Demystifying Mixed Media with Sharon Kantor

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Demystifying Mixed Media with Sharon Kantor is in an adventure in gorgeous Tuscany of creating several skill-building projects that will enable you to feel comfortable with the components that make up mixed media creations. Let your creativity run wild as you learn new techniques for using for mixed-media mediums, such as, stamps, stencils, paint, gelatos and more.

Get ready to be inspired, as you’re surrounded by the stunning beauty of Tuscany – a region that has inspired countless artists for centuries. Along with Sharon’s expert guidance, you’ll design two cards, a travertine tile (colored with Prisma color pencils), a 5″ x 7″ canvas of abstract flowers, a fabric journal and mini journals. Plus you’ll learn the practice of creative lettering, marking, collage and creating charts and tables.

And there’s so much more! Read below to learn more details.


Sharon currently owns and operates a craft shop, Cootie Coo Creations, in High Springs, Florida. Her early interest in anything art and/or craft related led her to earn a masters degree in Industrial Arts Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where she was able to dabble in woodworking, drafting, letterpress and offset printing, graphic arts, silkscreen printing, bookbinding, photography, jewelry-making and pottery.

Sharon’s love of inks, paper and print making became a focal point in her interests, and she began her career as a graphic arts and photography teacher and eventually became an administrator in the public school system in Miami, Florida.

After retiring from the school system, Sharon decided to pursue her dream of having her own little rubber stamp/craft store and Cootie Coo Creations was born. The shop is in an old Victorian-looking house and in spite of the creative mess that is clearly evident, it is a hub of collaboration and creative pursuits and is the “happy” place of many people who live in the area. Sharon is now able to fuse both her love of travel and her creative streak to help others satisfy their creative pursuits.


  • Color, shade and blend colors using Prisma color pencils
  • Create shadows and depth using Prisma color pencils
  • Create beautiful journal pages using simple rules of design layouts
  • Utilize a variety of creative lettering styles
  • Implement creative lettering into a given design
  • Use a dot journal to create effective “bullet” charts
  • Use creative lettering to transform charts and tables into works of art
  • Build layers to create interesting backgrounds
  • Combine words and sketches/pictures/drawings into journal pages
  • Color on travertine tile to create a “weathered” or aged look
  • Create an abstract rendering of flowers using a variety of mixed media mediums, including gesso, gel medium and modeling paste as well as stamps, stencils, ink, paint and gelatos
  • Construct a journal made of fabric
  • Devise creative uses of an assortment of embellishments
  • Apply finishing touches to complete mixed media projects


DAY 1 ~ Sunday, October 30: Villa Poggio alle Trese

  • Highlights: Arrival at Poggio alle Trese, welcome, retreat overview with Sharon
  • Aperitivo, dinner

Benvenuti in Italia! Upon your arrival, sit back and relax as your private driver transports you from Florence Peretola airport to Villa Poggio alle Trese, and the spectacular Tuscan countryside, where you’ll be surrounded by the region’s quintessential olive groves, vineyards and cypress-lined lanes. Upon arrival at the villa, you’ll take a tour of the villa and grounds, followed by some free time to settle in and explore before meeting up with Sharon to go over schedule for this exciting retreat. Plus you’ll received your special “Travel Italy” mini journal!

Afterwards, enjoy an inviting aperitivo, followed by a regional-style dinner served up by the talented Chef Lorenza. 

DAY 2 ~ Monday, October 31: Orvieto

  • Highlights: marbled paper, Orvieto, instruction with Sharon
  • Breakfast, dinner

This morning, after breakfast at the villa, you’ll make your way to charming Orvieto, perched on a stunning stone bluff that overlooks the Val d’Chiana. First stop is our friend, Lamberto’s, workshop for a fascinating discussion on the history of paper, followed by a demonstration on making Renaissance-style marbled paper. Then it’s your turn! Grab an apron and choose your colors, as Lamberto guides you through making your own sheet of marbled paper. 

Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the medieval avenues and alleyways of Orvieto on your own. Visit the the town’s must-see majestic cathedral, that dates to the 13th century, browse the chic shops that flank the town’s main streets, or take a stroll through the excellent archeological museum. Lunch is on your own at any one of Orvieto’s inviting trattorie.

In the afternoon it’s back to the villa for an afternoon session with Sharon where you’ll learn to make a Bullet/Dot Journal and combine tables and/or charts with creative lettering. Aperitivo follows, along with a delicious, Tuscan-style dinner prepared by Lorenza.

DAY 3 ~ Tuesday, November 1: Puscina Flowers Farm

  • Highlights: visit, tour and lesson at organic flower farm, mixed media project with Sharon
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after a delicious breakfast featuring organic sheep’s milk yogurt, seasonal fruits, freshly-baked cornetti, torta from the local pasticceria, free range eggs and organic marmalades – plus herbal teas and made-to-order Italian coffee – it’s off to Puscina Flowers organic flower farm. Sisters Mara, Teresa and Laura have created a flower-lovers’ paradise, set in the classic Tuscan countryside. Here you’ll take part in an easy-going lesson on natural floral composition, before taking a tour of the gardens – with pruner in hand! Choose your own flowers, then practice composing on your own – with sisters nearby, should you need some pointers. Afterwards, you’ll enjoy a delicious home-made lunch, prepared by Mamma herself, along with the excellent local vino.

In afternoon, it’s back to the villa for a hands on lesson with Sharon as you begin a 5×7 mixed media project. Learn to create an abstract flower bouquet (from flowers you’ve gathered at Puscina) using various mixed media mediums, paint and gelatos. Aperitivo follows, along with another delicious dinner prepared by Chef Lorenza.

DAY 4 ~ Wednesday, November 2: at Villa

  • Highlights: instruction with Sharon, hand-stamping lesson, pasta-making
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

You’ll start today with another healthy – yet abundant – breakfast. Then settle in with Sharon for a morning session where you’ll learn to create fabric journals, including how to embellish using various mixed media. Plus our graphic artist friend will be stopping by to share with you some of his favorite hand-stamping techniques that you can use to further embellish your fabric journal. Lunch will be served-up buffet style, featuring fresh salads and regional specialties.

In the afternoon, after a bit of free time, you’ll continue working on your project with Sharon’s guidance. Then it’s time to don an apron for an oh-so-fun pasta making lesson with our very own Chef Lorenza! Learn the real secrets to making an exceptional, simply pasta dish – plus how to pair pastas with just the right sauces. Afterwards, sit back for a relaxing aperitivo, followed by dinner featuring (you guessed it!) your hand-made pasta.  

DAY 5 ~ Thursday, November 3: Città della Pieve

This morning, after breakfast, you’ll join Sharon in the onsite studio space for a lesson on the use of colored pencils. Then let your creativity flow as you design two cards – with Sharon’s guidance – applying the techniques you’ve just learned. Lunch will be served up buffet style, and afterwards you’ll have free time to continue working on your project or relax and enjoy the view.

This afternoon it’s off to the medieval village of Città della Pieve for a private walking tour with our friend, and expert local guide, Bianca. Learn about this town’s own Renaissance artist, Perugino (a teacher of the famous Raffaello), and view some of his amazing masterpieces. Then make a stop at our friend, Alessandro’s, saffron shop for a very special tasting, followed by a chance to try your hand at painting with saffron. So fun! Afterwards, we continue to Lorenza’s pizzeria for aperitivo and dinner.

DAY 6 ~ Friday, November 4: San Casciano dei Bagni

  • Highlights: Fonteverde thermal spa, lunch in San Casciano
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After a lovely breakfast this morning, you’ll be traveling to San Casciano dei Bagni and the luxurious Fonteverde Spa to enjoy a soak in the sweeping pools of mineral-rich waters. The waters of this area have been used for thousands of years for wellness and cures. You might even book an extra treatment on your own, such as a massage or pedicure (optional/extra). Afterwards, you’ll continue on to our friend, Daniela’s, chic restaurant, nestled beneath the fortressed walls of the town’s castle – overlooking one of the most picturesque panoramas in this part of Tuscany. Here you’ll enjoy a special, Tuscan-style lunch featuring some of Daniela’s hand-selected dishes.

After a leisurely stroll through the village, it’s back to the villa for a closing session with Sharon, where you’ll color a travertine tile and/or create a collage in your own mini journal. After a bit of time to relax and pack, you’ll enjoy apertivo time your fellow travelers, followed by a lovely, farewell dinner prepared by Chef Lorenza.

DAY 7 ~ Saturday, November 5: Departure

This morning our drivers will transport you to Florence Peretola Airport.


Your accommodations are beautiful Poggio alle Trese, a 17th century villa, nestled along the border of Tuscany and Umbria, near the town of Chiusi (Tuscany). The villa boasts a number of living rooms, sweeping terraces for dining or lounging, a swimming pool, an elegant breakfast room and a grand dining hall. Sleeping rooms are furnished with family antiques and offer either an ensuite bathroom or shared bathroom (max 2 guests per bathroom).  View photos of Villa Poggio alle Trese here. 


  • 7 days/6 nights at elegant Villa Poggio alla Trese, situated in the picturesque countryside near the charming Tuscan hill town of Chiusi.
  • Group transportation to/from Florence Peretola Airport on arrival and departure dates 
  • Private van service to/from all cities, towns and sites included in the itinerary
  • All abundant breakfasts, featuring fresh-baked Tuscan pastries, organic sheeps’ milk yogurt, local cheeses, seasonal fruits, organic cereal, & fresh eggs, plus Italian caffè, cappuccino and herbal teas.
  • All regionally inspired dinners with local wines 
  • Evening aperitivo hour for chatting, sharing and relaxing
  • Saffron painting and tasting in Citta della Pieve
  • Pizza night at Pino’s
  • Visit and tour Puscina Organic Flower Farm, which includes a family-style lunch at the flower farm
  • “Natural” flower arranging class using flowers selected and cut by you
  • Instruction on creating an abstract, mixed media painting using your own bouquet as the subject
  • Hands-on bruschetta making lesson
  • Hands-on pasta making lesson
  • Marbled paper-making demonstration and hands-on lesson
  • Wine tasting
  • Visit to Fonteverde Thermal Spa
  • Exclusive lunch at Daniela’s Restaurant
  • Daily, personalized lessons with Sharon
  • Mini “Travel Italy” art journal for personal use of documenting experiences and for practicing exercises
  • 2 card packets with stamped images to be colored with Prisma pencils
  • 4″ x 4″ travertine tile to be colored with Prisma pencils
  • 5″ x 7″ canvas for mixed media project
  • Fabric for creating journal and various embellishments
  • Dot journal for creative lettering and bullet journaling
  • Use of:
    • Prisma color pencils
    • Assorted pens and markers
    • Mixed media mediums of gesso, gel medium and modeling paste
    • Brushes
    • Stamps, stencils, inks, paints
    • Gelatos
    • Sewing machine

Not included: Airfare, ground or water transportation outside of that listed in the trip itinerary, alcoholic drinks, wines or meals ordered “on your own”, gratuities for drivers and villa staff

The Unexpected is Part of the Journey: Although we are weaving amazing, authentic experiences into this trip, sometimes unexpected things come up. If a site has an unscheduled closing, we improvise to include something equally as wonderful and interesting. The quality of the trip is never at risk, as our hosts at Strada Toscana are committed to excellence, along with their vast Italian connections.


  • 7 Days/6 Nights
  • Dates:
    • October 30 – November 5, 2022
    • A $500 deposit is required to secure your space on this trip
  • Trip Price (choose your room configuration upon booking):
    • $3,490 USD, private room with ensuite bathroom
    • $ 3,390 USD, private room with shared bathroom (max 2 women per shared bathroom)