Steeped in culture and exotic mystique, Morocco holds an immediate and enduring fascination; although it’s located not too far from Europe, it seems many miles away in both tradition and scenery – a land where there is a piece of history in every tile of every mosaic, a story at every souk, and a culture that envelopes you upon arrival.
As a backdrop to all this, the country’s physical make-up is nothing less than extraordinary – from the High Atlas Mountains to the lonesome shifting sands of the Western Sahara. This beautifully unique place offers its visitors a labyrinth of stories, dreams, contrasts, mysteries and myths . . .
EXPERIENCE A TRUE 'ART OF TRAVEL' ADVENTURE WITH KATE THOMPSON.
Our retreat includes a magical 4-day "__________" Mixed Media Workshop with Kate Thompson
Kate is a mixed media artist,
She teaches alternative book making, art journaling, and mixed media workshops in the US and abroad. Her main focus is on guiding people in creative processes for the purpose of self expression, discovery, confidence, growth, healing, and the fostering of a deeper connection to fellow human beings and land.
"I GREW UP IN THE DESERT IN SOUTHERN ISRAEL, WHERE VIVID VISUAL AND MENTAL IMAGES OF NOMADS, SAND STORMS AND NATURALLY DYED CAMEL, SHEEP, AND GOAT YARN WERE WOVEN INTO EVERY CELL OF MY BODY. TO THIS DAY THEY DWELL IN MY BONES.
IT TOUCHES MY STILLNESS TO REMEMBER MY FATHER HUMBLY TEACHING ME ABOUT THE PROFOUNDNESS AND THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING HUMAN. ABOUT LAND, AN UNSPOKEN BOND, ABOUT LONGING AND BELONGING, AND ALSO ABOUT A DREAM. A DREAM TO BE TAKEN AWAY WILLINGLY BY THE WIND, WITH NO HINT OF RESISTANCE... LIKE A TUMBLEWEED. THIS FOR ME IS SUCH A DREAM!"
As group of like-minded creative souls we will embrace this rich culture, and explore local customs and traditions as we journey through this ancient caravan route, from Marrakech to the Sahara. It is our hope that it inspires and connects you to the magic and mysteries of Morocco.
Throughout our journey together we’ll weave creative learning experiences of our art workshop into uniquely personal artworks - while we seek inspiration in the colors, culture, and connections we find on our adventure from the Marrakech Medina down through the Sahara. The soulful time together will be the infused with locals, traditional artisans and cultural diversity. We’ve taken special care in planning an itinerary that will both serve and inspire you.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL
WELCOME TO MARRAKECH! | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2019
Plan your arrival to Marrakech for late morning to midday. You will be transported to our Riad (hotel) and welcomed with Atay (Moroccan Mint Tea). A goody bag awaits you your room that has been generously supplied by a local business, Indigo and Lavender .
For those who arrive early and are up for it, we can take a walk through the nearby streets for an introduction to the medina. We will share a beautiful sunset and a Moroccan WELCOME dinner together this evening at 7pm.
DAY 2: MARRAKECH
THURSDAY MARCH 21, 2019
BREAKFAST 8am DEPART 9 am
After breakfast, along with our local guide, we will explore one of the most interesting cities in Morocco: Marrakech. We will spend the day visiting some architectural interesting sites such as the Koutoubia Mosque and a visit to the heart of the medina. Our main focus will be the lively medina (old town), with its colourful shops and souks (markets), followed by the famous place Djemaa el’Fna with the snake charmers, acrobats and storytellers.
Dinner will be together at a restaurant with views of the infamous Fjemma El Fna. Pack up for our journey to the desert tomorrow morning after breakfast.
DAY 3: OUARZAZATE
"JOURNEY TO THE WILD SAHARA" | FRIDAY MARCH 22, 2019
BREAKFAST 8 am | DEPART 9 am
After breakfast, we begin our adventure to the Sahara desert. From Marrakech over the Tizi N’Tichka pass towards Ouarzazate. On the way, we’ll stop at the lesser known Kasbah Telouet: the former home of one of the most powerful Pashas of 20th Century Morocco,Thami El Glaoui, the “Lord of the Atlas.” Then we will continue on to explore the famous Kasbah of Ait Ben haddou, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Dinner together and overnight stay in Ouarzazate...
DAY 4: KASBAH AIT ISFOUL
“SANDCASTLE IN THE SAHARA” | SATURDAY MARCH 23, 2019
BREAKFAST 8 am | DEPART 9 am
After breakfast we will continue our decent to the desert, stopping for Lunch in Zagora, then on to Tamgroute, which in Berber means “last place before the desert”. It is one of the oldest towns in Morocco, 6th century and was one of the last stops for the trade caravans travelling across the desert.
This artisan pottery village has 7 ovens, belonging to 7 families, whose art is carried down between generations. We observe the clay in the hands of the masters, as they slowly form the mud from the local Draa riverbed into its organic vessels.
The process is rich and unique to the the area; it is only place on earth to experience these special shades of green pieces. They are pleasure to behold and each one is art unto itself. Our final resting place today is our home in the desert, Ait isfoul. Settle in and enjoy dinner and the beautiful stary sky.
WORKSHOP DAILY SCHEDULE
7am - 9am: Breakfast
10am to 1pm: Workshop
1pm - 3pm Lunch
3pm - 5pm Workshop
DAY 5 - DAY 9: WORKSHOP
"THE WAYS OF THE TUMBLEWEED" | SUNDAY MARCH 24 - THURSDAY MARCH 28, 2019
Included in these abundant and sensuous days is the mixed media experience The Ways of The Tumbleweed. In it you will be guided in the creating of various loose pieces which will culminate in an object, a book, perhaps an installation. Those will tell our individual intimate and passionate visual and visceral stories as well as express our collective journey in this magnificent land. That process will surely reaffirm what we already know, the undeniable simple and humble notion that we are all interconnected in less mysterious ways than we let on.
Enriched by self trust and acceptance, images, photos, paper, paint, words, line work, and thread entwine to make expressive, complex, and extremely personal creations. It's about one's willingness to reveal vulnerability and rawness for the sake of true freedom, self love, and love of others. Experiencing honest and new journeys takes precedence over producing beautiful outcomes. Ultimately, this process is about depicting the fluidity of life, about effortlessly carrying one's self from one place to another, and about mending stories.
Our days at Kasbah Aitisfoul will unfold in a rhythm to suit you: explore a little or a lot, in and around the workshop. During your free time you can chase the light with your camera or sketch book, explore the local Kasbah or learn to cook tradition tangines with our in-house Moroccan chef, Mohamed Thursday is the local Souk day, where the villagers come in to buy, sell and socialize. For those interested, we will leave at 9:00 am to experience how to shop "desert style".
DAY 10: ERG CHEGAGA
"THE MAGIC OF THE SAHARA DESERT" | FRIDAY MARCH 29, 2019
BREAKFAST 7 - 9 am | DEPART 11 am
Today our adventure begins in 4 x 4’s, as our route passes different features of the desert: erg (sand dunes), reg (rocky desert), hammada (stony desert). We will have time to stop along the way to photograph or sketch these landscapes. Hopefully we will come upon some nomads and take tea and spend some time with them. Erg Chegaga dunes are away from civilization – it is mesmerizing . . . you can really feel the overwhelming tranquillity and expanse of the desert. You can chase the light and colour of the sand as you climb up the dunes after our CAMEL TREK to view a Saharan sunset. Dinner followed by some desert drumming.
DAY 11: MARRAKECH
"THE TRADE ROUTE BACK TO MARRAKECH" | SATURDAY MARCH 30, 2019
BREAKFAST 7- 8 am | DEPART 9 am
After a beautiful sunrise and breakfast, our route covers the desert with varying scenery – sand dunes, stony plains, and the dry lake Iriqui – as we make our way to the village of Foum Zguid, where lunch will be served . We will continue on to Marrakech via a route through the High Atlas Mountains, enjoying astonishing views all the way back to Marrakech. After our long scenic drive, dinner awaits us at the riad as we return to the Medina.
DAY 12: MARRAKECH
"TREASURE HUNTING IN THE SOUK" | SUNDAY MARCH 31, 2019
BREAKFAST 8 am DEPART 9am
After breakfast, we will be inspired by the artistry of the Berber women who have crafted carpets at the Musee Boucharouite. We will then head to the souk (market) to bargain for brightly colored carpets and treasures. We will be guided by my friend and rug merchant to help those interested in purchasing one at the right price. After lunch we can either enjoy more shopping, or for those that would prefer, a hamman and massage, that can be arranged for you. We will end the day with a special dinner of Tanjia, a local specialty available only in Marrakech.
DAY 13: MARRAKECH
"FAREWELL TO OUR AIT" | MONDAY 1 APRIL 2019
BREAKFAST 7- 8 am
After enjoying your last breakfast you will be transported to the Marrakech Airport or you may continue onward on your travels. There is always so much more to discover in Morocco, if you need any additional help with organizing additional private or group tours please just ask us!
**Transfers to the Marrakech Menara Airport.
Transfers to and from Marrakech Menara Airport on arrival and departure days
12 nights lodging (double occupancy)
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner throughout the trip
All Guides + Entrance Fees
Camel ride in the Desert
Deluxe Bivouac in the Sahara Desert
5 day Workshop with Orly Avineri
Photography tips + techniques
Transportation throughout the trip
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:
- Airfare and travel costs to and from Morocco
- Passport fees
- Travel Insurance
- Optional activities
- Supplement for single room (limited supply)
- Additional nights lodging or any add - on tours
- Small amount of personal art ephemera + supplies (a supply list will be sent out from Orly Aveneri closer to the gathering)
- Personal spending money
- Tips and gratuities
RETREAT WITH SINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY
RETREAT WITH SHARED ROOM OCCUPANCY
"After our incredible trip with Michelle and Kamal, I am completely spoiled for international travel! The wonderful local connection of these two took us deep into the true culture and lives of the warm and giving Berber people.
Our trip was personalized to our interests, adding experiences that we had no idea to ask for and enriching our visit. The trip was an authentic and wholesome adventure into the rural and traditional Morocco. We came away glowing and inspired with real experiences- and with two new amazing Moroccan friends!"