Have you ever wished you could call out sick from life, hole up with some crafty friends, eat delicious food, and just make beautiful things all weekend? If your answer is like mine (which is a resounding, "Um, only every single day!"), then the Sweet Paul Makerie just might be your dream come true.
The brainchild of the talented teams behind Sweet Paul and The Makerie, a ticket to the two-day creative retreat gets you four carefully curated workshops of your choosing with makers who are experts in their field (including most materials), five mouth-watering meals (a combination of Sweet Paul's personal favorite recipes and seasonal farm-to-table cuisine), a jealousy-inducing swag bag, and a few other fabulous surprises along the way - not to mention the chance to spend an entire weekend fostering your creativity with makers, creators, and crafters of all walks of life. But more importantly, it provides the opportunity and atmosphere to do something that often takes a back seat in our busy lives. Like many of you, I spend a large majority of my day sitting behind a computer. While my career does allow me to get creative with my thoughts and my words, I miss expressing myself in a more tactile way. And, unfortunately, I rarely find the time to do so. The Sweet Paul Makerie is the antidote to a life where fingers are meant for typing, not making - a chance to lose yourself in the meditative power of working with your own two hands. Think of it as a really cool mini summer camp for crafty adults but with way better food and no smelly bunk beds!
So finally, after years spent pining over Makeries past, my super artistic mom (whose work will undoubtedly put mine to shame) and I will be heading down to Philadelphia to attend this April's retreat - and I'm losing my mind with anticipation and excitement. Set against the stunning backdrop that is the URBN Corporate Campus (headquarters for the beloved Terrain, Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters, and BHLDN brands) in Philadelphia's Navy Yard, this year's event features an impressive roster of workshops. Here are the four I've chosen for my DIY getaway (click each instructor's name to see more of their work):
Introduction to the Art of Paper Cutting with Elsa Mora
From The Makerie: "In this workshop I will teach you the main elements of paper cutting. You will go home with a piece of paper art cut with your own hands and ready to frame. I have created special patterns for you to choose from, all inspired by nature. The workshop will be fun and meaningful. I will share my secrets about how you can turn paper cutting not only into a skill but into a form of relaxation and meditation. My goal is to show you a new world of possibilities for self-expression using paper. With the things that I will teach at the workshop you will be able to keep creating new paper art on your own."
Needle Felted Lamb with Jocelyn Gayle (of PetitFelts)
From The Makerie: "Students will learn the basics of needle felting in this workshop. You will walk away from this class with the basic skills needed to needle felt anything you can dream up! You will use raw wool and a barbed needle to create your very own lamb finger puppet. This piece can also be easily turned into an ornament, or can be used as a decorative piece. You will be provided with materials to make a paper hat for your little lamb, but students are also welcome to bring materials from home to help add extra personality to their lambs, such as lace or fabric for a scarf or ear ribbon, or anything you come up with!"
Social Media Photography & Prop Styling with Paul Lowe
From The Makerie: "In this fun and engaging class with Sweet Paul himself, you will learn all you need to know about styling, food styling, propping, and photography for social media and other channels. We will go over backgrounds, surfaces, trends in props, how to prop and shoot food, crafts, still life and more. You can even bring your own craft projects to shoot. The class is hands-on and you will be able to pick and choose from Sweet Paul Magazine’s favorite props to make your own set up and shoot yourself. Sweet Paul will share his favorite Instagram editing tools and the other apps he loves to use. And the best thing? You don’t need a fancy camera, bring your phone, iPad, tablet, or camera. Its not a technical class about aperture etc., but more about creating a beautiful image and having fun with it!"
Spoon Carving with Melanie Abrantes
From The Makerie: "Designer Melanie Abrantes will lead students in hand carving their own wooden spoon using traditional Japanese tools and techniques. The class will start with a discussion of different wood types, an explanation of the tools required, and an overview of the techniques used to cut wood. Once students have acquired a basic understanding, Melanie will lead them in carving the bowl of the spoon with the spoon gouge, then designing and whittling the handle and top of the spoon. When the final design has been reached, students will sand and finish their spoons with an all-natural finish. All tools will be provided to use during the workshop, with the option of purchasing the tools to continue your spoon making practice at home!"
And because I've had a longtime dream of learning how to carve a spoon (hi, I collect spoons!), below is a video about Melanie Abrantes, what she does, and how she crafts her gorgeous pieces. I can't wait to soak up everything I can from her!
To see the full list of classes offered at this year's event, read more info about the retreat, and register to attend (which you totally should!), click here.
And in case a weekend of making, eating, and forming fabulous new friendships wasn't enough, maybe the Sweet Paul team's recent announcement about a special guest will help...
Happy crafting and I hope to see you this April at the Sweet Paul Makerie!
All images via The Makerie unless otherwise noted