Monday, March 4, 2013

Beating the Winter Blues at Shake Rag Alley

Wisconsin winters may be snowy and cold (and sometimes linger longer into March than we would perfer!) but that doesn't deter us at Shake Rag Alley. It's just a great time to snuggle into the cozy warmth of our charming indoor spaces with poetry readings, retreats, and stories and song.

Here's a look at some of what we've been up to and what's upcoming to chase away those winter blues.

Valentine Sale

Our annual Sweetheart Art Valentine Card and Gift Sale is always a welcome break from winter at the end of January. Tons of one-of-a-kind handmade valentines to peruse in the warmth of the Cabinet Shop. And, of course, the yummy treats provided by our volunteer bakers.

Kathleen Ernst, Council for Wisconsin Writers
Anne Powers Book-Length Fiction Award Winner

SRA Winter Writers Series

Shake Rag's Winter Writers Series continued in late January and February with two events at the newly remodeled Mineral Point Public Library (see our earlier post about the SRA Winter Writers Series).

On January 24th Kathleen Ernst did a presentation on her Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites Mysteries series and in February poets Bruce Dethlefsen and Sarah Busse presented poetry readings.

The next and final Writers Series event for the year will be Story Time with children's author Janet Halfmann on March 18th at the Mineral Point Library.

2010-2012 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Bruce Dethlefsen

Poet Sarah Busse, winner of the Council for Wisconsin Writers’ Lorine Niedecker Prize


What could be better in the dead of winter than sharing a creative retreat with like minded souls at Shake Rag Alley? Diane Sterba has infused Women's Winter Retreats at Shake Rag with her special creative inspiration every year since 2007. And this year Managing Director Courtney Henson joined in to lead retreaters in creating a small hand bound book.

There were so many women who wanted to participate that Di and Courtney offered a second retreat the following weekend to accommodate everyone. Retreat participants went home refreshed and renewed after a weekend creating power dolls, hand binding a book, making vision boxes and personal mandalas...and of course, enjoying loads of camaraderie.

Collaging a hand bound small book
Personal Mandalas

Shake Rag also offers custom retreats, perfect for a getaway weekend for family or a group of friends. Five friends from Rockford spent a weekend staying at Shake Rag's Clowney House and enjoyed a workshop making leather cuff bracelets and an altered book workshop.


In the winter months Alley Stage moves its productions indoors to the charm of the Cabinet Shop at Shake Rag Alley. Their first 2013 production on March 15th & 16th will be "Claddagh", an evening of song, stories and spoken word to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and the Irish. Don't miss this intimate concert featuring traditional Irish instruments, classically trained voices and a heart for both the celebrated and the melancholy.

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