Stating Who You Are. Our Manifesto.

Welcome to 2019! And welcome to year 5 of the Creative Soul Weekend. We’re going into this year on fire with creative ideas, a new one-day mini retreat for March in the works, as well as big plans for our “original flavour” retreat in September.

Part of that creative fire is setting monthly themes for our blog and social media. Kicking things off is January’s theme:

Stating who you are and standing by it in the world.

So to that end we’ve written a manifesto for the Creative Soul Weekend. We’ve long loved the idea of having a manifesto written but it was only two months ago that we decided to finally put pen to paper. Leah wrote it out by hand first, then typed it up, shared it in a Google Doc with Emily and got her feedback. After a few edits, Leah then made a collage (one of her preferred mediums). You can see the behind the scenes process in our Instagram Stories.

We would love to see various takes on our manifesto by various artists and creatives. So sometime in the next little while Emily will share her take on the manifesto with us and then we may tag another artist in and see what they do with it.

So here without further ado is our manifesto! We’d love to hear what you think of it.

Collage: Leah Noble

Creating What You Want

True story - Creative Soul Weekend exists because I didn’t have the money to attend Designer Vaca.

Leah here - In 2013 I heard about this amazing thing called Designer Vaca. A gathering of all female graphic designers in the desert in California at the Palm Springs Hotel. And back then, retreats weren’t as popular as they are now. The only other retreats I’d heard of were the ones my dad did with the Buddhist community locally. But this one captured my imagination.

I checked out my bank account and nope, definitely wasn’t going to be able to swing a plane ticket to Palm Springs, plus accomodation and food and the registration fee.

So I did the next logical thing: I started a Facebook group. I added all the female graphic designers I knew locally (which was maybe 10?) and the link to Designer Vaca and said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be amazing to do something like this here?”

People added other people to the group that they knew, and then this girl named Emily Chafe (at that time she was not yet married to Mr. Rankin) messaged me and said “Hey! I want to help!” I didn’t know her at all before that but we hit it off right away.

Over the Internet we schemed and dreamed. We posted in the Facebook group to get opinions but essentially we made the decisions. That first year, we were hoping for at least 10 gals (that’s how many roughly had said were interested) and we booked rooms at the Bras d'Or Lakes Inn. We got a yoga instructor to take us on a guided hike to a waterfall, and then do yoga on a beach. And her husband was an artist and he offered to do a studio tour. In the end it was just the two of us and my friend Aleena who were able to attend this proto CSW (the name had not yet been coined, that would be the following year), but we still got the magical vibe from it that we were hoping for, the seed which told us “we have something here”.

It’s like eating at a super fancy restaurant and then going home and recreating the dish yourself with your own ingredients. Of course it will not be the same as the restaurant dish… but it will be more affordable, and you’ll actually put your own creative spin on it and perhaps make it even better.

Recently I got an email from a famous yoga teacher that I admire, advertising her latest retreat. It’s on the Oregon Coast, and she’s combining it with a badass boudoir photographer that I also admire. I want so much to go, but it’s easily a $4000 trip. There is no way I can afford that.

But instead of feeling bad because I can’t afford such a luxe and delicious self-care experience, and dreaming of a bank account with far more zeros after it than mine currently has, I think: well, how could I get a similar experience closer to home? First of all, there’s Creative Soul Weekend. Second of all, is there some as-yet-uncreated gathering that I could create, or support another entrepreneur creating?


We've put together a playlist of some of our favorite tunes for feeling creative. There's a mix of genres and songs to pump up your creativity and others to calm down and relax. Turn up the speakers or grab your headphones - however you like to get creative we hope this list adds to your experience. 

Check out the playlist here on Spotify!