Why Creative Gatherings Matter

Gathering of the Creatives, hand made books, art journaling ideas, art journal, art journal ideas, creative gathering, creative retreat, art retreat Santa Fe

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

I am writing to you today, just FILLED with creative joy! I’ve just returned from The Gathering of the Creatives in Santa Fe, NM. I want to reflect with you about why creative gatherings matter.

For starters, look at the faces in this picture! We had such fun! As a teacher, I try to provide a container in which students can be in charge of their creative experience. They take what works, leave the rest behind, and take lots of creative risks. This gives my students space to take chances, innovate, relax, and grow. This allows me to relax and be at MY best. See the positive feedback loop?

My Gathering of the Creatives groups were AMAZING. I’m sharing photos from my pre-conference workshop, Unfolding Your Creative Wisdom. (I also facilitated a workshop on Daring to Create.)

Most of these wonderful women had never painted before. Check out all of what they made! Holy smokes they created gorgeous smoky backgrounds and mark making pages.

Gathering of the Creatives, hand made books, art journaling ideas, art journal, art journal ideas

They transformed these pages into accordion fold books, bi-folds, and scrolls with creative affirmations, memory keeping, and images.

Gathering of the Creatives, hand made books, art journaling ideas, art journal, art journal ideas
Gathering of the Creatives, hand made books, art journaling ideas, art journal, art journal ideas

This is my Bee Scroll, with a story about a bee who tickled my hand and visited my salad plate in Santa Fe.

Why Are Creative Gatherings Transformative?

  • Preparation: Knowing that you will be doing something for your creative life gives you something wonderful to anticipate. I think this build up can help boost your creativity both before and after the gathering. Anticipating the experience is part of the enjoyment, whether it’s a retreat or a gathering of artist friends.
  • Community: More than ever, we crave community and belonging.
  • Affirmation: Being amongst other people with similar creative dreams and desires affirms ours.
  • Investment: When we invest in something – especially if we make sacrifices in our time and finances, we often tend to give more to the experience. You get out of an experience what you put into it.

We were ready to nurture our creative selves, take risks, and open our hearts.

I can’t tell you how many students told me they had creative breakthroughs this weekend. They walked on hot coals, painted for the first time, said out loud, “I am an artist,” and learned directly from Julia Cameron. Several folks in my workshop also walked away on fire with energy and concrete plans to realize their creative projects.

Julia Cameron Conference, Julia Cameron Gathering, Gathering of the Creatives

Treating yourself to an artist retreat is one of the most luxurious things you can do for your inner artist, it’s true. In my experience, it also delivers the quickest and deepest transformation.

I’m so grateful to Julia Cameron and her beautiful teachings through The Artist’s Way and other books. Julia’s vision of a world where everyone knows they are an artist and makes time and space to create continues to be a guiding principle in my work, even 20 years later.

Where do you find YOUR creative community? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. If you are looking for some creative community and a deep experience of creativity, I’ve got a LIVE online art retreat happening on Friday, October 18th:


Drawing Closer to Nature. We will learn mindful-wonky drawing techniques that help us tune more deeply into nature, and fill our sketchbooks with it’s beauty. Space is limited to 15 participants and registration closes soon, so grab your spot now if this calls to you.

Creatively Yours,


*Julia Cameron photo by Deb Sinness


  1. Anne

    Julia Cameron changed my life. She guided me to effectively address the hangups in all areas of my life at the time. Then I launched into playing with paint. Right now i am back at it with you and really trying to turn the ideas of productive and progress into compost. Thanks for your help.

    • Amy Maricle

      HI Anne – It’s so amazing how this creative wheel keeps turning, isn’t it? Thanks so much for taking the time to add that lovely comment about Julia. xo Amy

  2. Barbara Scuzzese

    Hi Amy — Although I’ve been retired for about 14 years now, until very recently I kept putting my art on the back burner. Within the last few months I’ve been getting together with a group of creatives, and we love the fellowship and comraderie we derive from working together and sharing our latest endeavors. We recently made inspirational greeting cards for clients of a local outreach center for women and their children. It was both rewarding and and creatively fulfilling.

    I love your work and your approach to art, which is so emotionally freeing. Thanks much.

    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Barbara:

      Oh it’s so fun to read about these gatherings! How wonderful that you are also giving to the community! Thanks for being here! xo Amy


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