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“The creative process puts us in touch with our soul, our spirit, our inner wisdom. Self-expression through the creative arts is a sacred and often mystical experience.” – Natalie Rogers

Are you looking for a space amidst your busy life to connect more deeply with yourself and your community in a supportive and inspiring environment?


Illumination, Photograph by Lisa Kagan

Touchstone Retreats offers you the chance to immerse yourself in the creative process of sharing your stories through art and writing. We facilitate art and writing retreats throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Upon request, we also provide specialized programing for organizations and community groups with a focus on serving caregivers, health care providers, educators, counselors, artists, writers, and social justice activists.

We invite you to:

  • Take a break from your responsibilities and enjoy the opportunity for self-reflection and creativity.
  • Allow yourself to be nurtured and nourished, supporting the process of regeneration and renewal.
  • Embark on your own journey of transformation, stepping more fully into your personal power and expressing your authentic voice and vision.
  • Share insight, inspiration, and wisdom through deepening community connection.

We honor writing and art as a creative process that belongs to all people. Each person’s voice is unique and of value. All writing, art and creativity is welcome here. No previous experience is necessary, just an openness to exploration.



NOURISH, Cultivating Creativity & Connection
A monthly writing & art-making mini retreat series with Lisa Kagan

“Beginnings are notation for the symphony of the possible in us. They ask us to break the pattern of our lives and reconfigure it afresh—something that can only be done with great courage and great tenderness, for no territory of life exposes both our power and our vulnerability more brightly than a beginning.”
~ John O’Donohue (Excerpt from “A Spell Against Stagnation”)

Are you ready to usher in a time of change or currently navigating a significant life transition? Are you looking to reinvigorate your creative spark and refill your well while making new connections in the community? Join us for NOURISH, our monthly art and writing circle. This “mini retreat” series offers you the chance to step away from the demands of daily life to connect more deeply with yourself through engaging in the creative process of writing, painting, drawing, and collage. Each month we will explore a different theme paired with writing prompts and a mixed media art invitation for the evening. Themes for this session include compassion, wonder, rejuvenation, resilience, and joy. Set in a lush private garden, this monthly circle offers you a chance to nurture and nourish yourself in the supportive, uplifting company of other women. This program offers space for creative expression for women and those who identify as female of all ages and backgrounds. No writing or art experience is necessary. All art materials, as well as snacks and tea, will be provided.

Sprout, Mixed Media by Lisa KaganDates & Times:
Wednesdays 6:30pm-9pm (February 21, March 20, April 17, May 15)

Location: Family Heirloom Arts Studio in SE Portland, the Woodstock neighborhood.

Program Fee: $195
Art Materials Fee: $25
Total Fee: $220

Registration & Payment:
For more information or if you would like to register for this program, please contact Lisa at: or at 503.347.1391. Visit our events page to learn more. Due to the limited number of participants we can accommodate, early registration is recommended.



A weekly creative (writing & art-making) retreat series to renew and restore
A ten week series with Lisa Kagan and Margaret Hartsook
THIS PROGRAM IS FULL (Contact us to join the waitlist)

“I have some wild violet in me, some willingness to insist on renegade beauty, some desire to be soft and yet persist,
some certainty that the garden is big enough for us all.”

~ Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer (Excerpt from the poem “Viola Papilionacea”)

Befriending Time, Mixed Media by Lisa Kagan

As we move from the darkest time of the year towards the return of the light, this in-person weekly “mini retreat” series offers you the chance to step away from the demands of daily life to connect more deeply with your own inner light. Drawing inspiration from nature’s passage through winter’s dormancy into spring’s cycle of blossoming, together we will cultivate our personal gardens of possibility through engaging in the creative process. Combining creative writing and visual art, we will explore a variety of mixed media techniques and materials such as painting, drawing, and collage. This year’s RADIANCE mini retreat series will feature a number of special projects including the creation of soul house lanterns, narrative images incorporating personal silhouettes, and mixed media mobiles. This weekly retreat series offers you a chance to nurture your creative spark, cultivate new ways of enriching yourself and your life in this next chapter, and nourish yourself in the supportive, uplifting company of other women. This program offers space for creative expression for women and those who identify as female of all ages and backgrounds. No writing or art experience is necessary. All art materials, as well as snacks and tea, will be provided.

Dates & Times:
Mondays 6:30pm-9pm on January 29, February 5, 12, 19, 26, March 4 (no group March 11, 18, 25), April 1, 8, 15, 29 (no group April 22)
*This group is divided into two parts (Part 1: January 29th-March 4th, and Part 2: April 1st-29th). During the break in March, we will be offering our annual Touchstone Retreats full weekend retreat March 15th-17th at Alton Collins Retreat Center.

Location: Studio of the Imagination at Margaret’s home in SE Portland, the Creston neighborhood.

Program Fee: $500
Art Materials Fee: $35
Total Fee: $535

Registration & Payment:
For more information or if you would like to register for this program, please contact Lisa at: Lisa or at 503.347.1391. Visit our event page for more information. Due to the limited number of participants, we can accommodate early registration is recommended.

This program has two payment options:
~ Option 1: Payment for the full amount of $535.00 can be made at the time of sign-up.
~ Option 2: Payment can be made in two installments. The first payment of $267.50 is due at the time of sign-up. The second payment of $267.50 is due by March 15th.




November 2023-June 2024
with Dawn Thompson

“The magic of writing practice is you start where you are – observing, remembering, listening – and this simple act of being where you are leads, inevitably, to a place you didn’t know you needed to go to, but in following the thread you go a little deeper into understanding.”

– Erin Lee Gafill (“Drinking from a Cold Spring: A Little Book of Hope”)

These days, we all long for connection. Connection with our deeper self and connection with one another. Devoting yourself to a writing practice is a powerful way to foster connection with the larger human story, with your personal stories and with your capacity for creation, vision and inner peace. The page is a room of your own where you can listen for parts of yourself that are calling, where you have space to contemplate your lived experience and where you can access the compass of your poetic heart. In this monthly retreat series, inspiring prompts are provided as doorways into the writing. These prompts invite your critical mind to step aside in order to allow the great wisdom of your authentic voice and your imagination to rise to the surface. When you write in community and have the opportunity to listen to other women’s stories, you enter the encouraging realm of our shared humanity. You gather essential tools as a writer and receive the medicine of being deeply heard. In community, your writing becomes stronger, more honest, full of vision and heart. This program offers space for creative expression for women and those who identify as female of all ages and backgrounds. No previous writing experience is necessary.

Dates: 11/13, 12/11 (2023), 1/8, 2/12, 3/11, 4/8, 5/13, 6/10 (8 weeks)
Time: 10:00am-12:15pm
Location: Kitty’s home, NE Portland
Cost: $220

Registration: To register or for more information, please contact Dawn Thompson at: or 503.568.6145. You can learn more about this program here.

Looking to join an online writing circle? Check out Dawn Thompson’s Words for Healing upcoming online writing programs

Touchstone Retreat Photos

Here is what participants have to say about Touchstone Retreats…

I have now been to two art and writing retreats with Dawn Thompson and Lisa Kagan and both provided so much healing for my soul. There is nothing like gathering with others to create. Much like meditating with a group of people, the experience is very powerful in a way that cannot be replicated on your own. Dawn and Lisa are both very thoughtful, kind and supportive and just an inspiration to work with. I feel very nurtured with them, even (especially) at my most vulnerable moments sharing my work with the group. I am so grateful for them and can’t wait to retreat with them again!”

– Touchstone Retreats Participant

Extraordinary things happen when a group of women come together and commit to writing, creating, and exploring in nature. Dawn and Lisa of Touchstone Retreats provided a safe, nurturing space to simply be— without judgment or expectation. We were invited as individuals to experience our weekend as we needed. There’s such freedom in that. I wrote, hiked, put my feet up, and got my fingers sticky with paint. It was fantastic! Our group quickly became a unique type of family, forged in a creative space so often unattainable in the bustle of modern life. The delicious, locally-sourced meals prepared by an amazing chef made the weekend extra special. This was a writing and art retreat, but it was also a nature and foodie retreat! Dawn and Lisa are two of the most welcoming and talented humans I’ve ever met. I left feeling loved, nurtured, and inspired. I can’t wait for the next Touchstone retreat!

– Touchstone Retreats Participant

I recommend Touchstone Retreats to women who are looking for a safe place to connect with their inner voice and creativity, and also to connect with kindred spirits. Life is such a hectic race through our to-do lists that we hardly ever disconnect not only from electronics, but from our self-talk to do more and be more. Taking time for reflection is so important. Participating in a retreat like this is a way to be kind to yourself through taking time to write and create.

– Touchstone Retreats Participant

I registered for this retreat because I wanted time away in the forest with like-minded creatives. It was so much more ~ from the beautiful venue to the incredible meals and ‘forest bathing’ to the deep dive into writing and mask making, it was a pure joy. I hope to attend many more.

– Touchstone Retreats Participant

About Touchstone Retreats Facilitators:

Lisa Kagan is a writer, artist, educator, and personal historian. Her business, Family Heirloom Arts, is dedicated to helping individuals and families celebrate their life stories and significant life milestones through the creation of illustrated heirloom books and custom art. She offers art and writing retreats throughout the Pacific Northwest. Lisa believes in the transformative nature of the creative process to heal, empower, challenge, inform, and awaken the human spirit. Lisa received her BA from Wesleyan University in Connecticut with a focus on writing and fine art. She has completed intensive studies in the arts at Skidmore College, the University of New Mexico, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Maine Photographic Workshops. Lisa has published two books of original art and poetry, Coming Home to Myself (2021) and Emergence (2009). Lisa is a co-founder of Touchstone Retreats.

Dawn Thompson believes writing our stories, whether they originate from our life experience or our imagination, is a sacred act that liberates, heals and transforms us. Dawn is passionate about how writing in community offers us the gift of becoming more intimate with ourself and more connected to one another. She currently offers writing workshops for women and  individuals healing from cancer through Words for Healing. Dawn oversaw and facilitated through Portland Women Writers from 2008-2023. She has also worked as a staff member for Write Around Portland. Dawn holds an M.A. in Creation Spirituality from Naropa University and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oregon. Dawn is a co-founder of Touchstone Retreats.

Margaret Hartsook sees art making and writing as spiritual practices that can open the gates of creativity and self-expression. She believes we each have a unique creative language that can promote well-being, healing, meaning making and growth in our lives. Through de-mystifying the tools of visual art making, she guides individuals to explore and find their own unique expression. Trained in drawing and painting at California College of Art, Margaret completed her BFA at the University of Oregon and received a Master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling & Psychology with an emphasis in Art Therapy from Naropa University. Margaret is currently working at Legacy Good Samaritan in the Cancer Institute as an Art Therapist. In addition to facilitating many art-based workshops she co-created the Art Therapy program for Pathways Hospice in Northern Colorado and established the Memories in the Making art program for the Alzheimer’s Association in Oregon.

Please contact us with questions, to register for our upcoming retreats, or to brainstorm on ideas for bringing a Touchstone Retreats program to your community.

Lisa Kagan

Dawn Thompson

Margaret Hartsook

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