SwampFire Retreat for Artists and Writers
There were twice as many of us this year at Steve Smith's studio and 4 Corners Gallery for SwampFire, compared to 2015. Steve invited a special guest, Heidi Reichenbach Finley, a Turkish marbling artist.
The weather was perfect: not too hot during the day, not too cold at night . . . with clear skies all three days. As always, we shared fine fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. On Saturday Heidi awed us with a demonstration of Turkish marbeling techniques and then helped us create our "masterpieces."
Heidi Finley describes Turkish marbling paint, tools, and techniques.
Heidi and Monica Heckel discuss Monica's color choices.
On Friday evening Steve had us all drawing our favorite images and then he and his associate, Rebecca Graves, turned our art into decals to apply to cups and fire in one of his many kilns. By Sunday morning the cups were ready for us to take home as a memento of an amazing retreat experience. Thanks, Steve and Heidi.
Never assume you can control how a story is going to end or the path your characters and you, the writer, will have to walk to get there.
Never assume that if you only had enough determination, if you only could find the right words, if you only could stick to a certain schedule or formula, your story/life would cohere, make sense, change the world.
Never assume your name will never change.
Fling yourself headlong into the messiness of what you were made to do. And then, for awhile, be still. Be still and soak in the world around you, trusting that the words will come as they always have, trusting too that even through the greatest heartbreak and pain, the beautiful will always manifest.
Never assume. Write. And in writing, be faithful to the path you have been given to walk, bearing witness to the hope that is present always in the world.
Heidi Reichenbach Finley
Since I am a visual artist, this may be all the writing I do this weekend. I am an appreciator of writing and writers and have enjoyed the company of SwampFire goers. Thank you for including me.
It’s very energizing for me to come together with other creative souls. My mind was comfortably blown at SwampFire!
For two months I have lived in fog.
A place where I forgot the things that make me alive.
Lost sight of the mountains I live to surmount.
I breathed free this weekend, reminded my soul is soaked in love and desire to make and connect and create new worlds.
When it rolls back in I’ll have a face to push it back.
Monica L. Heckel
I am very thankful that I was able to get this weekend free to be here and not be constantly bombarded with all the responsibilities and people who “need” me or my input/feedback, taking time to get back to the creative in me.
Blessings of Peace and all good.
Sometimes we find moments walking to a tree in our backyard, but sometimes moments surround us in infinite possibilities. SwampFire is one of those latter times. The gathering of artists and those open to and fascinated by it invites a depth and breadth of possibility and discovery. I am exhausted, but full . . . Full of life, love, recovery and joy. Create, love and breathe.
Returning here shall be my greatest joy.
Mary Catherine Harper
SwampFire grounds me
—the fire pit holding coals for cooking our meals, simple process, simple food
—my narrow tent holding me safe from mosquitoes at night while being open to the temperature drops, open to the sounds that critters make in the night: the crickets, the birds, especially the family of cranes just a few feet away in the nearby field
—the circle of camp chairs each evening holding us together as we mull over the work we have done in our separate spaces
—the idea of SwampFire holding me in balance between what I’ve created in the past and what my art might become . . . tomorrow, the day after, on other ground