The idea started on my visit with Jane in England a few years ago. It had been a long time since we’d seen each other since we lived an ocean apart and were both juggling our hectic lives as mothers with full time jobs. Lingering for hours over drinks on the roof of the Tate and then again around her massive wooden kitchen table, we spoke of more than just our present lives dominated by beloved kids. We remembered who we were many years ago as art students together. Then and still, we were travelers, artists with rich and active inner lives. We just needed to remember. With our shared history, we recognized this in each other and spoke for hours about our too-often neglected creative process and how we had become overwhelmed by dishes, laundry, making a living, struggling in our marriages (in my case anyway!). Energized and inspired by each other, we decided we must fan these creative coals.
“Wouldn’t it be fantastic to rent a house together, with …” I rattled the names of women who had also studied with us decades earlier. “We could paint and write all day and have great dinners at night with lots of wine.”
“Let’s do it!” Jane agreed.
And so we did.
That summer, about a dozen of us kin-spirit women gathered for a week in a rambling old house in the Catskills. We christened ourselves the Studio 70 Sisters – after our art teacher Mike Skop’s school in Kentucky, the place where we’d connected decades earlier. Jane came from England as promised, others from Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. We stepped away from our busy lives as mothers, spouses, workers, and for the rich communion with familiar, creative friends. Days were spent doing what ever we wanted — some went off painting together, others spent time alone, reading and in my case, writing.
Evenings we gathered in the kitchen sharing wine and recipes and remarkable, delicious dinners came together effortlessly and went on for hours. Afterwards, we moved to the living room to talk some more. For one week together, merely by being present and paying attention to each other, we felt nurtured.
We met at some rambling house in the Catskills for 3 years in a row. We missed last summer but are on again for this year. Today we will all converge on a little town in Litchfield County. Laura found this year’s spot and generously organized a week of possibilities including the promise of some Renaissance music, maybe some yoga, maybe a massage…
Doesn’t this sound like bliss to you?