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Putting the pieces together

How Mary followed her passion to develop an inspiring creative retreat just for quilters.

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How did we get here?

We are Mary and Adam Sowatzka, the owners of Koosa Mountain Lodge. We both grew up near Green Bay, Wisconsin and moved south in 1997, just before the birth of our first child. We still love Wisconsin and travel there several times a year, but Georgia has become home. We purchased a small cabin in Dahlonega over a decade ago because we fell in love with the area. While Adam still works in Atlanta, and our main residence is in Atlanta, we spend as much time as possible in Dahlonega. We purchased Koosa Mountain Lodge with the idea of it being our home when we retire. I quickly decided that in the meantime, it was the perfect place to fulfill my dream of owning a quilting and crafting retreat.

Adam and I both grew up in an artistic family. Adam’s family owned a ceramic shop, a porcelain doll shop and a custom tiling business. My family is full of quilters and teachers. I worked at the ceramic and doll shop while in high school and through college. I made porcelain dolls and taught classes in doll making in order to help pay for college.  

After graduating from college and getting married, I stopped making dolls. I missed the creative process but I was busy raising our four children. That all changed when I volunteered to teach our homeschool group how to sew. We made pillows, tote bags, pencil cases and fabric bowls. I enjoyed all of those, but when we started making a simple quilt in class I found my passion.

After making one quilt, I was hooked. The students all made quilts, but their moms were more interested in quilting than they were. My weekly sewing classes transformed into weekly quilting sessions with their mothers. It was during those sessions that I realized how transformative the quilting process can be. For several of my friends, the completion of a quilt gave them an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride. Figuring out a difficult pattern, choosing the right fabrics and fixing mistakes was an amazing boost of self confidence. I know that one of my favorite things about quilting is the oohs and aahs I get when I bring my quilts to show-and-tell at my guild.  

Another benefit of those weekly quilting sessions was the opportunity to block out the stress and worry of our daily lives. While we were quilting and talking with our friends, we weren’t thinking of all the normal worries. It was an opportunity to focus on something creative and positive instead. More often than not, after a good quilting session with friends, we had a much more positive and relaxed outlook on our problems. That change in attitude often resulted in making those worries seem not quite as bad. 

It was during those early quilting sessions with my friends that the dream of owning a quilting and crafters retreat was born. I knew how much those sessions meant to me. I also knew that not everyone had the opportunity to have a group of friends over on a weekly basis to sew. I wanted to be able to provide that same opportunity to many more quilters and crafters. When I saw Koosa Mountain Lodge for the first time, I knew it was the perfect place for a retreat.

Now taking group reservations for weekend retreats starting January 16, 2020.