Willow Gathering began out of a desire to create a space for our guests and friends, old and new, to refresh their minds, inspire new areas creativity, and to make lasting and meaningful connections over lingering meals, creative projects, and slow afternoons spent en plein air.  

Within each retreat we are able to step into a different world and a gentler pace of life in which creativity thrives, and we can learn new things together. 

Julie and Emily both work in a beautiful 1890's communal art studio in Greenville, South Carolina, called the White Whale.  While their creative mediums are quite different (floral design and fine art painting), they both draw inspiration from each other and coordinate together beautifully.  They bring that same organic creativity to each retreat and gathering.   

 

 
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Emily Jeffords

Emily is a fine artist creating oil paintings on canvas, watercolor on paper, and cyanotypes in the bright sunshine. 

She works in the White Whale, often accompanied by her two little girls and a big mug of coffee, smudged in green paint, and harmonizing with noisy classical music.  

The uniting theme in all of Emily's artwork is finding peace and joy within the natural world.  Landscapes, leaves, the colors of the sunset, and garden clippings each whisper peace and joy into her work.

Having hosted many creative retreats and workshops, she understands the importance of refreshment, creativity, and greatly enjoys sharing her knowledge and artistic insight with others.  

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Julie Dodds 

Events have been part of Julie’s life almost from the beginning. Her mom always seemed to have an innate knack for knowing how much food to buy and equipment to gather for parties. Tagging along, Julie learned to work hard, work fast, make gut decisions and go with the flow, creating seamless and enjoyable experiences for guests.

In 2011, she began Willow Florals, her own floral design studio. Quickly, her singular creative style and reputation for inspiring clients forged relationships in the creative and wedding vendor space in her hometown of Greenville, SC. She has taught group classes as well as one-on-one instruction. Julie's floral design work can be found in print throughout the bestselling design book Furniture Makes the Room, as well as various local and regional publications such as Weddings Unveiled and Southern Weddings.

Travel and creative living go hand-in-hand for Julie, as she and her husband have adventured around the world together. Her favorite destinations have been Mürren, Switzerland and Santorini, Greece. They baby-mooned to Nova Scotia, Canada this last June before Julie settled in to have her first child – a happy, blonde-haired boy they named Rhett.

BETH ABLES

Beth is a writer, hostess, foodie, and recipe developer with a rustic, yet refined palette. She contributes editorial content to several international publications and she frequently opens her home and kitchen, creating meals to remember.  

Jessica Barley

Jessica is a photographer and event designer living in Greenville, SC.  Her elegant aesthetic draws the viewer into the scene, bringing the warmth and love of the moment into the heart of the viewer.