This weekend was the tenth year of our annual beadwork retreat at Gartmore House.
To celebrate we put on our sparkly outfits and held an exhibition of the all the previous classes. A glass of fizz or two may have been consumed in the process!
As part of the evening, I gave a speech attempting to capture the essence of the weekend and how, after a decade it's still going from strength to strength.
We have been running our bead retreat since 2009. We've gone from 28 people joining us for the weekend to a whopping 52 this year. In that time, there have been 107 classes and in those classes 1233 needles have been threaded, ready to begin.
There are 11 of us who have been every single year. (Fiona, Anne, Liz, Allison, Diane, Jan, Isobel, Elizabeth, Aileen, Mairi and myself). I would say we get the gold star, but I'm sure we've already got plenty of gold sparkly things in our stash already!
In that time, Mrs Magooty has gone from a little sole trader sideline to a fully fledged not for profit Social Enterprise. If you want to read more about that, click here for starters.
Back to the retreat, all of it would not be possible without our wonderful tutors who have spent SO many hours designing, refining, pattern writing, kit preparing and then at the end of all that, a little bit of teaching.
All our tutors are part of Beadwildered (the bi-monthly Glasgow beadwork group set up by Mairi Carlton in 2004). Alongside getting a modest fee for teaching, the tutors also pay to attend and take part in other classes. It is with this sense of altruism and kindness that the retreat has not only survived, but thrived all these years. Thank you to you all: Mairi Carlton, Carole Cowie, Elizabeth Miller, Sheena Stevenson, Maureen Russell, Alice Campbell, Brenda Dunn, Brenda Waugh, Sue Wightman, Diane McDonald, Carol Ann Chapman, Laura Coventry, Aileen Dickie-Adams, Joan Baldwin and of course, last but not least, lovely Mary Carbine who was so missed this year.
Our times at Gartmore have made us laugh a lot. Sometimes we have cried: I think Mary would have been jolly pleased not to be there when I mentioned the dreaded Bead Crochet class of 2010 on Saturday! Sometimes it isn't perfect with frozen cake or a strange grumpy man chasing a wasp around your room at midnight (ask Karen MacDonald about that one). But you're guaranteed a warm welcome and a whole treasure trove of sparkly stuff to keep you inspired.
And what amazing surroundings we have for it too. Gartmore House is in the most beautiful place. With views over the Trossachs to Stirling, it sometimes really does take your breath away. It is quite magic. This year, eagle eyed Carol Ann even spotted a Wild Cat (others saw it too including me, so it wasn't just the prosecco making us see things!)
So why do we do it? Well I can't speak for everyone, but I keep doing it for those moments when you walk into the class and there is a concentrated hush as those gorgeous wee beads are falling into place, or for the look of sheer pride on someone's face when they finish a piece or master a stitch and for the smiles I so enjoy when we come together to share our love for beadwork.
So here's to another ten years. To another 107 UFOs or WIPs and many thousands more needles threaded in excited anticipation.