Join me, from May 5th – 10th, 2019, for my first Sewing on Saba retreat.
At only 5 sq. miles (13 km2), Saba is a special island – a hidden refuge unknown to most of the world jutting out of the Caribbean Sea – and I am so excited to have the opportunity to share it with you! During our time together, we will use local indigo to dye our yardage and sew up beautiful garments and accessories. Regardless of your sewing level, this space is for you. It will be a time to create and connect, share and learn with other passionate makers. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and inspired, and with beautiful new pieces to add to your handmade wardrobe.
Sewing has been a functional necessity in most households on Saba throughout history due to its remoteness. Indeed, this was a big factor in my decision to stop purchasing clothing for myself back in 2017. Up until a generation ago, sewing was part of the basic self-sufficiency of the people of Saba. Thanks to different initiatives on the island, sewing is slowly creeping back into the education system and leisure activities.
Indigo is native to Saba and grows mostly in the drier areas. Although it was never produced to on a large scale, it was prevalent in some of the sugar plantations on the island from around 1640 until a hurricane destroyed the island in 1772. Recently, local artist Anna Keene has begun foraging and dyeing with indigo from different parts of the island to use in her art and weaving. Anna has found that the blue tone achieved during dyeing differs based on the location of the island where it was found.
Saban Lace is also known as Spanish Work or Drawn-thread lace. It was brought to the island by Mary Gertrude Johnson in the late 1800s and grew to become one of the leading sources of income on the island until around the 1930s. Lace work was done by women on the island, many of whom were the head of their households while their husbands were working for long periods of time away from the island. The women sold their lace all of the world through mail-order, which is wild to imagine! They were the original "mompreneurs"!
Final payment due no later than January 15th, 2019.
The following is an indicative itinerary and is subject to modest modifications, depending upon local weather, new opportunities and the desires of the group:
| Sunday, May 5th
Monday, May 6th
Tuesday, May 7th
Wednesday, May 8th
Thursday, May 9th
Friday, May 10th
- Meals, general: all meals include non-alcoholic beverages. Dinners include one beer or wine per person. All specialty beverages (with or without alcohol) and any additional drinks are the responsibility of the traveler.
- Breakfast: Travelers in a shared or private room at Juliana’s Hotel will enjoy a breakfast each morning at the adjoining restaurant, Tropics.
- Lunch: A picnic lunch will be provided on the day of the Indigo Dyeing workshop. The other 3 lunches will be taken at the restaurant of the Queen’s Garden Resort.
- Dinner: 3 dinners, including one beer or wine, are included in the retreat price. Two evenings are left open for travelers to have the opportunity to choose where to take meals based on personal preference. Travelers are invited to join me at my house during one of the two non-dinner evenings for pizza and beer. This is my treat and therefore at no additional cost to travelers.
- Dietary constraints: we are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions at our island restaurants and supermarkets. To guarantee we are able to offer a good variety of options, please inform me no later than April 15th of any constraints you may have.
- Water: We catch our rainwater here on Saba and, although it is clean when it falls from the sky, it is not potable from the faucet. Travelers will be provided with two bottles of drinking water upon arrival. Drinking water will also be available during the sewing workshops at Queen’s Garden Resort. However, travelers are responsible for purchasing their own drinking water outside of meals included in the retreat price.
- Shared rooms: If you are traveling with a friend and would like to share a room together, please let me know!
- Private rooms: If you are traveling with a non-participating partner, this person can stay in your room with you at no additional cost! Please note that they are not eligible to participate in any of the retreat activities. However, Saba has plenty to offer its guests, including hiking and world-renowned diving.
- Sewing machines: One sewing machine per person will be available, but please note that these are not fancy, and will not all be the same model. At least one serger will be on hand to share.
- Medical care: We are fortunate to have 4 very capable medical doctors at our local island hospital. They are able to perform basic procedures and offer emergency care. For more specialized care, patients are flown out to regional hospitals. Please check with your insurance provider to ensure you are covered internationally should you need specialized care.
TRAVELING TO SABA
I will email you when it is time to make your travel arrangements, no later than January 25th, 2019. Because the retreat cannot take place without a minimum of 4 participants, it is best to wait until you receive this e-mail to purchase your flights (please also read the terms and conditions carefully before purchasing a spot in the retreat or making any travel arrangements). When you go to research airfare to come to Saba, searching from your point of origin to SXM (Princess Juliana International Airport on St. Maarten) will typically result in the best prices. Then go to the Winair website to purchase a ticket for the 12-minute flight from SXM to SAB (Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport on Saba), which will range in price from approx. $150 to $180, round trip. I will provide more detailed information with regards to arranging travel in early January.