Gathering of Artisans 2017

 

A few years ago, I set a goal to attend a creative retreat or workshop every year.  I know that as a maker and artist, getting away to connect, grow and recharge is invaluable.  

I just returned from Black Mountain, North Carolina, where I attended Gathering of Artisans, a retreat for Christian artisans of all kinds to gather and connect, learn new skills, and worship together in the mountains.  From their website:

We know God is raising up an army of artists and our vision for Gathering is a powerful time of worship, mentoring & creative expression centered in the Presence of God and the community of artisans - both master & emerging.  We have intentionally planned this weekend in an environment conducive to building relationships and growing together in unity.

This trip was amazing.  What I hoped for was a weekend away, to gather with like minded creatives, connect with people I've seen online, worship in the mountains and gain some new knowledge and skill.  All of those hopes were met (and exceeded).  What I didn't even consider (and was completely blown away by) were the intimate touches of love poured out through the messages, personal prayer ministry and worship.  I had one hard day creatively, that left me feeling a bit discouraged... but looking back, I'm really thankful for that because it exposed some brokenness and healing that needed to take place.  That evening, the message during the worship session so resonated with me, and afterwards I received an incredible outpouring of affirmation and hope via a sweet couple who led one of the workshops. (Lonnie and Margie Johnson.. check out their beautiful pottery on their website.)

 The first night, I met some new friends right away.  We went to dinner together at a little bistro in Black Mountain and enjoyed good food and great conversation.  There is a lot of talent and even more heart amongst these ladies.  Photo credit:  Debra Hart Tyre

The first night, I met some new friends right away.  We went to dinner together at a little bistro in Black Mountain and enjoyed good food and great conversation.  There is a lot of talent and even more heart amongst these ladies.  Photo credit: Debra Hart Tyre

My sister Michelle went with me, and we had a wonderful time.  From the workshops to the worship services, the southern comfort food and new friends... it was a truly incredible experience.

 This is my sister Michelle and I.  We flew into Greenville, South Carolina and then drove an hour and a half to Black Mountain, North Carolina.  We lived in South Carolina when we were younger (Navy kids), and enjoyed exploring in downtown Greenville.  

This is my sister Michelle and I.  We flew into Greenville, South Carolina and then drove an hour and a half to Black Mountain, North Carolina.  We lived in South Carolina when we were younger (Navy kids), and enjoyed exploring in downtown Greenville.  

 Michelle and I with some of our new friends.  This was after the conference was over, enjoying an art gallery in Asheville.

Michelle and I with some of our new friends.  This was after the conference was over, enjoying an art gallery in Asheville.

I made a necklace in Adrianne Snyder's class called Heart of the Beloved.  Working on this piece and processing the way God works in my heart as I created it really did something in me.  (Plus I found another craft that I really loved!)  

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Other highlights included hearing from Aeron Brown, Jim Banks, Jacob Daniels and Matt Tommey (who master-minded the whole event, plus has a fantastic mentoring group and a passion to help artists grow in the Kingdom).

I'm happy to be home with my loves, with renewed vision to keep creating... and I can't wait to go back for the next Gathering.  

I strongly encourage you to make a goal for yourself to attend some sort of retreat or workshop regularly.  Whether local or across the country (or beyond!), it's good for the soul and refreshes you in ways you don't realize you need.  No guilty feelings of leaving home allowed!  Investing times like this in yourself benefits your loved ones, because you get filled up and come home recharged.  Your family may miss you while you're away, but they'll appreciate the refreshed you when you return!

Do you have a favorite creative retreat or conference that you've attended?  I'd love to hear about it!

 
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