Monday, 31 December 2012

Call of the Wild Soul Retreat

WARNING: This is going to be a long post - I have so much to share with you .... Call it serendipity, call it synchronicity, call it whatever you will but there was one common thread amongst each woman I spoke to last weekend. We had all heard the call and we were all meant to be there, at a retreat set on the edge of Exmoor at Croydon Hall (near Minehead) in Somerset, UK. Approximately 60 women (and a few honorary husbands and children) left the hectic pace of their everyday lives to join their fellow wild souls as we set off for four days to find our tribe.

I cannot even begin to explain the sense of camaraderie, community and oneness that was shared between the women at this event. It really did feel very tribe like and extremely powerful.

From Katariina Fagering's initial welcome talk at the beginning of the weekend when she inspired us with stories of strong, audacious women (including her own very touching story), to the end when we had to say farewell to new friends, it was the most inspirational 'time out' I have ever had. I am about to become an art retreat junkie.

I found the weekend quite by chance by Googling 'art retreats' over a period of a few months. I had come across a few which seemed to be geared towards watercolour or acrylic weekends but nothing of the kind I really wanted. Then, one day, the universe must have listened because I found Call of the Wild Soul where Teesha Moore and 3 other American artists would be teaching. I couldn't actually believe it and read on just to find out if it was some kind of joke or even a mistake - why would these amazing artists come to the West Country. I could hardly imagine why these women would choose to come to the UK when they had such a worldwide following. However, after reading on I realised it was true and completely awesome. I was sold - I just knew I had to be there, I was meant to be there.

The only down side for me was that we had to choose 3 of the 4 classes on offer and I wanted to do them all. I didn't want to drop any of them.

The first class I undertook was Teesha Moore's class. Teesha is very often one of the first teachers you will come across when you take the first steps into art jouraling. Teesha is certainly the one you will hear most about when you get into art journaling. Teesha has a style which is very much her own, colourful, bright, beautiful, quirky and a lot of fun to create. You'll either find out about her by 'chatting' to other art journalers, via You Tube, her awesome blog or via other art journaling sites. Just Google art journaling and you will find her awesomeness very quickly journaling style very soon appears before your eyes. Another fabulous surprise relating to her visit was that she brought her husband, Tracy, with her (he is also an art journaler creating some awesome artwork). Teesha is also one of the nicest people you could wish to meet, so unassuming very inspirational and extremely encouraging. It was such a pleasure to create with this lady. Please come back again Teesha. You can find Teesha's creations here.

Teesha and Tamara Laport chat after our class. That was also an added bonus - meeting Tamara Laporte (and her lovely family). Tam is the awesome lady behind Lifebook and so many more fantastic great value on line classes. You can find Tam's website here. We all came away with something that we were pleased with which shows how inspiring Teesha is.
Above is Clare Campbell one of the wonderful ladies I shared a room with during the retreat. Clare also runs amazing art retreats (I will be blogging about her wonderful Mermaid Retreat that I attended last November, very soon). Clare is the founder of 100 Women Create and a Goddess of Glitter and all things beautiful. Her website can be found here.

The beautiful Madelyn Mulvaney was the next class I took. I don't get along that well with my camera (as most people who view my blog with probably verify). I just don't really 'get it' .... that is, until I took Madelyn's class. I love other people's photography and find it very inspiring but I'm just not that good at it myself so I chose this class just to see if it could awaken my hidden passion for photography. Let's just say that since I've come home from Wild Soul I've taken my camera everywhere. Does that give you an idea of how much I enjoyed her class? If it doesn't, it should. My camera is now my best friend, I'm even using the camera on my phone to record things I love. I took some great photos during the weekend, some of which I will share here with you. I hadn't been prepared for the emotional outpourings that came about as a result of taking this class but it made me even more aware that the people who were around me were all meant to be there, that we were trusting each other and laying our souls bear to scrutiny, sharing stuff that maybe we would never have shared with others. I met a wonderful lady called Joolz Benner who live in Sweden at the retreat. We shared a great deal of the weekend and particularly this class. Here is a picture that I took which has special significance for both of us.
I can't really articulate how precious this weekend was to me. Madelyn Mulvaney's amazing photography class and her website is here.

The last class was Flora's class - what a wild woman - what a goddess. This woman embodies everything I would have loved to be in my younger years - wild, free, no boundaries or restraints, sexy, audacious the word free, free, free, just screams at me when I think of her. She is truly ALIVE. It would be hard to choose a favourite class but if someone had told me that I would produce an abstact type painting that I truly loved I would have laughed at them - but I did. I created a painting which embodies the wild soul for me. This is Flora's resultant picture from the weekend which she later presented to Erin as a thank you gift.
Flora's blog is here You would be doing yourselves a massive favour by taking any of these ladies classes they are wild souls of the highest order creating beautiful art in their very own unique styles. Amazing, juicy and oh so sexy :) The whole weekend would not have been possible however if it were not for the gorgeous Erin Faith Allen who brought us all together by hosting the retreat at Croydon Hall. Erin had given birth to a beautiful baby daughter, Poppy, only 12 days before. Erin, and her husband Simon, did the most amazing job of hosting the weekend seeing as though they had only just brought their first child into the world.


  1. I don;t think I even managed to get it together to write about it at all. too much it was!! I loved hearing about it and reliving it a little again via your post. I never saw the wild soul painting flora did for erin. its fabulous!!

  2. It was truly an inspiring few days - thanks for refreshing my memories

  3. So lovely to relive the retreat again here through your recollection! It really was magic wasn't it!

  4. Wonderful Dee! This took me right back to an amazing weekend :)

  5. Dee thanks for posting this, it brings back so many memories of that wonderful weekend.
    Big love
    Janette :-)

  6. I'm so jealous, thanks for pointing me in the direction of this post. I discovered Flora just over a year ago and just love her work. I'd love to do even an online workshop but pennies don't allow at the moment. So I was v. Excited when I heard about the book as I thought it might be a mini version of the workshop. However after reading some reviews from people saying it wasn't that but more lifestyle stuff I was really dissapointed and didn't buy the book... However, like you say, something, just something kept nagging me to give it a go. So after months of sulking I ordered it as an early birthday present to myself. I've been sooooo good in not opening it and flipping through as it's going to be my February book ( I couldn't wait THAT long!) So I am intrigued as to how I'll find it...

  7. Really looking forward to your review of Flora's book Carmen. It will be really interesting to see what you think of it. Flora is absolutely 'wild' in the loveliest sense of the word - a real free spirit. The way she made me feel during/after her class was fantastic - it stayed with me for such a long time and now when I'm stuck in my art I do as she would do - stick on a record and dance it out (the one I remember most was "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence and the Machine - we were really going for it by then ... yay!)or go for a walk with my sketchbook to get some patterns down (such a great technique). Really hope I'll meet you at a class one day xxx