Willow Gathering: The Southern Retreat

willow-gathering-fall-2016-jessica-barley-photography-23A few days ago, before the air became too cold and the wind to fast, we gathered in a garden for a day-long Creative Retreat.   I had the honor of co-hosting this beautiful Willow Gathering event with my studio-mate, Julie Dodds (a super talented floral designer and travel enthusiast).

Our vision for this retreat (and every other retreat or workshop we host) is to create an environment that is restful and nourishing; full of nature, art, peace, and time to rejuvenate.

Something intangible and transformative happens when you allow your mind a moment of space to create – and the freedom to try something new.  With that quiet goal tucked in our minds, we spent the day learning new artistic kills, lingering over a French-inspired handmade-dinner, and enjoying refreshing drinks and each other’s company as the light faded over the garden and the warm bonfire took its place.


During the afternoon Julie taught a workshop of floral arranging with a natural, modern aesthetic and I offered instruction in watercolor painting; merging art and nature within monochromatic organic paintings.

The comradery that was formed within the group was so much fun to be a part of.  While each participant learned something new and created something of beauty, the real treasure from the day happened in our minds and hearts.  We each left feeling light and inspired, enabled, and encouraged to live beautiful and creative lives.

Visit the Willow Gathering website to learn more about upcoming events.  The Spring Retreat is going to be held in France!  May 9-13th, at a historic 1600’s Chateau just south of Paris.  




Additional thanks to Beth Ables, Sonya Ables, Daniel Jeffords, Eric Dodds, and each of our lovely workshop participants!    You made this beautiful for all of us.  

Emily Jeffords

Most days you can find me, in the studio with my little girls, speckled in oil paint (drinking too much coffee), creating artwork for collectors around the world and collaborating with select brands. Check out my artwork on EmilyJeffords.com


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