8 Day Expressive Arts Retreat in the Cyclades
Combine a relaxing beach vacation with art and nature. Our art and nature retreat is located in the Cyclades, the magical ring of islands, that birthed Apollo, the god of the sun, self-knowledge, and the arts. The raw elemental beauty of the stone, the sea, the air, and the sun provide the white space, the clean canvas from which you will create.
ART & NATURE & CREATIVITY= WELL-BEING
Connect. Create. Rejuvenate on Art and Nature Retreats in the Cyclades, Greece.
Guided nature and photography walks, herbal and culinary demonstrations, soap making, multimodal art activities, culture, and history lessons–plenty of opportunities to deepen yourself while you rejuvenate among idyllic nature.
All this is in a private minimal stone villa with a verandah overlooking the sea.
Organic locally farmed meals; a private atelier/art studio with all materials included and the services of a professional educator/artist/writer working under the ethical and professional practices of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
Beginner, Intermediate: It is not necessary to have ANY previous knowledge of art. Expressive Arts has the slogan “trust the process.” We work with you to free up any blocks allowing you to create in a safe, supportive community.
Vegetarian, Vegan, Organic, Raw, Diabetic-friendly, Paleo-friendly, Keto-friendly, Sugar conscious, Low fat. Greek food is world-renown for being healthy and delicious. We try to expose guests to the staple dishes of Greek cuisine including, fish, salads, stuffed vegetables, greens, feta and other traditional cheeses, Greek yogurt, locally sourced fruits, dried nuts.
If you have ever dreamed of taking a journey to Greece, the bucket list destination, this is the year to do it. But instead of taking just a trip on the outside, consider taking a journey on the inside too.
If you have dreamed of experiencing the Cyclades—those with white and blue houses, cerulean skies, and pristine beaches with awe-inspiring sunsets–allow me to be your guide in this journey where you will explore not only the ancient landscape of surpassing natural beauty but also the landscape of your inner self.
I am a veteran educator and facilitator that follows the ethical and professional standards of IEATA, the international expressive arts therapy association. But most importantly, my family comes from this island. I have roots that go back centuries and am intimately connected to this land.
My retreats are located on the island of Ios between Paros, Naxos, and Santorini. It is one of the “party islands” of the Aegean. But I live in the back of the island in a small serene village called Aghia Theodoti.
This is the place where my father was born and my grandparents lived as farmers. This is my ancestral home. Serene, secluded facing east with a semiprivate beach-this is the place to come to recharge, rejuvenate and find balance, harmony, and creativity. I call it my soul sanctuary.
Here’s what a typical day at the retreat might look like:
– Wake up at sunrise to salute the sun. Engage in movement and gentle stretch to awaken the body and mind.
-Go on a nature walk through the footpaths noticing the rhythm of the sea and paying attention to what the landscape is telling us. In a kind of walking meditation increasing mindfulness, we bring our minds to stillness even as our feet walk we forage for natural materials that have something to say to us.
– We take this experience into our journals and spend time listening to our inner voices. We read an intentional poem or respond to a prompt both visually and verbally. We create an intention for the rest of our day.
– Returning home we enjoy an organic locally sourced traditional Greek breakfast. This includes fresh figs and other fruits in season, rusks, fruit jam, Greek yogurt and cheese, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, coffee, and tea.
After breakfast, we gather in the atelier or art workshop to transition into the central creative activity of the day.
One day it might be soap making from goat milk, another day it might be creating cyanotypes or solar prints of the foraged material we picked up.
Another day it might be learning to paint in encaustic a medium made from beeswax and fire.
Other days we can engage in enactments centered on god/goddess archetypes and then take pictures.
Or we could just go on more walks to hone our photography skills to capture the best shots in the best light on the island.
Every day is a new exploration of self.
To build community, we share what we have discovered through our creativity to others in the group through “active witnessing,” a technique grounded in the practices of Natalie Rogers, the founder of expressive arts. We next take time to circle around and share our creativity and what came up for us during the explorations. We synthesize our learnings in our journals and end with a ritual closing ceremony.
By this time, it is late afternoon and time for lunch.
This is the most substantial meal of the day and will probably stay heavy on the veggies, salads, cheese, and fish or seafood. We provide home-cooked meals not fast food souvlakis, dishes like pastitzgio, moussaka, fasolakia, stuffed vegetables, fish in lemon, and olive oil with homemade bread that comes out of the wood-fire oven.
After lunch, it’s do your own thing unstructured time. It’s perfect for engaging in hydrotherapy (swimming), heliotherapy (sunbathing), or hypnotherapy (sleeping.)
Evenings are left for you to explore the island at your leisure or take a hop over to Santorini for a visit.
As for accommodations, you will be hosted in a traditional stone cottage by the sea tastefully decorated with access to an adjoining atelier or art studio made of handcrafted stone (with a running brook inside). There is also an old stone threshing floor that we use as a stage for enactments and role-plays.