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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.


A weekly creative (art-making) retreat series to renew and restore

An eight week series with Margaret Hartsook and Lisa Kagan  

“What in your life is calling you, when all the meetings are adjourned…the lists laid aside, and the wild iris blooms itself in the dark forest? What still pulls on your soul?”
– Rumi

We invite you to join us in creative community as we enter into this autumn season. This in-person weekly “mini retreat” series is designed to be a gift to yourself as we gradually emerge from these last few years of isolation. Each weekly session is an invitation, through writing and art, to discover and rediscover your inner treasures and talismans that bring hope and resilience. We will explore a variety of mixed media techniques and materials such as painting, drawing, collage, image transfer, and simple ceramic sculpture. By the end of the group, you will have a personal treasure chest to inspire and sustain you throughout the darker days of winter. This weekly retreat series also offers you a chance to rekindle your creative spark, cultivate new ways of enriching yourself and your life in this next chapter, and nurture and nourish yourself in the supportive, uplifting company of other women.

This retreat offers space for creative expression for women 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:
This is an eight week series with facilitators Margaret Hartsook and Lisa Kagan. This series will be offered on Mondays from 6:30pm-9pm on October 3, 10, 17, 24 (no group October 31) and November 7, 14, 28 (no group November 21), and December 5

Created by Margaret Hartsook

Margaret’s home art studio, in SE Portland, the Creston neighborhood.

Program Fee: $375
Art Materials:
Total Cost: $400

Payment is due at the time of sign up. For more information or to register for this program, please contact Lisa at: or 503.347.1391. Due to the limited number of participants we can accommodate, early registration is recommended. Click here to view the full event details, registration information, and our COVID-19 vaccination policy.

This program is offered as a collaboration between Portland Women Writers and Touchstone Retreats.




Exploring personal mythology through writing and mask making

A full day in-person retreat

with Lisa Kagan and Dawn Thompson

“There is in every human countenance either a history or a prophecy.”
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Who are we and who do we want to become? Beyond the self we present to the world and the many roles we play in our life, dwells a larger self. How easy it can be to lose touch with this essential, natural self. How vital for our own well-being and for the good of the world that we find opportunities to return to the self that dwells within. Join us for a soulful and inspiring day in the beauty of the natural world in community with other women. Through writing and mask making, utilizing painting, drawing, collage, print making and collecting materials from the magnificent Oregon forest, you’ll have the chance to honor your sense of self and your own personal evolution. This soulful and inspiring day in the beauty of the natural world also offers you a chance to deeply nourish yourself with a delicious lunch, a beautiful retreat setting, and the supportive, uplifting company of other women.

This retreat offers space for creative expression for women of all ages and backgrounds. No writing or art experience is necessary. All art materials will be provided.

Masks by Lisa Kagan

Dates & Times:
November 5th, 10am-5pm (This is a full day retreat)

Alton L. Collins Conference & Retreat Center
“Surrounded by giant fir and cedar, lush fern and abundant moss covered vine maple, the Alton L. Collins Conference & Retreat Center near Eagle Creek, Oregon provides an environment and facilities conducive to study and reflection, relaxation and recreation…Trails take you through the woods and along the streams that meander around the grounds.”

A professional chef specializes in using fresh, local produce to create meals that are truly culinary works of art. This retreat includes lunch.

Retreat Program Fee  & Lunch: $195
Art Materials:
Total Cost: $210

Payment is due at the time of sign up. Registration and payment is made through Alton L. Collins Retreat & Conference Center. Click here to register. For more information or if you have questions about the retreat, please contact Dawn at: or 503.568.6145.

Click here to view the full event details, registration information, and our COVID-19 vaccination policy.

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 and Dawn are the co-founders of Touchstone Retreats.

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. Lisa offers art and writing workshops and retreats throughout the Pacific Northwest and is a facilitator through Portland Women Writers. Lisa believes in the transformative nature of the creative process to heal, empower, challenge, inform, and awaken the human spirit. Lisa has published two books of original art and poetry, Coming Home to Myself (2021) and Emergence (2009).

Dawn Thompson oversees Portland Women Writers and has had the honor to be a part of it since 2008. She has also worked as a staff member for Write Around Portland. Dawn currently holds writing workshops for individuals healing from cancer through the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU and Words for Healing through Legacy Cancer Center. She believes writing our stories, whether they originate from our life experience or imagination, is a sacred act that liberates, heals and transforms us. Dawn is passionate about how writing in community offers the gift of becoming more intimate with our self and more connected to one another.

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

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