I have been (impatiently) keeping a beautiful secret. I am so giddy excited to share that I have been invited by Daune of The Cottage Table Experience to teach along side Stephanie Lee next fall in Tuscany. Registration will not open until next month but Daune has opened a First to Know list and if you are on this list you will get registration information before anyone else!
I am really excited to be back teaching live overseas workshops and I can’t wait to laugh with you, sip cappuccinos in cobblestone streets with you, get our hands covered in paint together, ride bikes, go to the vintage markets together, clink glasses at one of the long table dinners, and just soak up the beautiful of Italy TOGETHER!
Retreat dates: October 12-20, 2023
Join us deep in the Tuscan countryside for a creative art and gathering retreat….as you enjoy intentional community at long table dinners, hands-on creative workshops with our two amazing featured artists, guided excursions, special devotions, time to meander the medieval villages of Volterra/San Gimignano/Siena/Lucca, sip cappuccinos, and enjoy the autumn harvest bounty of chestnuts, truffles, olives, and grapes in this amazing region. There is no better time to be in Tuscany than in the autumn. Tuscany IS Italy. It embodies the very essence of the country. The breathtaking countryside filled with tall cypress trees continually point to heaven as constant reminders and are always in view in this treasured region. Italy is one of our favorite places, and we’d love to share it with you.
We are so excited to have two amazing artists featured on this special retreat – Jeanne Oliver and Stephanie Lee will be teaching two full days of creative workshops at our beautiful country estate. If you are familiar with Jeanne and Stephanie you know what a special treat this is! They each pour out their gifts so generously in their workshops. Not only will you learn and be intensely inspired, you will go home with your beautiful creations from each workshop. Jeanne and Stephanie love so well, and have a passion for using art to tell your story. What an incredible time having them both a part of the same retreat!
We will spend the week with an elegant country estate that is 2,500 years old, in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, as our home. The borgo sits in the center of 750-acres of cherished organic farmland and features a luxurious 18th century villa and a hamlet first settled in Etruscan times. Sitting high above sea level, it has some of the most commanding views in all of Tuscany that can stretch to the Mediterranean. In our retreat borgo [countryside estate] there are organic herb, flower, and vegetable gardens, apiaries with organic honey, organic vineyards and olive groves, a luxurious spa, bikes for trail riding, over 8 different walking trails, horseback riding, an art gallery, an onsite herbalist, exclusive toiletries created onsite from the herbs grown in the garden, a farm, exclusive restaurant, and a beautiful infinity pool.
Italy is a place that upholds beauty like an honor; it is a land that works, but does not strive. People who love their work and are content in their craft are people who understand a deeper metaphor about having a place to belong. They add a special touch to all they do. The people operate from a place of great contentment, and everyone there is fully aware of their blessedness. Repairs are done brick by brick with such care and attention. It is a place of rare beauty, where masterpieces of nature and human genius stand together in harmony.
“Let us behold the beautiful and be beheld by the beautiful.” ~ St. Augustine
On The Cottage Table Experience Tuscany Retreat you are not a tourist, but a guest; as you will experience the local hospitality of this special Italian region, and be inspired with creativity and beauty. We seek to intentionally savor meals, moments, and people wherever we find ourselves; and chase beauty in every area of life. Will you join us at the table in Italy to gather, create, and be inspired?
Come with us for an experience that will nourish you in ways you didn’t even know you were hungry, and remain with you always.
Included in the retreat price:
8 days and nights in a luxurious countryside estate deep in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, with some of the most commanding views in all of Tuscany.
8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Our private drivers will pick you up from the Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport and transport you to the borgo on Thursday, October 12, 2023 where you will be welcomed, get settled, relax, and we’ll have a special long table Welcome Dinner on the borgo terrace that evening
Special welcome gifts
Full-day creative art workshop with Jeanne Oliver in a lovely borgo creative space.
Full-day creative art workshop with Stephanie Lee in a lovely borgo creative space.
A woodland picnic in the borgo garden + European picnic on the two creative art workshop days.
A historic walking tour of Siena learning of hidden treasures, with time in the stunning Duomo di Siena, filled with Italian masterpieces including many from Michelangelo and Donatello.
A day enjoying the renowned Lucca Antique Market where you will surely find wonderful treasures, the second oldest antique market in Italy-one that rivals the brocantes in Paris.
Private transfers to all of our scheduled experiences
Time meandering the lovely medieval villages of Volterra, San Gimignano, Siena, and Lucca.
Free time to enjoy the enchanting borgo that will be our home for the week with opportunities to: ride horses, take a dip in the beautiful infinity pool, schedule spa time, peruse the art gallery, go for a bike ride, enjoy the eight different hiking/walking paths on the estate
Our private drivers will transfer you back to the Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport on October 20, 2023.
NOT INCLUDED IN THE RETREAT FEE: your airline ticket, insurance [medical or travel], meals not listed in the above itinerary
We’ve saved a spot at the table for you!
About our featured artists:
Jeanne Oliver grew up in rural Illinois and now resides in Castle Rock, CO. She is inspired by our personal stories, travel, and nature. Jeanne uses art to tell her current stories and also those of growing up among gravel roads, cornfields and early life surrounded by open spaces. Through mark making, layers and mixed media, she hopes to convey that we all have a story to tell.
Jeanne is married to her dream maker, Kelly, and the mother of three funny and creative children. She homeschools her children even though she has tried to get out of it a few times. You can often find her hiking, creating in her studio and finding an excuse to have another cup of coffee. She speaks and teaches all around the country and abroad. She was told that she needed to find that one thing but she doesn’t like listening to directions so she embraces many loves and that has given her a sweet mash-up of family, art, and travel. Connecting with women and sharing that each of us has been creatively made is one of her passions.
Stephanie Lee creates from her home studio in Southern Oregon in the company of a dog, a small flock of chickens, two pigs, and her husband who can do anything she sets her mind to.
As an artist and creative mentor, Stephanie merges a variety of materials to create art that invites you to honor your complex stories while also simplifying (and elevating) the continuing stories you tell yourself. Her work is all about inviting a spirit of peace with what is AND exuberant trust in what can be, heartache AND hope, defining moments AND recreating yourself anew. She’s the creator of over a dozen popular online art courses and eBooks which provide easy, step-by-step guidance on how to improve your metalsmtihing skills in her signature “homesteader” style, how to create original sculpted forms with plaster and found objects, and how to combine plaster, paint, and encaustic medium in luminous two-dimensional work.
The Tuscany Retreat will be October 12-20, 2023. All rooms are double occupancy rooms with either twin beds or one double bed with private bathroom. If you are registering as a single you will share a room with another guest of the same gender. [If you have a friend registering that you would like to room with, please be sure to send us an email and let us know.] You may pay the total all at once, or we have a payment plan; you can let us know which is best for you.
We have a firm cancellation policy, once you are registered the total of all fees are committed and non-refundable. If you find you are unable to attend the retreat, your spot is fully transferrable to someone of the same gender until June 1, 2023. Once registered you will receive a retreat contract and waiver to sign and return.
The $800 deposit goes toward the cost of the retreat.
What Others Are Saying About Our Retreats:
“There are many beauty chasers in this life, but you are beauty chasers that invite others into the journey of seeing with fresh eyes! Thank you for all the intention that went into this time. Without a doubt, the relationships you have nurtured here along Lake Como had everything to do with the beauty you allowed all of us to be lavished in. Thank you for all the ways you gathered, set a table of invitation before us, and over and over showed Christ to those along Lake Como and all of us. I have been getting messages this morning from some of the other women on the retreat and just reminiscing about how special it was. It was truly hard for each of us not to sign up for the next one and do it all over again. Thank you for such an experience. Jesus was all over your workshop in beauty, love, impacting the community, seeds planted, truly reflecting Christ, the words and prayers you spoke over each of us each day, your heart for everyone, Keith’s tender heart to love and serve, and in so many ways we won’t know this side of heaven.” ~Jeanne Oliver
“Thank you for dreaming up this magical adventure for us – it has been such an incredible experience from the moment I stepped into the villa. I’m grateful for you both for all the memories I’ve been able to gather – from the gorgeous welcome dinner, the incredible accommodations, to all the places we went + your gracious generosity. You both have such beautiful + loving hearts – you have truly blessed us all.” ~ Andrea Garvey
“Thank you for executing all of your thought and ideas to create this beautiful Italy experience for us. I could just imagine you thinking and dreaming up all the ways you can show love on people and make us all believe we could do anything and come out the better people for it. Your attention to detail and love for the people is both obvious and contagious. I don’t know if I would have been bold or brave enough to sign up for this trip if it wasn’t for you. One, because I’ve seen you inspire myself and others over and over again through the years and have come to trust you and fall in love with you as a mama, friend, and sister in Christ. And, two, you made this trip become a dream that simply could not be passed up! Thank you for inviting us to be a small part of your world. John and I are thrilled to be here! We have made some great new friendships and have shared and listened to the hearts of those in this group. I look forward to what is next with The Cottage Table Experience.” ~ Debra Stensrud
“I will treasure this experience in my heart for eternity. You have expanded my understanding of beauty, peace, and love. Each activity gave me new knowledge and enlightenment. Thank you for the beauty and peace you offered so generously. My heart has enlarged from your ability to bring friendship, fun, spirituality, and love into the most spectacular experience!” ~ Bonnie Purcell
“Life changing – the two words that describe the week I have spent at Lake Como. Thank you for an exquisite experience filled with love, laughter, food, and incredible experiences.” ~ Renee Mueller