Join me at a creative retreat in Italy
Designer, maker and old friend Ros Badger is one of the most entrepreneurial people I know. She’s always busy planning new endeavours – from designer fairs around this country to creative retreats abroad. So, when she asked if I’d like to teach a writing workshop at a beautiful Italian villa this October, I had to think about it for ooh, at least a nanosecond. Villa Pia is on the Umbrian/ Tuscan border. Ros has been going there for many years, initially on holiday when her daughters were very young and now they’re grown-up, she’s been invited back by the owner to share her knowledge and skills. ‘Expect the luxury of a boutique hotel and the atmosphere of a creative house party.’ Don’t mind if I do..
The Bland Badger creative retreat runs from the 5 – 12th October 2019 and includes: styling and bookmaking sessions with Ros, plus she’ll be demonstrating how to create cyanotypes under the Tuscan sun. Her business partner, interiors photographer Charlotte Bland has worked for the Guardian, Penguin Books and Chatto & Windus and will be leading workshops on developing your photographic style. Together the pair will help guests ‘style and take the perfect lifestyle photograph’ and as a special guest I will be teaching online writing for blogs, Instagram and business (basically, they’ll show you how to style and create the best pictures and I’ll offer guidance on the text to go with). There will also be yoga every morning with Meredith Gunderson – plus, trips out to a 600-year-old olive farm, the flea market at Arezzo (very much looking forward to that little excursion) and to the medieval town of Monterchi to see the artist Piero della Francesca’s famous painting The Madonna del Parto. This will be a relaxed retreat and guests can dip in and out of the schedule as and when. Sitting in the courtyard with a book, swimming in the pool, or having a lie-in are all permitted.
Ros is a fellow northerner and we’ve known each other for years, ever since I was a fashion editor and she ran the knitwear company Little Badger. And I like her theory that her creative world has progressed as she has aged. Graduating from fashion to childrenswear design when her daughters were young, writing craft books and teaching at numerous universities while they were at school, running workshops at festivals when her daughters were in their late teens and now an empty-nester, she makes jewellery and homewares and organises design fairs and workshops for other women to enjoy.
Creativity, culture and the best cuisine. Living La Dolce Vita….