Here's a Brief List of Some Books, Artists, Writers, Films & More that Inspire Val

and have impacted her in her life path to establish this retreat center.

inspiration comes from many sources including nature


Val is an avid reader and enjoys discovering different stories, philosophies, ways of living, ways of making, ways of seeing. This list is just a few of the inspirations she has to share with you that will also give an insight to the bubbling inspiration that lead to creating this retreat center.


If you'd like a longer list or make a recommendation for something to be included on this list, please send a message using the form below.





FILM & ARTIST • "Rivers and Tides" an Andy Goldsworthy Documentary


This film had a profound effect on Val and she shows it often to her freshmen University students. Goldsworthy's process embodies patience, observation, acknowledgement of nature's beauty and often subtle power, the value of the passing of time, and embracing moments that are unexpected or happy accidents. It helps the Millenial to understand the value of determination through obstacles and accidents, the ephemeral quality of discovery and observation, and encourages them to slow down, to really slow down and observe the world around them in a way that modern society often does not encourage.

BOOK & DESIGNER • "I wonder" by Marian Bantjes


Val first heard Marian Bantjes speak at an AIGA Design Conference about Next and her presentation called "The Unexpected Nextness". She told her story in an honest and heartfelt way. She shared how her life path and journey into a career as a designer when she found herself in the right place at the right time, her love of books, and her recognition later in her career of the things that inspired her own work from her travels and observations. Marian decided to take a risk to leave a 'job' and spent 6 months on a private sabbatical developing a new body of work. This creative retreat has lead to a new, engaging and prolific career with her beautiful use of hand-lettering and unexpected materials such as sugar or macaroni crafting primarily by hand. Her book "I Wonder" is a compilation of her musings in essay form and the design of the book including individual pages that take inspiration from Illuminated Manuscripts with a contemporary twist. The essays are delightful observations and each is accompanied by unique and often playful borders reminiscent of carpet pages in hand crafted manuscripts. Marian's story is also an influence for Val in founding this retreat center to provide a nurturing environment for herself in her creative pursuits and others who are possibly at a pivotal juncture or crossroads to have the time needed to really dig deep for creating a body of work.

BOOK & WRITER • "Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin


This author started this project and the book because she asked herself the same question and had the same answer as Val did to motivate her to start this retreat center - Q: 'what do I want out of life?' &
A: 'to be happy'. Gretchen is a city person through and through, and a writer/blogger. She spent a year focused on this project and in each chapter set out monthly she establishes a goal and takes the reader through her process. Her writing is witty and engaging. Her ideas are practical and possible. The book turned into a movement and she's written a few other books since that are also on the top of the list.

BOOK & WRITER/PHILOSOPHER • "In Praise of Shadows" by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki


This is a very obscure book of 73 pages originally published in 1933 and reprinted in the 7os translated from a Japanese novelists philosophical essays that are written in response to a rapid modernization. Among many issues of aesthetics and contrasts between east and west, the author discusses beauty and different viewpoints of beauty. Val was introduced to this work in a year-long professional development study to learn more about the culture and history of Japan. You will see visual references to Japan in the main lodge and hints in the other structures. Val lived in Okinawa as a child and in recent years including her sabbatical in 2015 she has had the opportunity to explore the main island 3 times, and nearby islands of Honshu and Kyushu as well as a return to Okinawa during sabbatical. The most impactful part of the book discusses the modernization of cities and the mass amount of artificial lighting (Tokyo and New York actually currently mandate that any new structures built have some percentage of artificial lighting) and the contrast to shadows and what can happen in darkness. The analysis in the link above does a nice job in highlighting certain aspects of the writing including numerous quotes. Being in a rural environment, this retreat center is designed as an intentional escape from modernization. In the darkness and in the shadows of night, we can see the starry sky.

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