Be prepared, this post is going to be mostly images!
Last weekend I hosted the first Bazaar Creative Retreat in Brussels. It was everything, absolutely everything, I was hoping it would be! We spent an afternoon piecing together paper flowers and baby patchwork balls, we talked all day and late into the night about the different issues that each of us are facing as independent creatives, and I got to spend time with some old friends whom I miss very much together with my new-ish friends from Brussels.
On Saturday we had planned for roughly 4 hours of workshops. However, everyone was enjoying them so much (perhaps “obsessing over finishing them” is probably more accurate!) that we ended up staying in the workshop for six hours! We just couldn’t leave without completing the projects.
We made sweet paper flowers using a tutorial which I’ve used a number of times before, from Elegant Simplicity blog.
They appeared in all shapes and sizes, and ideas were spun for wedding decor using these paper flowers and many fairy lights! Could be very handy for one of our number who recently got engaged (with an incredible Eily O’Connor ring; if you don’t know her work, check it out!)
All of the folding and cutting was background for some serious brainstorming. We’re all at different stages in idea development and the weekend provided the perfect platform to air our individual stumbling blocks and get some excellent objective advice from a supportive group. The weekend once more reaffirmed my belief that even if your business depends on just you and your skills, we are not operating alone in a bubble and a strong community of voices around you is so important to motivation and to belief in oneself.
Maeve is at a pivotal moment with her popular Etsy shop, Handmade by Maeve, and it was curious to hear her ideas for developing it even further.
Denise’s Starling Digital Media Direction is already flying, and she has some very exciting ideas for future development. Watch this space!!
The patchwork balls were made using a tutorial Niamh found from the wonderful Hanna Andersson over on her iHanna blog. Niamh suggested adding bells to the centre of the stuffing to make them that little bit more fun! And they were!
The crafting was so addictive that the patchwork balls were brought out at the dinner table later! Check out Niamh’s nifty stitches over a glass of wine!
One of the best things about hosting a whole weekend retreat instead of just a craft afternoon was the communal meals. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without all hands on deck all weekend, especially Amy’s talents in the kitchen. Scones, pumpkin cake and curry?! It was all sooooooo good!
Speaking of doing it all, Iris was accompanied by her gorgeous bundle of joy for the weekend, who you can just about see here wrapped up as snug as a bug! Another benefit of building community around us is lots of hands available when needed to lift, carry and soothe.
On Sunday morning we took off into Brussels to have a look around the flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle. We also made a quick stop at Melting Pot, a sweet pay per kilo vintage clothing store that I knew they would love!
Rows of vintage treasures!
I must have found half my work wardrobe there.
The weekend was inspiring, motivating and a powerful testament to the vital part that a strong community can play in our lives. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated, for giving so freely of their time and positivity and being so willing to share experiences. On Monday evening I was more exhausted than I have been in a long time, but my mind was buzzing with all the possibilities, which now seem not quite so far away. I am doing my best this week to harness that positivity and am busy planning the next few months development for Bazaar Collective. It’s going to be a busy 2014!