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get Lost, find Joy

birds illustration
camping patch
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white x shape
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Join the Flock. Join the Drove (donkeys). Join the Crew.

writers, artists, graphic designers, and creatives of all walks of life are welcome, even part-time creative peeps, and are encouraged to coordinate your time in this supportive environment where you can HUG DONKEYS, pet cats, LAUGH with Chickens...
blue skies and birds today

blue skies and birds today

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Tennessee landscape bamboo grove donkeys
brown chickens and rooster with colorful feathers

Residency Overview

There are so many benefits one can cherish with a residency, retreat, or sabbatical stay at the Camp. Although this is not a resort because it is a rustic homestead environment with no staff, Val as your host is creating a unique environment so that you can focus on achieving your goals while still asking for your focus and mindfulness on basic habitat contributions during your time. There is a residency base fee and then a lodging fee determined by room choice and length of stay.

The residency fee includes all access to the land, unlimited interactions with the animals, and a designated studio, if needed. You'll be surrounded indoors by creatively designed spaces that have been organized as conducive to your work, and outdoors by all of the natural splendor that is slowly being curated in tamed and untamed ways by Val as the caretaker of the land as her giant art organism on-going project. Take time to browse the library of art and design books along with fiction/non-fiction options.

The fee also includes electricity, broadband, eco-friendly supplies such as septic-safe and tree free-toilet paper, non-toxic dish and laundry detergent (no sponges on site, and paper towels not provided).

The ongoing maintenance you may or may not notice includes gardening and landscape and other upkeep such as taking the trash to the landfill and the cleaning of your room pre and post occupancy.

There will be housekeeping once a week to ensure the health and wellness of everyone as well as the longevity of the facility in the general common spaces, but participants are expected to wash dishes daily (nothing left out overnight); sweep/vacuum daily; wipe down counters and sinks after use (and immediately clean your own shower or toilet if you make a mess); help with your own compostable items, upcycling sorting, and trash to the outside station; and keep communal spaces clutter free so that others may be able to walk or sit. If you don't like washing dishes, just opt for the add-on service.

Lastly, the fee includes a weekly meal, often the night before departures, procured and prepared by Val (most likely gluten free and leaning vegetarian/pescatarian.) where we may also have a movie, artist/creative talk, or maybe even a bonfire. During harvest time or an overabundance of eggs, you may be able to include those items in your own meals.


Please see the F.A.Q. below for more details.

    Inspired by ideologies of historical paths emphasizing the benefits of nature and walking for creative spirit, this residency program was established and continues to be an organic entity that is thriving with the ebb and flow of life with the seasons and people coming and going. Shifts happen here. Val, as your host and fellow creative practitioner, has created a place to disconnect from the fast-paced world for creative pursuit to nourish oneself to focus on projects at any stage from seed to germination within a rich natural rural environment. All participants become part of the ecosystem as a homestead in which they give of themselves in various ways and receive the gifts of inspiration and joy.
  • WHO?
    Sarasvati creative Space at Camp Wonder Wander has been established by an artist and former graphic design professor to support and encourage creative participation for people with a trajectory or creative shift in your discipline including emerging or rebooting, creatives of all colors and genders, and parents (children & partners welcome depending on the schedule or length of stay). Creatives who find nature as an inspiration, collaborator or muse will receive priority consideration. May participate solo or coordinate your collaborative team. Ideally suited for the following disciplines: Writing & Poetry Songwriting / Music (we do not have a piano or sound-proof studio) Graphic Design, Architecture, other Design fields Drawing and Painting Environmental Art Film, Video, Installation, Storytelling Theater Arts nature installation / 3D / sculpture Fiber Arts Murals
    The application fee for 2024 is $20.24 This covers the time it takes to review the application and the correspondence to arrange your residency if it will be a good fit. The application fee is non-refundable and does not go towards any other fees.
    Each participant by signing a contract AGREES to maintain a CLEAN environment. If you are not a tidy person, you may want to reconsider this opportunity. If you want to learn to be more mindful and more aware of how to be 'tidy', please communicate that in your application. Although the residency fee includes general maintenance, pre and post cleaning of your room, and once-a-week basic housekeeping, it is mandatory that all participants adhere to helping maintain a clean and healthy livable environment with basic contributions that may only take a few minutes of your time throughout the day which allows for your brain to work on your creative project 'behind the scenes'. This is not a resort with a giant staff catering to all of your needs and housekeeping daily. Neither is it your own home where sometimes chores can be forgotten or neglected because of how busy one can be. You must be respectful of the lodging, land, and animals with these actions. Because it is understood that sometimes we can get lost in our work or not realize that proverbial or actual dust is accumulating, or even that the toilet is dirty or our hair is in the sink or shower, your residency fee includes a once-a-week housekeeping in the common areas for a few hours to ensure that the lodging has longevity and our physical space can be healthy and enjoyable. Inspired by Shinto (Japanese practices and philosophy) which is outlined in more details in our policy forms in the handbook, you should engage in daily rituals for a creative habit which include sweeping (or vacuuming), wiping down all counters, wiping the sink (and mirror if necessary) after each use. In addition, each participant MUST wash dishes daily (or pay for the add-on service to assist you). No dirty dishes can remain overnight as you will invite critters immediately. Trash should be removed from the Raspberry Residency and Lemon Lodge nightly. Follow the up-cycling and trash guidelines and notify if any recycling bins are ready for transport. Take out organic waste to the compost tumbler at the base of the residency back steps or camphaus chicken zone. *************** ENJOY PHYSICAL CHORES AND TASKS? APPLY FOR THE FARM EXCHANGE SCHOLARSHIP If you want to gain more out of your participation and want the opportunity to get your hands dirty literally or figuratively by engaging in homestead activities, you can apply for the farm exchange scholarship option which reduces the weekly residency fee by $150 for 6 hours of assistance*. Two hours will be guided as a special needs project that week which could be cleaning, composting, a small build project needing extra hands to hold something, or even just picking up sticks for kindling. The additional four hours will be reviewed and agreed upon tasks can be managed on your own schedule throughout your stay reporting back to Val when completed or asking for more guidance is encouraged. Examples of projects include weeding (with guidance and permission), bamboo harvesting or moving, grooming and interacting with the donkeys, picking up sticks and creating kindling piles, raking, helping feed the animals, clearing a trail, cleaning the sides of a house, helping with compost and manure, among others that could pop up spontaneously or seasonally. *The monthly discount is $75/week or $300 total as the residency fee is already discounted for that length of stay. Anyone who refuses to maintain a clean space including your own dishes/trash/personal items, or is damaging the property in any way will forfeit all fees and may be asked to depart early as a contract violation.
    Sarasvati creative Space is a truly unique opportunity for participants in a very special oasis outside of the 'normal' world. There are a plethora of residency options in the U.S. and abroad, and many of them have been in existence so long that they have a large staff and a fundraising arm. The philosophy here is that there is more value in one's experience if the exchange is not entirely complimentary, like an art 'resort'. There is a value to the access to the land, the people, the facilities, the libraries, the experiences, and the conversations in general that make this a priceless opportunity. This is an artist run / artist founded residency developed with grit and determination not big donors, and as an artist seeking to help others thrive we do that through the recognition of the value of the place and time. Please make sure that you have made the appropriate arrangements to pay for your stay as well as manage all of your other obligations including if you are also paying rent/mortgage back home. There is a strict guest/visitor policy. Please see that FAQ for more information. Dogs are allowed under certain circumstances. No other types of pets are accepted - not cats, rabbits, snakes, frogs, fish, or any other pet including your plants. The Lemon Lodge and Raspberry Residency House are allergy-free of animals. The Camphaus has multiple farm cats inside and outside. ---------------------------- Please note that rates may change without any notice, but you are locked in once a contract has been signed. Due to hospitality tax laws monthly rates do not require taxes. Month-long stay requests will have an interview to ensure the right fit. --------------------------- RESIDENCY FEE: ONE WEEK - $450 (+ lodging choice) TWO WEEKS - $750 (+ lodging choice) THREE WEEKS - $900 (+ lodging choice) Monthly (Camphaus, and limited seasonal options in Raspberry and Lemon) - $800 (+ lodging choice) --------------------------- You must arrive on a Saturday or Sunday for Sat-Sat or Sun-Sun schedules for 1, 2, or 3 week increments. For example, If you can only stay a long weekend, you must still book a week. If you want to stay 10 days, you must book 2 weeks, etc. Monthly stays can arrive on the 1st of the month or organize four weeks overlapping months based on availability. --------------------------- LODGING OPTIONS: The local and state taxes are approximately 20% which are included in the fee for those under 30 days. Residency fee also includes housekeeping of bathrooms and communal space on a Saturday or Sunday, but you must maintain the space every day as noted elsewhere and in the contract. You are required to maintain your own room during your stay, but (arrival and) departure cleaning is included in the Residency fee. Raspberry Residency House : Single Occupancy Rates TWIN BED / SHARED BATH (two rooms) : 1 WEEK = $250 / 2 WEEKS = $375 / 3 WEEKS = $500 FULL BED w/TWIN BUNK / PRIVATE BATH with soaking tub and walk-in shower, *add $100 per person per week up to three total occupants 1 WEEK = $325 / 2 WEEKS = $500 / 3 WEEKS = $650 Lemon Lodge (inquire on availability): Single Occupancy Rates, please inquire about renting the entire Lemon Lodge for your group up to 12 using the loft rooms and daybed. There is no laundry facility in this house, please inquire of laundry access if needed. FULL BED / HALL SHARED BATH : 1 WEEK = $300 / 2 WEEKS = $550 / 3 WEEKS = n/a KING w/TWIN / PRIVATE BATH with tub/shower: *add $100 per person per week up to three total occupants 1 WEEK = $500 / 2 WEEKS = $800 / 3 WEEKS = n/a TWIN BED & trundle / SHARED BATH : 1 WEEK = $250 / 2 WEEKS = $400 / 3 WEEKS = n/a LOFT BEDS 7 in total dormitory style (may not be available unless other rooms are occupied or during certain seasons). The loft is basic and has pitched roof. There may be minor partitions between spaces, but think of this as a youth hostel style set-up. You get a bed and small storage shelving with some lighting. You can use communal space to work. You have access to the hall bath on the main floor. 1 WEEK = $200 / 2 WEEKS = $325 / 3 WEEKS = n/a Camphaus (you must not be allergic to cats. No personal pets): Single Occupancy Rates *add $100 per person per week up to three total occupants, please inquire about rates for children you would like to bring. QUEEN BED with west elm armless couch/ HALL BATH : 1 WEEK = $350 / 2 WEEKS = $530 / 3 WEEKS = $699 QUEEN w/TWIN BUNK / PRIVATE BATH with walk-in shower: 1 WEEK = $450 / 2 WEEKS = $660 / 3 WEEKS = $850 RV Parking for size of up to a school bus, includes hookup to water, septic, and electric if necessary. $300 / week. Monthly rate will receive a 25% discount = $900 ------------------------ MONTHLY RATES: The general term is one or two months. We will consider up to 4 month stays for those on sabbatical or other type of project. Please mention in your application. Monthly options are ONLY available in the Camphaus where there are cats inside and out. For extenuating circumstances and those with allergies, monthly options may be available in Raspberry and Lemon during Fall/Winter seasons. Cancelling in the middle of your stay will not cancel your residency fee obligation, details are in the contract. All rates are based on single occupancy. There are no guests allowed for monthly longer term stays. CAMPhaus Director HOUSE (613) approximately 1620 sq ft: Single Occupancy Rates, No Guests These rates are not subject to state or local taxes. You should clean your room regularly including your private bathroom. If you would like housekeeping services, there will be an additional fee, please inquire. Queen with bunk bed / private bath - $850 / month Queen with daybed / hall bath - $700 / month Raspberry Residency : Single Occupancy Rates, No Guests These rates are not subject to state or local taxes. This is available only on a case-by case basis from October to end of March. Because studios are not climate controlled, this typically requires residents to use room and communal space as studio. This fee includes a weekly housekeeping of the communal space and the bathroom - approximately 2 hours of their time. Twin with hall bath - $650 / month Lemon Lodge Pine Room : Single Occupancy Rates, No Guests These rates are not subject to state or local taxes. This is available only on a case-by case basis from November to end of March. Because studios are not climate controlled, this is a great option for fine arts, digital work or anyone willing to live in your 'studio'. This room is heated by a wood stove that you should maintain and a heater fan. This fee includes a weekly housekeeping of the communal space and the bathroom - approximately 2 hours of their time. There may or may not be others in the Lemon lodge so it may end up being a very private experience. There are other rules covered in the contract regarding responsibilities and general guidelines of residing in this house during the off-season time period. Pine Room live-in studio - $800 / month EXTENDED STAY INFORMATION Those who are interested in extended stays of at least 4 months may be eligible to receive a discount if able to pay residency fee in full upon arrival and/or negotiating additional volunteer hours per week. Long term options are only available in the Camphaus and have additional requirements including an interview. Please see FAQ regarding long term stays and outside work. --------------------------- GUESTS - THERE IS A STRICT GUEST POLICY. SEE DETAILS HERE. For longer term stays, all guests must be pre-approved prior to your arrival. No guests on demand. The additional fee is $30 per night if the guest stays in your room or your own RV for land access privileges. If you need to rent the Lemon Lodge during an opening vacancy, your guests shall pay the standard rental rate of $135 / night, up to four people with additional guests of $35 per night. You shall not assume that the Lodge is available on demand. Please communicate and give at least 7 days notice.
    FARM STAY SCHOLARSHIP OPTION: Must identify interest in this on application. An interview via video chat will be arranged to discuss your residency project and goals, as well as your experiences and interests related to the Farm Stay experience. Get active in the homestead lifestyle and be physical in nature as an aspect of a creative philosophy. No experience necessary and the types of activities will not be known until you are on site. Typically, this includes a two hour farm Friday or a Monday ‘motivation’ guided group activity depending on the weather, other scheduling issues, and skill sets possibly needing instruction earlier than later in the stay. We will develop a plan together for the remaining hours so that you can do something that is suited to your interests and skill levels at times that also suits your work mode during that week. This likely will be organized prior to your arrival, but items may change or you may become interested in something while on the property. You'll be asked to track your tasks and reflect on the experience in a weekly reflection report via google forms. Some tasks may include dusting, exterior siding cleaning or painting, sweeping porches, raking leaves, picking up sticks and breaking down to kindling size, weeding approved spots in flower beds or garden, grooming animals, creating new spaces for future use such as nature trails or clearing for group gathering zones, assisting with facility updates like touch up painting, help with fencing or gardening, or even enlivening the acreage with visual aesthetics with installations, making crafts such as a wind chime, banners, etc. No more than 3 people at any one time will be participating in this option. Less than one month: If you have been accepted into the farm stay scholarship program then you will be participating in care and maintenance type of activities during your stay for 6 hours a week which is $150 discount of the residency program fee, maximum discount $300. One month stays: The residency fee for one month stays are discounted for the term. The farm scholarship for month stays assumes that you will already be maintaining your own room and communal activities. Those with exceptional interests in the physical activities as a creative process, those with previous skills in the tasks described, and/or a financial assistance request will be considered. For the month stay, participation in the two-hour guided group activity and 1.5 hours additional contribution per week totalling 14 hrs will be a $200 discount from the monthly residency fee bringing it to $600.
    LODGING - fully furnished rooms and living quarters in a variety of styles that will inspire you or bring out the inner child. Raspberry Residency House is the primary lodging option for the residency program and features 3 private bedrooms, 2 baths, living room, kitchen with dining and a laundry room. You can see the donkeys from the rear windows and deck as they graze in the field or sometimes when they visit the half-backyard to hang out under the deck. The Lemon Lodge is a larger accommodation available as a travel accommodation or for residencies when not booked for retreats or private use. The Lodge has two private bedrooms and a loft. It sleeps up to 12. It features a library of art and design books, large gathering spaces and a kitchen. The donkeys corral out back. Both of those accommodations have front and back deck/porches as well as green space and evolving flower gardens. Plenty of parking too. The far back of the property is the location of the director house - camphaus - which features two additional rooms including an en-suite. This is a live work space as you'll see design workstations and craft project storage along with more library. This area is the most forested spot of the lodging options. Consider each lodging set up like a vacation rental or boutique hostel with functional kitchens, living rooms, places to sit and eat. Linens are provided and for those staying longer than two weeks will provide a change of linens. Several pillows are supplied per bed size so you may want to bring your own. Only two towels per person so you may want to bring your own. Washing machines are available along with drying racks, laundry lines, and for a minimal usage fee if you are staying longer than two weeks and need to use a dryer there is one located using propane in the camphaus. Visit the Property Information page for lots of pictures and more details. STUDIOS (please see workspace)
    Do you have a collaborative team that you work with in close proximity or far away? This residency offers opportunities for your group to converge to work together on whatever project you have or team development. We can also host student groups as well as assist with any programming for your course. The Lemon Lodge can sleep up to 12 people and there are camping options for the overflow. We hosted a group of 20 from SAIC in Chicago with careful planning of the schedule. Contact Val for more information and to coordinate your group experience.
    The property is in two tracts of land along the well maintained state highway 99 half-way between Hohenwald and Waynesboro in the rolling foothills with farms and cattle ranches in the area. The primary 5 acres supplied by the well water has three lodging units, several freestanding structures as studios, and don't forget all of the animals. The 12 acres across the street with access to the Buffalo River is also a primitive campground and the location for Val's Forest Therapy walks. At Camp Wonder Wander, you'll find a variety of terrain from forest, pasture, bamboo grove, vegetable/herb raised bed garden with fruit trees, meadow with natural growth, and the river bluff down to rocky river bed. There is no guarantee as to the number of participants during your stay. Scheduling is based on availability and studio assignments on type of work, as well as availability to ensure everyone has a good spot. Find out more about living accommodations in that section.
    There are a few structural spaces that offer cover and shelter from the elements, but none of these are completely climate controlled as you may find in a commercial building. You may need a fan or use of a heater depending on the season. You also have the wide-open spaces across the camp. Studio space may be assigned for your particular scheduled residency to make sure all have adequate space. Please make sure to be as specific as possible about your space needs for planning purposes. Communal spaces such as porches, the picnic table bonfire zone, the pond, the bamboo grove, and beyond are additional options as organic work spaces. Some artists have preferred to work inside the house and have carved out a suitable corner or space that works well with others in the community spaces. Others have needed larger workspace to hang masonite on the wall or be messy with power tools. While those with laptops have so many options including borrowing a portable chair and finding a quiet nature spot. Please indicate if you need lots of table space or the size of your work. Some have used the dining pine room in the Lemon Lodge as an additional studio space not listed below. There is also a library den with couch and inside working areas in the director house along with an old school photocopier for projects. Wifi works on the 5 acres, but not on the 12 acres. Studio 1 - a three-season porch attached to the side of the Lemon Lodge featuring three walls of windows that overlook a garden and the corner of the property facing east. Studio 2 - a freestanding small wood barn with cement floor, several windows, and vault roof. This is located near the Lemon Lodge and includes shelfs and a flat work surface. One masonite board attached to a wall. Lighting includes overhead work lights and a floor lamp. Studio 3 - a large building the size of at least a 2 car garage with a garage door. Half of the building houses the studio rabbits - peaches and plum (born spring 2022) which also features some flat surfaces and a few windows. The back quarter of the space is Val's outside studio. Lots of natural light in this building and fresh air with the garage door open. Space heaters and fans keep it comfortable during the year. Studio 4 - enough space for 2 occupants and is a small barn old wooden garage type structure with gravel instead of a 'floor'. This is a rustic spot without windows so you'll need to set up lighting and can leave the door open for natural light. Pine room in the Lemon Lodge - This is a large multi-use space with two large tables on casters that can be moved for working on or around. This is a space for group gatherings, meals, or productivity on flat interior spaces. For studio space, there may be additional people requiring this type of environment so it should always be considered a shared space. Private rooms- Many of the participants use their private rooms as work space whether it be spreading out images or paper on a bed and using the second bed for sleeping or using the supplied desk or setting up your own easel, the spaces should be considered as live/work options. Communal spaces - On occasion, artists have opted to set up workspace in the common areas and have negotiated with others as to which section of the room they may be using either to set up an easel, work on a laptop, manage small sculptural projects or even occasional collages as just a few examples. This should be considered a live work space and all should make sure to not leave your art work or personal belongings in the way of the others to be able to walk, sit, use the kitchen, etc. Exhibition space, practice space, larger studio space in the local town of Hohenwald will open in the future. Please ask. If you are seeking a final presentation of your work or to teach a workshop, this will be the spot located in central town adjacent to the elephant sanctuary! Subscribe and stay tuned!
    Limited options for longer term stays of 3 months or longer are primarily for those on sabbatical or remote workers who are focusing on a creative project on the side. Preferred options for Jan - Apr and Sept to Dec. and ONLY AVAILABLE in the Camphaus where there are multiple cats and Val also has studio/workspace. The schedule and studio space is assigned with long term participants getting priority and the shorter term participants being added to the available space. Long term residents are expected to show evidence of financial ability for the entire term, or to pay the entire residency fee upon arrival. There is also additional interview process after the application. If you cancel at any time during your stay for any reason, there is no refund. Please see contract for specific details. Long term residents may need to work during their stay, however, each participant must show regular participation in volunteer and community on site activities. If your work load and time becomes either disruptive to others or their regular creative flow or becomes the primary aspect of your stay, your residency term may be cancelled. This residency was not established to provide low rent for those who would be working excessive hours either via internet or off-site in the area and therefore you would not be upholding your residency participation agreement. It is highly recommended that you are not working more than 24 hrs on average per week on outside income generating activities, exceptions to this rule may be based on the type of work such as remote teaching. YOU MUST DISCLOSE THIS INFORMATION AND CHECK IN WEEKLY TO REPORT HOW MANY HOURS YOU ARE SPENDING ON EACH ACTIVITY INCLUDING YOUR PERSONAL WORKLOAD. Long term participants must be visible and present on site on a regular basis and should attempt to participate in group activities as much as possible. If you are looking for the residency to be a hub while you travel, we ask that you not be gone for more than one week during every two month period. Day trips are fantastic options here. GUESTS AND VISITORS. Please see that FAQ. This is a special private place for people to escape the normal world. This is not your temporary apartment to invite anyone over. For safety and security, you will be asked to provide information regarding your departures such as destination and contact information, plus emergency contacts.
    THIS IS A SPECIAL, SACRED SPACE THAT IS OFFERED TO PEOPLE TO HAVE A SAFE PLACE TO WORK, REST, THINK, EXPLORE, AND MORE. THERE ARE NO GUESTS OR VISITORS ALLOWED THAT ARE NOT PRE-APPROVED PRIOR TO ARRIVAL (see below). Please be respectful of each individual's desire to have stability in their short term stay where each is focusing on work and internal lives away from what could be a normal life experience if one had roommates. Some people on site may live alone in their outside, normal life or possibly be needing time away from their own personal experiences with others/relationships, and are encountering this particular shared environment as a new scenario for them. Do not interrupt others intentions to be on site with an unapproved guest/visitor! This may be grounds for contract termination. As the campground is open to the public on a limited basis and the Lemon Lodge is available as a private seasonal rental usually for those who have a creative flair or creative job in some capacity so you may see strangers on the land, but they are not allowed in the Residency Lodging or in your studios. This is not an open invitation to bring your own guests or visitors including anyone you have recently met on any ventures in the area. You will be given notification if there are paid guests/visitors in the general operation of the Camp Wonder Wander umbrella that helps to support the residency. You will be given notice if there are guests or visitors that are returnees or the network of people that Val has within the local and regional community. You must agree to the following policies to participate in the residency. If you violate this policy, you will be given notice of termination of your residency and all fees still remaining will be due upon departure according to the contract. NO GUESTS OR VISITORS THAT ARE NOT PRE-APPROVED AS FOLLOWS: Staying under 30 days? NO GUESTS OR VISITORS, full stop. You may arrange that partners or family members are participating with you in your residency and thus are included in your contract staying with you for a pre-determined time. Staying more than 30 days? If you have a partner in your creative work or family members that need to travel with you, that will be negotiated in the contract terms and is not considered guest or visitors. Your guest / visitor situation should be prearranged at the time of the contract signing and only available for full size room or private en-suites. You do not need to have specific dates for that visit, but you must notify and make arrangements for a guest/visitor that you have a pre-existing relationship with whether it be friends, family, or partners. They may stay no more than 3 nights and shall not be scheduled earlier than the first two weeks of your arrival. This may happen only ONCE during your stay (staying longer than 3 months see below). The additional fee is $30 per night if the guest stays in your room. If you need to rent the Lemon Lodge during an opening vacancy, your guests shall pay the standard rental rate of $135 / night up to four people with additional guests of $35 per night. You shall not assume that the Lodge is available on demand. Please communicate and give at least 7 days notice. Staying more than 3 months? If you have booked either Queen size room in the camphaus, you may have a prearranged, pre-approved guest that has a preexisting relationship with you visit once during the 3 month time period and it should be organized no earlier than 1 month upon your arrival to allow you to settle into the space. They may not stay more than 5 nights and may not visit more than twice. The visits must be at least 30 days apart. Please see the policy above for price and policy. CONDUCT POLICY : If you and your guest have a toxic relationship and you engage in any sort of conduct such as arguments, violence, excessive alcohol consumption, or any other conduct that is disruptive to the environment and others, your residency will be immediately terminated, your guest will be asked to leave and you will receive the appropriate amount of notice by law to vacate the property. In addition, these are tight quarters so be respectful in your intimacy engagement. --------------------MORE RULES TO CONSIDER -------------------------- As everyone has a life that they are pursuing, we respect that you may encounter something unexpected in passing. If you develop a new relationship during your stay, you may not bring that new person on site. It is also frowned upon that you are gone from the property on a regular basis if it is not for research and creative pursuits, so if you have a new relationship and would like to visit that person on a regular basis that will distract you from the obligations and the community on the property. It is highly recommended that you wait to take your relationship to that level, or you should terminate your residency early, pay the remaining fees, if any, and move towards pursuit of that relationship. A residency is intended for you to take a break from somewhat normal life. It is highly frowned upon to engage in dating activities online or in the region during your residency. If you endeavor in this, it will be assumed that you are not focused on your work and your participation on the property so you will be violating the policies of the residency and given notice of your early termination and cancellation fees. It is also frowned upon to be overtly fraternizing in an inappropriate manner with others on site. This is not the place to search for the next casual fling. While you may find a kismet, creative connection with a fellow participant, please wait until you depart to develop a relationship beyond friendship! This is not a place to bring your lovers or friends on a regular basis or randomly. If you are inviting people over that violates this policy, your residency will be terminated. If you are bringing unapproved guests that do not have a pre-existing relationship with you prior to your arrival, especially if Val is off-site during that day, night, time, your residency will be terminated and any outstandign fees will be due upon departure. If you do not have a vehicle and need a ride into town, please organize this with other participants. Please refrain from asking people you may have met in town to drive out to get you for whatever excursion you may want to have. The ONLY EXCEPTION to this rule may be during special events that will be discussed with the current group such as a Thanksgiving meal. Guests for these special circumstances must be discussed prior to that event and may not stay overnight on site.
    ADDITIONAL FEES PLEASE READ THOROUGHLY AS THESE ARE NOT TYPICALLY AVAILABLE UNLESS DISCUSSED AND ARRANGED IN CONTRACT Washing Dishes - $10/meal or $25/day (at the end of the day) Grocery Pick-up - $25 in Hohenwald, $45 in Lawrenceburg (must be coordinated, not on demand) Meal Preparation - tbd based on needs and menu options Forest Therapy Guided Session (average 3 hrs) - $45 for 1 person or $25/person for 2 or more. included in residency fee for those staying longer than 2 weeks. Ask about other add-on activities like: Kayak - donation of $30 (we do not rent kayaks or tubes and they are only available for occupants) Tent rental - $35 / night Antique/Thrifting tour - price upon request Cooking lessons or assistance for grocery shopping - price upon request Consultation on your project or life coaching - price upon request Portfolio / Website design or consultation - price upon request
    The residency fee includes one group dinner weekly procured and prepared by Val (most often a gluten free and vegetarian/pescatarian). Otherwise, food during your stay is not included, but as the garden grows there may be some substantial community sustenance provided. Please note that eating healthy is part of the underlying philosophy of the space so we frown on soda and other junk food. Spend time on site not venturing into town for fast food. Help your brain by working in the garden. If you are interested in coordinating cooking lessons or some meals provided, please inquire with the application. You may want to bring your own pillow or favorite blanket for the comfort of home even though the space is furnished. Anything you need to complete your work in terms of tools and supplies is not included, however you may request use/rental of our basic tools from the essentials of screwdrivers or staple guns to drills, small band saw to chainsaw or chop saw. Transportation not included, but may be added.
    This is a rural area and the closest civilization in a town is 20-25 minute drive. This takes planning if you do not have a vehicle. If you need assistance from the airport, please inquire and this can be coordinated. ​ If you do not have a vehicle and need pick-up at the Nashville International Airport (BNA) or the bus station in Nashville, please coordinate this with Val. Note that the airport is a 2 hour drive so it's important to approve your flight plans before purchasing to make sure we aren't having to leave in the middle of the night. ​ For those staying one week, each trip either pick-up or drop-off is $80. Pick up includes a stop at one grocery store on the way to the camp. Additional assistance with grocery shopping or a second stop is additional $20/hr. ​ For those staying longer than one week, each trip either pick up or drop off is $60 with additional errands beyond the one grocery store stop at $20/hr. Please consider donating $15/per outing for any special trips during your stay unless there are already plans to go to the grocery store, for example.
  • WIFI?
    Yes, we have wifi. We are now connected to the rural broadband which allows for those of us who are working part time to still maintain those ties. The wifi signal reaches the 5 acres, but not the 12 acres on the river. We reserve the right to disconnect the wifi at any time for special purposes such as group dinners, group activities, or other types of quiet hours. Would like to encourage you to disconnect from regular use of social media and the internet. With the broadband, it is now okay to work on cloud platforms, download or upload your media, etc. It is your responsibility to manage or limit your internet usage to prevent yourself from doom-scrolling and social media distractions. If you need help with this, just ask. Excessive use of the internet is frowned upon so that we can all focus on in-person interactions and our creative work. If you fall down the rabbit hole and are spending more time on-line than in the productivity of your purpose at the residency, this may be grounds for terminating your stay before your departure date. All residency participants should prioritize their time for the purpose of the residency rather than using the space as an option to hunker down and work remotely for hours on end. Thank you for your mindfulness in this process.
  • PHONE ?
    The site of this residency in a rural location with limited cell phone service is intentional. However, it's recognized how important it is to be connected for those who are working. Your phone may only work in certain spots depending on your carrier. Some people have found interior spots and others have found comfortable outdoor spaces such as the back deck. Phone calls during mornings and evenings are more likely to work. Text messages and WhatsApp is how we talk to each other across the property throughout the day.
    This deserves a longer conversation with Val and her reasons on why she chose this particular area out of options around the country. The short answer includes the philosophy of creative process in a nature immersion. Additionally, out of all the places that one may decide to go, Val had previously lived in Nashville in the early 2000s and really just loved the tie between urban and rural. This is a very special place. You can feel the energy here. Creativity is bubbling with each and every person that passes through. The terrain and the seasons are suitable for an escape that emphasizes a nature immersion.
    Tennessee has 8 different geological zones and this area features a really lovely rolling hill terrain. This Highland Rim around the basin where Nashville is located features levels of churt, then sandstone, then limestone. A volcanic eruption a very long time ago means there are remnants of other materials you may find at the river bed as well as the possibility of finding fossils. This particular zone is in the Buffalo River watershed. Our water is from the well of all that scrumptious water filtered through the layers of the geology.
    Emerging from the last administration, what happened in January 2021, plus a pandemic may have you a bit on edge or weary about venturing into rural Tennessee. Ask Val about why she decided to move to a rural location as an educated former professor who leans liberal. In the meantime, please consider that stereotypes are stereotypes and what we've seen lately is an entire nation dealing with issues of racial, social, gender injustice. Being isolated has extreme advantages. There are only 3 neighboring houses in the distant visibility, maybe 600 feet away, that stay to themselves. Going into town you will see some diversity - economic and racial. Please make sure that you have been managing the coronavirus and have been vaccinated. Please do not arrive if you are sick. The rooms provide good privacy and social distance, but we must remember there may be others around and have the courtesy to each other. Please follow CDC guidelines and wash hands, etc. If you get sick while in residency, you may need to take a Covid test and be isolated for a period of time. Winter 2023 is predicted to have high flu and covid transmission. Please make sure to be respectful of the space and not spread infections. Thank you.
    no smoking no vaping no drugs, please... (cbd ok, please inquire about other habits) alcohol, please limit use... (closest liquor store is 25 min drive. social or casual use of alcohol is okay. anyone who is drinking excessively will be asked to leave). no shoes inside. please bring slippers (some complimentary slippers available) recycling. some materials are kept on site to use for future projects. if you are looking for glass, bottles, jars, cans, please ask. salvage materials. you'll find scrap here but also numerous salvage and thrift type spots in reasonable driving distance. no guns or weapons. even though you may hear gun shots in the distance, please refrain from bringing any such weapon to ensure the safety and comfort of all. quiet hours are typically 11pm-7am There will be no tolerance for hostile, toxic, harassing behavior. Any inappropriate conduct will be grounds for immediate termination of your residency. Please make sure to read the detailed contract for all of the policies, terms, and conditions.


Residencies are non-refundable and any health related situation will not be a cause to change that policy. Please adhere to good health practices prior to your arrival such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding extremely crowded places. Nobody likes to be sick. In order to make sure daily chores can be achieved it's important that your host is able to not get too sick to take care of everything. It's easy to pass common colds. Covid is still impacting people. It would suck for you to be sick and isolated while on site. If you do become ill on site and there are others sharing space you agree to wear mask or other remedies to keep your distance while contagious.

It is preferred that participants are fully vaccinated and boosted by the time of your stay. If you are not vaccinated we reserve the right to ask you to take a rapid test on arrival based on the covid numbers at that time and possibly at any point during your stay if you may have been exposed.

Remember that there is a no cancellation policy even if you contract Covid and are unable to attend. With extenuating circumstances, you may be able to reschedule your residency, but you will not receive a refund. It is helpful to acquire travel insurance in case you encounter any other unexpected issues such as car accidents, familiy issues, etc. Please see the details on the travel insurance policy of their coverage.

For those participating in the farm exchange scholarship and optional for others.

The Camp Wonder Wander environment was practically a blank canvas when it was acquired by Val for this purpose with just the basic structures, a few garden beds and fruit trees, and general infrastructure of water and electric. It has become a giant organic art installation as each dwelling and lodging room has been designed by Val for creative inspiration and calm respite from the hectic pace of modern society. The vision is a growing gallery and library beyond one's personal collection to include pieces of each person that has passed through the experience.
As the year's progress, the landscape is being carefully coordinated and there is hope that pops of art installations and even murals will bring a human contribution to the vitality of the place / space.


It is no longer a requirement, but a recommendation, of the residency that you leave a piece of yourself behind in some way. Some people have noticed something they want to create that is site specific, while others have brought completed work to donate.

If you have selected our site for seed generation, ideation, or exploration, your contribution could be as simple as a quote left for us to display or an image of your sketches or other brainstorming documentation that could be incorporated into something else in the future.

Your work may be documented for social media and the website gallery/blog. Val tries to interview each participant at least twice during their stay. Before departure, Val will interview you on your work and progress you've made. Check out what others have created in the blog.

Leave a Piece of Yourself Behind

Leave Behind

documentation / MENTORSHIP

Need assistance in documenting your work?

Want formal or informal critique?

Want assistance in revamping or starting your portfolio website, behance page, LinkedIn profile or maybe a printed book/mag format of your work?

Collaborate with founder/director Val who is also a graphic designer, photographer, and storyteller. As the founder and director, she desires to interact with creatives at various levels of their careers from youth and budding artists in college or not, and those with years of experience. As a creative contemplative person, Val  understands wholeheartedly that it takes time to develop a body of work and created this center for the environment that offers a variety of opportunities for creatives in all disciplines.

Val has an MFA in Graphic Design, yet realizes after long career as a graphic design professor that not everyone needs to go to graduate school. If you are seeking this type of experience, but would prefer a more intensive one-on-one live environment with Val as your mentor, please inquire of the additional fee for this that would be significantly less than your years in school.


As a former graphic design educator, Val has always been inspired by the guild movements of Arts & Crafts and the Bauhaus as an anti-academic institution. She has walked away from a tenured professor position (2018) in order to pursue this new dream and sees the future environment of education along with the arts drastically changing. She's excited to meet creative people from all walks of life at whatever place/stage you are exploring as paths cross at the camp.


Before residencies can be fully funded by grants, she wants to develop an exchange relationship with participants and residents whereby she will document your work. If you are an environmental artist and choose to visit seasonally to analyze, install, and inspect work as nature impacts it, Val will be your partner in that documentation. Ask about how you can obtain a finished product of a print publication, digitized document or web site as you discuss your needs with her individually.



Val has spent her career in education for more than 20 years before resigning in 2018 and has spent countless hours in the creative process and critique. She is excellent at asking questions and creating a dialogue between people to critically analyze. The hope is that over meals or while participant retreats overlap these engagements between different people, from different backgrounds and different disciplines will be beneficial for all.

* There may be an additional coaching fee for a formal process beyond popping in to see what you are working on in your studio or other workspaces.

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