Total Pageviews

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shift and transformation

I would say that I have found the current trend in the coaching fraternity which promises transformation to be flaky. Transformation is about about as lasting as a New Year's resolution. I speculate that it works on a group level where folks join the collective unconscious and leave aside their masks of non-self  for a while, but only until the everyday kicks back in. Such collective experiences are common to most cultures we know; religious congregations, rites, football matches etc. But the creative shift is I believe somewhat different. It takes folks into the creative collective, where the masks come off again but where things are then made beyond themselves, poetry, painting, dance, music, earth sculpture. Things they take away with them and have the option to continue or not as they please and in any form they might choose. Doing by doing sort of thing. If you don't, it won't.
But to explain further.
I once lived in Africa and for some unaccountable reason at the time, I developed a fascination for the salamander. As you probably know, this little creature lives in water just as any other common newt and is seemingly happy to do so all its uneventful life.
But if there is a prolonged drought, it ups and grow lungs, leaves its dried up home, doubles in size and continues its life on land as a small dragon, apart from the occasional dip when the rains return; much more fun I would say.
Now that's what I call transformation because it can't reverse the process.
Human beings (I have found) do exactly that, they regress. They have massively powerful default mechanisms and suffer pain and guilt when lulled back to their stage one salamander state.
Now, for me, this is where our creativity awaits us; at that gap between shift and transformation.
My experience leads me to believe that the very act of creatively manifesting beyond ourselves leads to the (re)discovery of self by which I mean a reawakening to the essence of what we were born to be, i.e. creative creatures. A part of us which for most people was closeted away at childhood and hidden from our daily lives, yet haunting us like a stumbling ghost as long as we live, unless we choose to do something about it.
And no, I don't think it has anything to do with destiny or any divine calling, just our truer selves/natures which I assume we are born with. Yes yes of course we are, we accept this of our dogs, cats and horses for goodness sake. They have their individual natures, they do. Especially at breakfast time
So, in short, for me at  least, there is no struggling with saboteurs or gremlins, just a bit of help from someone, somewhere, to put us back again in the direction of our greater, creative selves.
It's New Year's Eve and I'm off to compose my resolutions for 2013.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Shift

Currently I have a problem with the much heralded concept of 'transformation'.
Yes, transformation. It's this, that I no longer believe in it.
I know that this is burning at the stake talk, so I should explain.
It's principally because I have found, in my teaching of creativity, that there is nothing to transform. That everything is already there in a person; this innate God-given gift which simply has to be revealed, woken up to and then kept alive by the very act of creativity itself.
So to me it's a shift. And I found this week a lovely blog on the Guardian site by Mia Hansson which explains admirably what I mean by that term.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Michael Eldridge.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Phew! Got past that one!

And what a relief to wake up and still be here.
I'm thinking that maybe the Mayan prophecy was simply about my internet connection; hmm, yes, must have been. It had shrunk from bad to non-existent in line with the old World order and now it is back and fast(ish).
And my SKYPE is working too, so you can call me and discuss which of our wonderful, inspiring and
powerful retreats you would like to sign up for in 2013.
In, the meantime, may I wish you all the very best of all good things in your lives.
E Buon Anno !


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

BIG painting

BIG painting

This is Michelle
Two retreats with Michael and Michelle Rumney where you paint BIG and become Big again by doing so (these things go together you see) May and September 2013
Painting BIG
Big brushes, big colour and big canvas
Michelle says...
' I see so many people try to paint without letting themselves really get into the physicality of the materials - the session includes painting with your non-dominant hand and painting on BIG surfaces with long handled brushes to help get over the tidiness and get into the fun of it'.

Read more

Friday, November 30, 2012

Four more

Four more workshops planned for 2013.
Here's one with Jeff Shapiro. I've watched him in action, he's quite something.

A seminar in Creative Writing taught by Jeff Shapiro
Seminar description:

To make written words come alive and breathe, the writer must first notice life—its rhythms, inflections, tensions, rewards.  The body’s senses (all five, six, seven, eight of them) are the key to perceiving.  Once awakened to fuller awareness, the writer is free to create, savor, explore.  

Then we have Michelle Rumney with BIG painting, Eleanor Sara Darley with Mexican prayer wheels as healing art
and Rebecca Taber with Simply Drawing (nice)
All up on site soon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Missed me have you?

Doubt it..
But have been offline for past six weeks on account of this is Italy. Nuff said!
But here to cheer you is a photo of Mauro Magrini photographing I think a spider in our soon to be available studio/ seminar room at I Cigni, during our Wild Photography weekend

A meditative image, don't you think?
the rain has stopped

Saturday, November 3, 2012

2013 Calendar is up

Yes it is.
And here it is.
Got everything hasn't it.
Look out for our Master Classes up soon too.
Here's something to inspire you in the meantime. Great Planet, great Planet

Ciao ciao

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Makes you wonder

This was our Wild Photography weekend.
And what are they photographing?
Tadpoles? Wild tadpoles?
I don't think so

In a few days, we'll post up some of the images our guests created on the weekend.
Agog with wonder we were at their risk taking and their open hearts.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

We're here

Yes, here we are in the glorious sunshine of I Cigni.
Our wild photography Workshop.
Great people and, my, am I learning a lot.
Yesterday, we spent at La Gola d'Infernaccio, 'The Throat of hell'

Wildest thing ever.
More to come.
Like, how's this for wild?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Photography Retreats

Our Photography Retreats are designed to excite you, awaken you, and to remind you that a camera is just a machine. That what it really is about is your mind; how you perceive yourself and the world of outside of you.
An inner and outer adventure


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Starstone and Energetics

                                             It's enough to make you break into song

Have you ever awakened in the morning and felt that your body didn't belong to you, or that you didn't belong to your body? Horrific for you.

Must confess, I feel like that often first thing in the morning. But I trundle out into the garden, do Tai Chi and Qi Kung and put myself together again (like the tin man in 'The Wizard of Oz', I hear you whisper)
Anyway, It's a bit like that, the Energetics weekend. With dynamic Longevity exercises and dreamlike Watsu gentleness you'll be put back together again. You'll be able to look down and say 'This is my body'
and the very best of Italian food, air, beauty etc etc. All the wonderful things that Italy really is, La Bella Italia.

At our playground, I Cigni, by the Adriatic Sea in Le Marche.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Special Guests retreats


It's a retreat where you bathe in the pure pleasure of good and like-minded company.
And you delight in being in one of the most beautiful parts of Italy where the wine and cuisine and the scenery will leave you breathless.
Deliberately unprogrammed, this weekend just sits back and watches it happen, and it does

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keep those neural paths open

Just read this on Co.Exist web site. Seems that 'creativity requires the engagement of multiple neural networks, perhaps strengthening those networks as the brain ages. In other words, creative activities may act as exercises that keep the brain fit. People who exhibit creativity also seem to cope with stress better, finding solutions to stressful situations rather than being overwhelmed by them. And other studies this year have also shown a connection between openness and reduced metabolic risk'

Hmm. I like this and can quite believe it to be true!

So if you sign up for our Wild Photography weekend you will live longer.. it says so!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Feel like this as a photographer?

Our Wild Photography Weekend is designed to excite you, awaken you, and to remind you that a camera is just a machine. That what it really is about is your mind; how you perceive yourself and the world of outside of you.
In other words, we turn you up the right way again.
An inner and outer adventure

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hooray, new site is up

At last our new site is up and I thank our web designer, Mauro, for his patience with my nagging and pestering nature.
We are
And I hope you find it inspirational and welcoming.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where are You?

This is where we are, it's our playground.
I Cigni, It means 'The Swans' on account of the two lakes thereon, although I've never seen a swan there, just the occasional carp, huge.
Here is an aerial view of the Estate.

Also huge and it takes us at least 10 minutes to get from the breakfast terrace at the bottom of the Estate to where we hang out. It's the cypress tree just left of centre where you will find, dear guest, the swimming pool.

To the right of which is an olive tree garden, a shady spot where we deliberate on important matters before jumping into the pool and then getting working on whatever we are doing at the time.
Get it?
Of course you do
Here's a map of how to get to I Cigni

Can you spot Campofilone? Massignano?
Well it's between the two.
More precise info on

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WILD? You bet!
We are based at our playground in Montefiore and zoom off daily to the Sibillini National Park to 
subject ourselves to the whims of nature and the Goddess Sibilla.
Oct 4 to 7
An unforgettable experience; Starstone Wild Photography Workshop

illustrations by Lehla Eldridge

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Energetics at Starstone

Energetics comprises Watsu (under water Shiatsu; be a dolphin for a day), Longevity (getting you to belong in your body) and facial reflexology (mmm!) and the very best of Italian food, air, beauty etc etc. All that stuff that Italy really is, La Bella Italia.
At our playground, I Cigni, by the Adriatic Sea
in Le Marche.
A Starstone weekend in 2013.
contact Michael for more info

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Are you starstruck?

I guess this is what it must feel like; bright and sparky sort of thing.
Maria's Star Guest Retreats at Starstone are just exactly like that, bright and sparky.
They are floating weekends where nothing in particular is planned but where lots goes on.
Where you float in and enjoy the very presence of Maria's Special Guest.
Where the weekend creates itself.
A very Italian weekend.
Wonderful food.
Fine Wines.

Monday, August 27, 2012

You can't write poetry!

You can't!
Yes you can!

This is Colin Pink
My favourite living poet.
Colin and Michael run the word and image retreat at Starstone. Done loads together we have and they're fun.
Haiku, Waiku and all sorts.
He does the word part and Michael the images which derive from and in turn inform the poetry.
Get it?
Of course you don't but once you are here it all clicks smoothly into place and you awaken to the beauty of knowing you are all artists and poets whenever you choose to be. site up this week

Sunday, August 26, 2012


SACRED VOICE; Jules Heavens
This is Jules, she runs our Voice workshop at Starstone. I attended one of these in France last year. Now, to 'sing' your own name is quite something, believe me and to have this sound resonate throughout your body is an unforgetable feeling and experience.

New site goes up this week

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Italian Cooking

Italian Cooking.

Don't you wish you could?
And yes we have Italian Cooking weekends too during 2013.
What with Poetry, Painting, Photography, Energetics, Voice and our famous Creativity Retreats throughout the year.
Busy aren't we?
So, if the World is going to end, it'll have to wait a year. You need to know how to cook alla Italiana

Friday, August 24, 2012

StarStone Painting Retreats

Wild Painting Weekend

Mad Painting retreat (Can't paint? Oh yes you can)

Michael teams up with his painting buddy from the Red and Blue Art Factory, Lorenzi Viscidi (have a peep at www,
Here we will whisk away all the 'can'ts' from your aching soul and make you realise
how accessing your intuitive creativity is as easy as slipping into a Turkish Bath but not in Istanbul.
We play, we laugh, make a mess, but we never make mistakes, simply because they don't exist, do they? No they don't.
And you will come away from this retreat with something magical and which will last.
That you can, and will, paint.
And you will discover your natural style.
A bargain I reckon

New site up next week

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Sibillini Mountains

This painting is one in a series, painted as a homage to the ten years I spent in these mountains.

Amongst these magical mountains we are running our first photographic retreat. It's a wild place and inhabited by wolves, bear, wild boar, mountain eagles and all sorts of other wondrous creatures.
And on its alluvial plain, autumn and springtime there are a wonder of mountain flowers and fantastic colours.
Dates are October, 4th to 7th.
Photography is a way to bring life into yourself, it enhances your soul, it changes you.
New Starstone website up very soon, honest

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wild and wilder

Yes, I know, it's Ferragosto, that time of National collective coma in Italy. And I'm using this as an excuse to tell you I'm still behind in getting new website up. Problem is..Mauro, our designer is on holiday in Puglia. In Puglia? In this heat? With 15 and a half million cars on the road?
Hmm! But things are looking cooking good for our Wild Photography Weekend in October. The Sibillinis are like a string of pearls after the first snow and there is the first delicious sting of ice waiting for us on our wild mountain photographic quest. Cooling words for Mauro.

Monday, July 30, 2012

wild photography

                          wild wild wild
                                               wild landscape, wild people.
                        wild photography
                           Oct 4th to 7th
                         Montefiore Italy. 
                              A must !



Monday, July 23, 2012

Patience patience

That's what you need.
But don't panic. Our new Starstone site will be up in a week or so.
Blame the searing heat here.And my toothache

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wild wild

WILD PHOTOGRAPHY; ITALY October 4 to 7, 2012
Our wild weekend in the Magical Sibillini Mountain Park
Revitalise your vision. Read more..

The Sibillini National park is Italy's newest and apart from all the magical connections with the Ancient Goddess religions, it is also the home of wolves, bear and squirrels. I jest here about the squirrels (but there are lots and they are sweet and black)... but enough to say it's full of the most fascinating fauna and flora.
Scenically it almost overwhelming beautiful and it is here we will spend long days, returning knackered in the late evening to chew through our images and generally give each other a good hard time.
And then eat and sleep.
Your hosts are Michael, Natasha and Mauro.
Your fellow photographers Italian and English speaking.

For more info email Michael on

Our programme for next year

Our 2013 calendar offers the following;

Wild Photography (it's all about you and your brain) THIS ONE OCTOBER 2012

2013.. Starstone Retreats are held monthly, avoiding January, February and August

Our famous Creativity Workshops (which combine a mixture of all or any of the media below)

Wild Painting weekends (you can paint, of course you can)

Passion and Poetry (secrets unlocked forever, and ever)

Fantastic Film making (All this new technology makes filmakers of us all)

Real Italian Cooking (oh my, how delicious!)

Life Energetics (learn important stuff about how to energise your body and mind)

Music and Voice. Very powerful! Sourcing the magic you hold within

Special Guest Weekends. Maria invites you to meet her special friends. Memorable they are! 

for more info contact Michael on

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wild October in Italy

Our first Photography Workshop/Retreat is in October, from 4th to 7th.
We will explore together the wild Sibillini Mountain Range, once home of the Goddess Sibilla and will share Mauro's passion for portraiture too.
We are based at the Agriturismo I Cigni by the sea, our favourite Italian Bolt Hole.

A new Chef and wondrous cuisine

More details to come but here's a glimpse for now on Natasha's site...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


So there you are!
Was wondering I was
And the website is down, yes you are right about that.
It's because we are in the middle of putting up a new one and we've got muddled up between South Africa, UK and Italy. It's all about Servers and codes and things like that.
Here is some news!
Our latest retreat at I Cigni was a joy and a laugh and a launch into unknown territory, by which I mean we created some fascinating art and poetry and ate wondrous Italian food.

And that was just the food!

Just kidding of course! I'm scratching around between computers to find the Pizza pics but here in the meantime is a premeal photo (pizza pics soon); a trial for innocent English amateurs indeed it was

So what will our new site contain?
A whole host of new events, workshops, retreats, seminars, amongst which you will find;

Our famous Creativity Workshops (which combine a mixture of all or any of the media below)
Painting weekends (you can paint, of course you can)
Photography (it's all about you and your brain) STOP PRESS! A SPECIAL INTRO WKD OCT 4
Poetry (secrets unlocked forever, and ever)
Film making (incredible! All this new technology makes filmakers of us all)
Italian Cooking (oh my, delicious!)
Energetics (learn important stuff about how to energise your body and mind)
Music and Voice. Very powerful! Sourcing the magic you hold within
Special Guest Weekends. Maria invites you to meet her special friends. Memorable they will be! 

For quick info on any of above write to me, Michael, at, tel +39 328 3535358