17 Feb My Creative Passion Project: Small Retreats for Creatives
Since I am busy persuading you to bring your creativity – maybe even your passion project – to life, I thought it was only fair to tell you about my passion project. (To clarify, I love building websites and have been doing so since 1997, but this is no longer a passion that drives me. It is a useful skill to have.) My passion project came flying into my consciousness a couple of years ago. As a former classroom teacher, there has been a growing desire to return to teaching, sharing my enthusiasms, but I wasn’t sure how as I really didn’t want to return to teaching children.
It was therefore a surprise that when planning a trip with my daughter in England I that learned that Youth Hostels were a) a realistic option for those over 21, and b) often available for exclusive rent over the winter. The weekly rates were very reasonable, and with full accommodation and kitchen staff on hand, a hostel would make a great place to host a retreat. At that point I was a bit hazy about the purpose of the retreat. Since we had booked a couple of nights at the hostel that had inspired this idea, I thought the combination of the visit and the environment would shape my thoughts.
Gradually the idea of an art retreat evolved, stemming from a long held interest in the process and benefits of creativity, plus a love of sharing art techniques. I would need a location with plenty of work space, as well as room for people to spread out and write, so when we arrived at my target hostel I was primed and ready to look at what it could offer. While the staff were wonderful, the accommodations were a bit tired and rather smaller than the photos had suggested. The public space was essentially a living room with a couple of sofas – and a lovely brick fireplace – and a small dining room with just two bench tables. The other work spaces were outside – overlooking the Atlantic Ocean – but completely impractical in the winter.
We left that hostel after a wonderful visit, but I was sad that my idea seemed to have crashed and burned at the first hurdle. The next night we checked into a hostel created from an old pottery factory – now all 1990s loft interiors and en suite bathrooms. Some brief research showed that this hostel wasn’t available for private rent as it was used year round, but on the upside it has a conference room and a large dining room. It also offered a huge public lounge area and extensive kitchen space for those who prefer to cook their own food. On top of this, the morning light showed that the Iron Bridge Gorge area was just amazing!
We had gone there to see Blists Hill Victorian Village, which had formed the backdrop to a number of documentaries and period dramas. We were astonished by the high level of detail that had been observed in restoring houses, businesses and open areas to the way they would have been for ordinary people in Victorian times. I was astonished to see how many household items I recognized from my childhood, and slowly a new idea arose. This would be the perfect location to visit to trigger memories, watch artisans at their work, and to work on creative projects that may be prompted by these events.
As I explained my idea to people along the way, my ideas took shape more clearly. By the time I got home I was ready to get this project up and running, while realizing that there were still a lot of moving parts to be considered. Being a web designer finding a domain and building a site was my first priority. As the idea has evolved, it is becoming clear that my initial direction changed until it became this site, but we all have to start somewhere!
Since my goal is to teach and share creative techniques, I am developing plans and syllabi. As these plans have evolved, I realized that I could also offer my classes online – and through local art and community classes. It makes sense that I try these lessons out before I take them on the road, so for now that is my task.
So this is my story. Like yours perhaps, my passion project it isn’t fully developed yet. Thankfully websites are pretty flexibility, so this site is still adapting and changing as my ideas clarify. So, given you will never be completely ready to start your creative passion project, are you ready enough to get started?