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!

 

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!

 

Lucky Star Instructor Highlight + Giveaway :: Cal Patch

CalPatchCollage

I am elated that Cal Patch, author of the book “Design-It-Yourself Clothes”,  is coming to Texas this October to teach three classes at Lucky Star Art Camp, “Hook Up a Hat”, “In Stitches” and “Book Keeper”.  If you’ve ever wanted to learn to crochet, embroider, or sew . . . now is your chance to learn from one of the best!  Not only is Cal incredibly talented, she is the nicest, most inspiring chicken-lovin’ earth-goddess magic-seamstress you could ever meet.  I had every part of me crossed when I asked her to come to Lucky Star, and she said . . . “YES” !!!  I hope you enjoy getting to know Cal a little better by reading this interview.  And . . . if you read all the way through, there is a surprise GivEaWAY at the bottom of the page!  Enjoy:)

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Do you have any nicknames? 

Well, Cal is actually a nickname; my real name is Carolyn. No one remembers who started calling me Cal, but it stuck.

Do you have any pets? 

Gertie the Chihuahua, Trissy the cat, and 6 chickens: Grace, Betty, Midge, Francine, Olivia and Amy Winehouse

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Probably moving upstate (from NYC) to begin a farm with my boyfriend of less than a year (at the time; now 5 years). I told him on our first date that if he wasn’t interested in moving upstate and having chickens and goats, we needn’t bother with a second date!

Did you go to summer camp as a kid?

Yes! I loved camp. I went to all kinds, from suburban day camps to sleepaway horseback-riding camp, which was of course my favorite.

Salty or Sweet?

Ideally I go for BOTH at once! Like say, a rosemary sea-salt caramel.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I went through lots of phases: ballerina, zookeeper, stewardess, photographer, horse trainer, modern dancer, fashion designer…

What kind of music are you listening to lately?

Indie folk is my genre of choice: First Aid Kit, Mountain Man, Joanna Newsom, Peggy Honeywell

What is your favorite time of day?

Afternoon. Time for tea and something sweet!

Do you have a tattoo? What is it and why did you choose it?

I have a few, but my fave is a ring of girls I loved from books and illustrations: Pippi Longstockings, Holly Hobbie, Ramona Quimby, a girl from an Edward Gorey story, and a Kiddle.

Do you like to cook?

It’s not at the top of my list of favorite activities, but I do love to EAT! My favorite meals are ones prepared by someone else.

What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Anything made with fresh, local, organic foods, in season and straight from the farmers, and prepared simply.

Any thoughts on the state of food in our society?

Oh my. Don’t get me started. Deplorable! Let’s just say I agree with Jamie Oliver 100%. And Erica Wides, who hosts a fantastic podcast called “Let’s Get Real”. I highly recommend it!

River, ocean, pool or lake?

Hmmm. No pools for me, unless it’s a salt-water pool. But I like any of the natural bodies of water, especially the swimming hole in our backyard.

What are your three favorite sounds?

Barred Owls hooting (they say: Who cooks for WHOOOO?)
My dog Gertie howling (extremely rare, but hilarious)
My spinning wheel squeaking (because it means I’m spinning, which I love to do but don’t do often enough!)

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To learn more about Cal, read her bio here, and check out her website here.  To register for one or all of her amazing classes taking place this October 9-13, 2013 at Lucky Star Art Camp in the Texas hill country, check out our website here!

And now for the REALLY good stuff . . .

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.