Category: Events

2015 Maker’s Retreat with Oh My! Handmade


Gather to make more community, kindness, comfort, friendship, family, warmth, delight and creativity.

When we gather with the intention of nurturing honest connection we make room for real magic. The requirements for making magic are simple: a warm welcome, a beautiful place, kind diverse people, whole local foods for the body, and nourishment for the head, heart, and hands. Our gatherings mix these ingredients up with gentle leadership to leave everyone totally confident we are all makers with everything we need to make more goodness in the world. This tangible magic of creation and community isn’t the sparkles and fairy dust kind but the type that fills us up with warmth and wholeness that we can radiate in our lives and work.

We live in a busy chaotic world full of hustle, our gatherings are an invitation to slow down and savour time well spent. Ours is a quiet revolution built on a movement of moments and small steps with others who value the art of handmaking a life. Curl up into lazy days and conversations that can unravel and reknit themselves into a community. Cultivate contentment and fullness and family through sharing food, creative exploration, story sharing, and group projects.

Hosted at the non-profit owned and completely handmade Hollyhock campus our retreats are open to anyone of any age who makes things, makes change, or just wants to make more goodness in their lives. Let’s bring our families, engage our young people, nurture our elders, inspire our children and ourselves to live full lives, rich with meaning and making.

Register for the 2015 Maker’s Retreat

OR CALL HOLLYHOCK at 800-933-6339

If you are unable to attend due to financial reasons consider applying for the Hollyhock scholarship fund or using the contact form below to contact us with your story to see how we can support you.



An internationally renowned centre for learning and well-being, Hollyhock impacts personal, professional and social development through over 100 programs. The spectacular natural setting on Cortes Island, British Columbia is an ideal backdrop for transformative experiences. Hollyhock offers a comfortable and safe environment where people can deeply connect with others, gain creative insights, and renew hope that a better world is possible. Founded in 1983, Hollyhock is Canada’s leading centre for lifelong learning, but you can also think of it as a “refuge for your soul”, a place that allows you access to what matters, or simply time to rest, play and achieve wellness in BC. Learn more about Hollyhock.



As  the founder of Oh My! Handmade Jessika Hepburn has been connecting the head, heart, and hands of the handmade community since 2010. Jessika sat on her first board of directors at 9, founded an arts empowerment camp for inner city youth at 19, and started her first handmade business as a young mom in 2003. A leading voice in the handmade community Jessika has spoken on the maker movement at events across North America and supports makers, creative entrepreneurs, small businesses and companies like Etsy, Bamboletta Dolls, and Playful Learning, while coordinating programs, events, and retreats for makers across Canada all from her 200 year old home in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Learn more about her right here. 


 About Our 2014 Retreat

Our events are built on the belief that if we put our heads, hearts and hands to work we can make anything but if we put them to work together we can make a movement.

We know that we do our best work when no one is the expert but everyone’s expertise is valued and openly shared. Have you ever gone to a workshop and just wanted to spend time really talking with the instructor? Or noticed the juiciest part of most events happens in hotel rooms or over dinner when ideas are thrown on the table and collaborations sparked? We all have unique talents and experiences to share and the power to do just about anything when we cooperate.

As a group 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 into one blanket by handcrafting lives and communities rooted in creativity and compassion. Making a life of meaning from pieces of our soul is hard work, we need community to patch where we’ve worn thin and remind us that we are all connected, our 2014 retreat did just that and left us all feeling renewed with a reinforced conviction that making matters.

Click here to read Arianne’s participant recap of our retreat on Academy of Handmade 

Click here for photos and a brief summary of our week. 

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Our Maker’s Retreat: a movement of simple goodness

Oh My! Maker's Retreat, Hollyhock, Cortes IslandThis month a small band of movement makers gathered at Hollyhock for a week of sharing why making matters and to lay the foundation for community gatherings at our Maker’s Retreat. There were no schedules or panels of speakers and yet our days were filled to the top with story telling and skill sharing set against the magical backdrop of Cortes Island and the handmade Hollyhock campus. We all took turns as leaders, teachers, students, and makers of our own experience to co-create the retreat with a loose structure based on the transformative PYE Creative Community model.  Our week together proved that when you do away with the swag, sponsors, and trappings of what you ‘should’ do at an event and break the rules creatively it is easy to get down to the real work of making community together. Without all the distractions simple goodness is abundant and connections unfold with grace. We’ll be sharing stories from our retreat and ways you can be part of making the next October gathering after everyone has had a chance to settle back into our lives and reflect on the adventure. Here are just a few snapshots of moments from our week of community and creativity with more to come!

Oh My! Maker's Retreat, Hollyhock, Cortes Island

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Oh My! Maker's Retreat, Hollyhock, Cortes Island

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Even though we were a small group each of us brought exactly what was needed for our time together: Christina, Arianne and Karen led us in conversations about business, ethics, community and making a living by breaking the rules while Genevieve took us on a wonder walk to collect inspiration in nature, showed us how to mix wool in primary colours, and dye our own yarns. Tara helped us make a glorious mess with papier mache and an evening calligraphy session involving wine, lots of laughter, and lovely lettering. Rob was our resident Renaissance man fitting in meditation, yoga, ocean swimming and a hot tub all before breakfast then surprising us all with his generous offering of his many stories, skills and spells.

Woven in through our days were visits from children, a presenters evening where we got creative with other Hollyhock participants + staff, and lots of time for quiet companionship and island adventures (including a trip to the dump and Free Store). Each of us took turns teaching and being taught which was everything we’ve talked about creating for OMHG over the last four years, not only did it work but we could have used more time together! Uncertainty and unscheduling can be stressful for some people but the most wonderful thing is that when you make space for goodness it creates a container big enough to fill up with what matters most at the time. Next year we’ll take what we learned from our first event to make it more accessible and gather an even more diverse group of us to continue developing our open community led gatherings and a movement that reminds us we already have everything we need to make meaningful connected lives and kinder more creative communities.

Thank you to Janine of Uppercase Magazine for supporting our event and sending magazines and beautiful notebook sets for collecting our thoughts and to Colleen Attara for sending us a box packed full of her salvaged words to use in our collage night.

Hooray for making our own agendas, deciding our own enough & crafting a movement of simple goodness with our heads, hearts, and hands! Be sure to mark your calendars, our next Hollyhock gathering is October 9-13 2015, we’ll be working on it in our community starting now and are planning to bring our family friendly hands-on cooperative gatherings to other areas soon, where should we visit next?