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“The retreat was a life-changing experience – to be in the company of serious yet irreverent artists who each brought a unique style and vision to the work. I left feeling refreshed and inspired – not only by the company, but by the beauty of the island.” – Wendy Craig, San Diego, California

“If you can possibly make it to the Malcolm Island Retreat, you should sign up right away! I highly recommend it! Last year was a fabulous experience. I would give it a solid 5 stars right across the board. The location, the food, and last but not least the instruction far exceeded my expectations. The instructors were more than generous with their time and expertise. You won’t find an experience like this anywhere else. I would love to be there again this year because I know the instructors are busy planning another fabulous retreat. I will miss all the new friends that I am sure will be back. I will be there in spirit while traveling in the Arctic! – Pauline Braun, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Malcolm Island Retreat is My Happy Place Found myself! It was a fabulous week of driftwood hunting, Canadian forest/beach hiking, whale watching, fresh crab and salmon dinners, wasabi education, eco dying, mono printing and of course BOOK BINDING! Malcolm Island was the perfect setting for a personal and artistic retreat. Learning new art skills from Debra, Sue and Robin while we looked out the Oceanfront Hotel windows to the ocean is almost indescribable. Inspiration was everywhere, and especially in the fabulous group of strangers that became friends by the end of it. I have been on an artistic binge ever since. This retreat awakened a long lost passion for making that had been quelled by the unrelenting structure of “real life”. I hope to return for more skills, more friend making and more artistic wakening. This is my happy place. – Ayoka Paek, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Thank you to Janet Etter and The North Island Eagle for this lovely article on our 2019 bookbinding retreat.


September 14th – 20th

We want to share one of the most beautiful, peaceful and wildly wonderful islands in Canada with you and nine other women. Malcolm Island is a hidden gem offering breath taking scenery, tranquility, great outdoor experiences, many wildlife viewing opportunities, and a fascinating history.

We also want to help you learn to make and bind your own books and create inspiring pages for them We will feed you well and keep you as creatively and physically active as you want to be for five days. The rest is up to you!

Our main instructor is bookbinder and book artist Debra Frances. Winnipeg visual artist Sue Gordon will teach mono printing with cold wax applications and local artisan Robin Smith will demo and instruct eco dying on paper and fabric using local plants. We will wander the beaches and pathways to search out driftwood and other items we can use in the making of our books.

Bookbinding or artistic experience is not necessary.

Optional activities may include:

Hike along Bere Point

Hike the Beautiful Bay Trail

Sea Kayaking

Visit Malcolm Island Wasabi

Fishing charter (extra cost)

We will be working and enjoying evening meals in the Oceanfront Hotel with a view overlooking the ocean. Breakfast and lunch will be self served in the communal kitchen or you can pack it up and take it onto the beach. We’ll indulge in a fresh crab supper one evening and locally caught wild salmon on another.

Arrival will be on September 14th. We will settle in and gather for supper to discuss our plans for the week. Workshop time will be from 10-4, allowing plenty of time to stroll along the shoreline or take in one of the optional activities. There will be full access to materials and the work area if you want to work early or later into the evening.

Our accommodation and work place is The Oceanfront Hotel, a quaint and comfortable inn with amazing rooms over looking the water. You can choose your room (ocean or street side, single or double). Prices range from $79 to $250). After retreat registration call the hotel directly to book your room. Robin (250) 230-6722 or

Hotel owners Robin and Ray have graciously offered to let our group stay for half price after the retreat. Something definitely worth taking advantage of! There is a grocery store across the street and a small café as well.

Even though Malcolm Island is quite remote, it is very accessible. Possibilities for travel are:

Flight from your city to Victoria, Comox, Nanaimo or Port Hardy. There are buses to Port McNeil from Victoria and Comox and if coming from Port Hardy, a taxi is $60. Car rental from Victoria, Nanaimo or Comox is also possible. The ferry ride from Port McNeil to Sointula is a short 20 minute ride (BC Ferries).

Come and enjoy an incredible adventure with us!

COST: $1895 includes all workshops, materials and meals from Tuesday evening until after breakfast on Monday. Please register early as we anticipate this retreat workshop to fill up quickly.

Payments can be made through my online shop.

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