May is Artists Soul Retreat Month

Thanks to dear friends Robin and Emily for the color-coordinated orchid! In honor of the recovering Linda. And the current chief chef and bottlewasher. And to those looking for a little visual treat where ever you are.

Just a reminder to you, me and all of us. (As I post more than one blog entry today to try and "catch up," that impossible and daunting task.) Here's an excerpt and some links from the CREATIVITY PORTAL by artist and coach Chris Dunmire:

"Self-care coach Linda Dessau was the first on Creativity Portal to write about the Artist Retreat, a kind of vacation that helps artist's (of all kinds) to get outside of their usual routines, connect with other artists, and contemplate their creative dreams in a larger context. In her article 10 Signs You Might Need an Artist Retreat Day, Linda encouraged awareness for signs of creative burnout and showed how we can incorporate elements of a retreat into our daily lives.

"My first retreat came 20-some years into my working life and consisted of two weeks alone in a rented cottage in the Arizona mountains where I had no creative expectations and took replenishing daily walks and naps. I focused on being "unplugged" from work demands and spent important "me" time reconnecting with my body — and myself — under cool starry night skies. I did some creative things and read a lot, and discovered the new joy of snail-mail art. I came home to a full inbox and lots of work waiting for me, but that stuff is always there. The nourishing gift of a retreat, however, is not.

Some may call them retreats, vacations, or sabbaticals. I like the idea of combining the best of them all into an Artist's Soul Retreat (with emphasis on self-care of the soul). Let's celebrate May with creativity and self-care!

And, in the same vein, I have rescheduled the Markmaking Workshop to June 10-12, to accommodate home schedules - fortunately, those already signed up could make the switch, but there is still room for a few more participants -- as well as for the other summer El Cielo retreats. Here's the text version descriptions:


Sign up early (at least 30 days in advance with a $25 deposit) for a $15 discount on the $175 fee. Email me for details. Workshops generally start with an optional Friday night potluck and fun activity or two, then continue through 3-4 pm on Sunday afternoon. Most supplies included.


UFO, “unfinished fiber object.” Bring along work that needs finishing, needs one more layer, needs some concentrated time and attention (or work that’s stuck for need of constructive critique). Enjoy the resources of the studio and the advice and support of peers. We’ll customize the techniques to the tasks at hand.


Markmaking can be what distinguishes one person's work on paper or fabric or any medai from another's - their personal style. Using color, line, shape, rhythm and textures, students will explore traditional and new media as well as techniques for personal markmaking. Techniques to be covered include deconstructed screenprinting, stamping, using paint sticks and monoprinting with gelatin plates. No matter what your experience level, you'll gain confidence in working with layered media and find your strongest media for the marks that make your work unmistakably your own. 


Making time to play with odd-ball materials; learning to focus upon artful tasks at hand -- sounds like opposite sides of the coin? At this exploratory and full-of-play weekend, we’ll explore the relationship between the time, play, art and focus. Where does time management intersect with open-hearted fun? Expect bubbles, playdough, sparklers, jello, yoga and seeing the world from new angles and attitudes. 


Embrace your inner goddess of summertime. Design and make a small art quilt “altar” for kitchen or dining room with tools and materials that depend on heat, sunlight and passionate delight: sun-printing, vegetable prints, fusing, hand and machine stitching and “found” fabrics from attic, thrift store or kitchen closet. We will recycle napkins, tea towels and other like objects and design a thermofax featuring a meaningful symbol, favorite fruit, icon, saint, culinary heroine, angel or other meaningful design as the centerpiece for the altar. (This workshop has an additional $12 fee per person for the altar boxes that the quilts are stretched upon.)

This spring and summer I also will be teaching occasionally at the Southwest School of Art: June 18-19 - From Photo to Fiber (using various techniques to design art quilts from photographs), August 1-5, mornings, New World Kids: for parents wishing to nurture creativity in their children.


Flying or driving in from afar for one of these weekends? Or just want some solo supported work time in the studio? Add one or two days of instruction in the studio for learning techniques that you are interested in. Each custom designed workshop and night’s lodging and meals costs $225 per person. Limit, 2 artists per session Many of Susie’s workshops go on the road! Please write for available dates and fees.


“A workshop at Susie’s is always money well spent.  I learned techniques I have read about but never tried ... I also now feel confident that I can make art quilts!”

“This workshop was a fabulous, uplifting, nurturing environment to create in. The journaling was particularly helpful, I would definitely recommend it to a friend.”

“This weekend was totally awesome! I am humbled by Susie’s talents, her teaching abilities and her hospitality. I will come back as often as possible.”