Join us this autumn for an absorbing weekend retreat focusing on Environmental Art at the Middlewood Trust in a secret corner of rural Lancashire.
Environmental artist Richard Shilling will lead and instruct several workshops across the weekend where you will learn how to use nature to seed the intuitive creation process and through it engender a deep connection with nature and a calm, relaxed and focused meditative state.
Richard will show you simple but effective techniques to create ephemeral nature art sculptures and over the weekend we will create group installations as well as individual artworks while having plenty of free time to commune with and explore the river, woodlands and valley.
Nature art is a very accessible art form, no artistic experience or self-perceived talent is required. The techniques are simple, easy to learn and straightforward to execute.
On the Saturday night we will be hosting a bonfire and fireworks party which is sure to be a lot of fun and a great social occasion. Be sure to bring some beers!
Spaces are limited to only 12 so be sure to book early for this one.
The retreat is hosted by the Middlewood trust which is situated in idyllic semi-ancient woodlands in a secret corner of rural Lancashire. For over 30 years the trust has been seeking to advance research and provide education for public benefit in techniques of agriculture, forestry, wildlife and countryside management, building, energy conservation and human lifestyle which are in tune with the natural cycle and do not upset the long term ecological balance.
Roeburndale and the river that runs through it create a sublimely auspicious place. Everyone who visits goes away having been touched by it. Once you have walked down the track into its heart you feel enveloped within it and time seems to operate at a different speed.
Talking about Roeburndale Richard says 'I can't put my finger on it but I feel a strong energy when I work with the river in Roeburndale, I seem to produce my best work there. So many of the people I talk to who have experienced the valley tell me that they feel the same.'
Accommodation on Saturday night will be in the Study Centre which provides bunks for sleeping, it is a purpose built ecologically designed building powered by wind turbine, with a wood burner, passive solar gain and solar panels to provide heat. It has a turf roof and uses sheep's wool for insulating the cavity walls. There are twelve single bunk beds with pillows and sheets in three rooms. Please bring either a duvet or sleeping bag.
There are three shower-rooms inside the Study Centre. Hot water is acquired via solar panels and a back boiler on the stove. Compost toilets are outside.
There is a fully equipped kitchen with gas oven. There is no fridge or microwave.
Lights in the study centre are provided via a small 12v solar system.
There is currently no facility for charging mobile phones or other electrical devices.
Please do not bring anti-bacterial soaps or shampoos – the water drainage system flows into a reed bed.
Where possible, please recycle all waste products.
If you wish to stay on Friday night too so you can have time to settle in and enjoy the valley you are very welcome to for an additional charge of £10 please email RichardShillingLandArtist@gmail.com to arrange. You will need to be self sufficient for food until Saturday evening.
Food and Drink
Please bring a packed lunch for Saturday. Tea/coffee and biscuits will be available at the Study Centre.
Provided meals will be an evening meal on Saturday evening, breakfast on Sunday morning and a packed lunch on Sunday.
Feel free to bring your own alcohol and beverages for Saturday night.
50% of the retreat cost goes to the Middlewood Charitable Trust to promote sustainable living and ecological education programmes.
Just like ephemeral art the schedule is organic ;-) so this is just a guide and we will adjust over the weekend depending on the weather, the materials we find and what individuals and the group would like to do throughout our time together. The creation process is very much an intuitive experience, focused on your own connection with nature. Everyone who attends is encouraged to go with whatever they feel, if you wish at any time to just go for an explore or to sit by the river and watch the ripples play then please feel free to do so. If you missed a tutorial that you are interested in Richard can show you a particular technique whenever you wish.
10am - Meet at the Study Centre for tea and coffee
Introductions, outline for the weekend
Talk about the land art movement and ephemeral nature art in particular
Discuss what your interests are and what you'd like to glean from the weekend
Talk about the ethos, philosophy and creation process
11am - Nature walk to creation area
12pm - Leaf art workshop, including group installation
1.30pm - Lunch by the river
2.30pm - Creation tutorials and opportunity to make individual artworks
3-4pm - Back to Study Centre for tea and biscuits
7.30 - Evening meal, bonfire and fireworks party
8-9am - Breakfast
Review of yesterday and talk about whether there are particular aspects you wish to focus on today
Free time to relax
10.30am - Nature walk and material collection for creation of individual artworks
11.30am - Water meditation by the river
12pm - Individual artwork creation following the intuitive process, opportunity to repeat any tutorials or learn other techniques
1.30pm - Lunch
2 – 4pm - Continue with individual artworks, team creations, installations whatever our imaginations conjure up
4pm - Tea/coffee at Study Centre, event round-up and farewells
By booking a place on this retreat you agree to these terms and conditions.
Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?
What do I need to be aware of?
The retreat is held on a working organic farm, we kindly ask that all guests respect the surroundings.
Access to the location is via a steep farm track down to the river which can be slippery in places. The track is approx 0.4 mile.
Suitable footwear is advised.
What do I need to bring?
For the workshops please bring waterproofs, warm clothing, sturdy footwear, wellies if you have them. Something to sit on (sit mat, small camp chair) would be useful.
You may also want to bring gloves, sometimes we use mud so rubber gloves or similar are handy. Gardening gloves are useful to handle rough materials such as bracken stalks.
We wholeheartedly recommend bringing a headtorch and a pair of slippers.
Bring a duvet or sleeping bag for sleeping. Pillows and sheets are provided.
How do I get there?
If you are driving use the post code LA2 9LL for your Sat Nav.
Lancaster is a West Coast Mainline train station and is approx 11 miles from Wray. There are buses from Lancaster to Wray. The farm is approximately 1.5 miles walk from Wray via a lane and a footpath.
Where do I park my car?
There is parking space for several cars at the farm. This is accessed via an unpaved farm track for 1/3 mile. If you do not wish to drive your car down the track you can park at the top just off the road and walk down.
As well as the facilities described above at the study centre there is also another eco-toilet near to one of the workshop areas, that one does not have running water but does have hand-soap.
Are children allowed?
The retreat is for over 18's only.
What can't I bring to the retreat?
Due to livestock present on the farm no dogs are allowed.
What is the refund policy?
Full payment required to hold your space on the retreat.
If cancelled more than 7 days prior 50% of fee will be refunded.
If cancelled less than 7 days prior fee is not refundable.
Is my registration/ticket transferable?
Sorry, no transfers to a different date accepted. But if you are unable to attend someone can attend in your place and use your ticket.