Come and be inspired. Join us at Willow Pond!

The 5-day workshop will take place at Willow Pond SLO, a beautiful 14-acre property located at the south end of Edna Valley, bordering San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande, California. This place is surrounded by vineyard views and cooled by the marine layer from the Pacific Ocean, and their vision is to nurture creativity across multiple disciplines, ignited by the artistic energy of this unique escape. They regularly host immersive, creative workshop retreats such as this, that inspire and connect creatives with like-minded people, while enjoying local farm-to-table cuisine catered on-site. It's going to be a great time!

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Art has always been a means by which people leave behind traces of their existence...

Whether it's a cave painting from thousands of years ago or a modern masterpiece, art serves as an artifact that represents a specific time, place, and culture. This class explores the concept of art as artifact, and the visible traces, remnants and fragments of something left behind. Incorporated into this focus is the concept of time, of real or imagined histories, and of faded or foggy memories. The goal is to have you explore the nature of your own work, what interests you and what drives you to create.

(student work: Nanette Freeman)

Our focus for this retreat is Art as Artifact.
Do you have a passion for systems, organization, mapping, and record-keeping?
Do you find inspiration in the worn textures that suggest a sense of age?
Are you fascinated by the interplay of ancient and contemporary elements?
Do you strive to convey a sense of history and time in your work?

If so, you'll love exploring your personal or collective histories and leaving visible traces of your creative process when you join this workshop!
What we'll be doing:
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Mixed Media
  • Rust and Tea Staining
  • Deconstruction and distressing
  • Fabric
  • Stitching
  • Surface Treatments
  • Burning
  • Collecting items from nature

Discussions and Presentations to include:

  • sense of time - calendars, seasons, moon phases
  • books, record keeping
  • altars, memories - personal and collective
  • cultural artifacts
  • storytelling and creating narrative

By examining the materials, techniques, and the concept of art as artifact within our artwork, we can gain valuable insights into our own artistic development. Analyzing our own artwork can also help us identify patterns or changes in our creative journey, allowing us to track our growth and evolution over time. This class is open to artists at any level and the focus is on finding each individual’s unique voice.

Previous Students Work


How long is this course?

  • This is a 5-day workshop.

When do applications close?

  • Applications close July 9, 2024, or when maximum number of 12 attendees is reached. 

How much does it cost?

  • $1,484.00 includes lunch daily


  • There is limited accommodation available at Willow Pond House. Reservations will be managed on a first-come, first-served basis. Willow Pond House is a private residence and you will be hosted by Carol and Jean Paquet and an on-site chef. Select your workshop under the tab of the room of your choice and the number of nights is automatically calculated for the workshop duration. If you choose to stay on site, your reservation will include breakfast and dinner. This is a separate booking from the workshop and is accessible under the GUEST ROOMS menu tab on Willow Pond’s website. Please note - we are not licensed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages however you are welcome to bring your own. There is a fridge available to students in the studio.
  • In addition, there are numerous AirBnB’s and VRBOs within a few miles of the property. We also recommend hotels in Pismo Beach and The Agrarian Hotel in Arroyo Grande. Both of these locations are less than a 10-minute drive.

I have more questions. How do I reach you?

A: Email us at [email protected]

About Lisa & Sue

Instructors Sue Stover and Lisa Pressman have been teaching together online and in-person courses since 2020. The focus of their courses is to direct artists toward a more contemplative practice, exploring techniques, materials and concepts along with a strong foundation in art fundamentals. Destination workshops inspire the artist within unique cultural frameworks and capitalize on the extended time together. Our approach to teaching is flexible and welcoming, and we strive to meet participants wherever they are on their journey as artists.

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman’s career as an artist has been marked by exploration of the expressive potential of a variety of mediums, among them oil, encaustic, cold wax, and mixed-media collage. Her work is abstract, conceptually based, and process-driven, featuring marks, forms, colors and patterns that are evocative rather than descriptive.

Lisa received her Bachelor of Arts degree in fine art from Douglass College at Rutgers University, with an emphasis in ceramics and sculpture, in 1979. As a graduate student she changed her emphasis to painting, and in 1981 was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Bard College. Since then she has exhibited regionally and nationally in solo and group exhibitions, and her work is held in numerous private and public collections. Her work is represented by Susan Eley Fine Arts in New York, Addington Gallery in Chicago, and Slate Gallery in Telluride, Colorado.

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Susan Stover

Susan Stover is a San Francisco Bay Area artist who creates paintings and sculptures that explore themes of cultural identity and mythology. Having studied many aesthetic traditions from around the world, she embraces ritual, tradition, and meditation inherent in repetitive processes.

Susan received a MFA from California College of Art in Oakland, California and a BFA from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with both degrees concentrating in textiles ad painting. Her work is in many private and corporate collections. She is represented by Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY and Seager/Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, CA. Susan teaches workshops online from her northern California studio, in person at other locations in the U.S., and internationally.

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