Category Archives: design

Silvan & Spring retreat next spring in England

Cotswolds_walkingpathsJoin us next spring as we explore and share two magical places in England for a beautiful and nourishing seven-day/six-night retreat in the Cotswolds and Bath. We will explore the forests and landscapes of the Cotswolds and enjoy the sacred waters in Bath as we create art, write, and explore our surroundings between April 26 – May 2, 2018. We’ll celebrate the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane together as we mark the transition between spring and summer, and learn about the history and traditions of this important annual celebration. You will have plenty of time for relaxation and conversation as you explore these inspiring places with our small and intimate group. Both Gretchen and Laurie have traveled to England many times and will serve as your tour guides as they show you the best parts of this enchanted country.

Bath_RomanBathsWe’ll start and end in London, taking the train through the English countryside west towards the Cotswolds where we will spend four nights and three days in one of its charming villages. We will enjoy the cobblestone streets, thatched roof houses, and access to walking paths that weave through woodlands, along ancient hedgerows, and cross sheep-filled fields. Then we will take the train south to Bath and stay for two days and two nights near the heart of the town’s ancient Roman spring-fed baths, within steps of Pulteney Bridge and its artisan-owned shops. This is the same town filled with the Georgian architecture that inspired Jane Austen. We will return to London by train. We have a lot of fun things planned including: natural plant dyeing, watercolour studies, tarot and oracle card explorations, journaling practice, guided plant walks, sketching, DIY herbal facials, and more.

PaintingInCotswoldsFor more information please visit:

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sea ranch

Landscapes speak to me. Some louder than others. Two of the most resonant are near oceans or have agricultural roots. So I’ve always been intrigued by Sea Ranch, a community designed in the 1960s by noted landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the Frederick Law Olmsted of our time. He used innovative design principles* to create a residential community on the site of a former sheep ranch and in the process created a space that has deeply touched all those who’ve lived and visited here.

I was working in the area and had been traveling non-stop for work for about ten days so decided to take a couple days off and explore. I didn’t have a plan – just my car, some clothes and camping gear. However, when one of the largest storms in years decided to descend on that section of the California coast I decided against sleeping in the elements and rented a little cottage in Sea Ranch. Later it seemed meant to be. There is no better way to experience a place than being a part of it, even if it is for a brief time.

The storm prevented me from exploring every last nook and cranny, but each time the clouds parted or at least stopped dumping rain and blowing gale force winds I ventured out for hikes through the bluffs, meadows and wind rows. I felt like I had the place to myself which allowed a great deal of reflection. It also gave me privacy when the klutzy self of my youth reemerged and I tripped, fell and sprained my ankle. I laughed out loud at myself, drank in the expansive view of the Pacific Ocean and was, at that moment, reminded how very lucky I am to live the life I’m living.

Now on to the next adventure…

*Sea Ranch Design Principles
Nature predominates… not buildings
Rural setting… not suburban
Home size modest… not enormous
Exteriors simple… not showy
Design guidelines… not “anything goes”
Sense of community… not “statement” houses
Aesthetics valued… not disregarded