Introducing Visible Mending Instructor Andrea Belcham for next East Retreat

Andrea Belcham is a natural dyer living in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. She uses plants to bring colour to yarn, embroidery thread and fabric, which she sells – along with finished sewn goods like dolls, project bags, and silk scarves – in her Etsy shop, Indigo Hill Dye Studio. She teaches workshops on a variety of topics related to natural dyes and slow stitching, including eco-printing, visible mending, and yarn-dyeing. You can follow her colour-centric adventures on Instagram where she’s @foxprintfibres.

Andrea will be teaching a Visible Mending Workshop during the afternoon of our July 31st Frida themed day retreat.

Visible mending is a practical, accessible and aesthetically pleasing way to repair and add flair to your garments, extending their life span with style. In this class, students will learn how to assess a garment’s unique “wound” and develop a strategy for mending it.

We’ll use basic Japanese embroidery-style stitches in graphic patterns and whimsical stencils to attach a patch that will endure. Students are invited to bring in one or more denim garments in need of repair; needles, plant-dyed embroidery thread and patches will be provided. As we stitch we’ll talk about how visible mending contributes to the Slow Stitch movement and offers an alternative to fast fashion culture. Students will go away with the knowledge, confidence and tools to mend other pieces in their wardrobe: the possibilities are endless!

The class will provide each student with Andrea’s own plant-dyed sashiko thread, a 2-needles set of sashiko needles, and the patches – all of this you will also take home. For use in the class only, Andrea will have all the extra tools that students can try out that make patching easier: hoops, marking pencils, thimbles, stencils, etc.

There will also be a pop-up shop with a selection of mending-related products that you can purchase.

Guest Artist for East Retreat – Kathrin von Dehn

Kathrin von Dehn is an Ottawa artist/craftsperson currently focussing in ceramics. She has been a member of the Glebe Pottery studio for about 4 1/2 years.

Her technical background is in goldsmithing/jewellery design. After a three-year program at George Brown College she was a resident in the metal studio at Harbourfront for an additional three years.

She is a self-taught ceramist and creates her work using the handbuilding method. Her pieces are functional, sculptural and decorative. Her foundation in jewellery making has influenced her work in clay. Her pieces are delicate, textural, colourful and well-constructed.

Kathrin will be leading our retreat goers in a clay hand building class. The plan is for everyone to put their own stamp on a succulent flower pot. We look forward to welcoming her out to Mountain View Farm for the first time.

Recap of the 2018 Fall East Retreat

Our fall retreat in Luskville, Quebec was a huge success and I just wanted to do a little recap. We had a good mix of repeat retreaters and newbies (who just jumped right in!). We had gorgeous weather on the Friday with an amazing blue sky which I was extremely grateful for.

We started the day with making up a batch of kombucha then we headed to the studio to do some lino cutting with the sun streaming in.


One of Angelo’s delicious concoctions, a handmade veggie panzerotti and not to outdo himself but he had dough left over so whipped us up some beaver tail like pastries covered in cinnamon and sugar for dessert.




We also did a workshop using paper clay to create a creature inspired by our spirit animals. Here is Annie and her squirrel lady. She had a very 50s vibe going and the cutest pony tail.

Here is Kathy with her beautiful horse. Check out all those tiny rolls of clay she used for the mane.

Kathy took a picture of all of us at the table where we were joined by our chef Angelo (who is looking a little mountain man in this, haha)

Tanya McCormick was my guest instructor for this retreat and she was teaching wire weaving. Everyone got to make a copper wire pendant.

Amanda, Jen and Sarah are all concentrating pretty hard, probably so they didn’t poke themselves in the eye with their wire, haha.

On the left here is the elusive Steph, who I didn’t get many pictures of as she is also the massage therapist for the retreat. She tends to be a little busy but she likes to get a couple projects done as well as she also happens to be my cousin and creatively runs in our blood.

Some bonding always happens during the retreats and this was no exception, here are Sarah, Katie and Jen hanging out in the house.

I grew this pretty black oyster mushroom myself so Angelo incorporated it into the scrumptious cream of mushroom soup and it was honestly the best soup I have ever had.

On our last day Bermalva Porter of Ladysmith Yoga came and started the day off with some stretches and chair yoga as it was too cold to go outside. We then spent the rest of the day creating some mixed media canvases.

Here are Kathy, myself and Debbie saying goodbye which is always the most difficult part.

I am always so deeply humbled by how much these ladies open their hearts during these retreats and trust me with revitalizing their souls for a few days. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did and I can’t wait to see them all soon!!

Maybe in Mexico at the next retreat? If you are interested in coming to Tulum with us in the Spring, check out the information here.

New Speaker for Fall East Retreat

Amélie, our speaker for the fall retreat, was unable to attend as she will be out of the country (the stinker) but luckily my friend Bermalva Porter is able to step in. 

Bermalva is a shamanic Priestess, teacher of meditation, yoga, healer, visionary, ceremonialist and spiritual seeker, has been learning how to be a natural human being for the last 18 years. She teaches yoga regularly in Ladysmith and Shawville, within the Pontiac, and teaches internationally. Under the guidance and reassurance of spiritual teacher Berdhanya Swami Tierra, she has been enriching and deconstructing concepts of Self and sharing her teachings and experiences.  She also explores music and travels internationally with music group The Bhakti Connection.  Throughout the year, she offers yoga and shamanism retreats, workshops and classes from Santainaii Earth Based Healing Centre, in Ladysmith, QC, and has a private healing and massage therapy practice at the Pontiac Wellness Centre in Shawville, QC.  She and her family live off-grid and enjoy being sacred stewards of the land.

She will be opening the retreat with a smudging and a fire ceremony on the Thursday night, then will join us on Sunday morning to lead a yoga class overlooking the mountain (weather permitting).

2017 Fall East Retreat

Our 2017 Fall East Retreat is over and I already can’t wait for the next. This was such a special weekend filled with connection and self-reflection and not to mention all of the beautiful work that was created.  I love finding little treats for my guests and I found the cutest little pumpkin chocolates at the Provigo in Aylmer.

Our first project was string art. Sarah and Dom are working away at hammering all of those little nails into their boards.

Steph decided to make it easier on herself and made a mustache.

Andrea Warren was the guest artist for the retreat and did a paint pouring class. She was a total treat as usual and getting to use all of those Golden products was so much fun!

Mary & Steph playing around with some colours.

Sarah being very precise with her paint.

This is one of the paintings before and I wish I had of taken the after because once it dried, it looked completely different. Not an art technique for control freaks as you have no idea what you will end up with, but I thought it was part of the fun.

Of course there were many breaks for food, delicious vegetarian meals cooked by the famous Angelo (a.k.a. The Unicorn).

Some of which were cooked in our new dutch oven. I’m pretty excited to have many more meals cooked in it.

We spent the Saturday working on Soul Books which allowed everyone to play with paper, washi and all kinds of embellishments.

We took a little lunch break…

and got right back to work.

The last morning we were supposed to go do yoga over at Natalie’s but everyone wanted to continue working on their soul books so I invited her over to work on hers as well.

My cousin Steph, who is also the massage therapist for the retreat, was all done the massages by Sunday so was able to relax and get her art on.

Miss Mary, who came all the way from Waterloo and is always such a treat to have.Retreat withdrawal is the worst so I think I might start having some art days in between to invite attendees back to house for gatherings and creations. Hope to see you all at the next one in the Spring! XO

Post Op East Retreat

Just a little look at the Spring retreat in Luskville, Quebec.

Here is Crystal Beshara doing her thing, showing the girls how to paint gorgeous water coloured wreaths.

The girls working hard in the cold.

Hanging out in the house doing some embroidery.

Along with the view and some wine.

Moving on to our canvas project.

Loved how they all turned out!!

A delicious vegan buddha bowl made by Angelo.

Lauren came all the way from Red Deer and taught a little masking tape transfer class.

Group photo before Lauren heads back home.

I wish I could do this once a month!! See you in the fall!

Guest Artist for East Retreat – Crystal Beshara



Crystal Beshara of Paint The Town, has almost 20 years experience teaching art not only all over the fine city of Ottawa, but all over the world.  Whether she is teaching in Mexico, Greece, France or in a neighbourhood pub, her goal is to openly share her trade secrets and bring art to the people!

Crystal loves the idea of making art more accessible – even to those who have never held a paint brush before. She feels that experiencing the joy of making art connects us more deeply to the world around us, giving us a new lens on life.


Come join Crystal at the East Retreat out in Luskville to create your very own whimsical WILD WREATH in this easy, step by step watercolour lesson inspired by Mother Nature.

Wreath Workshop without wording

Speaker Found for East Retreat!

We are very pleased to announce that Renee has finally found a speaker for the East Retreats close to home. So close in fact that they are neighbours!  A mutual friend recently introduced them and they quickly discovered they had much more than their street name in common.



Natalie Fraser has been studying spirituality, culture, religion and mental health through many alternative avenues for over twenty years. She has often used the arts and nature as vehicles to explore and share healing in these areas with a very diverse range of people. Natalie has been trained in and offering acudestress with Dr. Brian Bailey as a rapid means of self discovery, release and self healing. She also does individual counselling and has spent ten years offering life skills, conflict resolution and effective communication skills to diverse groups. On her journey she has also become a yoga instructor, a wedding officiant, voice teacher (for Ottawa Bluesfest), drama teacher, actor, director and much more. The focus for her life journey is self discovery, healing, service and creating with the good of all, always present as she lives her life from love.


Natalie will be opening up the retreat on Thursday night with a Burning Ceremony:

“One of my favorite ceremonies is the Burning Ceremony. It’s a wonderful ritual that honors any intention to let go – in a concrete way. What are you ready to release? You may be ready to release an emotion, thought or belief about your situation. Write these down on the strips of paper. At the ceremony we will light a fire, share if we choose and then as the papers burn, imagine that you are being released and are now free. You will have a second opportunity to ask for something you want to manifest in your future. I will end the experience with song.” – Natalie Fraser