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Unfortunately due to low enrollment the 2015 Maker’s Retreat is cancelled, contact Jessika to learn about future events. 

Join me this October 9-13 at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, BC for the 2nd Maker’s Retreat – learn from fellow makers, develop new skills, cultivate creativity, and be part of a global movement. Families, teams, and makers of all ages or abilities are invited to join this hands-on community retreat!

I started my first handmade business in 2003 and as founder of OMHG have received global recognition for my work organizing makers online and bringing communities together offline. Since hosting our 2014 retreat I’ve been consulting with Etsy and coordinating the launch of #EtsyMakerCities in Halifax and Charlottetown. Over the last year, from coast to coast, I have invested in communities and supported thousands of diverse makers while exploring what it means to live a present life through #365DaysOfPresence. This summer I coordinated over 40 community events in two provinces to connect creative entrepreneurs and discuss how cities can change the way we buy, sell, and manufacture goods locally and globally. I came home to full time organizing for the Etsy: Made in Canada market with Maritime Makers and the Etsy team I co-captain.  September 26th we are hosting one of Halifax’s largest outdoor selling events on Garrison Grounds at Citadel Hill – a historic downtown location. After a year of making movements I’m ready to wind down into a harvest retreat together. I started that first business on Cortes Island and still know some of the best local places – from the perfect spot to watch the sun set to why a visit to the Free Store at the Dump is a must!

We live in a chaotic world that often values hustle over simple homemade, handmade goodness. When we gather with others who are crafting meaningful lives to share our skills and support we discover what is possible. Join us this October and leave with a reinforced conviction that making matters.

Hosted on the handmade Hollyhock campus this gathering is for you if you make things, make change, or just want to make more goodness in your life. Bring your families, engage your young people, learn from your elders, inspire each other and yourself to live full lives, rich with meaning and making.

Register for the 2015 Maker’s Retreat | Learn More

OR CALL HOLLYHOCK at 800-933-6339

RetreatReleaseRainbowDownload a one page PDF on the 2015 Maker’s Retreat 

In 2014 we wrote the agenda, led the workshops, and covered vast stretches of conversation about making from the theoretical to the intimate details of what we’ve learned as makers. We made trips to the beach, walks in the woods to forage for inspiration, time to learn calligraphy, papier mache, needle felting, fibre + dye experiments, late nights crafting and talking around the campfire, watching double rainbows and weaving lifelong friendships.

Many of us can feel disconnected from who we are and our place in the world, the role of makers and creators is to show how we can weave those common threads by handcrafting connection in our lives and communities. Making a life of meaning is hard work, we need community to patch where we’ve worn thin, our 2014 retreat did just that and left us remembering why making matters.

Register for the 2015 Maker’s Retreat | Learn More

OR CALL HOLLYHOCK at 800-933-6339

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Just as each of us is capable of choosing integrity and a life of presence we are also equally able to choose complacency and indifference. There is inside us the ability to sacrifice our individuality to the humdrum of ‘normalcy’, automate our lives according to complex schedules and roles, and convince ourselves of the utility in becoming like everyone else. This sacrifice of our self-determination might make our cities more efficient and well managed but will it make us more human?

In the movie Waking Life two random people collide in a stairwell but instead of muttering an apology and going on their way they challenge expectations to keep things moving quickly and stop to have a conversation:

“I don’t want to be an ant, you know? I mean, it’s like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on ant auto-pilot with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient polite manner. “Here’s your change.” “Paper or plastic?” “Credit or debit?” “You want ketchup with that?” I don’t want a straw, I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to be an ant, you know?”   

Waking Life, 2001

We are not ants, we can resist, we do not have to give up our humanity and the search for moral integrity just to unthinkingly labour at maintaining structures that prevent our freedom and the free expression of others.  So, do you want to be an ant or do you want real human moments?

Further Reading:

Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central Eastern Europe

Waking Life transcript “Ants” 2001, link to the movie.

If you want to learn more about #365DaysOfPresence check out the complete archive of daily pages here, you can also connect and share your thoughts by joining our welcoming community space. This project is offered by donation, if you value these thoughts you can contribute here.
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“Live for yourself” or “help yourself before you help others” are widely accepted philosophies these days, it is completely socially acceptable to worry about yourself first, take care of number one, and believe that everyone else is equally responsible only for their own lives. Living for others, especially for vulnerable others, is something we leave for saints, the righteous or religious figures to do – but what if our lives are not entirely ours and instead belong to something far more precious and worthy of protection?

With all the devastating news from around the world plus the daily craziness and confusion in our communities, it has never been more important to talk about our ethics and what it means to live with integrity as individuals who are part of a common humanity. When everything can change in an instant isn’t it vital that we live each day striving to be the very best version of ourselves in relation to others? At what point do we look at the world around us and choose to be responsible to the prisoner, the hungry child, the forgotten and silenced voices we shush every time we value our own comfort over the work that must be done?

Both in times of security and in times of crisis when all is in chaos we can be guided by our decency, integrity, and compassion – because it is ours and can never be taken away.  Whether the earth shakes or nations clash we are defined by how we treat each other. Let’s make it a loving world, filled with compassion and respect for each other.

What could change if we lived as if the quality of our freedom depended on the quality of freedom for our most vulnerable or unheard?

Further Reading:

Elie Wiesel,  Nobel Acceptance Speech delivered in Oslo on December 10, 1986

If you want to learn more about #365DaysOfPresence check out the complete archive of daily pages here, you can also connect and share your thoughts by joining our welcoming community space. This project is offered by donation, if you value these thoughts you can contribute here.