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Book-Making and Embodied Practices:
Using Art and the Body to Unfold Our Stories

a 3-Day Retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains

August 17-20, 2023

About The Course

Do you sometimes feel like you live too much in your head? Are you adept at thinking and analyzing your world but meanwhile you secretly long for more access to the present moment? Do you have a creative spirit (if not a creative practice) that you are trying to make more space for in your life? Do you sometimes wonder if you have a story inside of you that you would like to tell?  Do you love the process of making, and find that you are most alive or yourself when you are making something? Have you ever been curious about bookmaking as an art form?

If you answered yes to ANY of these questions, then this retreat is for you.


Through bypassing the thinking brain, both artmaking and body-based practices can provide portals into our unseen worlds. Traditionally, artmaking, although by its very nature an embodied practice, has not explicitly brought attention to the maker’s felt experience. Similarly, body-based explorations and experiences, although potentially immensely generative, most often do not translate into the creation of a lasting tangible form. In this unique retreat we will use a hybrid of artmaking and embodied practice as vehicles for self-expression and self-discovery.


Books, broadly speaking, are humanity's repository of hope. They hold our stories, our histories, our explanation of the divine, our queries into science, technology and love. Working with a simple yet beautiful book form called a piano hinge binding, we will explore creative awareness practices and experimentation in this 3-day retreat. Participants will journey through experiences of creative becoming that will culminate in the production of a simple yet beautiful take-away art piece.  Together and individually, we will play and explore, learning both about bookmaking, ourselves and each other in the process.

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Who Should
You are invited if...

... you are a practicing artist, or seasoned maker, or if you have never explored the process of making at all but are curious to do so. You are invited if you have experience with awareness or body-based practices or if you aren’t really even sure what that means but you are game to see what we are talking about and how that might offer you something different.  The requirements for participants are only this: you must have willingness to try something new, some amount of curiosity, and desire to experiment in and around these ideas with a group of like-minded participants.

What Will We Learn and Do?

The bustle of the everyday is more present than ever, and "finding the time," a mantra we know all too well, hinders our ability to honor the creative aliveness that lives within each and every one of us. Whether you bring a wealth of experience or have never explored book-making, story-telling or somatic practices and mindfulness, this experience is an opportunity to discover your creative self and practice self expression.


In an safe and respectful environment, where is everyone is welcomed as a beginner, you will:

  • learn how to use mindful presence-based practices as a vehicle for accessing your authentic voice

  • practice being a maker, be a witness for and in community with other makers

  • use intuition, collaboration and imagination as a doorway to unearth and recognize expressive potential

  • learn embodied practices to overcome creative blocks

  • explore the history and medium of handmade books

  • learn to hand bind a unique book structure

  • explore the mediums of watercolor, dye application and solar printing 

  • access to dry media including colored pencil, chalk, press type, and collage

  • learn the process of image transfers

  • learn the process of gilding with metal leaf 

  • receive individual attention and guidance in an encouraging and supportive atmosphere

Pine Tree

“The magic is not in the analyzing or the understanding. The magic lives in the wonder of what we do not know.” 
- Rick Rubin,
The Creative Act

When: August 17th @ 4:00PM – August 20 @ 10:00 AM

Cost: $1250 per person

What’s included: all meals, accommodation in a beautiful retreat setting, tuition and materials.


Where is the retreat?:

Our residential training retreat is being held and the Heartwood Retreat Center, a restful and welcoming place located on 80+ acres in Blue Ridge, GA. Rooms are comfortable and lovely, and will be double occupancy for the retreat. For more information about the Heartwood, or to see examples of the accommodations and gathering spaces, please visit their website.


How do I get there?

Heartwood Retreat Center is located 1.5 hours from the Atlanta and Chattanooga and 2.5 hours from Asheville, NC, just 8 miles outside of the mountain town of Blue Ridge.  Address is: 84 Eagles Pass, Blue Ridge, GA


What if I have a dietary need?

The chefs at the Heartwood Retreat Center will be prepare 3 delicious, fresh. nutritious meals a day starting Thursday evening through Sunday morning.  If you have specific dietary needs/requests, please contact your facilitators in advance so the chefs can prepare. 

Who Are the Leaders?

Nanette is an artist and a soon-to-be, professor emerita of Art at Oberlin College in Ohio. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Nanette works between painting, poetry, assemblage, printmaking and book arts.  To learn more about Nanette and see her work, visit:


Emily is a bodyworker, a coach, and a somatic practitioner who works with clients all over the world and in person at her private practice in Chapel Hill, NC. Emily’s delights in helping people find purpose, meaning, passion and ultimately themselves. To read more about her and the work she does, visit


When Emily was in college, Nanette was her professor. Recently re-connected, Nanette and Emily share a curiosity about using bookmaking and presence-based experiences to foster self-expression, self-discovery and connection. 


We Hope You'll Join Us!

Have a question? We'd love to hear from you! Email Emily at or email Nanette at Prefer a phone call? Send us your phone number and we will reach out right away!

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