The 24th Annual
June 9–15, 2024
The Gathering is a six-day intensive that provides a deep immersion in the process of Touch Drawing. Held within the beauty of the forest and the safety of the circle, you are invited to embody your creative soul. Oriented to people who feel a calling to share Touch Drawing, this experience provides the fertile ground out of which your own way of facilitating the process can grow.
The Gathering has a sacred and joyous quality. Words fail to adequately describe it. Drawing sessions are deep and expansive. I hold space with the heartbeat of a large ceremonial drum, crystal bowls and vocal toning. Reflective writing, gentle movement, vocal practices and group sharing are woven through each day. These creative processes compliment the deep Touch Drawing sessions and help you explore the images that emerge. Afternoon quiet times and a day of silence allow for integration and renewal. In the course of the week, our focus moves through an organic progression: from personal, to interpersonal, and transpersonal. Together we generate an atmosphere that enlivens and inspires.
The Gathering is oriented towards people who are interested in bringing Touch Drawing into their lives and work in their own unique ways. If you are a therapist, educator, counselor, artist, social worker, intuitive, health practitioner, body worker, spiritual director, healer, life coach, expressive arts facilitator, community volunteer or student, you will be empowered to integrate this dynamic creative process into your life and work. Deborah is happy to talk with you about your particular interests during mealtimes, and encourages attendees with common interests to connect. Read about facilitating Touch Drawing.
To get a sense of this unique event, immerse yourself in the most recent Gathering Photo Gallery or scroll down to see images from many years. To get a feeling for the flow of the week, see What We Do and the Daily Schedule. Comments from participants convey some of the ineffable qualities of the Gathering. Scroll down to view the video Reflections on Touch Drawing, which was filmed at the Gathering. Many common questions are addressed in the FAQ.
We meet at Whidbey Institute, amidst 106 acres of forest on Whidbey Island, Washington. This is a place of deep spirit, nature and beauty. Our sacred studio is the awe-inspiring Thomas Berry Hall. Deborah’s husband Ross Chapin was the architect for this and other buildings. We have a long relationship with this place and it holds the Gathering in blessing.
We walk and draw in the large Chartres-style outdoor labyrinth. Sacred sites such as the Woodland Sanctuary and ‘Earth Nest’ are available for quiet times. There are miles of trails through the forest. On our day of silence, chose to pack your lunch and art materials, and draw on a beach facing the majestic Olympic Mountains. Or settle into the peace of our retreat center for the day.
As the week progresses, we will bring select Touch Drawings into their fullness through coloring and mounting. As our time together begins to draw to a close, we have an evening of embodying soulful presence through dancing, drumming, and vocalizing. This ceremonial dance helps to integrate and embody the transformative vision of our time together. Then we dive back into our drawing boards the following morning.
Our meals are prepared by an inspired chef who uses produce from the garden and local farmers. Every bite is truly a delight, and her service is loving and abundant. Much of her cooking is gluten and dairy free, with vegetarian options always available.
On Saturday July 15, we will have closing session in the afternoon. If you must, you can depart after 3:00. But hopefully you can stay for the rich time to come! We will go to beautiful Maxwelton Beach for a picnic dinner, and linger watching sunset over the Olympic Mountains. Drumming and singing are welcome. The optimal plan has you adding the optional stay Saturday night. You are invited to my home in Langley for a joyful breakfast Sunday morning. And explore the seaside village before departing the island.
• Immerse in the sacredness of the creative process.
• Meet & be inspired by kindred souls
• Reflect on your images through poetic writing.
• Open your voice through vibrational sound practices.
• Attune to subtle energies through awareness & movement practices.
• Develop trust in your intuition by creating drawings for a partner.
• Settle into silence in an old growth forest & driftwood beach.
• Bring your images to greater fruition by mounting & coloring.
• Integrate Touch Drawing & Expressive Arts into your life & work.
• Celebrate & Integrate through the ‘Long Dance’.