Eliza, Keppie and I have been working on a collaborative creative project called Mothertongues for a long while now, and this was our first-ever group retreat. It came at the perfect time, because Eliza & I are finishing up the edits on the book, and Keppie is busy recording the final songs for the audiobook/album, but with the long Sydney lockdown we hadn't been able to have any quality in-person time together during a crucial stage of the project.
From the moment we arrived in the slice of paradise called Springfield, and were welcomed so very warmly and with open arms by Kinchem, Shannon and Peter, we felt completely relaxed and creatively inspired.
The gorgeous Rosemary Hall - with its fireplace, big kitchen, lovely views and exquisite bedrooms - became our home for three nights. We wandered around the farm, learned about permaculture and how to cook quail eggs from Peter, chatted to Shannon and Kinchem about writing and books and collaboration and mental & physical wellbeing, swam in the pool, and asked the labyrinth some deep and personal questions before meandering into its centre for the answers.
We had the luxury of time and space to work on our project both together and alone; and were rejuvenated for the final push to get it close to being done by being surrounded by nature. Something of that clarity and stillness that we experienced at Springfield is now woven into the very fabric of our collaboration. It's an amazing gift to artists to be able to step outside their normal lives in this way, to quite literally clear a space for creation, and it's a gift Kinchem and her family has given and continues to give to so many women writers and artists. On behalf of the three of us, thank you. - Ceridwen Dovey, Eliza Bell & Keppie Coutts