Workshops & Retreats


One of life’s great joys is finding time to listen — whether to the grown ups talking far above our heads, or to the many voices of the non-human world:  the crash of thunder, the wind in the leaves, the bright birds singing outside our morning window. Sounds from childhood can be especially potent. In this introductory workshop, we will take the time to remember (and to write about, and even draw) the sounds of long ago, as well as those in the immediate present. Bring your journals and your colored pencils, and expect to spend the morning reading, writing and drawing, and sharing sound memories and stories. Weather permitting, we will also spend some time out-of-doors.

No experience necessary.

THE ART OF LOOKING: Half Day Workshop

Art of LookingThe nineteenth century artist John Ruskin encouraged all his students to draw, even if they weren’t especially good at it. “The greatest thing a human being ever does in this world is to SEE something, and tell what [they] saw in a plain way.” For most of us, such clarity and focus have become increasingly rare. There is so much to see, and it passes by so fast, on the tiny screens of our digital cameras and the larger ones of our personal computers, on TVs and videos and flashing billboards, that simply looking has become a luxury.

In this half-day workshop, Christian will guide you in “the art of looking,” both as a pleasure in itself and as an opportunity for more sustained creative work. You will take the time to read and write and draw, exploring ways in which to braid such practices into your own ordinary/extraordinary daily life. 

christiangallery8775IN PRAISE OF WALKING: Full Day Workshop

Almost everything we care deeply about, we do with some nimbus of slowness around it, whether that be writing a poem, digging a garden, or baking a birthday cake for a beloved child. “The greatest assassin of life is haste,” said the poet Theodore Roethke. And yet more than a third of us say we “always feel rushed.” This day-long workshop is intended as an antidote to that frantic sense of urgency. Over the course of our time together, we will focus on very ordinary, everyday activities — walking, talking, writing, drawing, telling stories — exploring them both as a source of pleasure in themselves, and as a pathway to our own creative work.

journal writingTHE ART OF LETTER-WRITING: Voice, Calligraphy & Spirit, co-taught with artist and calligrapher, Barbara Bash: Two Day Workshop

Here in the United States, most of us spend more than an hour a day writing and responding to email. But finding time to write – by hand – a thoughtful, considered personal letter, has become increasingly rare. Over the course of this weekend, Barbara and Christian will explore the history of letter-writing, drawing on examples by practicing artists and writers, and setting it in the context of the “slow living” movement. Participants will be introduced to the basics of calligraphy (“beautiful writing”) and everyone will have the chance to write (and perhaps to illustrate) several letters for themselves.

Sunset on TaneraWORLD ENOUGH & TIME: On Creativity and Slowing Down: Week-long Retreat

“Art,” said the novelist, Saul Bellow, “has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos… an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.” And yet here in the United States, more than 38% of the population describes ourselves as “always feeling rushed.” This week-long retreat provides a welcome antidote to that crazy-busyness: an opportunity to slow down and pay attention, combining stories and discussion with a special focus on reading, writing, walking, drawing and dreaming.

All participants are welcome, though it will be of particular interest to creative writers, and to practicing artists of whatever genre. Please bring a favorite notebook or journal, pains and crayons if you have them, and a pair of comfortable walking shoes.