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Creative Workshop Events

Beautiful ride to Burano

Thank you so much for helping to make our week such an enjoyable one. You certainly made everything very easy for us and your meals
were delicious. The boat trip to the island was fun and gave a chance to see a lot more of the area surrounding Venice.

by participating Artist Nick Clark

Thank you for your part in an enjoyable week.You worked hard keeping us fed and watered etc.

by participating Artist Edward Trill

I don’t really feel there is anything to criticise about the actual course: we were spoilt by your warmth and attention to our comfort, the venue and course and good company; Martin said he would be interested in redoing it!!! How is that for a tribute to Cecil and you.

by participating Artist Nicole Sturgeon

Photos courtesy of Janys Hyde, Edward Trill & Sarah Sherwood

Home from Venice – a busy and brilliant ten days. The short story workshops were such fun, a great team to work with – shout out to Deb McIntyre, Marie Ohanesian Nardin, Jenny Lightfoot,Michelle Scowcroft, Helen Jones, Sharon Ferguson, and of course the amazing Janys Hyde. Venice is the most spectacular place to work, and the Giudecca a lovely base – characterful, peaceful, and a stone’s throw from the buzz, with some wonderful sights of its own. Only three minutes away by vaporetto were the most iconic and glorious places, a hubub, a mass of characters in the making, story inspiration everywhere. We had a bright modern space to retreat to on the Giudecca which was perfect for quiet focus, discussion and creation of all sorts. We wrote and wrote every day, exploring in as much depth as we could given the time constraints the elements that conspire to make a story. Everyone left with complete story drafts – in some cases, several – plus flashes and ideas to work on. ‘Character’ wove its way into practical creation too – we had a fascinating talk on the history of the Venetian mask, and a chance to decorate our own helped by a master of the art. The city worked its own magic too. One day there was an impromptu concert in the tiny square outside when the workshop had finished for the day… three hours of superb music by professionals living nearby – the washing hanging over our heads, sun blazing, children playing, and prosecco afterwards. A fab experience. I’ll miss it.

Until next year – when I’m delighted to say I’ll be working with Creative Retreats in Italy again.

by Guest Tutor, Vanessa Gebbie
Web: www.vanessagebbie.com

I would just like to say a few words about how much I enjoyed the course. Thank you so much for all your hard work in ensuring that all went smoothly. I am in awe of your administration skills and your ability to think of everything that we might possibly need or need to know. The venue was ideal and your lunches were delicious – just kept getting better all week.

Thanks also to both you and Vanessa for your kindness and for being so welcoming and making everyone feel at ease straight away.

The course itself was excellent and just what I needed to kick start my writing.

by participating Author Sarah Ferguson

Andrea Tardini, Janys Hyde, Lucia, Monica & Anna of the Pink Lioness, Venice
Andrea Tardini, Janys Hyde, Lucia, Monica & Anna of the Pink Lioness, Venice

Carissima Janys

le Pink lioness in Venice desiderano ringraziarti per averci dato l’opportunità di collaborare alla raccolta fondi a favore di Medici senza frontiere.

Il tema di quest’anno ‘Derive e Nuovi Approdi’ ci trova particolarmente sensibili e solidali con tutti coloro che si trovano in difficoltà e affidano ad una imbarcazione il loro destino.

Noi siamo una squadra di donne operate di tumore al seno e pratichiamo lo sport del dragonboat per riabilitazione psicofisica. Anche se in maniera diversa anche noi ci siamo sentite alla deriva quando ci hanno diagnosticato la malattia ma come per noi il dragone è stato il traghetto verso il nuovo approdo della rinascita così ci auspichiamo per tutti coloro che possono trovarsi alla deriva nel mare della vita.

Lucia Furlan e le Pink lioness

Photos courtesy of Cinzia, Medici senza Frontiere, sezione Padova

The whole day was amazing and great fun. Everything was explained really clearly. Difficult to believe that even without any artistic talent you can produce something so good – can’t wait to try it again!

by participating Creative Lucy Orszak

Photographs by Janys Hyde

I’m so happy, very grateful for everything Roz Morris taught us, the tips and sharing from Janys, Henry, Tammy, Barbara and Lindsay.

My head is flowing with inspiration and while listening and absorbing all bullets of significant reminders, now I see editing not as a heavy chore in a writer’s life but an enjoyable one, an analytical way of not losing one’s grip of the manuscript, without forgetting one’s passion and mission and my inner call for writing my books…

by participating Author Angelica Hopes

Photographs courtesy of Angelica Hopes

To the small group of participants I am totally grateful. They were collaborative and understanding and went out of their way to ensure that the workshop was a success. They were attentive and sensitive students, hanging on to Roz Morris’s every word. They were quick to offer a hand when the time came to move tables, serve lunch and clear up. They endured the unusual heat and humidity and then threw themselves headlong into the fascination of the city, making sure they would take home a wide range of memories from our few days together.

Organiser & Wannabe Author Janys Hyde

…Tammy, whizzed in on her speedboat from Milano. Lady Roz galopped in on her trusted steed, accompanied by her number one guard, Henry, a knight of the old order.

It was a wonderful writing retreat in a gorgeous location. The knight, Henry, told us about some of the battle fields upon which he had fought and won his honours. He gave us an idea about the fine print we needed to read and absorb should we ever make it to the fine halls of publishers. It’s a strategy. You must plan ahead, he said, Well, he didn’t really, but it all seemed rather tricky.

Another famed author, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, stopped off for victuals in her gilded carriage and graciously shared nuggets of wisdom whilst encouraging us to persevere in our quest to write and publish our tomes.

We drank wine in goblets and sat under the vines in sunshine as we shared and partook of Janys’s al fresco lunch in the garden of the venue.

by participating Author Barbara Doran-Rogel

Photograph courtesy of Barbara Doran-Rogel

Buffet lunch
Buffet lunch

…The techniques taught by Roz are a revelation even to seasoned editors such as myself. Over many years, she has evolved a really clever system which works not only at the theoretical level, but which has also been tested in the heat of battle – a thoroughly practical approach which has worked time and time again for real books that have gone on to be hugely successful.

Naturally, what really makes a course like this special is the opportunity not only to receive Roz’s in-depth teaching about the craft of editing, but also to ask pertinent questions about how the techniques being explained can be applied to your own work, and all the students found this aspect of the two days invaluable. Q&A discussions ranged far and wide, but our marvellous tutor always managed to keep things on course and on time.

by visiting Author Henry Hyde

Photographs courtesy of Henry Hyde

Thank you Janys for an excellent venue, wonderful food, great care and attention to detail, all making for a great success!

by Guest Tutor, Cecil Rice
Web: www.cecilrice.com

Photograph by Janys Hyde

Lunch break
Lunch break ‘Al Fresco’

I hadn’t painted in watercolour before, last been in Venice when a school boy and never painted in a group, but the four days just passed were in every way, magnificent.

I returned home enriched and inspired carrying three paintings that I was proud of and confident that this was the beginning of a long love affair with watercolour painting.

The setting of Venice for such a retreat was of course incredible — we had our workshop in a monastery so we overlooked a garden full of olive trees, ancient cypresses and a terracotta tiled roof — and Cecil Rice’s tutoring was a master class — informative, encouraging, engaging and most of all, challenging.

Binding this all together were Janys Hyde’s organisational skills — she was tireless in her efforts to ensure our group got the most from our time in Venice. From the first moment I signed up, to getting me to Venice (late at night and in torrential rain) to knowing where to be and having all the right equipment… exceptional.

I would unreservedly recommend this to anyone, novice or old hand, who wants to immerse themselves in watercolours and Venice.

by participating Artist, Simon Chinnery
Web: www.simonchinnery.com
Email: chinnery@mac.com

Altogether a very satisfying 4 days. Good company, new friends made and yes, I will do it again. Well organised — great teacher — lovely lunches.
Thank you, Janys

by participating Artist, Rosemary Elliott

Venue was great. Ample space and fresh air. A good learning environment.
Workshop length was just right. I found it tiring concentrating for long periods so 3 days seemed a good amount of time. It was very free and easy so you could take time out as and when deemed necessary.

I think it worked well booking our own accommodation. It meant we were not together all the time but enjoyed lunch time, especially ‘en plein air’ — delicious lunches each day with wine! Great going out together in the evening but also having time alone.

Fabulous few days — learnt new skill — made new friends and had a great time in Venice.

Thanks, Janys

by participating Artist, Judith Parkes

The course situation was great…
Course length just right leaving some space to visit Venice.
I loved the way the lunches were included and presented so beautifully giving a chance to chat with the other members of the group. Our accommodation at the Domina Hotel was perfect for the venue. Janys Hyde should be commended for her excellent hostess skills in looking after us for the week. Also for sending information to us before the course. Well done!

by participating Artist, Caroline Blaker

I particularly enjoyed the sketching walkabout with Sarah Sherwood. It was extremely useful to me. Venue offered plenty of space and was easy to find. Cecil Rice was helpful, encouraging and inspiring.

by participating Artist, Lyndsey Smith
Web: www.lyndseysmith.co.uk

We really want to tell you and Cecil and all the lovely people we met on your course that it really was one of the very best things we have done in our lives!

Cecil is an inspiring teacher with a real gift for positive criticism.

We came to find new inspiration and to rekindle our love of painting. It worked!

Both Patricia and I are now painting every day. I have six new pieces on the go, including one inspired by our visit to the glorious Fenice opera house and another ‘homage’ to a Turner painting of the Giudecca. We are flying!

We will show some of the paintings in the Stratford upon Avon Art Society’s annual exhibition in August.

by participating Artists, Patricia & Patrick Padget

Matthew says: Cecil was a good and supportive tutor as well as a talented artist and even I as a complete beginner felt I made progress.

What came across to us was how much planning and care and thought you put in to try and think through all eventualities to ensure it all ran smoothly and that we all had a good time . The unusual and historic venue and the alfresco lunches were a real added bonus.

Penny says: As Matthew’s already confirmed we had a really great time and thoroughly enjoyed the course and meeting everyone. We were both stretched in different ways….I was so impressed with Matthew’s work and will be taking future guidance from him!

Seriously we both learned such a lot from Cecil and also from the other course members. What a talented and very friendly group! Your thorough planning was much appreciated….and we’ll certainly look closely at future courses you may put on.

by participating Artists, Penny Welsh & Matthew Bennett

Photographs courtesy of Sarah Sherwood

Hospitality Walkabouts

I have known Janys for quite a few years through our love of photography. We got to know one another on Flickr, but until 2015 never met. The images she posted of Venice always inspired me and when I finally got the opportunity to visit in May of that year, Janys agreed to meet up. She showed me around the city. Her knowledge of the backstreets, the alleys less travelled, the markets and the cafes provided an opportunity to capture images of the city that were immediately Venetian, but were not the standard tourist shots. We got to visit a boatyard and saw a gondola being built. The highlight of the trip was an opportunity, organised by Janys, to have a private visit to a beautiful garden on the island of Guidecca. It gave me an opportunity to shoot some unique images and also to get a sense of what it must have been like to have lived in one of the grand palazzos in this wonderful city. I would recommend signing up to a Creative Retreat organised by Janys, without hesitation. Her insider knowledge of the city combined with her clear popularity with the locals (everyone seems to know her “Ciao, Janys!”) and energy will ensure that anyone signed up to one of her retreats will have a unique and rewarding experience.

by Visitor to Venice, Keith Mason
Web: www.keithmasonphotography.com
Flickr album: www.flickr.com

There are those who find (or say they find) Facebook a negative thing. On the whole, I’ve found quite the opposite and rarely more so than today, when a FB friend put us in touch with another FB friend, who gave us an exciting ride in their boat to the Lido market and patiently helped us buy fresh veg and interesting food for tonight’s dinner. We then walked along the beach, had a lovely relaxed lunch and took the double decker (water) bus back to Venice, where we stopped off at the hospital for a quick look around (mind blown!) and a fruit juice. Lovely, lovely day. And we have a great restaurant tip to try out.

Thank you Raynah for the introduction and thank you to our new friend Janys for a great day.

by Visitor to Venice, Jenny Kay Faulkner

We thought we knew Venice, but feel we know it so much better now after a couple of ‘off the beaten tourist track’ walks with Janys. One around Cannaregio, from the Jewish Museum to the wonderful marble church of Santa Maria Assunta; another round her home island of Giudecca taking in its convent, boatyard and morning market. It was delightful to see the quieter, more residential parts of the city, with their everyday activities. Thank you for giving us a real insight into your adopted city.

by Visitor to Venice, Ruth Dudley