Tag Archives: Rome

Re-treat the Voice of the Artist

Photo Courtesy of MasterDabblers

By Glendalys Medina

Retreats can take many forms, so I ask myself what are they essentially? Aren’t they just structured moments to allow the flash of inspiration to strike? All of us need time alone for reflection. To ask ourselves such questions as ‘Who am I? What do I want? What does this mean?’ and ‘How am I going to achieve my dreams?’ We all seek our inner being, whose voice can be easily drowned out if not cultivated. To keep in touch I have learned to slow–down, to think and listen before I speak, to keep a close eye on what I let out into the universe. A mind with mental clarity and focus is a powerful tool, so it can only help to learn to control it right?

So let me ask you this, have you ever been creatively stuck, emotionally stuck, mentally stuck or any type of stuck? If you are alive then the answer to this question I assume is yes. Life is a beautiful adventure and the best adventures have great challenges. One must collect an arsenal of tools to overcome these challenges and reach the mountain of inner stillness, to become the vehicle of purposeful creation. I write this post today to share with you a tool that came to me when I was all of the above STUCK. The tool is simply silence.


This practice was introduced to me by Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stephane Dreyfus in late 2012 while I was a visual arts fellow at the American Academy in Rome. I was in my 4th month of an 11-month residency and I hadn’t made a thing. I was completely overwhelmed and emotionally and mentally exhausted. I had all this time and space and inspiration was on a vacation. I couldn’t hear myself and I craved solitude. So I gave it to myself and with written instructions from Jessica and Stephane I went on a silent retreat for four days in my very own studio at the Academy. I kept a schedule, gave myself some basic tools to make artwork, had meals brought to me, said no to my computer and started playing. In those four days I learned a lot about myself, I felt completely free and energized, everything calmed down and I began a completely new body of work that I am still working on today. Inspiration finally struck!


Glendalys Medina “Alphabet Series: #6 of 26, (F)” Pencil and marker on paper. 126cm x 172cm 2013

Since then MasterDabblers has been working with Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stephane Dreyfus to bring and share with you this transformative gift called ‘Unspoken’. ‘Unspoken’ is a silent retreat-in-box that contains everything you need to begin your retreat today.  I must tell you that this practice has been a godsend and has become a frequently used tool in my arsenal. So, if you are in need of this priceless gift today or you want to arm yourself for the next rainy day  please visit http://www.MasterDabblers.com/store.


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Making with Passion: Lessons from the Oldest Artists in Italy

It’s 4AM, you’re walking home from a very late night, and you smell a whiff of baking bread escaping the vents of a nearby Panificio. Welcome to Italy, home of some of the oldest artists: bakers.

In celebration of our year in Rome, MD brings you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of one the oldest art forms to learn the secrets of this ancient craft. A big thank you to Gabriele Bonci, Danilo Ruggiero, Franco, Adriano and the rest of the team for allowing us insider access to the bakery, Panificio Bonci. Please note that the text has been translated for our English speaking readers.

Enjoy the video, music and Franco’s quotes which apply to more than baking, but creating anything with passion.

What does it take to be the best, make the best?

It’s the interaction between you and your material. This is how you make bread for everyone. Science+Intuition=Alchemy

A good humor and concentration create good bread.

Why and how did you begin baking?

From pure passion. It’s a dark night, the bread is in the oven, and we are waiting for the break of dawn. There is light, the crack of sun, the bread is baked and the journey begins.

What’s your approach?

From the preparation of ingredients to the final baking, there is a rhythm, a sound that aligns with the deepest part of us.

How is bread like the universe?

Something great can be born from all the little things. From a grain of flour, a loaf can be born. (Adriano)

Bread has different forms just like the Universe has multiple forms and creates a point that rises. Bread is life.

What determines the shape of and razored design on the dough?

The Shape + Razor Cut = Graffiti. Pictograms before writing.

What’s your advice to someone who wants to start baking?

Knead with the palm of your hand. Its shape comes from nature.

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