No Mirrors-My Dream of an Art Retreat by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Last week I went camping. While away I didn’t check the news. I had no phone calls. And no mirror. For a week it was just me and my family. On the way home we decided to drop in on a relative for a visit. It was then that I suddenly saw what we were wearing and realized my daughter had not combed her hair in days. Then I realized I hadn’t combed my hair in days either. It’s not that we didn’t have time! It just wasn’t important.

While I was camping I started to sketch ideas. I made lists of things I want to make and how to make them. I was inspired by patterns in rocks and colours in sunrises. Cooking camp meals with the bare essentials was a fun challenge, almost like I was on a cooking contest show and had to make a meal from four or five unrelated ingredients. As a family we talked more and played more. The kids did not have their “playroom” of toys, but were content drawing on lined paper and riding their bicycles. It was refreshing.

retreatI started to think about how all the minor distractions in life add up and I wondered how they affect my creative muse.  I have often dreamed of going on an art retreat.  But going off to a secluded or exotic art retreat is not possible for me (right now) so I’ve been thinking about having my own art retreat at my studio.

How I would feel if I had a week in my studio, cut off from the world around me? How much time do I spend/waste on keeping up appearances and keeping up with the news-be it local or global? How would this isolation affect my art?

If this idea also appeals to you here are some ideas for a “Home Art Retreat”:
A few years ago an artist friend of mine, Helga van Leipsig held her own art retreat at home. You can read more about it on her blog:

After a bit of digging I found that there are lots of articles online about a “Home Retreat”.

Screenshot (212)Click image to enjoy some Canadian humour about “staycations”.  (A clip from the t.v. show Corner Gas.) This is probably how successful an art retreat would be for me at my home studio with my young children…


HS-JFLJeannette Froese LeBlanc is the editor of Creative Fire and former editor of Metal Clay Artist Magazine.  She keeps a studio in rural Ontario, Canada and works in etched aluminum and metal clays. You can find her work online

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