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September 20-25, 2022

Learn to bind books with Debra Frances, create artful content with Sue Gordon and eco dye using local plants and berries with Sointula based artisan Robin Smith.

No bookbinding or art experience necessary!

We will explore several binding methods, all of which will then be expanded upon to create unique books.

Creating content will be detailed and personal as we discuss and consider theme, composition, colour and texture. Sue will demo and instruct classes in monoprinting and dry point using a small etching press and etching inks. Stencils, cold wax applications, and gel prints may also be combined to create unique art pieces for each book.

Malcolm Island is a hidden gem offering breath taking scenery, tranquility, great outdoor experiences, many wildlife viewing opportunities and a fascinating history. It is located just off the northeast shore of Vancouver Island.

Our workspace will be the beautiful Oceanfront Hotel in Sointula.

Accommodation is not included and needs to be booked separately. You can share an oceanfront room with a friend or enjoy some solitude in your own private room.

Oceanfront Hotel Contact Robin at (250) 230-6722 for all your reservations. She is holding rooms for our event.

It is recommended to book early so you can get the room and view you want.

Plan to arrive during the day (Tuesday, September 20th) so that you can settle in before we have our welcome dinner in the evening.

Workshops will run from 10 – 4 allowing for 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 late into the evening.

Cost: $1995 (+ 5% GST) includes all workshops, materials and art supplies as well as all your meals from Tuesday dinner until after breakfast on Sunday.

Registration will be open on Wednesday, April 13 at noon CST and payment can be made HERE.

$500 (+ 5% GST) deposit will secure your spot on the retreat and is due at time of registration.

The balance of $1495 (+ 5% GST) will be due on June 20th or before.


“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.

Optional activities may include:

Hike along Bere Point

Hike the Beautiful Bay Trail

Sea Kayaking

Visit Malcolm Island Wasabi

Whale Watching (extra cost)

Fishing charter (extra cost)

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 approximately $90-120. 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 – here is a direct link to the ferry schedule for Port McNeil – Sointula. On your arrival day you will want to be in Port McNeil early enough to catch there 4:05 ferry.

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