Retreat or go forward?

Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Observations | 4 comments

I was browsing the New Zealand Creative Fibres website today, curious to see what fiber activities are going on back in NZ at the moment, and I found on the events list an upcoming ‘Retreat’ for fibersita’s to be held in a place that has many memories for me.  It will be held at what has been used for a very long time as a Girl Guide venue, its called ‘Omatua’ and lies 20 minutes drive out of the city I grew up in. My memories of this place date back to when I was quite young, and my mother was a Girl Scout leader, yes really! I suppose its not SO different to her continuation on to Yoga Instructor, really.. Anyway. I was able to tag along to various weekend stays at this wonderful old farmhouse. Its set in a valley, beside a beautiful small river, which was always perfect for swimming in,  with shallow warm areas and deeper flowing swimming holes where the water was dark dark green and you couldnt touch the bottom when you dived in. I saw my first ever fresh water lobster there, sharing that swimming hole with me, that was a surprise! I was such a water child, I would swim for hours, and we enjoyed many summers along that same river at various points, when my dad would finish work early and we would go straight from school to dive, splash, wallow, and together with my brother, see how far downstream we could float without getting beached in the shallows.  

I also associate that place with sheep memories. I lived there for a while, up the road from Omatua, over the one way bridge, round the bend past the Village Hall, over the hill past the small country school then into the wide wooden farm gate and under the large Pepper tree, and there was Peppertree cottage – A tiny wooden cottage with a veranda across the width of it, my wood pile stacked against the side wall. Four rooms all the same size inside, no hot water apart from what I boiled in the kettle or heated up in the bathroom cauldron over the fireplace! It was quite primitive, and such an adventure! I felt like a pioneer. Well, I was young and fit, and it was a bit like camping really! Except I had a comfy bed, my stereo, my books and my art gear. I lived there with my dog, and I worked on the farm down the road, as a rousie (shed hand) whenever the farmer was shearing, and helping out with some general farm jobs as needed. He also had the most gorgeous little angora goats, I loved watching them, always a bit naughty but like they just stepped out of a nursery rhyme 😀 From my veranda at night I could sit and listen to the sounds of the countryside, and gaze up at the millions of stars, uninterrupted by city lights. Its really a beautiful area! I have some old photos too..



Ok but I am getting side-tracked 😀 What I was getting to, was that this wonderful weekend is called a ‘retreat’. I havent really thought about this before, I always just took it for granted, it has that name because.. I guess you ‘retreat’ to a quiet place to focus on a specific activity, away from distractions, annoyances, everyday requirements of life. So I can see that, a weekend away from kids, family, supermarkets, cooking.. yes a retreat. But also, for this, for spinning and fiber talk and wool stuff, its also a major GO TO isnt it!? I see my jump into fiber each day as a major adventure, a sought after activity that I look forward to, that I go towards rather than retreat into. A whole weekend of that! YES! And in such a place, a place I know has a wonderful atmosphere, a beautiful setting, its a place to go to for sure.

So I guess this would be my perfect weekend! What do you think, what would be your perfect creative weekend? Would it be a retreat or a ‘go to’? 😀


  1. Old folks homes, indeed!!
    I had to go back and look at your lovely pictures again. The view from a big hill of the farm has some most amazing colors to dye up. Mustardy-chartreuse, pinky, plus several greens. How lovely would those colors be in a few hanks of lush wool ?!!

    • and those splashes of pink from the blossoms! I hope my Polwarth gets here soon, I am planning on using that for my colours of NZ series, its seems right, its also coming from there 🙂

  2. I guess I have “go to” places. Each month the Knitting Guild (250 members) meet for a program that is yarn related and the Spinners (about 20 members) meet to just spin. I do manage to take a one-day knitting workshop sometimes as we have internationally known speakers come in. My big “retreat” was a one-day trip to a Fiber Fest last month (annual event!!) where there were lots of animals, shearings, wool for sale, wheels, looms and all kinds of equipment and just a general good time with people who were all interested in the same things. One-day events are all I have time for right now.
    Love your posts, Suzy!!

    • Those one day events are great aren’t they! Theres something just awesome about being surrounded by people with the same interest, especially when that interest is often seen as being a bit odd 🙂 Last week one of the mums from my sons school, when she saw my spinning wheels, well she asked if I did demonstations at old folks homes…Hmm. 😛 I mean, that was the first thing that came into her head right 🙂 So time with the people who ‘get’ what youre doing is so valuable!

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