Soul Craft Retreat
Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th September 2021
Two-day retreat - £150 per person (excluding accommodation and materials; please read about both days to learn more)
Izzy and Ruth invite you to join them on this creative
two-day retreat helping you to reduce stress and nourish your Soul. Unwind and immerse yourself in the practice of the ancient arts of Mandalas, Spinning, and Weaving, inspired by the beautiful surroundings of St Marks Stays, nestled in the Yorkshire Dales. St Marks is a place to reconnect with nature and reimagine your position in this fragile world.
When you allow yourself quiet time to tap into your creative nature, you’ll begin to discover far more about your true self. Slow crafts & Art are mindful and therapeutic tools that can enable you to delve deeper into your inner thoughts, similar to meditation practice. This is a retreat aimed at anybody that wishes to unlock their creativity, discover a mindful practise, or learn something new.
We look forward to sharing with you!
Mindful Mandalas with Ruth
Tuesday 14th September 2021
10:00 am -
- Materials on the day - £10.00
- NB Please bring a packed lunch for both days!
Mandalas are usually abstract circular designs, and Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “circle.”
Mandalas are an ancient Art form that spread across Asia about two thousand years ago and generally, have one identifiable centre point, from which emanates symbols and shapes. These can include geometric and more organic shapes and contain images that carry a specific meaning to the person creating it.
Drawing and colouring a mandala is now recognised worldwide as a successful aid to meditation and relaxation. In essence, a Mandala represents the joining of our inner and outer worlds and designing your own Mandala can be both inspirational and therapeutic, as well as being a valuable, stress-reducing pastime.
A Mandala can be a creative tool to aid the healing process in times of sorrow and turbulence and help people look inwards when their minds are too busy. They can help with mental clarity, emotional stability, finding their inner calm, and sense of well-being and wholeness.
People primarily draw mandalas to express their feelings, e.g., you could draw something that you want to achieve or change in your life.
In this one-day workshop, Ruth will guide you through all the possibilities and techniques to create your very own Mandala.
Ruth will start with a brief overview of ‘the Mandala’ and, after demonstrating various working methods, will encourage you to ‘create’ silently throughout the studio sessions. There will be plenty of opportunities to socialise over lunch and any breaks during the day. This silence will help you focus on the task truly, and in the quiet, ideas and revelations show themselves. This will help you to engage in a journey of self-discovery. Ruth will then frame your work to take home.
Ruth mainly specialises in watercolour and likes to try and capture the energy of nature. She believes that all living things are inter-connected and that we all have our part to play in the circle of life.
She has attended several holistic healing courses and workshops over the years, which has enabled her to cherry-pick from these experiences allowing her to incorporate some of these ideas into her everyday life and unique Mandala designs.
She initially qualified as a Graphic Designer at Leeds Metropolitan University, specialising in illustration. She then gained a teaching qualification at Manchester University.
Since then, she has spent time as an Art teacher working in high schools and tertiary Colleges before running the successful Art studio, ‘Wickerfish’ at Cedar Farm Galleries, Mawdesley in Lancashire, for 12 years. Here, she taught adults to paint and draw as well as displaying her paintings to sell. She now shares a studio with her partner Stuart Gray at Farfield Mill in Sedbergh, Cumbria, where they work, teach, and sell their paintings.
Soul Craft with Izzy
Wednesday 15th September 2021
- Materials on the day £15.00
- NB Please bring a packed lunch for both days!
Slow Craft = Soul Craft
Many people find the practice of fibre work to be a gateway to emotional and mental well-being. We all live in a fast-paced world where, for some of us, the idea of practicing mindfulness and meditation can feel out of reach, trying to force ourselves to slow down enough to do these practices. It can feel overwhelming and almost unachievable.
By working with our hands and body in a repetitive and rhythmic way, such as spinning or weaving, we are creating a calm and safe space for our thoughts and feelings to come forward. I personally believe that the rhythmic action encourages the mind to keep the thoughts fluid and moving, helping us not to get stuck on or ruminate on one particular thought. This is the practice of mindfulness - to simply acknowledge the thought or feeling without becoming attached to it. Weaving and spinning also require the crafts person to remain present during the process, we need to keep our eye on the work we are producing, on the quality and detail. Each time we are drawn back to the process at hand, we become completely present in the work we are doing and experience a break from any worries and negative feelings we may have had. Sometimes we need these breaks in feeling to rest and recuperate.
Ancient crafts such as weaving and spinning, in which we are working with our hands, help us to slow down enough find a sense of calmness & quietude. We become engrossed in the process of turning a raw material into something more and with each step of the process we find a gentle sense of achievement and fulfilment.
Fibre also offers the opportunity to get really creative! Creativity is something we are all born with, it is not exclusive but for many people it becomes dormant and unlocking it can feel like quite a challenge. I hear from so many people that they think they're not a creative person and so they never discover the wonderful feeling of finding their creative flow and the joy that comes with it. By engaging in slow craft, you will find that there is so much to be gained from engaging in the process of making, as opposed to only concentrating on the end goal or product.
In the morning we will sit in a circle and start processing fibre. We will experiment with using drum carders and hand carders to blend different fibres together, ready for spinning our yarn on Navajo spindles. These will be available to purchase at the end of the day, should you feel drawn to continue at home.
In the afternoon, we will start weaving on rigid heddle looms. You will have the opportunity to weave with some of your own hand-spun yarn produced in the morning and there will also be a variety of yarns, fibres & textures for you to experiment with. This is when you will have the opportunity to get really creative; there is no right or wrong way to do this!
Whatever you create will be cut off the loom for you to take away with you. If you want to have a short break from weaving, there will be other weaving & spinning equipment for you to experiment with in the afternoon. I am really looking forward to sharing these ancient skills and techniques with you! See you there.
About Isobelle (Izzy):
Isobelle is a hand weaver with a unique aesthetic, who comes to the craft from a background in floristry and colour. She works in an environmentally conscious way, using sustainable fibres such as wool, nettles, flax and hemp, as well as recycling and up-cycling fibres that would otherwise end up in landfill.
The colours and textures of the natural world are at the heart of every ‘Wildflower Weaver’ creation – from the inspirational settings of her home and workplace deep in the Yorkshire Dales landscape, to the organic fibres and natural dyes used in her designs.
Isobelle weaves in an intuitive manner, allowing the colours and textures of her yarns to guide the structure of the cloth. Moss, lichens, wildflowers, trees, and the landscape are all reflected in her weaving. She uses her art to celebrate the quality and diversity of nature’s colours and textures as well as taking inspiration from her travels and the multicultural history of the art form that is weaving.
When running mindful weaving workshops, Isobelle encourages the weaver to follow their intuition, to play around with the colours and textures of the yarns and fibres. Rather than hold an image in your mind of what you want to create, she will encourage you to be present and create as you go along. There is no pressure to produce a masterpiece, the only aim is to relax, enjoy the rhythmic motion of weaving and find satisfaction in the slow production of your unique cloth.
St Marks Stays
Bespoke Stays, Inspired Days.
Sound Bath with Laura Clare
Accomodation and Catering
Why not put away your car keys for two days and stay at St Marks Stays during your retreat.
Rooms - £85 per night including breakfast on Wednesday 15th September.
Each room can sleep up to 2 people (please check the floorplan on their website as some of these have double beds, which could affect your booking.)
There are only 7 rooms so book early.
Book your room via Ruth (email@example.com.)
Check in 9am and check out 6pm.
For guests staying at St Marks Stays, there will be a complimentary ‘Sound bath’ for you to enjoy on the Tuesday evening. This will be brought to you by Laura Clare.
"Laura has been a yoga and Sacred Meditation teacher for over 35 years. She now combines these skills with offering Quartz Crystal singing bowl treatments, either individually or for groups...a deeply healing, cleansing and relaxing experience."...feedback from students who experience the bowls is entirely positive with people feeling energised and relaxed in equal measure."
St Marks Stays accommodation
St Marks Stays is a self-catering group accommodation with live in hosts, Jo and Damian Withers. They have a beautiful studio space for retreats, be it business, creative, or soulful. The house is big enough for you to spread out; Jo and Damian are simply there to help you with your stay if required.
They have their own living unit at the end section of the house but may occasionally need to pop into the rest of the house on occasions.
Message from Jo and Damian:
“We want you to feel a part of an inclusive community, with the addition of secluded spaces to take time out on your own. Technology has taken us away from connecting as humans sometimes and we want to host a house that everybody gets involved in, creating an inspired atmosphere that leaves you with real memories.
There is nothing better for the soul than being part of a group of like-minded people and going back to the good old days of chatting and simply having fun together. Learning from others, discovering the world from somebody else’s point of view, and having a childlike curiosity again to making friends for life.”
Arrive as strangers and leave as friends.
Self-catering information at St Marks Stays
In order to keep this retreat affordable, evening catering is not provided. However, there are several options:
Bring your own food to cook in the kitchen at St Marks Stays. Please note that other guests may also wish to use the kitchen!
Haddock Paddock – chip shop in Sedbergh
Al Forno – Take-away Italian food (Sedbergh)
Black Bull – Take-away Sourdough pizzas
Caterers who will deliver (please contact us for more details)
Black Bull (Sedbergh)
Al Forno (Sedbergh)
That's a lot of information - So here's a quick check list!
Email Izzy to be added to our booking list on the retreat. firstname.lastname@example.org
Book your accommodation – email@example.com
Pay your £30 deposit and accommodation on booking by BACS (Ruth Clayton, Account no – 21688761, sort code 010194)
Pay your balance of £120 by 17th August (BACS)
Make packed lunches for both days. (Breakfast on Wednesday provided)
Consider the options about evening catering. (See list)
Pack! There are lots of lovely places to walk if you decide to have a stroll early in the morning or after the workshops, so bring the correct footwear) Pack loose and comfortable clothing and consider packing your slippers!)
Head off to St Marks Stays for a well-deserved break away!
Booking your place
Booking your place:
With any queries please contact:
Izzy Stothert via
- alternatively use the contact box on this page.
Payment by bacs:
Account number 21688761
Sort code 010194
We will require a 20%, non-refundable deposit on booking and the balance by 17th August 2021:
Deposit - £30 on booking
Balance - £120 by 17th August