On retreat we come out of our shells

So excited to be facilitating a day long workshop at this great event in North Sydney later this month!

I attended my first ‘Australian Mixed Media Roadshow’ in Sydney two years ago. It was actually the first time Art is You had come to Australia after many years running similar events in the US.

I was nervous and excited.

I didn’t think I could really afford it (it seemed like such an indulgence!) but I was drawn to it, I felt a pull. To be outrageous. To give myself time. To learn. To play. Finally I committed and pressed ‘register’.

Getting there was a pain in the neck – I caught a bus and then a train and then a taxi to get to the venue, which was in a remote part of Lake Macquarie. It was getting dark when I arrived and the taxi went round and around the park trying to find my accommodation.

I went alone and was a bit nervous. Who would the other people be? What was happening?

As I signed up on the first morning I wondered, ‘why is everyone wearing decorated aprons?’

I felt a little bit like Alice down the rabbit hole. But little by little, just like Alice, I felt more at home and started to enjoy the people, activities, place, conversation and atmosphere that was there.

I got to spend full days with people who live and breathe paint, mixed media, collage. I learnt about new materials. I was shown techniques. But more importantly I felt the benefit of role modelling – those who stand proudly in their quirks, those who embrace their love of creativity – no matter how niche, or wacky, no matter how simple or complex, no matter how low or high brow.. these people loved what they did and they were unapologetic about it. And I LOVED that, and wanted it to soak in to my skin and leave me feeling the same way.

I made friends there and have stayed in touch to this day with some participants from Sydney and New Zealand. What I love about how Salliane (the organiser) approaches the retreats is that EVERYONE is welcome – exactly where they are. Welcome with their talents, their fears, their family dramas, their wacky wild or ordinary outfits, their physical or mobility challenges, their mental health challenges, their confidence or fear, their history with art or their newness to making,

It’s hard to invest in ourselves and take time out for something that seems as ‘frivolous’ as making art just for fun. But in my experience what we are actually investing in is our courage, our passion, our whims and our sense of possibility.

Committing to retreat we actually find ourselves stepping up for what we care about, and allowing ourselves to be seen by a community of like minded people.

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The event:

Thursday 21 – Sunday 24, July, North Sydney.

Register HERE for my workshop.

See the full program and choose from all workshops HERE. You can attend for a day or several days. Each day there are a number of workshops to choose between – you choose at the time of registration which full day workshops you wish to attend.

For reflections from the organisers on the retreat experience and some photos see HERE.

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