NURTURE FACILITATORS – SPRING 2017
SONJA SEILER (Founder), Hearth Workshop
I think every person needs a place of Self to retreat to – for me, that place is the kitchen. I call it my ‘kitchen boudoir’ – a place where I can connect, create, unfold, nurture, and share my creations as an act of love with myself and with others I care about.
I am a food-obsessed word nerd or a word-obsessed food nerd, depending on the day and love to get creative in the kitchen.
I believe wholeheartedly that creativity is a form of holy self care – that’s been the only way past my own chronic intellectual, stuck-in-overthinking-mode ways. I started Nurture: A Retreat out of a need in myself to work alchemically with my darker, needier, or unmet parts. I immersed myself in the transformational ‘schools’ of playing with food, playing music, playing with words on the page, and that lead me to want to do and learn and grow more because I started to feel more and more myself and more and more alive.
Combine this creative adventuring & soul tuning with my childhood dream of renovating an old farm house and building a bed & breakfast for creatives, and the seedling of this retreat was born. I found the perfect spot in Loretto Maryholme – it’s such a beautiful old house with a porch, hardwood floors, claw foot baths, harvest tables for us all to gather around.
I want to nurture: Community. Connection. Creativity. Collaboration. This is what feeds me. Oh and butter. You could court me with butter.
For a candid tell-all where I drink (spill) tea and talk about how Nurture started, check out this video.
Bio pic by Meaghan Eady Photography
TANIA LOVE, Pigment Workshop
I’m a Toronto based visual artist and textile designer.
I’ve been making objects since I was a child.
That instinct for beauty never left.
My creative process is inspired by observation of the world around me, both the natural and cultural habitats. I’m drawn to repeated patterns seen in the micro and macro that point to a larger relationship in all things.
Moving between paper, reclaimed wood, tea bags, fibre, graphite, ink, milk paint and natural dyes, the materials I work with reflect a tactile sensibility.
I invite opportunities for quiet, slower rhythms connected to natural cycles.
ERIN KLASSEN, Chronicle Workshop
I’m a writer, editor, book publisher and enthusiastic collaborator. But these are all just titles I’ve given myself while I’ve found footing as someone who makes things and shares them with others.
I founded With/out Pretend in 2015 and have published three titles to date, Things I Do When I Feel Blue, Portraits, and You Care Too Much. I’m learning how to be a better publisher and editor with every project, and am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with remarkable, kind, talented women who have helped me immensely along the way.
There’s something special that happens when women work together to make something, without competition or judgment or anxiety about their abilities. I feel most joyful when someone I respect and admire looks at something I’ve made or reads something I’ve written and says, “I get it.”
In a commencement speech in 2003, Susan Sontag told graduates: “Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. . . . It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager…”
I have Sontag’s speech taped above my writing desk as a reminder that being curious — embracing the fact that I almost never feel sure of myself or what I’m doing — is what helps me to be my best, most inclusive, most creative self. I want to surround myself with a community of people interested in asking thoughtful questions, who are inspired by wishing and by wondering. I never want to reach a point where I feel like there are more answers than there are questions. I want to stay eager.
CHRISTINE RUSSELL – Ritual Workshop
I am a mother to two little girls, a teacher, an entrepreneur, and a wellness visionary. I love to sparkle and I believe in miracles.
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a little girl, sewing hair scrunchies and making jam in the 80s.
In 2007 I co-founded 889 with my sister Emily – a studio in Toronto with the mission to inspire happy, healthy, peaceful lives. 889 is host to nearly 100 yoga, pilates and meditation classes weekly. There is also the 889 Shop – a space featuring curated items for your mindful lifestyle, and a beautiful community of radiant humans.
My compassion and love shows up in my role as a teacher of Yoga, Meditation, and Essential Oils. Through heart-based radiant leadership, I nurture those ready to up-level and elevate the way they live, love and lead in the world. When I am in this zone of genius – uplifting others – I feel like I’m channeling my inner-unicorn.
I graduated from the 889 Living Yoga School, The Richard Ivey School of Business, and from the MIT EO Entrepreneurship Program.
Mamma Earth is my favourite playground with my girls and beloved husband.
LAUREN KOLYN – Retreat Photographer
I’m Lauren- a photographer and excited to be documenting the Spring 2017 Nurture Retreat! The natural world is my greatest teacher in many ways. It is not only my main source of inspiration and one of my favourite subjects to shoot, it also is where I turn to find a deeper sense of self and meaning. Following years of studying and working in social services, it was when living solo on a mountain top in the Slocan Valley, British Columbia that I found my way back to photography. There is so much that we can learn from nature and I am constantly in awe of all the wisdom it holds and space it provides for us to grow. Since then I have been cultivating my identity as an artist and career as a photographer.
I am curious about our connection to physical space – the places we live, work and play – and spend a lot of time photographing them. I believe that what we construct in our environments reflects a lot about who we are and where we are at in our lives. This is a question and phenomenon in our physical reality that fascinates me. I am also inspired by everyday life from its rituals to surprises. One of my favourite artists, Alex Colville, describes this perfectly: “It’s the ordinary things that seem important to me”. My lifestyle work consists of creating images for various lifestyle and design publications and documenting peoples’ beautiful love stories.
The journey of being a self-employed, freelance artist is incredibly fulfilling and I can’t imagine living my life any other way. Simultaneously, I find this path to be challenging (some might say “scary”) as I feel like I am constantly surrendering to the unknown. I’ve learned that this takes guts and a lot of (personal) work. Taking care of myself and allowing all of these realities to exist is what propels me to keep moving forward.
STEPHANIE PELLETT – Retreat Assistant
Hi, I’m Steph, and I’m a writer, photographer, bookworm, and life-lover. My work life is all about supporting female entrepreneurs, which means I do everything from graphic design to video production for small businesses with heart. It’s a true honour to work with so many amazing women (including the women of Nurture!) and to be able to devote my time, energy and skillset to lifting up the kinds of work I want to see more of in the world.
My days are usually spent in front of a screen, so my version of self-care often involves unplugging and turning off those pesky notifications. I’m fiercely introverted, so having (literally) quiet time to recharge is so important – the Do Not Disturb function on my phone is a lifesaver. In those quiet, peaceful moments when no one is watching, I can just allow myself to play and try new things. Which means that my creative life takes on many different forms, depending on my mood! I knit, I hand-letter, I mess around with watercolour paints, I write stories, I sing. My brain gets a chance to breathe, and I often end up with something beautifully imperfect to show for it.
For me, nurturing myself almost always means giving myself permission to do what my heart wants to do, even if it doesn’t seem “practical”. My all-time favourite activities are having inspiring conversations with like-minded souls, and curling up with a good book. You too? I think we’ll get along.