I recently befriended a woman who is an avid knitter, and she had a spare ticket to go to A Taste of Squam, which lets curious creatives spend one night at the famous Squam Retreat to get a feeling for the bigger week-long event. I’ve heard so many great things about Squam over the years, I was excited to see what the buzz is all about.
The regular Squam is a transformative art experience, where visitors take classes in several creative mediums, from knitting to pottery throwing, to basket making. It started as a knitting retreat, though, so knitting remains the emphasis. By all accounts it’s a spiritual explosion of woodsy creativity that, when asked about, participants inevitably say, I can’t describe it. You just have to experience it for yourself.
The place is BEAUTIFUL. So I can see how this is true. Little bits of art and knitting are scattered throughout the wooded paths that lead campers from their cabins to workshops and meals. You can hear the knitting needles clicking any time people are near. General craftiness floats in the air like dandelion seeds. Sadly, the setting is where the magic stopped for me. While I’m sure Squam itself is phenomenal — as attested by the blissed out faces of those we talked to who had been attending actual Squam classes — A Taste of Squam didn’t allow us enough of a glimpse into the actual affair.
The ticket was quite expensive and for that we got the cabin, two meals, a Ravelry “party” and a shopping experience. By the time I left, I felt that I had paid someone $250 to go camping then shop at a craft fair. Not what the organizers are going for, I’m sure. Still, I maintain that A Taste of Squam is a good idea. It just needs to be tweaked. Tasters need a true TASTE of the CONTENT of the weekend, not just the context. I wished we had been able to meet some of the teachers, for instance, or take a sampler class … anything that clued us in on why everyone there was so blissful.
As for the shopping event… it was good, lots of interesting designers, but one really blew me away: http://www.pikkuwares.com. I absolutely love this woman’s vibe, her products, her website. Her booth and the quick talk I had with her — that’s where I found all the inspiration I needed from Squam, so, for that, I’m grateful.