OlioHouse | The Production of Nature

Joan Miro - The Farm

Come up to OlioHouse for the 3-day weekend! 

We'll have Olios on the production of nature taught by professor Lauren Hudson, communal meals, yoga, dancing, and a natural dye workshop led by our artist in residence Ana Ratner. 


We think of nature as the pristine, untouched landscape, the idealized version of the earth before or simply without humans. We even build ‘shrines’--as geographer Cindi Katz says--to this nature in the form of local and national parks, wildlife preserves, land trusts, etc. However ‘nature’ has never been completely devoid of people (since it's a concept we invented), so how did we come to this ideology? Whose interests does it serve to view nature this way, and how does this view shape the way we manage our shared landscapes?  

Geographers, who historically were the arbiters of ‘pure nature’, now discuss how this ideology has been used over time to discipline labor, separate the ‘town’ from the ‘country’, and accumulate capital even when ‘untouched’. This Olio will explore the many lives of nature, and how the belief in pure space influences how we view social change and fundamentally, one another. 

Let's gather upstate at OlioHouse as we start to untangle our notions of nature and begin to deepen our connection to our surroundings, both intellectually and experientially. 

On Saturday we'll have a communal lunch, two Olios taught by Lauren Hudson, time to explore Wassaic (and swim if weather permits!) followed by dinner at the Lantern Inn. For an additional  $75, you can stay an extra night and take part in a natural dye workshop on Sunday led by our artists in residence, Ana Ratner. After the workshop, we will barbeque together and stargaze late into the night. We'll enjoy breakfast together the following morning and then give you a ride to the 12:15 train.


Noon- Communal Lunch 

1:30pm - Our Separation from 'Nature'. A socratic-style Olio framing the discussion on how nature has been defined - i.e as something separate or 'out there'.  How do we see these dynamics play out both in mainstream environmental discussions and on the ground?

3:00pm - Free time to explore Wassaic, hike and or swim! 

5:30pm - The Forces of Nature. In the evening, our Olio will scale up the earlier discussion to cover how the production of nature has supported projects that have drastically changed our social landscape from the positive environmentalist movement of the progressive era, to global land grabs, population control, and corporate environmentalism. 

7:00pm - Dinner at the Lantern Inn


Yoga & Breakfast 

If leaving on Saturday, we'll drop you off at the 12:15 train to Grand Central.

2:00pm - Natural Dye Workshop with Aritst in Residence, Ana Ratner:

6:00pm - BBQ in the backyard 

​Dyeing with Flowers, Bugs and Bark 

Humans often think of themselves as the stewards of nature (it was even god's gift and instructions to Adam!), cultivating, preserving, and controlling ecosystems, but Michael Pollan in his book the Botany of Desire, gives us the plant's perspective on who really controls who. Humans have fought wars and enslaved each other in order to mass-produce and attain certain plants. In this workshop we will be extracting the colors that have commanded our behavior for centuries. Come learn the history and chemistry of natural color, while dyeing your own fabrics using traditional pattern making techniques. This is a hands-on workshop, come prepared to get messy. 

We will provide a swatch of fabric, but please bring your own white or light colored fabrics and clothing to work with. Protein fiber (wool, silk, alpaca, cashmere, etc) is best, but cellulose (cotton, bamboo, linen, etc) will work as well. We can not dye synthetic and plastic-based fibers. 

Ana Ratner is a sculptor and organism enthusiast. She is the founder of Little Broad Studio, a home-goods and herbal medicine company and the co-founder of Herban Cura, an organization that brings nature-based ancestral wisdom to New York City. Ana creates three-dimensional works that explore the boundaries and co-influence of the interiors and exteriors of humans, objects, and thoughts. She is currently working on a series of abstract, human-scale planters. The design of each container influences the growth pattern of the plants they hold. She received her MFA from Bard College and shows as herself and with the sculpture collective, Amorphous Sculpture Salon.   

Location: OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

296 Old Rte 22, Wassaic, NY 12592

This is our gorgeous home up in Wassaic, NY. We hold weekend seminars and welcome members of our scenius for creative residencies and projects. It is located less than a 20 min walk from the Metro North station in Wassaic and 2 hours from Grand Central. We are the proud neighbors of the Wassaic Project.

Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors

Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.

Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month

Other upcoming Olios

May 22

Stoicism in a World out of Your Control

Taught by Massimo Pigliucci
7:30 p.m. at The Assemblage | NoMad

Sign Up - $20

May 22

The Holy Fool

Taught by Geoff Klock
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 24

Sex, Pleasure & Intimacy in the Time of Capitalism

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20

May 30

Painting the Apocalypse: Haring, Basquiat and the Eighties

Taught by Charles Riley
7 p.m. at The William Vale Hotel

Sign Up - $20

Jun 2

New York City: From Reconstruction to Universal Rent Control

Taught by Lauren Hudson
2 p.m. at Grant's Tomb

Sign Up - $0

Jun 8

OlioHouse | Words, Labels, & Power

Taught by Jeanne Proust
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jun 14

The Emergence of Sexuality

Taught by Jamie Warren
7 p.m. at The Assemblage | NoMad

Sign Up - $20

Jun 23

Female Power and Desire in Shakespeare after #MeToo

Taught by Christina Katopodis
1 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15

Jun 26

Jun 29

OlioHouse | Happiness & Hedonism

Taught by Skye Cleary
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Sep 19

OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $

Find out when we launch new classes!