DIY Bead Retreat!

March 17, 2017 , In: Events, General

This past weekend I celebrated my first Saturday not teaching my regular ceramics classes. And I celebrated in style…

Road Trip: blue skies and a “Nice” bridge, Marsha at the wheel, nom nom when we arrived!

The idea was hatched almost a year ago? I met Sandi, Sally and Elisabeth a while back… maybe 7 years ago at the first DC based “Art Bliss” retreat. I went to the first one alone, knowing no one… met Elisabeth the first night. Over the 5 years that Art Bliss ran, we met up every year – there and at BeadFest and quickly became long distance bead buddies. So when the idea was first proposed that we hold our own bead/girls weekend, I was thrilled as it was going to fill a void. There is a restorative power in like minded people, gathering together, to share space, share time, and share skills and passions. 

( Here is where I give full props to Elisabeth for researching state park lodges. And I say that we were sad that Sally, and other Art Bliss friends couldn’t make the weekend do to other commitments. But as current AE members Sue and I got to have a reunion with former AJE member Melissa! And we were all happy to meet Kathryn! ) 

Welcome to the Potomac  Art Retreat! 

Out house(s), our river view!

Sunset on Friday!

Friday night was a casual dinner, a seed bead intro lesson, and some great “get-to-know-each-other” time. We were 7 in total; a motley, multi talented crew. Our specialties ranged from collage to felt to beads to enamel. Saturday morning after a gourmet breakfast ( we divided meal responsibilities… easy peasy) we hiked to the beach. Westmoreland State Park is located in Virginia, and we were directly on the Potomac River. Blustery cold, but blue – it was invigorating, and steep… 

Beach combing, building cairns, found treasures…

Scenes from the woods – our hike to the beach.

We enameled, we stenciled, we dapped and domed. We beaded, and stabbed, and drew, and melted things. We collaged, and transferred images, we doodled. It was a completely relaxed freeform atmosphere – where we shared ideas and techniques, brainstorming, and encouraging. My biggest regret was sleeping in on Sunday and missing a few hours of the fun! 

Fire! Enamel and soft solder in kitchen #2 – the art kitchen.

Melissa, Sandi, Kathryn felting! Marsha’s enamel with frit, Elisabeth’s works from the weekend. Sue’s WIP from the weekend.

All in all – the weekend left me enthused, rejuvenated, and exhausted! <laughing> It was very affordable with shared expenses and a self-catering meal plan. As much as the new techniques I learned – I was grateful for the camaraderie. I highly recommend it! Find a place to gather, call your beady friends – make it happen! You won’t regret it! Now… if we didn’t have so many AE team mates across ‘the pond’… 

Thanks to Sue, Marsha, Melissa, Elisabeth, Sandi, Kathryn – for letting me steal images to use! 



Jenny Davies-Reazor

Jenny Davies-Reazor is a mixed media artist inspired by myth, folklore and the natural world. A proud Jack-of-all-trades, she concentrated in metals and painting in art school, turned to clay during her teaching career, and is truly happiest when mixing materials in unusual ways. From clay to resin, paper to polymer... Since leaving her ceramics classroom, Jenny is always in the studio: fabricating jewelry, creating ceramic shrines and decorative tiles, and teaching in a variety of mediums. " I love sharing my passion for art, and seeing sparks light up in student's eyes..."
    • Donna Baratta
    • March 17, 2017

    Weekends with like minded artists is always such a treat! I love the stencils you have in the one photo. So many designs on one sheet! Did you make these yourself or do you have a source you wouldn’t mind sharing? Thank you so much!

    • Reply

      Donna – the stencils were Sandi’s so I do not know the source. I often cut my own from card stock. Check your local art supply store as any stencils will work if the scale of the design works for you…

        • Donna Baratta
        • March 17, 2017

        Thank you Jenny! I only have access to one chain store in my area. Perhaps it is time for me to start making my own too. I never thought of making them with card stock. I think I will give it a try. Thank you for the inspiration! Have a wonderful weekend!

  1. Reply

    Oh, that sounds (and looks!) so good! Nothing can ever beat the combination of ocean, creativity and friends! Would have love to be there too 🙂

  2. Reply

    It looks like a wonderful time was had by all. Beautiful setting!

  3. Reply

    We did a retreat like this here in WA, a few years ago. Reading your post brought back all those happy memories. Sounds like all of you had a wonderful time!

  4. Reply

    Oh that looks like a blast! So glad you shared a peek into the weekend with us.

  5. Reply

    What a lovely location I keep seeing various online friends having Bead Retreats wish we had them over here in the UK. Never found one yet!!

Leave a Comment