The Magic of Gatherings
This time last year, I attended Sisterhood Camp in Wales. I’d been following Sisterhood from the very beginning, when Lou Archell invited a group of fellow Instagrammers to spend a few days in the wild, creating, relaxing and inspiring each other. Every time Lou hosted a retreat or a supper club, I wished I could afford a ticket, daydreaming about the beautifully presented feasts, the picturesque surroundings and the potential connections I could make. When the time came for me to actually attend a four-day retreat, I couldn’t believe my luck. Thankfully, it was everything that I expected it to be, and I left the retreat with new friends, a burst of creativity and boundless energy to work on my blog and my writing.
There’s a certain magic to gathering together with a group of women. It’s a little bit reminiscent of the olden days when women would come together to gossip and sew when banished by the men, gradually over the Centuries evolving into feminist meetings that would seed the ideas for achieving equality. I’m also reminded of the Red Tents, where women were once upon a time forced into a tent or hut together when menstruating, finding support and sharing wisdom with each other. And of course there are connotations with covens of witches; something that was once seen as dark and malevolent but is now almost glamorised as a sub-culture.
I found that magic at Sisterhood. No spells, chants or communal bleeding – just a like-minded group of women who had a lot in common and wanted to eat delicious food, take photographs together and talk about their lives and careers. I have many female friends, all of whom I feel comfortable talking to about any issues in my life, but these women had something in common that I didn’t share with my ‘real life’ friends: Instagram and the blogging world.
It’s hard to talk about being an influencer, writing a blog or the planning involved in creating a cohesive Instagram feed with those who simply aren’t interested. The women I met at Sisterhood not only wanted to talk about these subjects, they also wanted to offer advice and share inspiration. We stayed up late with glasses of gin discussing the finer details of Instagram, and I felt a hint of magic that we were all there, in the same place, at the same time, inspiring each other. We all have Lou to thank for that.
It wasn’t just the people and the conversation that was inspiring, though. I fell head over heels with the event as a whole and how it was styled. I came away researching similar event and other supper clubs across the U.K. and creating a wish list of events I’d like to attend (Yonder Collective and Assembly Gatherings are two that particularly enchant me). I revelled in taking photographs of every little detail – because every little detail had had such careful attention paid to it. The flowers on the table, the tableware used for the feasts, the tall church candles leading the way into the barn where we ate, the floral crowns that we crafted prior to the last supper. That sort of magic doesn’t exist in everyday life, and that is what makes events like Sisterhood Camp such a special occasion. They exist away from the everyday.
To create this atmosphere on your own would be a weighty task. Curating a guest list, prepping, cooking and serving a menu, creating menu cards and place cards, styling the table, arranging the flowers, getting the lighting just right and securing the perfect location. These gatherings go above and beyond your usual dinner party. There’s almost always a little twist – a workshop, a craft session, a talk from an inspiring woman, a rotation of seats between courses so that you have chance to mingle with as many people as possible. These little details, and the acute attention to detail, help to create magical evenings where you really feel like anything is possible.
I met women at Sisterhood who have changed my life. Women who have helped me to grow in my work, who have put opportunities in front of me, who have commissioned my work and who have encouraged me to push my work further. I can get published on that website I’ve always wanted to write for, I can demand more money for my work, knowing that I am worth it. The retreat brought us all together, but it is the community that continues to inspire us.
Interested in Sisterhood Camp but can’t afford it or unable to travel to the retreats? They have launched an online retreat that runs seasonally for three months at a time. The summer retreat is currently on sale and goes live on 1st June with e-courses, exclusive content, an online forum and much more. There are still a few tickets left if you click here.
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