|*image by my beautiful mom|
We were thrilled to say the least to have our first Makerie Man ~ Ivan Balbuena ~ as a participant this year. And what a wonderful one he was! I could go on and on about how much we adored him, but I'll let you judge for yourself below. Ivan was kind enough to write about his experience so you could read about it through his sweet eyes. Men have an abundance of creative gifts to share with the world and I would love to see more of them nurture their creativity too. One thing I know for sure is that we'd welcome them to the Makerie with wide open arms.
A Weekend at the Makerie – A Man’s Perspective
by Ivan Balbuena
My first impression was of affirmation. The setting was perfect ~ Chautauqua Park just outside of Boulder, Colorado up against the Flatiron Mountains. The cabin itself, cozy, inviting, with a front porch and a small back deck where Magpies would come looking for food. We were greeted by volunteers and asked to grab a name tag and a bag of goodies. At the end of the hallway, Ali made the first comment of many more that made me feel very special during our stay. She welcomed me and my wife as the first couple to attend The Makerie and me, the first man, to come to this event. I have to say, if I had known about this distinction, I would have made a big deal on Facebook and in any other place so friends and family would start feeling jealous.
I will remember many things about this weekend forever and the first one I’d like to share is Ali’s speech to officially welcome us to the Makerie. I’ll never forget how genuinely happy she looked and how excited she was. Being the only man was not such a big deal to me, at least at first, it was being the only man and feeling so welcomed and cared for was what was such a big deal.
We had signed up for two classes, the first one chosen by me since I have some background in screen and press printing. The class was called Lovely Letters Pressed. To be honest, I referred to it as something I could go back to my male friends and tell about without having to give a long explanation, and without making it sound like it was geared to women only. So I worked on a printing press, very manly right?
The experience was both new and familiar. I have been so close to machines similar to the ones I used but never had the opportunity to touch them, let along use them. Allison shared her babies (her antique presses and letters) as if we were old friends that knew to respect them and love them as much as she does. Allison’s studio, BirdDog Press, was well organized and not surprisingly, full of little details everywhere; the shapes on the floor, the tin ceiling that let rust colors come out, and her samples of work.
Details were so prevalent during my experience it was hard to miss them. Or maybe once I saw one I became obsessed with finding more. It was just like a seductive but delicate perfume. An example of details were the boxed lunches we got. The sandwich was delicious but that was just the icing on the cake. The sauce came in a little container with a small wooden spoon with the word ‘eat’ stamped on it (which is the name of Katie’s catering business), handmade potato chips, the cookie in a small cloth bag, and the lemonade came in a mason jar with a country style print cloth. As I said, details were everywhere.
I could go on and on about the class itself, and all the information about the business that Allison shared with us, but the class would have been dull without the warmth and smiles she printed, so to speak, on the experience, not to mention on the cards we took home with us.
Our second day was no less than the first one. Our class was held by Aran, an inspiring photographer that showed us her mastery in food styling. The creative juices combined with the sweet juices of the fruit we played with, though the creative ones were depleted way before the sweet ones, at least in my case. We watched Aran make a childhood memory through a picture of cookies and milk, while I enjoyed her props with some coffee.
I have already made some comments on my Facebook page and told several people about the Makerie, but I truly believe I need to do more to help Ali and everybody at the Makerie spread the word about this homage to creativity and beauty that women have. All these women, including my beautiful wife, deserve a huge thank you.
I also had the opportunity to explore my own creativity and I happily invite other men to explore theirs too. I warrantee it they won’t be disappointed.
Thank you again Ali, Aran, Allison, Ali’s mom and all the beautiful women that made the Makerie such a wonderful experience!
Thank YOU Ivan so very much for sharing your beautiful words!
p.s. If you didn't love him enough already, did you know he sought me out for a florist recommendation so he could send flowers to the Makerie for his wife's birthday? I know... He's a keeper!