Monday, April 11, 2011

The Makerie

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"Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening
~ Daisaku Ikeda

This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of teaching at the Makerie, a creative retreat that took place in little cabins tucked into the base of the mountains in Boulder, Colorado. The photo above was a picture I took on our morning hike at sunrise. I will try to share the Makerie experience, so you can live vicariously... and also consider it for next year. I have to say, though, coming home to the intense series of deadlines needed to make our launch and returning to a house strewn about with toys and stuffed animals and children's clothes--the Makerie seems like another world!

The honest truth is it was a considerable effort just to get to the Makerie because it fell in the midst of such an intense time in the life of Joyfolie. Even though I had been looking forward to it for a year, the night before my flight, as my studio was torn apart and half stuffed into a trunk; I was literally dripping tears over piles of supplies, wishing for a more "normal" life. I know that's not romantic and probably not what you would expect to hear. But, I think among the world of facebook and blogging, it's so easy to look at someone else and think: they have an ideal life. They have it all, and I don't. So, I want to be authentic with you. Having a business is a roller coaster of emotions, one minute I am crying over my suitcase, thinking that I am one more deadline away from a nervous break down; a few days later, I am having lunch at a cafe in Boulder, reflecting on the trip, and thinking what a charmed life I lead. So, you see, it is both... business, for me, is a marriage of extremes.

After a mere three hours of sleep and before long, I was driving from the Denver Airport into Boulder. Flora Bowley and I rode together, and I am so glad we did! Flora is an accomplished artist and painter and was one of the teachers for the Makerie. In the car, she spoke about how she had just finished her three week tour of teaching in Australia. She also said that while she accomplished her dream of becoming a professional painter, it was actually a more isolating life than she expected; teaching has filled that void for her. Likewise, I think it's important for me to always be steering the ship of Joyfolie in a way that works for me and for my family. Every day is a chance to reassess... we set goals, achieve them, re-evaluate... Sometimes arrival at a goal doesn't turn out quite like how we thought, which is why goals must be dynamic, as every day is another chance to live the life we want to live.

{the lovely Miss Flora}
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Upon arrival at Chautauqua, our cabins were so charming! For me, they were the perfect blend of comfort and quaint. All the cabins are scattered along the mountain base, and there were central buildings for gathering. We had most of our meals in the dining hall, which offered tasty and home-grown fare. So many fresh veggies, whole grains, fish, and the breakfast--yum! I love breakfast but never eat it, so to wake up to endless coffee, asparagus quiche, steel cut apple oatmeal, cinnamon danish, and fresh fruit was a real treat!

Here are one pf the happy little flags, Ali {owner of the Makerie} had staked up and down the hills, greeting us upon arrival. {Photo from Jeanne Oliver's blog, who nicely described taking Flora's class.}
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I taught two full days of classes at the Makerie, and the first was the French Market Class. There are 6 hours of instruction with an hour for lunch in between. This class was out of my normal fare, since we do not sell woman's shoes at Joyfolie. Each participant made two pairs of shoes, one was the trial pair to test the fit, and the second pair was made out of their own fabrics and finishes. I enjoyed watching the personality of each individual come through in their shoes. Here are a few photos of the participants {which were all so wonderful and fun!} and some of their shoes.
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A few more photos of shoes...
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Shoes by participant Jenny Doh of Crescenoh.
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The women's class was the more challenging course for me to teach... not only because it was my first time teaching a creative/sewing course, but also because we were addressing the issue of fit. I had a wonderful time, though, learned a lot, and really hope that everyone who came left feeling happy and satisfied... and ready to go home and make more!

Here are the photos of the tweed shoes that I made for myself as a demo, which actually came in handy walking through the airport, when I had enough of my high heeled boots!
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and a photo of them worn...
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shoes participants made in the Mary Jane class...
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7 comments:

Jenni said...

LOVE all that you do, this sounds like a wonderful place to be and create! I haven't ever heard of it until you!

LOVE the idea of a womans shoe!?

Anonymous said...

I love your work. If you were to do a bootie or a slouched boot. I would come in from Canada for this class. It would be nice to go to the cabins alone for a vacation.
Sarah

Kelly Campbell said...

I SOOOOO wish I lived closer, I would come to this next year FOR SURE!! Just too far away from me :( What an AMAZING time you all must of had!!!!

Kaleidoscope Journeys said...

I just moved to the states. I may have to take a trip to this next time, sounds amazingly creative!

Jeanneoli said...

It was wonderful to spend a little time with you. Hopefully next time I will stay longer!

Jessica said...

Thanks for your notes! I would definitely encourage all of you to come! Not only do I think it's important, as a mom, to create space to miss your children now and again, but the Makerie also fosters creative options in ways you might not think. What I mean is that being around so many people that have made creativity their vocation, it creates an energy of possibility... in whatever way is right for you, whether it's making more time to be artistic/creative or stepping out and making it a career. Plus, it's a beautiful setting with amazing food! What's not to love!

Jeanne, did you get my two messages? :)

Ellen Broderson said...

Jessica, I have to say I am so inspired by you and your work. You make beautiful shoes for little girls! I would love to someday attend one of your classes.
I stumbled upon a pair of your shoes on pinterest, I think, and was immediately in smitten by the flowers and beautiful prints. I continued to search the internet for your brand, Joyfolie, first on ebay (hoping to snag a pair for cheap, no luck;) ) then on google, where I found your blog!
I just about lost it with excitment when I read that your shoes are handmade. I am especially in love with your soft sole boots and shoes. I have a 13 month baby girl that you have so 100% inspired me to make soft sole boots & shoes for. I am so excited to get started! I have a question for you though, and I can totally understand if this is something you want to keep a secret for your business, but im curious what you use for the sole of your soft sole shoes. I have leather that I could use but I dont think that will be all that waterproof.
Anyway I just wanted to let you know that you have yet another huge fan of your beautiful work! Thanks for the inspiration:)
-Ellen

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