and event planner who values all things handmade and loves to paint, write, and photograph.  Lucky Star embodies all of these things, so I set out to find instructors who would bring this to life!  I made a list of those women I wanted to invite to teach and I took a leap.  What a roller coaster ride this process was!  Some women were instantly excited and on board and some politely declined.  The most agonizing for me was when someone wouldn’t answer at all.  I could handle “no” because it allowed me to move on to the next person on my wish list, but no response at all made me first think they might not have received my email, so I’d send another and still no response.  Eventually I would give up and move on realizing that person was not meant to be at Lucky Star this time around and that my careful act of choosing through meditation and prayer had worked.  It was all part of the process.  Today I feel very confident that the women who are coming to teach or to attend are the exact ones who are meant to be there.  

For many women, finding the resources to attend Camp might be a stretch. Why is it important for women to find ways to not only make room for art/craft/creativity, but to come together as part of a larger community creating and learning together?

I spoke earlier about the importance for women to feed their creative side so I won’t go on about that (though I could for days:)  I remember the first time I felt the presence of “collective soul” which is how I like to think of creative communities.  I was twelve years old and I was sitting with my family on a bench (which I think was actually an old church pew) under the stars watching a concert at the Kerrville Bluegrass Festival (now Kerrville Folk Festival).  The lead singer asked everyone to hold hands and sing along.  My dad was on my right and a total stranger on my left.  We all held hands and sang together.  I felt electricity.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  The hair on my arms literally stood on end as I listened to my voice blending with those of the complete strangers all around me.  We were all so different…age, race, background, politics…yet we had all spent the day in the sweltering Texas heat to hear the music we all happened to love.  In that moment we were ONE and I LIKED it!  Finding and creating community is now a passion of mine.  We all need a place to feel we belong and we all need people in our lives who feed our creative souls, even if it’s just for a moment.

Lastly, what do you hope participants of Lucky Star Art Camp take away from their time at Camp?

I hope to give them at least one “goose bump” moment.  I want to remind them of how exciting it is to learn something new and to share their story.  I want them to remember what it was like to play like a child.  I want to share this beautiful river, these majestic trees, and rugged hills with them.  And most importantly, I want them to be able to draw confidence and strength from the experience they had at Lucky Star whenever they need it throughout the year.

Thank you Jen Allen for asking such great questions, and thank YOU all so much for taking the time to read more about Lucky Star.

Location Revealed!

It’s been a long time coming, but the day is finally here!   I am so excited to announce that Lucky Star will take place at one of the oldest, finest, most beautiful girl’s summer camps in the land…..Waldemar!!!

Established in Hunt, Texas in 1926, Waldemar has stolen many a young girl’s heart.  Well, it stole this not so young girl’s heart when I first visited, too, and I couldn’t imagine a better place for Lucky Star to make it’s debut next fall.

So, what got me?  It could have been the ancient Cypress trees whose knobby knees remind me of just how connected we all really are, or maybe the glisten of the clean, clear water or the view of the rugged limestone hills in the distance.  Or maybe it was the sweet smell of Sycamore trees floating on the breeze and the hillside covered in native stone cabins, each with their own charm and story to tell.

When I walk the halls above the dining hall and see the black and white photographs of past campers on the walls, it gives me goosebumps to think of all the girls who were lucky enough to go to camp there and how it likely changed their lives forever.  The friendships made, the life lessons learned, the secrets whispered, and the giggles shared…what an adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Waldemar

 

I can tell you though that today, when I set foot on Waldemar, it’s with a skip in my step and a good feeling in my bones.  I can’t wait to see all of you there, nervous and excited, meeting new people, and carving out a sacred space for yourself.  Waldemar is beautiful, comfortable, and authentic- the perfect setting to rekindle your spark and get back to beautiful, comfortable, authentic YOU!

To learn more about the history of Waldemar and to see some of those dreamy black and white photos, you can check out their page here.

The Rest of the Story…

I am excited to be able to share a bit more about the little old house on my friend’s ranch that inspired the name Lucky Star.  If you haven’t already read it, check out the last blog post entitled Why Lucky Star? , so you know what the heck is going on.  I pulled this from the comments.

My friend wrote the following:

The namesake Lucky Star was the field hand’s house for the people who owned a great deal of land around what now is our place, built about 100 years ago. One of the descendants told me recently that she remembered a woman who lived there, with her husband, making the most wonderful, moist tortillas when she was a child. It’s three small rooms with a lean to on the back and a little covered front porch facing the south. It has weathered many, many storms despite looking very fragile.

Reminds me that even the most fragile, when loved and supported, can persevere.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I hope you’re surrounded by loving family and friends today and that you eat like there’s no tomorrow!

 

The Story Behind Lucky Star

I come from a long line of “hostess-with-the-mostest” types, so I have always had a heart for gathering people.  What really gets me is that sweet moment when someone realizes they’ve accidentally made a new friend.  I’ve been lucky enough to work as an event planner for myself and others for the last decade and I am addicted to the thrill of the challenge that each event brings, but nothing in my previous experience had even come close to the feeling I got when I discovered…art camp.  Three years ago, I set out on a big adventure that changed my life forever.  This is my story.

One night when I was up late, children and husband sleeping soundly, I came across a YouTube video.  It was a short and beautiful video with a dreamy song that left me spellbound.  The clip was created to give you a little taste of what this particular art retreat was all about.  I watched it again and again and I was hooked.  I decided then and there that I HAD to go.

Fortunately, I am blessed with a very supportive husband and a mom who hangs the moon daily.  They made it possible for me to be away from home for a week, giving me the wings to venture out into new territory. I invited my sister-in-law to join me and we set out to discover something we had no idea even existed:  an art camp for women.  A gathering of women from all over the world who need to create like they need to breathe…amazing teachers to insight and inspire…kindred spirits…rocking chairs by the fireplace…paint-stained hands.  It was transcendental.

In fact, the camp experience made such an impression on me that I became intent on creating a similar event in the small Texas town where I live.  So over the past few years, I have worked hard to bring you Lucky Star.  I hope to give you all the “hands in the paint” art workshops you love, along with some classes in things that you may wish you had learned from your mom or grandmother.  It’s never too late to try something new and there is something about old things made new again that stirs your soul.  And because of my love for the farm to table movement, I am planning a few classes that are not part of a typical art retreat line-up.  I hope it will be a fun way for everyone to learn how easy it can be to make a difference in how we eat and help bring awareness to the beauty of each step it takes to get our food from the farm to the plate.

The location for Lucky Star’s debut next October is Hunt, Texas.  Hunt is known for it’s ancient Sycamore and Cypress trees and clean, clear river that cuts through the rugged limestone hills.  It is the heart of of the Texas hill country and home of some of the oldest and finest summer camps in the nation.  The venue, which I will reveal soon, is a real-live Texas girls’ summer camp.  One with a history so rich that it gives you goose bumps when you see the black and white photographs of past campers on the walls. The kind of place where you leave your everyday behind and step into the magical realm of anonymity and adventure.  Where you bunk up with total strangers from all over the world who can end up becoming your lifelong friends. I’m talking about doing your thing all day long for five days without having to cook, or clean, or change diapers.  Remember that thing that you love and miss or really want to try but never have the time?  The most difficult choice you’ll have to make is deciding which of the amazing classes you want to take.  I’m talking about uninterrupted bliss with a capital B. And it’s all taking place on the North Fork of the Guadalupe River in October, well after the scorching heat of the summer and just before it’s too chilly for a dip.  Do I sound excited?  I am.  And you should be, too!  You don’t have to be an artist.  There is something here for everyone.  All you need is an open heart, an open mind, and a desire to connect and create.

I invite you to join me on this adventure, set aside some time for yourself next year, and rekindle that spark that lights your soul.  Mark your calendar for October 9-13, 2013 and start following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  You can also sign-up for our newsletter here.  We’re celebrating the launch of our website today and you won’t want to miss the day we open for registration in January because we’ll be awarding one lucky star with free tuition, so stay tuned and start believing the daydream!

Lisa H. Field

Founder & Director of Lucky Star Art Camp