Art & Senses Retreat in the South of France

***Due to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic my May 2020 workshop has been cancelled and my June one is on

hold as of right now.

I will update my website as I have more information as I have it


Mener La Belle Vie at La Cascade – Art & Senses Retreat in the South of France

May 28th to June 4th, 2020 – SOLD OUT

June 17th to June 24th, 2020 – Register Now


Eight students and myself will be living the good life for a delightful week in the South of France.

A full immersion art & senses retreat where we’ll treasure hunt for vintage materials, beautiful ephemera and unique objects at the plentiful brocantes (antique shops), mache aux puces and vide greniers (flea markets and community sales) that we’ll re-purpose and transform into art.

For our creative time, we’ll build:

A gorgeous handmade journal de trésors, incorporating vintage handwritten letters, ephemera, tattered lace and imagery discovered on our excursion to Montolieu, known as the book village, and found in abundance at the local vide greniers.

After we’ve included the best of the best of our collected and curated treasures into our journals, we’ll also make petite 6×6 inch collages with our precious en français scraps so nothing goes to waste! These scraps will get tossed into a big community pile to create a second round of fresh inspiration and collage fodder.

As for those three dimensional treasures (small advertising tins, petite brass hands, tiny dolls parts, little skeleton keys, old medals, broken bits of jewelry, cameos and LOTS more to be discovered) we can’t help but purchase, you know we must turn them into some fun, funky and uniquely one-of-a-kind assemblage jewelry using simple-but-robust cold connections. Plus remember that I’m the mold making queen so no need to covet thy neighbor’s good junk. There’s always molding putty, air dry clay and resin to the rescue to recreate thy neighbor’s objects. Sharing is caring!

When not in the studio, we’ll be exploring the beauty of picturesque French villages with their old stone buildings, faded painted facades, colorful shutters and doors, spectacular cathedrals, mouthwatering patisseries. While exploring we’ll see sunflowers and hay fields for miles.

We’ll take field trips to Carcassonne,  Montolieu, an entire village dedicated to old books and unexpected finds like vintage fashion magazines and curious children’s books, a side trip to the hand-made paper mill in nearby Brousses, a visit to Albi’s jaw-dropping cathedral, the Toulouse Lautrec Museum and lovely fashion museum and wander the famous Saturday Market in Revel where you can buy everything from adorable French smocks to locally harvested herbs & spices to artisan-made cheeses, jams, jellies, breads, patisseries, soaps, lotions, perfumes and more. Sunday is the day for the local villages’ vide greniers (which literally means “clean the attics”).

Mouthwatering meals are prepared three times a day by chef Nese Pelt, using farm-to-table ingredients bought fresh from the open air markets and specialty shops. We’ll eat family style with lots of laughter and sisterhood and a little local wine with lunch and dinner.

Our home for the week is nestled in quiet village of Durfort which has been an artisan village producing copper vessels since medieval times. La Cascade, number 27 Rue des Martineurs (Street of the Copper Beaters), was built in the mid 1600’s of local stone, mud and wattle (straw) in the same way houses in the area have been built from the medieval times up until the 20th century.

The house has been beautifully restored honoring its history but adding modern facilities. There is a studio where we’ll conduct our workshop on the third floor, four bedrooms on the second floor (twin beds, double occupancy), three bathrooms, a dining room, kitchen, large outdoor terrace and a living room. The outdoor terraces lead directly down to the river and waterfall.

La Cascade is in the region of France known as Languedoc, which in an ancient French dialect means “The Land of Yes.” From the moment your feet touch soil you’ll find yourself breathing deeply and saying YES to living the good life. This is your time to nourish and reconnect with your spirit and soul, relish in creative sisterhood, relax, explore quaint villages, shop for vintage treasures, make some fab art and behold beauty daily.

Workshop price: $2,300 and includes:

  • Seven nights lodging at La Cascade, double occupancy.
  • Fresh, healthy market-to-table meals – all breakfasts, most lunches and dinners.
  • Daily field trips. Flea markets will take place mornings, excursions in the afternoons and Revel Market most of the day Saturday. We’ll also do a little after lunch visit to a local artist who creates the most amazing hand dyed scarves to see how she lives and works. All excursions are optional. Students may stay behind and work in the studio if they so wish.
  • Daily art instruction and basic art supplies.
  • Open Studio time to work on your own.
  • Down time after lunch or before dinner to renew and refresh or take a little stroll or visit the beautiful little village church for quiet, introspective time if you need it.
  • For Second (June 17th-24th) Retreat ONLY – 1 additional day/night in Toulouse for additional sightseeing. Arrival in Toulouse June 16th 2020.
  • No penalty payment options and special bonus if paid in full at time of registration

Accommodations are double occupancy (two twin beds) with shared bathrooms. The art studio is located on the third floor of the house and is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Common areas also include living room, dining room and large outside terrace. WiFi is available 24/7. La Cascade is a renovated 16th century home that’s three levels, with the bedrooms on the second floor and the workshop on the third. Students must be able to climb stairs and have good walking mobility for excursions.

*Airfare and transportation to and from La Cascade NOT included in price.

*Shared expenses of 2 rental cars not included in price. Rental car necessary to get from Toulouse airport to La Cascade and also for excursions. Full insurance required coverage required on rental cars so please factor into your budget.

*Travel insurance is required for all students and is on the honor system. Travel insurance is not simply for disruption in travel plans, flight delays, cancellations, lost luggage or normal travel nuisances. Full insurance also covers medical emergencies and any unexpected accidents. Many US insurance plans to do not cover emergency care while traveling internationally. A little stumble on ancient cobblestone steps or bad flu bug could become an expensive ordeal.  Art & Senses in the South of France

To secure your spot please send a $350 non-refundable deposit using Venmo, Zelle or Paypal’s friends and family option to  You can also click image/link above to register on my website.  There will be a wait list for both weeks. Deposit not accepted until a space becomes available.

Receive a $100 discount if retreat is paid in full by Dec. 31 2019. Otherwise students can pay remainder after deposit in four equal payments of $487.50 due September 1st 2019, November 1, 2019, February 1, 2020 and April 1, 2020. Workshop must be paid in full before arrival. Payments are the responsibility of each person and can be sent in the same manner as the deposit.

Terms and conditions:

  • Because La Cascade is a limited and intimate international art retreat, the workshop is non-refundable but is transferrable to another creative person who must possess at least a basic understanding of mixed-media art techniques. Should this occur, Jen will first conduct an interview to ensure harmony and happiness amongst the group, so please understand express permission for transfer is not a given.
  • There will also be a wait list for the retreat so should an unexpected personal family or medical emergency arise and another student is able to take your place and pays in full before the retreat, you’ll receive a full refund (minus non-refundable deposit and any banking fees) within 45 days after the retreat’s conclusion. If no one is available to take your spot then you’ll receive credit for one of Jen’s home studio workshops in Pine, Arizona (note: cost not comparable to France). Be sure to look into the conditions of your travel insurance deeply before you purchase and ensure these types of emergency medical and family crisis are fully covered.
  • All students are required to sign a release of liability waiver and return it by email at least 90 days before retreat begins.

Want to see more?