Feb 202008

I went to my first fibre retreat ever over the week­end (actu­ally, a four-day week­end, includ­ing Valentine’s Day, which struck me as iron­ic). The organ­isers of the retreat did a great job, given that the hotel was being ren­ov­ated, with some of the res­taur­ants and pub­lic spaces closed, and work­ers crawl­ing over much of the rest of the hotel’s pub­lic spaces. It was run just like a tutorial-style con­fer­ence, with three-hour classes where the instruct­or talked a bit, showed a tech­nique (for tech­nique classes) or samples of end res­ults (for the artist­ic ideas classes), and then got you to try it out while they came around and helped. There were lots of tables set up for inform­al get-togethers, out­side the classrooms and the mar­ket­place.

The dif­fer­ences to tech con­fer­ences were obvi­ous — not a laptop to be seen, although I’m sure some people went back to their hotel rooms at the breaks to blog or check email, given that many people appeared to work at loc­al tech­no­logy com­pan­ies, and the male/female ratio was even more skewed than for most tech con­fer­ences (I saw about five men at the retreat, out of about 200). The mar­ket­place was busy selling as well as show­ing (unlike exhib­it halls at most tech con­fer­ences), though the vendors looked just as exhausted by the end of the four days as I can remem­ber being after long days on the booth at any oth­er con­fer­ence.

I learnt a lot (I’ll post more details of the knit­ting high­lights on my craft­ing blog), saw a bit of Tacoma (where the retreat was held), met a few people, and hung out a lot with Eve and Yvon­ne. Culin­ary high­lights included a yummy din­ner at Wild Ginger where we downed a good bottle of cham­pag­ne (Inflor­es­cence Blanc de Noirs brut, 100% pinot noir, from Jean-Pierre Bouchard and Cédric Bouchard), Eve’s home-made borekas, and a good quick tagine, which I’ll be mak­ing again. 

I’m slowly catch­ing up on sleep; just like any con­fer­ence it was pretty intense and was both invig­or­at­ing and exhaust­ing at the same time. 

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