Loesje Shema (WAW 2017) wrote to me to suggest that at the next Women At Woodstock, maybe some of us could demonstrate/show how to do some craft/creative things that we do with our hands. At first I thought, no, that would not be practical for our Flash Workshops.
And then I thought, but who says we have to do just workshops? I remembered my grandmother talking about her quilting bee - long-time friends who got together every week and sat in a circle creating their own work, helping one another when needed, and shooting the shit. OK, I'm sure they didn't call it shooting the shit. But it was.
On my guest bed, still, is the quilt that she made for me while she sat with her friends in her bee circle. It's more than just cloth and thread.
What if we had an afternoon of creative circles like that, doing, whatever? Those who are skillful or artistic with their hands could bring supplies and teach those of us who are not, or who are but who don't know how to do the thing that the teacher does. I'm thinking crocheting, knitting, drawing, zentangle, worry-beads, calligraphy, magic tricks (OK, maybe not that.) Baby hats for preemies. Blankets for the homeless. Vision boards for our souls. Whatever.
I turned to Phoebe Stout, our Women At Woodstock backbone of all things essential for communicating and coordinating around WAW. Phoebe, as you may or may not know, is an artist in her own right; she creates beautiful dream-inspiring designs that conjure up the future while harkening to the past, and transfers them via natural dyes to natural fabrics, from which she fashions everything from dishtowels to wall hangings to tees. (See her website, Untold Imprint, here. And by the way, I always purchase several beautiful things from Untold Imprint for gifts and giveaways at our Women At Woodstock events. Everyone loves them.) What did Phoebe think, I asked?
She liked the idea. She wrote:
I was brainstorming names for the group activity time. I think if it has its own name and if the women liked it, it could become a really nice addition to each retreat.
Like you, I'm imagining women pulling their chairs into close circles and having a really nice, relaxed experience letting their creativity take over for a few hours. There's something about having a project in your lap that allows conversation and sharing to blossom. I love sitting with my sister and knitting; it's so relaxing and fun too.
I read an article the other day about a study that NASA scientists did with children. It found that almost all people are born "creative geniuses" and that we are essentially robbed of our creativity through the education system that favors critical thinking and decision making. But they urged that it's not too late to tap into the creative energy we had as children. Click here for the article if you'd like to read it.
What do you think? Please vote on the idea and on the names we've been tossing around! Click on your favorite, or if you've got something better, fill in the blank with a new idea. And if you'd like to lead a bee circle, let us know. We'll tally up the score and in a future post we'll announce the name plus the plans that are buzzing around! (Sorry, I absolutely hate puns, but I couldn't resist.)
The quilting bee was an extremely popular social event in the mid-nineteenth century. The quilting bee provided a social space for women to gather and gossip while they simultaneously expressed their artistic capabilities. The quilting bee was often times held in a grange hall or a church vestry room which allowed for a maximum number of 12 women to attend. Often times, the number of guests was limited to seven, who, with the hostess, made up two quilting frames, the equivalent of two tables of bridge. Good quilting in earlier times was a social requisite, and it behooved the ambitious woman to be an expert with her needle.
~ from The Quilting Bee, American Studies at the University of Virginia