Iona is a special place. It has been described as a thin place. A place where some people feel an otherness. Being on an island allows you to think and realise ideas away from other distractions. Scottish artist Janet Melrose often spends time on Iona and invites you to join her for a week of creating on this art retreat in the place that has inspired artists and travelers from all over the world for centuries.
We will walk and draw as a way of orientating and becoming familiar with the island. Iona being such a small island, we will walk around it clockwise and anti-clockwise and you’ll be amazed how different that looks and feels. Sketchbooks are a good way of recording information and collecting ideas which can inform other work. As part of the week we will make our own concertina sketchbooks and drawing implements.
We will use a variety of drawing and painting media, and techniques that enable us to work more intuitively and access areas of the brain involved with creativity. Using our own individual approach, ideas will be realised in different ways and Janet will teach techniques according to what feels most inspiring to each guest.
Weather allowing, we will spend a lot of our creative time outdoors, but there will also be an indoor space we will use as a studio for developing our work further. Art materials will be provided and are included in the price. Again weather allowing, we will take a boat trip aboard a traditional wooden ex-working sailing fishing boat on one of the days to explore other nearby islands.
You will also have plenty of time to explore the landscape and learn about the local community and their vibrant creative lives on visits to local studios.
Our accommodation for the week will be the St Columba Hotel. Originally built as a manse, the hotel stands next to the world famous Iona Abbey and ancient Reilig Òdhrain (St Oran’s Graveyard). St Columba Hotel is owned by a group of locals, former islanders and individuals with a close connection to Iona, so you can be sure of the warmest welcome. Enjoy the unfolding views and otherworldly sunrises from the lounge, relax beside a roaring fire, or take off for a walk through the unspoilt landscape.