Take Me Away: Needlearts Retreats

June 24, 2010, 05:00 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team
Grandview Farm

Vermont Grand View Farm

I loved Linda’s post a couple of days ago about the fun and adventure of a family road trip. But it made me realize that Linda is a much better person than I am. Vacation season has me craving a personal, perhaps even private, retreat. Which started me wondering about getaways that might satisfy both a longing for some recharge time and that summer-camp impulse to do something creative.

Here in Asheville, we have two of the world’s best and most venerable sleep-away camps for grown-ups right in our own backyard, both of which cater to artists and crafters of all kinds.

Penland School of Crafts is a 75-year-old national center for craft education in the mountains just north of Asheville. Its many sessions for the needlearts inclined range from hat blocking and textile sculpture to fashion design and Japanese embroidery.

Head west from Asheville, and you’ll find the John C. Campbell Folk School, founded in 1925 to preserve and share the craft culture of the Southern Appalachian region. In needlearts, you can register for everything from tatting and spinning to improvisational quilting and natural dyeing. (The Folk School’s motto is “I sing behind the plow.” They say it “reflects our desire to find joy in our daily lives.” How great is that?)

But I realize that what I’m imagining is something even smaller, more customized, more private cabin-ish.

Porch of Grandview Farm

Spinning on the porch of Vermont Grand View Farm

Vermont Grand View Farm, for example (also pictured at the top of this post), is a small family sheep farm that produces its own yarn line and runs a B&B out of an 18th-century farmhouse. They have a new fiber studio, and a schedule of retreats and classes , including a Mommy & Me Sheep & Wool Week at the end of July, open to kids 7-11 and their moms (for moms who start to feel guilty about the private getaway plan?).

Lavender Cottage

Lavender Cottage

Lavender Cottage is an 1820s log house in Sunderland, Ontario, where they’ve specially designed and outfitted a new great room for small quilting retreats.


Weaving cottage in the woods

And fiber artist Terri Bibby offers workshops in Saori weaving and customized retreats in her studio and cottage in the woods on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.  I think this may be what I’m looking for. She writes, “Retreats here at the cottage and studio on Salt Spring Island are as individual as the people who come. They could be anything from a few days to a week-long retreat. You can weave at the studio for a few hours or a few days. No weaving experience is necessary—just come in and enjoy playing with colour, fibre and texture in new ways as you discover weaving and discover yourself … “ Ahhhh.

Any other great recommendations?


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9 Responses

    helen says:

    now that would be fun – create create create………..

    sy says:

    terr's weaving studio in the woods sound great. quilting retreat sounds fun too.

    You are listing my fantasies. Just me and amy machine. Maybe a few friends, but no cooking, no babies, no Hubby. Sigh. A girl can dream.

    FIBERfEtiSh says:

    I just came back from a Slow Felt workshop in the San Juan Islands, Washington. It was a workshop for “locals” that I turned into my own creative vacation/retreat and cultural exploration. Since I am single, I try to turn any vacation into an adventure in community-finding and some of my favorite things: dance, self-education and crafting!

    Artworkbysharon says:

    Having taken an “art vacation” I know how wonderful it can be. Not only is it a learning experience but one get to meet others who share your passion for art and creativity. Suggestion: Lark books should create a series of books on “where to go to take an art workshop”. It could be divided up by US region and as well as by the art activity. I Also, as classes are taught all over the world, there could be a chapter on art classes taught outside the US. It's like a book about “where to go to find the best fishing lodge”, and instead the best places to go for an art retreat. It's not always easy to find this information and this could be helpful, as well as an enjoyable read.

    Sherida Warner says:

    My husband and I are planning a vacation this fall as leaf peepers in New England. We love Vermont, so the Grand View Farm piqued my interest. I am a quilter and hope to visit quilt shops all over New England area while we're on our trip. I'll have handwork projects to do while hubby drives. But the beautiful leaves must be admired.

    Sherida Warner, sherida.warner@gjsentinel.com

    Shaiha says:

    One of my dream vacations would be to the John C. Campbell Fold School. They have so many wonderful jewelry classes and I am wanting to explore weaving.

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    Howdy! I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice info you’ve gotten here on this post. I will be coming again to your blog for more soon.

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