Reflections on the Artistic Alchemy Retreat

by Jane Haworth

Lake view from Zephyr Point

We have reached the end of August and during normal times we would all, students and teachers, be prepping for the Zephyr retreat but these aren’t normal times. Sadly Labor Day weekend will come and go without the excitement of driving to Tahoe, unpacking, settling in and meeting all the students. Alas we will have to wait until September 2021 for this. My post this time will be reflections about the retreat and I am happy to share I have some guest writers to help with me this.

Fallen Leaf Conference Room

If you have never joined us for a retreat Artistic Alchemy is a group of of three but previously four teachers that host a selection of workshops from quilting, collage, upcycling, designing and making wearables and surface design. This would have been the 7th year for Sandra Bruce, Heidi Emmett and I to organize and host this retreat for about 40-50 students.

Early morning solace at the lake

One of my favorite things to do while staying at the Zephyr Point Conference Center is to take an early morning walk around the property, then sit on the dock and look out at Lake Tahoe. 7am is a quiet time and this particular morning unfortunately a smoke haze could be seen in the distance. 2020 I was going to do an organized early morning walk with those who felt the urge or needed the exercise!

Postcard circa 2018

I was lucky enough to join Artistic Alchemy in 2018 after Christine Barnes stepped down. I knew Christine, Sandra and Heidi from the local teaching circuit and the day we took this photo was the day I met Mary. I was honored to join these wonderful ladies and be able to add another creative thread to the retreat.

Guest post from Christine Barnes

“There’s something magical about Artistic Alchemy at Zephyr Point. I think it’s a combination of the higher-altitude air, the amazing “water colors,” and a simplicity like no other place on Tahoe. When you add in the energy of committed sewists and quilters, all happy to be a part of the collective creativity, the result is a very special experience. In each of the four years I taught color workshops, I came home tired but on a high, thrilled to be a part of AA and excited to go after new ideas that came from watching my students work with color. (Getting somewhere with color takes practice, but gosh, the result is worth the effort!) I confess to feeling a bit down the year after I retired, but the memories and the insights I gained stay with me. I hope it’s been the same for my students—you can’t see me, but when I look at my pictures, I’m smiling at what you did and who you are.” Christine

Our design wall was color on display!
A whole of of auditioning went on at the wall. Here is one of my students from the Dakotas working on her Spumoni blocks. I think this is Gail, or Laurie—sorry I can’t quite recall.:-)

Guest post from Mary Boalt

“I want to thank Jane for asking me to reminisce for a moment or two. About now it’s good to spend a few minutes thinking about some happier times. I have fond memories of our retreats at Zephyr. The camaraderie among the women was amazing. Whether a quilter, art quilter, or wearable artist, the relationships built during that week were undeniable. We all shared a love of creating. What could be more fun? To spend four days immersed in learning a new technique and adding it to your repertoire of skills feels like pure joy and indulgence! I think the most exciting year was the five year anniversary of Artistic Alchemy. What a testament to the vision that Heidi, Christine and Sandra had to create a retreat for like minded women and have them “play” together for a week! Additionally, that first week in September has the best weather ever to be enjoyed along with the best view ever! I hope by this time next year you will be able to have this pleasure again. In the meantime, be careful, be safe and carry on creatively.” Fondly Mary Boalt.

Gail showing off her vest
Mary and some wonderful painted canvases

Guest post from Heidi Emmett

“I will TOTALLY miss the camaraderie that is developed during this time with each of my students and how we become a cohesive group with ideas bouncing off the walls for something that’s upcycled or a new technique to try. Everyone is enthusiastic in their own way and it is so fun to be a part of. I will miss the “ahha” moments when it is discovered that they CAN make and ENJOY a garment that they sewed themselves using my Art to Wear patterns. AND that it IS O.K. to break some sewing garment rules. They finally feel free to get some creativity going and it feels mighty fine!” Heidi. 

Sunset over Lake Tahoe. This happened during our nightly program

Sharing the lake with others is what Lake Tahoe is all about.

Guest post from Sandra Bruce

“One of my favorite parts of being at Zephyr with Artistic Alchemy is the shot we get of everyone at the end, on the last day. We don’t always get every single person, some ladies have to scoot early to catch planes, for instance, but it is so fun to gather as a group one last time for this picture. Friendships have been made, stories told and shared, and the week has been diffused with lots of creativity, learning, and laughs! Here’s the collection…2015 is missing from my photo library, but the rest are here.” Sandra

Group Phot0 2014
Group Photo 2016
Group Photo 2017
Group Photo 2018
Group Photo 2019

What a great look back over the years! Unfortunately Sandra couldn’t find the group photo for 2015. It is nice to see so many friendly, familiar faces and returning students too. Has anyone been to every retreat!

I remember in maybe 2015 looking at the Artistic Alchemy website and contemplating signing up for Open Studio. I joined the group in 2018 and it was my first retreat, first time at Zephyr Point and first time in this group. For the Artistic Alchemy 5th anniversary I contacted various quilt companies and individuals to see if they would donate some free swag for giveaways and I was totally surprised how generous people were. Thank you sponsors. It was so fun each night at the program/show and tell to be able to share all this swag!

Everyone looks happy with their free swag!!

I was looking forward to my workshop this year it was called Mark-making and Collage and would have included a day of playing and printing with fabric paints. I started to put together a fabric journal with some of my samples but I suppose now I have another year to work on this.

Working to combine the pages of this fabric Journal

Best wishes to you all for following along with our journey and although we won’t be at the Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center this year we can all dream about it. We are planing to return next year September 6-10th 2021. Keep safe, keep well and keep creating.

Jane, Sandra, Mary and Heidi Sept 2019

Part of My Workshop Includes – UPCYCLING. Today, Let’s Upcycle a Skirt!

by Heidi Emmett:

Upcycling is SO FUN!! If you have been hesitant to get on board with it, today I’m going to show you a great project you could start with. First we need some inspiration.

Found this on Pinterest. I LOVE the way a beautiful dressy lace was paired with denim.

For me, Going to the Thrift shop is all about the fabric. I often buy a garment JUST for the fabric. This silk printed fabric is so great next to the denim in this skirt. Notice the top stitching on the denim and how it brings the fabric and denim together.

I like how this is a wrap skirt with interesting features on the front of the skirt.

THIS IS THE ONE! My skirt is so small that opening it up and adding pieces here and there like this skirt will make mine a perfect wrap skirt.

My thrifted skirt was so small but I loved the embroidery and the ragged hem, (the embroidery is the reason I purchased it, I new it would NEVER fit me as is.

The embroidery is machine done, but great colors and design.
O.K., snip, snip, snip! I cut it open all the way at the side seam opposite the embroidery.
Don’t forget to check out my cool slip on canvas tennis shoes. OF COURSE they are leopard. Remember, I said that Leopard is hot, HOT this season (in my humble opinion, Leopard anything is hot in any season).These are by Blowfish.  And so comfy almost right away.
I needed some other pieces to add on. Found this lovely woven piece in my stash. I decided to add a piece of fleece (try The Warm Company, made in the USA)  and a batik to the back of this woven.  And when I had to fish a spool of thread out of my trash bag, I found this perfectly colored piece of wool yarn.
I quilted my fabric “sandwich” together with different colored threads in an up and back motion that would show off the pattern of the fabric.
Arranging “stuff” to see if I can use some, all, or none. This is the fun part. Not sure about what you might pick out. “Test” them out as I did, by placing everything on the background of the starting skirt. Take a few pictures and look at your items objectively, through a camera lens.
Oh yes, I want this yarn and felt it down with my machine felter (mine is a Husky Star by Huskavarna). Check my past posts on “Fun Felting” to learn more.
It’s perfect.
The back side of this felted yarn is  pretty too.

It’s getting close to being finished. Think about which side you will add your quilted fabric piece to. How wide does it really need to be,and  how much of a wrap do you want? Maybe you will want to add more pieces than just the one as I did? All questions that will need answering and remember, it’s never wrong. Add something to it or cut it off and start again. I LOVE upcycling.
Check out my off-centered (ON PURPOSE, to reduce bulk, and I like how it looks) upcycled skirt. It is truly one-of-a-kind, just the way my clothing needs to be.
Maybe, I might add something else to this skirt. But right now it’s perfect as is.
Isn’t this fun! I am pairing this skirt with a red turtleneck, dark gray leggings, and my cool leopard tennies.

Upcycling is so freeing. As I said, you can do nothing wrong. I teach the upcycling portion of my workshop at the Artistic Alchemy retreat, on the first day. It’s a great warming up exercise to get your brain to start thinking outside the box and get you ready to work on one of my “ART TO WEAR” patterns later in the week. Please visit my Etsy store: DesignsbyHeidiEmmett/sewing patterns, to get an idea of the sewing patterns I sell. Next years Artistic Alchemy Retreat is Sept. 7-11th. It’s not too early to be thinking about it. All the information for our 2020 retreat comes out the beginning of February.

Fall at Pope Beach at South Shore Lake Tahoe, Oct. 2017. Notice how faaaarrrr out you can see the beach. It was the height of our drought. This year, same color in the trees, but the water comes all the way up now, within a foot or two of the railing.
An Aspen tree at waters’ edge of Zephyr Point Conference Center.
A storm is moving in to Zephyr Point in October. Foaming spray and big white caps.
Color trees are everywhere on the grounds of Zephyr Point. It is a great place to visit any time of the year (they do keep all roads on the grounds plowed when it snows), but fall is my favorite.

Thanks for stopping by and maybe check out your favorite Thrift shop this week (I love thrifting because your money goes to so many different great causes) and you find FABULOUS STUFF!! It’s a win, win!

I leave you with a quote: Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision. Hugs, Heidi

P.S. Follow me – DesignsbyHeidiEmmett on Pinterest and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re Invited! Two special events featuring Artistic Alchemy!

by HEIDI EMMETT  Mark your calendars. Pine Tree Quilt Guild in Grass Valley, CA is having their annual “Springtime in the Pines Quilt Show” and you’re invited! It is being held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on May 4th & 5th.

Artistic Alchemy will be there. We are a group of four women who each have a unique style in their quilting and stitching (wearables/accessories) areas. Come and see our booth and we can answer any questions you might have about our annual sewing/quilting retreat. This year it will be Monday, Sept. 2nd-Sept. 6th at the Zephyr Point Retreat Center on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Nevada.  Go to Artisticalchemyblog.wordpress.com for more information.

Sandra Bruce, Mary Boalt, Jane Haworth, & Heidi Emmett the four teaching enthusiasts!
Sandra-Material Matrix, Mary-Steam-a-Seam, Jane-Pet Portraits, & Heidi- Upcycling clothing, Wearable Creativity & Fiber Jewelry!
Our booth at the Quilt Show last year.
Sandra Bruce will be the “FEATURED QUILTER” this year at the Pine Tree Quilt Guilds Show! This is a BIG deal. Here is her quilt Chuck Close.
Some of my “Art to Wear” sewing patterns. Try them on and see which patterns you need to own!
One more of Featured quilter, Sandra Bruce’s Material Matrix quilts- Dame Lorraine.
One of Mary Boalt’s creative hand painted canvases. This year it will be “all about Steam-a-Seam” and creating your own fabulous fabric.
One of Jane Haworth’s Amazing Pet Portraits.

Another of Jane’s Pet Portaits.  I love the colors in this guy.
Some of Jane’s student’s work.
More student’s own Pet Portaits- a class taught by Jane Haworth.
Here I am wearing my Terrific Tabard pattern- a new look for it using one of Mary Boalt’s hand painted canvas pieces.
This vest is from the “Wearable Creativity” portion of my workshop. Take one of my Wearable Patterns and let me help you create your own Designed by YOU look. Heads will turn when you wear it and you’ll be able to say, “I designed and made it myself.”
One more version of the “Wearable Creativity” section of my workshop. Let me help you fit one of the patterns you pick to your body type. And with YOUR fabric choices, design the perfect wearable that YOU will WANT to wear.

 

One of my patterns that you  might pick for the Wearable Creativity portion of Heidi’s workshop at the Artistic Alchemy Retreat this year.

I just had to take a moment to show you that Jane Haworth, one of the teachers at our Artistic Alchemy retreat made the  cover of  Quilting Arts  with “Tilly,” one of her Pet Portraits. This is a really BIG DEAL! A very, small, percentage of talented artists make the cover of a magazine. Look at all the talent available in one wonderful retreat. Come join us!

COMING ON SATURDAY, MAY 18th- ASG Spring Event! Featuring Artistic Alchemy! Read on: This is the Sacramento chapter. Click on anything in blue to take you to the ASG site.

What is ASG? It is a nationwide sewing group and the ASG stands for: American Sewing Guild  

WHEN: May 18, 2019   9:00a.m.- 2:00p.m.

WHERE :Spring Event with Artistic Alchemy
Timberlake Ballroom
7050 Del Webb Blvd.
Roseville, CA

WHAT: Artistic Alchemy will present an EXTRAVAGANZA of all that we are and do. Enjoy a fashion show from each of us. As you watch, learn about each of the teachers that make up Artistic Alchemy. We will offer demonstrations to give you a taste of the workshops offered at our annual retreat. We will also have shopping time! Mary will have some “new painted offerings” , Heidi will have “Art to Wear” sewing patterns and her book, Jane will have Pet portrait jackets and such, and Sandra will have her famous Polymer clay earrings, buttons, and pins. All this ladies, and a beautiful lunch too! Join us and get a taste of what you can enjoy at our Annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat at Lake Tahoe!

$35 ASG Members
$50 non-Members
Online Registration

Additional Details

Thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to visit my personal blog: Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com  to see what I’m up to. I post each Friday afternoon. Hugs, Heidi

It Was A Huge Success!

The wearable art pop up sale that I mentioned a few blogs ago was a great success. We had numerous customers from the email list as well as many women who were just passing through the library where it was held. A steady stream of customers all day long resulted in lighter loads on the return trip home.

I was amazed at the quality of workmanship in the art produced by these creative women. There was clothing, jewelry, felted silk scarves, bags and totes. This was the first time I had been exposed to the work of the Roseville group, Sew What. What talented ladies! The wearable art group that I attend is SWAG, Sierra Wearable Art Group. Together we make a great team.

Because it was so successful, we are plannng on a repeat performance sometime in early fall. If you couldn’t make it this last time, please sign up at the email address and get your name on the mailing list.

WeHaveArtToWear@gmail.com

There were some fantastic stories shared while we were there. Above is a picture of me with Doran, a woman I met while vacationing in Hawaii with my sister last January. Doran and my sister met each other years ago through a mutual friend. Since she lives in Stockton, I thought she might like an invitation to this event. Lo and behold, she arrived with a friend who lives across the street from Heidi!  And then we heard of another seller, who after visiting with one of the customers, realized they were cousins who live in the same neighborhood. Such a small world and a wonderful venue to discover each other. It was just such a delightful day.

Our day as Artistic Alchemy at the Pine Tree Quilt show was another success. We received 5 new sign ups for our Zephyr Retreat. Welcome ladies! We are dwindling down to just a few spaces left in the classes. If you are on the fence, here are some things to consider; there is NOTHING in the creative world as satisfying as being with like minded people. It’s as if you have found your tribe. Your creative juices will be quadrupled by spending time talking and sharing with them. And our show and tell in the evenings will blow your socks off. The weather is beautiful that time of year and the crowds have all gone home for the summer. You will leave with some projects and knowledge you didn’t have before. Perhaps you’re designing something for yourself or just getting ideas for gifts. What a great time to enjoy yourself, make new friends and learn a new technique.

Carry on creatively,

Mary