I have always felt that each of my pieces told their own unique story and this belief motivated me to develop an actual "storyteller" series. The original piece in this series was inspired by my "lonesome" beads . . . the leftovers from other projects that there were never enough to do much else with. I took out these tiny handfuls of beads one day trying to decide whether to keep them or to let them go. As I looked at the sad little piles, memories of the original pieces that I had created from them came flooding back. There was a cohesiveness to the colors that spoke of my unique artistic aesthetic and the variety of shapes all together captured my imagination. I began to see these orphan beads as tiny puzzle pieces that together told a story of my creative process and the original storyteller piece was born!
Since this first creation, countless ideas for pieces have continuously flowed through my imagination. One piece in particular captures the essence of what I dreamed and hoped a storyteller piece could. It is a piece that was inspired in every way by my daughter, Alex, who is the most unique and wondrous person imaginable. There was nothing else it could be called but "Enchanted".
Enchanted is Alex's story, created with precious tokens from her childhood coupled with select items that I felt captured her uniqueness and personality. All of these memories found their special place on a piece of river polished wood that I found in Alex's favorite place on Earth . . . Enchanted Valley! This creation tells a part of my daughter's epic life story so clearly and I feel incredibly moved and privileged to know this soul so deeply. Enchanted was Alex's birthday remembrance in 2016 and this poem that I wrote while in her sacred valley accompanied it:
for alex ~
In the magical mist of early morn,
I sit alone in silent reverence at meadow’s edge
to witness the consecrated, eternal falling.
Silver strands of liquid hope
from distant, prophetic heights
. . . we must never lose faith.
And I heard a river chorus in concert with all the creatures of the land echoing your name.
I saw your grace and beauty in hosts of dancing wildflowers,
felt your rage and grief in the woundedness of the windfall,
your resilience and perseverance in the lush evergreen forest,
and your strength and integrity in the grandeur of the ancient cliffs.
Here in this sacred refuge
I am wholly surrounded by your passionate spirit
and the depth of your soul resonates within me.
This divine landscape truly reflects the essence and magic that is you.
No wonder it is called “enchanted.”
mom – august 10, 2016
This is my brother Jeff and his beautiful puppy Jessie. They died within weeks of each other earlier this year after a heroic fight for life and light and love. They were both artists in their own incredible ways and the world is a much more beautiful place because of them. I was inspired to create this retreat while living and caring for Jeff and so I want to dedicate this year's event to him in thanksgiving for every precious day we shared together.
Autumn was my only choice for this retreat . . . a time of renewal, rebirth, harvest and hearth. "Fall is heartbreakingly beautiful. Each crisp, clear morning brings opportunities to fall in love with the world anew. Fall is also the honest season. It does not pretend that life blooms forever. This season reminds me that life and death are intrinsically intertwined . . . that cold and rain are just as crucial in sustaining balance as sun and warmth. Fall reminds me to see the fact of impermanence not as a fear-inducing harbinger of death, but rather as a useful tool in crafting a meaningful, beautiful life." (Amy Frohnmayer
As artists, we are fully involved in capturing and recreating the meaning and beauty that we discover in our lives. All too often, however, we are so isolated in our creative process that gatherings of like minded individuals become crucial to sustaining our artistic balance. The Autumn Artist Retreat offers artists the opportunity to participate in creative fellowship and growth in a supportive and inspirational environment that allows them to achieve that balance. It is my deepest hope that this retreat can be the tool that allows each artist to mirror their one precious and beautiful life through art.
"To live in this world you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal:
to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it:
and, when the time comes,
to let it go,
to let it
~ from "In Blackwater Woods" by Mary Oliver
Last year brought a huge change for the retreat . . . a move west to Port Gamble and the Iron Mountain Arts studios. The decision to relocate was motivated by our purchase of this beautiful property on the Hood Canal where my husband Paul and I have created an incredible artist studio in which to host this event. Rising costs at the original retreat site had become increasingly frustrating and impossible to absorb and were also pricing many artists out of the opportunity of attending. So mid 2016, I took a leap of faith in myself and, following my heart and my original vision for this retreat, courageously changed directions. Because of this decision, we have now all landed in an incredibly creative, artistic paradise. Welcome to the new and improved Autumn Artist Retreat!
In November of 2016, Iron Mountain Arts hosted its' first "west-side" retreat in the cozy, historic town of Port Gamble, Washington. Twelve incredible artists wallowed in the peace-filled, inspiring atmosphere of this magical place as well as the amazing instruction of our two master instructors ~ Sarah Thompson and Tracy Stanley. My vision had finally been realized . . . the event was an overwhelming success!
This year, we build on this success by making the retreat accessible to more artists with more attendance options and lower registration fees. I am also honored to announce the 2017 guest instructor . . . introducing Storm Autumn Rise!!! With an epic name like hers, you can expect unparalleled direction and incredible projects to get your creative juices flowing! I am joining Storm as the retreat's artist-in-residence and can guarantee a creative experience that will satisfy your every imaginings!
Spots will always be limited as we value giving our attendees optimum time with incredible instructors so don't hesitate to reserve your spot soon! We look forward to sharing our vision and this incredible piece of paradise with you in October!
When I began this adventure in January of this year, the months spread hopefully before me . . . wide open and inviting. I needed a project . . . something challenging that would capture my imagination and make the world a little softer and more beautiful. The idea of this retreat had been planted in my heart months before and by the dawn of the new year was blossoming into something truly vibrant and worthwhile. When my amazing team of strong, adventurous and creative artists came together, the dream of hosting a retreat became real . . . heartbeat and all. I felt truly empowered. Little did I know what lie ahead.
As the months began to march by, many huge and unexpected challenges arose:
Nathaniel & Andrea Eisenberg
Despite all these happenings, this retreat continued to flourish through your enthusiasm and support, displaying all the signs of becoming a renewable and thriving entity. Even the circulation of unfounded rumors that the retreat was cancelled did very little to slow its youthful spirit and momentum. In short, life happened . . . but instead of wilting into a mere memory, this retreat, in it's infancy, took these challenges and has grown with them!
In just three weeks, we will meet at the breathtaking Suncadia Resort and reap the benefits of tenacity in the premiere of the Autumn Artist Retreat. We will toast to ourselves and to our amazing instructors, Tracy and Sarah, who are busy putting the final touches on the incredible projects they have designed to share with us. Supply lists will be posted here shortly or kits may be purchased at the retreat. Candy Courtney of Bird Tail Beads will have additional supplies on hand to keep us happily creating for the duration of the retreat. NEWS FLASH!!! An introductory seed beading workshop will be offered during the open studio hours each night for interested attendees. Kits and supplies for the beading project will also be available at the retreat.
Stay tuned to this blog site for more information in the weeks ahead. If you are still on the fence or have registered and have a friend you would like to share this amazing time with, rooms are still available. Remember that attendees have early registration privileges for the limited space at next year's retreat! Don't let this incredible opportunity slip by! Come and celebrate the immense artistic bounty found in the stunning Pacific Northwest. This is where life happens . . . grow with it!!!
Making a decision to invest in ourselves is often so difficult that we find ourselves doing quite a lot of fence sitting . . . the safe place to be between a yes or a no choice. An article in the March 2012 issue of Art Jewelry magazine written by Kristin Sutter suggests some thoughts to ponder while sitting on said fence. In this post, I will paraphrase Kristin's questions from that article for your pondering enjoyment and then shed some light on how the Autumn Artist Retreat is working to satisfy your retreat desires.
1. What kind of experience and knowledge do you want to come away with? ~ At Suncadia you will enjoy a workshop style learning experience in a gorgeous, nurturing and revitalizing environment. The Autumn Artist Retreat's immersion style learning experience coupled with an extraordinary setting that motivates your creative artistic process is a unique and priceless opportunity.
2. What caliber of instruction are you going to receive? ~ The Autumn Artist Retreat has enlisted the artistic direction of two nationally known and award winning master instructors, Tracy Stanley and Sarah Thompson. Each instructor has specially selected amazing pieces for your learning enjoyment which can be found under the "Retreat Projects" tab. Students will have the opportunity to spend 8 - 10 hours of relaxed, focused instructional time with each of these teachers. In addition to the daily workshops, the retreat is offering up to four hours of nightly open studio time with the instructors available to help, support and answer questions. Class sizes will be small to ensure maximum individual attention within well equipped, stress-free studio spaces.
3. What are you getting for your money? ~ In addition to all the enticing and valuable things listed above, the Autumn Artist Retreat offers you three nights lodging in the award winning Inn at Suncadia. Guests and instructors are greeted and introduced on Thursday evening with a champagne and dessert reception. A light breakfast and boxed lunches will be served daily in the Inn as well as a closing luncheon on Sunday. Retreat guests will also have use of the resort's amazing Swim and Fitness center which is a beautiful 5 minute stroll from the Inn. Miles of bike and running paths abound for your sightseeing enjoyment. To top it all off, Candy Courtney from Bird Tail beads will have an onsite store with supplies to keep your projects right on track throughout the weekend.
The Autumn Artist Retreat is a unique and valuable opportunity to learn and play creatively here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. We invite you to join us and other fellow artists in the premiere event this October 23rd - 26th The time is right to invest in yourself and your art so get off that fence now and over to the registration tab where you can ensure your place in this year's Autumn Artist Retreat. You will be glad that you did!
Hi all my new artist friends! My name is Chris Eisenberg and I am the chief imagineer of the Autumn Artist Retreat. I wanted to introduce myself and share the motivation and inspiration that has guided me to develop the premiere jeweler's retreat in the Pacific Northwest.
Last summer was definitely a dark and stormy time in my life, as I left my family and my job for months on end to be with my brother who was terminally ill. My art had sustained me while I was recovering from a traumatic accident a few years prior and here too, it brought me so much peace in these difficult days with Jeff.
One day I found an ad online for a beading retreat that was being held that fall in Michigan and realized just how desperately I needed a break. It was so exciting to visualize my time in this cozy place with like minded people learning and making beautiful things, but I eventually discovered that with all the expenses combined, I could not afford to make this happen for myself. Not one to be easily discouraged, I began researching art retreats in my home state of Washington and was shocked and disappointed to discover that there were none. So I decided to make one!
Finding the right place was easy as there just is no other place more magical in this state than Suncadia. I knew the amazing Inn well after having played a number of recitals there (I am actually a classically trained pianist in disguise!) I vividly remember the soothing atmosphere of coziness and peace that emanates from every wall, and the sense of wellbeing and empowerment one feels upon waking from a good night's rest. Walking along the miles of paths in this forested setting works wonders to refresh the spirit and motivate creativity. Amazing food prepared by world class chefs fuels both mind and body in preparation for the adventures ahead. I had no doubt that Suncadia was the perfect setting for our retreat!
Selecting and securing the instructors that would complement Suncadia's atmosphere and enhance the participants creative experience was considerably more difficult. Even though the Pacific Northwest has many incredible artists that fit just that description, I definitely wanted the very best in this first year to set the standard high for all future events I had taken a couple of Tracy Stanley's classes and was as smitten with her as a person as I was with learning her art. In my mind, I just had to have her on board to make this endeavor the success that I hoped it would be. The stars aligned . . . she accepted!!! With her acceptance I got all the wealth of her experience and contacts which allowed me to find Sarah Thompson. I have never had the privilege to study with Sarah, but one look at her amazing work and I knew that I really wanted and needed to have her on board also. My luck held . . . she too accepted! With both these amazing master artists on the team, the dark and stormy night was finally subsiding and my sun began to rise!
Now the only thing missing to make this an unforgettable event is YOU! You, who spend countless, stolen minutes and hours practicing and perfecting your art. This is an invitation to join us in a peaceful paradise, make new friends, eat good food and learn incredible things from amazing people. Space is limited to the capacity of Suncadia's intimate Inn setting. In addition to enjoying all the excitement planned for this October, participants in the inaugural event will also receive early registration privileges for next year's retreat. Come join us for the 1st annual Autumn Artist Retreat. It is going to be amazing and you know you deserve it!!!
I am a Lover of life and of living it to the fullest, giving daily thanks to God for all the close saves and second chances!!! My most brilliant life successes are my three amazing kids - Nathan, Alex and Becca - and the incredible partnership I share with my husband and best friend, Paul. I am so incredibly blessed!