when i began teaching workshops a few years back, i never imagined the community that would grow as the fruit from my taking that first step towards telling my story. these women have become some of my best friends. they are the real deal. they are honest and brave and gentle and strong. they are mothers and sisters and artists and dreamers.
apart we are a flame trying to stay lit, but together the fires of creation burn wild and free; it can be intoxicating! something happens when women gather that stirs the soul. i think oftentimes the attendees arrive dry and simply just wanting more. out of life and the art of photo taking and quietly hoping for someone to perhaps give them the permission to do that one amazing thing that they never thought they'd be brave enough to do.
i've had the honor of seeing women release years of burdens piled upon their own shoulders, i've watched galleries be unveiled and passion projects emerge from the women that perhaps came with the most fear. because i teach, i feel so strongly about never becoming stagnant in in own personal art. for me to inspire others i must always be inching closer and closer towards my own truth to tell the story of my own family and those of my clients' in the most heartfelt and focused way.
not too long ago i felt a personal shift in me occurring and, since, i have been so open with my workshop attendees about my personal feelings and the evolution in my own photography. that fire burning within me for true authenticity in imagery. i never want to stop digging. what a gift i have been given in facilitating an experience that fills my own cup, time and time again, while also giving these women a place to feel safe enough let their fires rise up and burn brightly from the ashes.
we opened up our home to all of my past workshop attendees from over the years and scheduled it while our apple orchards were in peak harvest season. basically, we put on a big party… lots of hard apple cider, dancing in the pouring rain, good comfort food, sleeping on stacks of quilts and laughing into the wee hours, coffee on the porch, apple crumbles with vanilla ice cream and balsamic reduction for a midnight snack and crying and bonding and catching up and sitting in the hot tub beneath a rainstorm and picking flowers and resting and just letting it all go.
it was glorious. the second day was pretty wet so we picked up a bunch of the maple leaves from the yard, left our muddy boots by the door, everyone dried their leaves by the wood stove and then we started to paint them.
i dug out all our kid craft supplies and the most imperfectly perfect wildflower crowns were created. i think a good flower crown brings out the giddiness in a lady because from there on there was a bit of magic in the air as we danced in the orchards and then sat beneath the willow tree by the pond and each spoke about our journeys toward gratitude. these women are incredible. i didn't properly document each woman but i will hold them dear to my heart always. (and take a lot more photos at the next reunion!)
a few of my favorite wildflowers also wrote and documented their time at this reunion party and i would be so honored for you to go visit their posts and enjoy their gorgeous photos and soak in their heartwarming words about the wildflowers workshop & reunion experience (they documented more than i did of the whole 3 days). here are the links to four posts about the reunion in particular that made me laugh and cry all at once:
and you MUST watch this breathtaking video that amy teague at happily situated created with footage from this reunion. i adore the feeling and the motion of it all so much!