What a whirlwind...whoosh, bang! Here, there, back. Seven planes, stormy seas, long highways, fish and chips at servos, salt-sprayed ferry rides and a small army of friendly taxi drivers. The travel was fast, but the living was remarkably slow. Sleepy slow. So good slow. I've been back in the States for two weeks now, and Tennessee feels all rascally flowers and riverswamp after the tropical paradise that is the eastern coast of Australia. And not in a bad way. But, oh...how I love it over there! The animals--the colors--the alternate-universe night sky. I shut my eyes and try to imagine what it would feel like to grow up there, for all those fantastical things to simply feel like home. And I can't. It is a magical unicorn of a place. No wonder they call it Oz.
The retreat itself was beautiful, thanks to the sweet energy of the participants and the talents and hard work of our team. And, of course, the setting didn't hurt. Avalon Lea is a dream: a gleaming white Queenslander perched on a 120-acre working organic farm, just a short drive from the coast. Most of our meals and classes were held inside, but we slept on the grounds in a little village of cozy bell tents. (These are the tents. Have any of you ever been camping in a tent like this? I hadn't! It is game changing!) My workshops were centered around dyeing and weaving with foraged bits from nature. We dyed fiber and yarn with madder root and eucalyptus, and as usual, folks started taking off their clothes and throwing them in the dye pots. It never fails. Two of our participants got some really pretty madder-dyed linen and silk pieces thanks to their bravery.
Beth and Luisa were a pro team as usual, teaching styling and photography in a way that was engaging and fun (I learn so much from those two.) Aaron of Studio Neon (a Byron Bay native!) kept us all well-fed with the most beautiful, beautiful locally-sourced food. His picture never gets posted anywhere so there he is above, mid-chicken thigh. Hi, Aaron! He is the greatest. And sweet Lean came along to help as well, by assisting us in the workshops and leading the participants in sunrise yoga each morning.
Thank you so much to Jess and Happy Glamper for providing us with the bell tents, Cultiver for letting us use your most scrumptious linen, and Kara Rosenlund for being sweet enough to lend us so many things! And thank you most of all to the participants who came and shared your stories, your visions, and your time with us. Getting to know you was--by far--the best part. You each have a little fragment of my heart, and I hope I can come back to Australia before too long!
Since I've been back, Lisa and I have moved out of our studio and are finalizing the buildout for our new space! Because of this, my shop is closed, but it will reopen on Monday, June 1 at 11am CST. I can't wait to share the new space with you here and on Instagram. It's shaping up to be really special :)
*branch weaving photos by Lean and Meadow*