Q & A Thursday with the Makerie

For the last year and a half, I've had this dream scribbled on my list of "big dreams":

go to an art/creative retreat!

I've seen so many cool ones online through a bunch of bloggers I follow, but never knew how I was going to pull off going to Portland or the east coast with a super busy schedule. It just never seemed the right time.

Then, serendipitously, I stumbled upon the Makerie in Boulder! The Makerie is a brand new creative retreat happening April 7-10, and I'm so very excited to be going! It's a long weekend (Thursday night-Sunday) of a creative extravaganza with amazing teachers (all the best ones! see below), a beautiful location (Chautauqua) and a seemingly wonderful group of folks.

Today for our Q & A, we are so very thrilled to have Ali DeJohn, the sweet, inspiring soul behind the Makerie. And please come join the us for what we know will be a super special retreat!

If you are interested in signing up for the retreat, here are some important dates to keep in mind:
February 6th - Cottage Availability Limited *
March 18th - Registration Deadline
*COTTAGES ARE STARTING TO FILL UP! PLEASE don't delay if you are thinking about staying at Chautauqua. After February 6th, cottages may be available, but we just can't guarantee it.

HS: Can you start by telling us about the Makerie and how it came to be?

Makerie: In June 2009, I attended my first creative retreat and it was hands down, one the best experiences I ever had. I learned:

* how important it is to honor who you are and what you love to do
* the power of being in a like-minded community
* that you can have your own thing and still be a great mom (in fact, I found I was a better mom because of that!)
* how honoring and exploring your creative side brings out the best in everyone
* to listen to your heart

When I came home, I shared this magical experience with all my friends and family, and they loved what it was all about. I researched and researched to find a similar retreat in Colorado (a little closer to home) so I could take all my friends. When I couldn't find anything like it in our majestic Rocky Mountains, I began to think how neat it would be to bring this to our community, and how much I wanted to provide a place for other people to have the opportunity to experience what I did. I wanted to provide a place where people could step out of their fast-paced, everyday lives, leave technology behind for a few days and reconnect with themselves in a space to simply play and feel like a kid again. (It does wonders, let me tell you!) I still carry around the magic I felt from my first retreat, and am eternally grateful to Elizabeth and the courage she had to create Squam Art Workshops. It truly changed my life.

HS: How would I know if the retreat is for “me”? Is there an “ideal” participant?

Makerie: The heart of the Makerie is to lovingly nurture the creative spirt in ALL of us. There is not an ‘ideal participant’ whatsoever, as the retreat is designed for ANYONE (and yes, even those who claim they are not the least bit creative!) who wants to be creative, loves to be creative, and dreams of being more creative. There are no age limits and we truly welcome anyone willing to come with an open heart!

HS: Can you tell us about some of the classes and teachers who will be at the retreat?

Makerie: The weekend will be full of amazing creative/crafting workshops in sewing, knitting, shoe-making, painting, pattern design, block printing, photography and jewelry-making. We are really excited about the incredible line-up of teachers from around the country we have for this inaugural year!

Flora Bowley
~ Our totally inspirational painting instructor that has burst onto the art scene this past year with her incredible painting process. She was a former yoga instructor so she incorporates exercises into her workshops to get you out of your head and into your body before painting. Word has is that the work that comes out of her classes is literally gallery-worthy, even from people who have never picked up a paintbrush!

Lizzy House ~ This adorable teacher, who will be teaching pattern design and block printing, is one talented textile designer who can’t wait to energize your creativity with her intimate knowledge of these topics. I have taken her classes myself so I can vouch for how amazing her workshops are!

Alessandra Cave ~ Creator of the Gypsy Girls Guide, a daily dose of worldly inspiration, she will explore photography and how to make the transition from snapping pictures to taking beautiful photographs. She is a wonderful creative force serious about living life to the fullest and will inspire you to do the same!

Stefanie Japel ~ If you want to spend a day or two knitting, her awesome energy will lead you through fantastic workshops highlighting embellishments, playing with color and knitting to fit. She just finished her third book with Chronicle!

Jessica Hernandez ~ Founder of the darling company Joyfolie, she will lead workshops on shoe-making. Oh those SHOES... they are completely adorable (sell out in literally seconds!) and the Makerie will be the first time she will be sharing her tricks of the trade!

Angie Olsgard and Katherine Sanz ~ And lastly, if jewelry-making has ever caught your curiosity, you can spend a day of boundless adventure in creating wearable metal arts.

HS: What is your greatest hope in creating the Makerie?

Makerie: The greatest power in creating the Makerie is the warm and wonderful community it seems to be bringing together, which feels really magical and powerful. I would love to see the Makerie become an event that inspires people in various ways and encourages them to follow their heart, and that everyone involved in the retreat in any way, shape or form will feel part of the Makerie family.

HS: Do you have any favorite spots to craft/”make” in Denver? In Boulder?

Makerie: Fancy Tiger’s craft nights in Denver are so much fun when I can make it down from Boulder, and Common Threads in Boulder would be my place of choice. We did just start a knitting group here that travels to various local coffee shops, which has been really lovely as well!

HS: Best coffee in Denver? In Boulder?

Makerie: Oooooh fun question! I really love Highlands Cork and Coffee in Denver and in Boulder, it’s so hard to choose because I love so many. But if I had to pick one, I’d say Saxy’s on Pearl Street. They have the coziest of couches!

HS: Any last thoughts?

Makerie: I would just like to thank you for taking the time to learn more about the Makerie and to congratulate YOU on the wonderful Horseshoe Craft & Flea you have recently launched. You have such a wonderful community vibe to your event already and we can’t wait to support all of your efforts!

Thanks, Ali! We can't wait for the Makerie!


  1. Great Q&A! I'm so excited for the Makerie - counting down the days until April 7th!