sisterhood

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Sometimes, things happen that change everything. Who I am, what I want, how I feel, where I’m going… Sisterhood  Camp was such an event. It was one woman’s beautiful dream realised, and my lovely friend Lou was the creative heart who dreamt it up.

 

sisterhood

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sisterhood-5thriftyrxantheberkeley_sisterhood_248xantheberkeley_sisterhood_284sisterhood-7 sistsisterhood-8 tables sisterhood-10{The image of the flower crown making, and the image of me in my crown are by the frankly brilliant, and unutterably lovely Xanthe Berkeley}

I’ve had the photographs for this post in my drafts folder for a couple of days now but, unusually for me, I couldn’t find the words. I can tell you that twenty five creative women lived and laughed together over the course of a weekend, camping out under the stars. I can tell you that we cooked and ate together, drank and giggled together, created, experimented and learned new skills. I can tell you that there were workshops, and walks, wild swimming and a campfire, that there was feasting and music and chatting deep into the night. Harder to capture is the weekend’s emotional significance: the kindred spirits  and the supportive warmth, the conversations and collaborations. The freedom, the lightness, the magic.

I had previously met about half of the women, a few of whom I already considered good friends, but there had never before been enough time to spend together. Ideas became stifled or conversations cut short because there was a train to catch, or a child to pick up from school. Life was always pressing in. This time, there was none of that. The weekend stretched out gloriously ahead of us, the fields, the lanes, the sunshine, the sea. Peace, time, flowers, and friendships old and new.

Having missed the Friday night (and the golden hour photography Toast shoot, sob!) due to my littlest one’s sweet second birthday, I was up with the birdsong on Saturday morning ready to drive down to North Devon. Lovely Emma joined me, and we arrived at camp giggly and enthusiastic, like over-excited students on a road trip. I brought with me some homemade cakes and it was such a pleasure to share a slice with folks who had previously only ever shared a virtual slice over on Instagram.

In the end, I didn’t take nearly as many photographs as I expected to. There was so much to see, and to do, and to love. For the first time ever I was with people who all feel as passionately about photography as I do and I found myself living in the moment rather than recording it, safe in the knowledge that if I missed a shot, one of the others would certainly have captured it (and brilliantly, too!).

The true joy of the weekend was the strong spirit of collaboration. Amazingly talented women, sharing their skills, offering advice and encouragement, laying out secrets with open hearts. In a competitive, stressful world, this was a breath of fresh air, to be working together rather than pitched against each other.

I took away many things from the weekend. A flower crown, wilted but still whimsical, some shibori, treats from Toast, a gorgeous foragers necklace made by Emma Mitchell, new skills, inspiration for the future. Most of all, I left with a full heart, and the sweet bonds of many blossoming friendships.

My companions. My tribe. My sisters.

{Sisterhood was founded and planned by wonderful Lou, with the help of her right-hand-sister, Hannah. It was made possible by the lovely folks at Toast as well as by Two Birds Kitchen, Lights4ULinen Me and Devon Woodcraft, and it was held at Loveland Farm. A big thank you also to Woof and WildeGolden Bear Belts, Church Park Flowers, Lionheart Magazine and Silverpebble.}

If you’d like to be on the mailing list for information about, and tickets to Sisterhood 2016, you can sign up here. It’s going to be dreamy…

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