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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014


Gualala Arts Workshop
Reap As You Sew: Quilting Retreat
Instructors: Chris Boersma Smith & Suzan Friedland

Week of
October 22 - 29, 2010

To register
Call Gualala
Arts Center

Register by:   September 22, 2010
Tuition:   $375 members, $415 non-members
Location:   Sunny, safe, fun, Los Cabos, Mexico
Materials list:   Reap As You Sew materials list

Food, supplies,
materials, and lodging:  

$645 Double Occupancy;
$395 Budget Accommodations

Objective: To have fun and enjoy the blending of spirituality and creativity and generate your own hand painted fabric with guidance on how to quilt it into an finished art quilt.

Reap As You Sew: Quilting Retreat We will explore the connections between our spirituality and our textile art or quiltmaking. Find more inspiration, freedom, and fun in your quiltmaking and share with other women as we experience how Spirit enhances our creativity, or vice versa. Sue, a contemporary textile artist, shows us how to free ourselves of restrictions that can hamper creativity; Chris, a quilter trained as a spiritual director, hosts us and helps us see what gifts our dreams hold for us. Meals, textile paints, fabrics, and painting tools will be provided. Accommodations are in comfortable ocean view condos, and Sue does her amazingly fabulous cooking! Airfare is not included. Open to all levels; application and minimum group size required.

The first and last day are unstructured so guests can settle in or pack up, and leaders can do some set up and take down. Plan to arrive and depart any time on these days. We'll let you know the times we'll be doing group airport drop-offs and pick-ups; if you must travel outside that time frame, a private car from the airport to the retreat site is about $45.

Accommodations: Work tables, cutting and dye-painting areas are large, efficient, and well lit. We maintain separate areas for quiet reflection, for painting, and for sewing. We have washers and dryers, jacuzzi tubs, internet connections and printers. The panoramic retreat home is over 4,000 square feet, with 4 bedrooms, 4 double-sink bathrooms, with 10' ceilings, air-conditioning and ceiling fans, new in 2009, full of inspirational art and quilts.

Extras: You'll have free use of pools, jacuzzis, fitness center, saunas, tennis court, and golf putting practice facility, and there's a free weekly Art Walk on Thursday evening. Walking is great from this location, with a wildlife estuary providing plenty of inspiration. Some days will include free time, which you can spend creating or exploring or relaxing. There will be a menu of optional activities including spa services, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins (extra charges apply), and more (information will be sent to you after registration or upon request).

Outline: After morning meditation and breakfast, classes will start some days with a Zen inspired, silent easy stroll along beaches (or elsewhere) to get our creative juices flowing, and have us observe the colors and textures. We may also start with some journaling. Sue will then demonstrate and share the techniques she has developed for abstract textile painting. She will help students find their own voice through modification and extension of these techniques. Students will come away from this retreat with design capabilities they didn't know they had, plus about three yards of hand-painted fabric. Sue will demonstrate her meditative quilting techniques and offer advice, if you wish, on how to quilt and finish your pieces. You may choose to bring your machine and quilt while in Mexico, or save that for later. Please note that participation in each portion of the retreat is at each person's discretion. This is a spiritual retreat, accepting of, but not styled after, any particular religion.

Prerequisite: A lack of preconceived ideas! Application required to verify appropriate groupings.

Supplies: None necessary, except probably a journal, your camera, and an apron! We'll provide all needed materials for the textile painting portion. The supplies list will suggest OPTIONAL items including batting, a few spools of thread, and your sewing machine. We will have two machines there, but they may not be available when you want to quilt, and they may not be what you like to quilt on. I've taken a huge sewing machine in a roller carry-on bag cushioned with a change of underwear, sleepwear, toiletries, Rx's, and a bathing suit (just in case) and checked my clothes, which you don't need to bring any large or fancy assortment of.

Reap As You Sew: Quilting Retreat Food & Beverages: All meals are included, including one meal out at a casual local restaurant, the rest at "home." Some days there will be a hot breakfast; others, a Breakfast Bar may be set up for self-service of cheese, yogurt, fruit, eggs, and granola, or even steak, tortillas, salsa, etc. Typical Lunch will be a salad bar including a variety of protein choices, vegetarian and otherwise. Each night's dinner will be a simple, healthy, tasty menu designed and primarily prepared by Sue, whose other passion is food! We buy fresh local food and delight in it! Sue is a vegetarian; Chris is a diabetic who avoids sugar and other carbs, so we can accommodate a variety of needs! We grill frequently, love our meals, and do not tempt ourselves with junk food and desserts. There are two kitchens and two refrigerators. If there is something you must have, we will try to accommodate you or you are welcome to make it.

Water in the condos is triple-filtered and safe, but we will also have some bottled water on hand. Food purchased in the local grocery stores and Costco is safe; this part of Mexico is not prone to parasites as other, more tropical areas with older pipes are, fortunately. We will have beer and margaritas available for those who wish, and you may buy your own wine locally, but we also respect the choice not to drink alcohol, particularly for those who plan to meditate before bed.

Cost: $770 to $1,020 includes the Week's Lodging, Meals, Instruction, Fabric and Textile Painting Supplies, and Cactus Garden Admission

Tuition: $375 (plus $30 for non-members to join Gualala Arts Center)
Food and Supplies and Week's Lodging:
Double Occupancy with Ocean View $645/week
Budget Plan* $395/week
*sleep on sofa bed or share a double bed (still with ocean view!)

About Chris Boersma Smith

An open-minded, somewhat mystical Christian and decades-long student of spirituality, Chris Smith is a trained spiritual director, a teacher of Spirituality of Quilting classes, and an experienced pastoral council and prayer group leader. She is also active in dream workshops, women's groups, quilting and art groups. She values genuine spirituality over mechanical religiosity and respects the pursuit of spiritual truth in the context of grace, love, and relationships. Passionate about quilting, Chris has made over 100 quilts in the past 15 years, ranging from traditional bed quilts to contemporary wall pieces and including prize-winners as well as public service quilts raising $9,000 for charity. She has personally experienced spiritual growth through quilting and considers it her calling to help promote not only creativity but also the journey of women's souls via this art form. Although educated, experienced, and published in the field of law, Chris is now eager to share her insights through her book, Reap As You Sew: Personal Stories of Spirit at Work in Quiltmaking, and by leading workshops and retreats to help quilters reap spiritual rewards as they create and sew. Chris is happy to provide references from women who have been to a retreat or quilting workshop she has led. A member of Gualala Arts Center, Mendocino Arts Center, North Coast Artists Guild, Surface Design Association, and Spiritual Directors International, Chris loves working with journaling, dreams, and women of varied spiritual outlooks.

Suzan Friedland

An innovator in the world of contemporary textile art for the past 20 years, Sue Friedland is a prolific, BFA/MFA-trained fine artist, lecturer, and teacher. Her pieces have appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications, including Quilt National, Visions, Fiber Arts Design Book V, and Robert Shaw's The Art Quilt. She has lectured and taught on surface design including workshops at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the deYoung Museum of San Francisco. In 2002 she was awarded a fellowship and residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. She currently lives with her husband in San Francisco and Gualala and is a board member on both the Textile Art Council of the de Young Museum in San Francisco and the North Coast Artist Guild. Sue's philosophy of art is pretty simple and personal; respond to the impulse as attentively as possible. She's eclectic and the direction of her next work usually presents itself if she's paying attention. She accepts that state as critical to her functioning as an artist, and she gets there mostly through walking, sitting, and sewing meditation. Studying Zen Buddhism really helped provide a context for that. Reacting to natural phenomena also plays a large role in her work.

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See also: Gualala Arts Workshop Registration, Payment & Cancellation Policy.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.