Is That a BEAR?- Exciting and Creative Times at our Artistic Alchemy Retreat 2017

September 4th-8th, I was busy, busy,  at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe.  Two mornings into the retreat, my friend from Portland, Oregon, Linda & I were enjoying our early morning coffee (7:15a.m.) at the edge of Lake Tahoe. I turned to see another student about 20 ft. away. Started to say hi, and saw a bear about 20 ft. behind her. OMG!!!!! Wha’ do we do? Wha’ do we do? The pictures of the teenage bear are courtesy of Marti (another student at her second floor window). We took off at a very, very, fast walk and so DID THE BEAR! We have lived to tell the tale. And I didn’t spill a drop of coffee in the race to the door to get inside. Ha, ha, ha. In fact, I didn’t need anymore coffee the rest of the day!

The clearing where we were enjoying the view. The bear entered, stage right, from behind the boulder. We were to the left of the “Portal of Prayer” sign (my prayers were short, and to the point, “Dear Lord, HELP!). 

Now,back to some creative fun. Candace, one of my students,  was very productive. In fact, she was the first of ALL the students in the whole retreat who started and completed her first project, less than half way through the 3 full days retreat! She even brought her serger to speed things along.

My workshop was called “Pick a Pattern.” Each student brought two different patterns from my collection, or my new book. We discussed fabrics for each project via emails. My students had so much creativity on their own. I was there to help with fit and design ideas that would make it, their very own “Art to Wear” piece. Candace’s first piece was the Rafiki Skirt.

We hung her Rafiki skirt on the design wall and after an afternoon swim, she got started on a second project, Whisper Blouse.

Each one of my students gave me, GREAT ideas that I had NEVER thought of.  Candace had a marvelous way of putting the tie into the skirt. A buttonhole goes in the front. Make the tie belt and thread each end in the buttonhole. 

The tie belt must be threaded in a circle first. The circle fits right under the top edge that will be folded down to form the casing.

She folds the casing right over the tie making certain that the piece is out of the way when she stitches down the casing all the way around the skirt. Sooo simple! Thank you Candace.

Here is Patty, another student. Patty wanted to create her own “Earthy colored” Terrific Tabard vest for her first project.

Patty has been ALL OVER THE WORLD! She has amazing stories to tell. She has promised to show me her photo albums. I love seeing and traveling with others through pictures and stories. When we spoke about her fabric choices she said, “Oh, I have silks from my travels to India, Vietnam, Asia, and I just picked up a beautiful batik when I was in Morocco.” WOW, wow, let’s see what she creates. 

Isn’t it beautiful? She was very happy with her creation. Patty celebrated by going for an early afternoon kayaking break. When she returned she whipped out the cutest purse with her vest scraps.

Oh, then she decided to make the cutest fabric earrings  from more scraps. Silk is perfect for these “frayed” earrings.

Carol, another one of my creative students wanted to use a picture panel that she had saved for something special. She decided to make my “Simply Super Vest” pattern from my new book, Fashion Quilted Accessories. This is the pattern,on the cover. It is a unique way to use your favorite picture panel piece. 

Here’s Carol with the back of the vest and one front piece up on her design board. 

I encourage everyone to get their projects up on a design board and stand back to get a good view of what they are creating. Carol has such a good eye for placement. She tells me that she used to teach math and it shows in the great care she took in measuring and placement.

This vest is really coming along……then her trusty, older Singer started giving her problems. And then she began suffering from a terrible case of Vertigo. In spite of how badly she felt, she was determined to continue to work on her vest AND wanted to discuss her second project, her version of Rafiki skirt.  

Below is Candace’s second project (almost done out of silks that a family member brought back from Hong Kong 30+ years ago). 

We also had lightening, thunder, and rain almost every afternoon. After all the heat we had all suffered through, the rain, oh the blessed rain, and drop in temperature was such a relief. 

Here are the teachers from another successful year of workshops at our annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat. From the left, Mary Boalt, Sandra Bruce, me, Heidi Emmett, and Christine Barnes. 

Maybe YOU will attend next year! Please visit and sign up for my personal blog: Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com  for more creative ideas,  My mantra, “Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!” Hugs, Heidi

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3 thoughts on “Is That a BEAR?- Exciting and Creative Times at our Artistic Alchemy Retreat 2017

  1. Thanks for sharing. Looks like a wonderful retreat with a little added excitement. I got to see the giraffe vest at our guild meeting. It’s even prettier in person.

    • So glad you had a good time Janet! You add lots of creative energy. And I want you to know, I am thinking on your suggestions that you proposed at the breakfast table. But, I do hope that bear will have moved on by then. Once was enough for me. Hugs, Heidi Whoops on my part, this reply is in answer to Janet’s comments. As usual, I hit the wrong button.

  2. This was a wonderful retreat – bear notwithstanding! Every day, full of sharing and inspiration. Counting the days till next year’s adventures. Wonder if we can schedule that lazy bear again!!!

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