- directions + contact.
- Melissa D’Antoni.
- The Fire Tree Method ™.
- the expressive + transformative arts.
- Certified Fire Tree Visionary Art Facilitators ™ + Fire Tree Method(tm)
- facilitators in training.
- in the media.
- appreciation from clients.
Fire Tree Studios is a laboratory for the art of living fully. Located in the Hyde Park area of Austin, Texas, Fire Tree Studios ™ offers individual and group shamanic-visionary art journeys in the The Fire Tree Method ™ celebrating wholeness and the creative process through the expressive and transformative arts. For breakdowns AND breakthroughs. For awakening the creative life force in your life. For FUN. For passion AND practicality.
- discovery & expression of your creative voice
- creative experimentation & play
- trusting your intuition
- harnessing the power of being in the present moment
- being at peace in the unknown and with the mystery
- unlocking creative genesis
- identifying fears that block your ability to express and create freely
- exploring your imagination
- waking up and engaging your life force
- experiencing heightened creativity
- expanding your consciousness
- leading with instinct & intuition
- celebrating the unknown with a child-like sense of curiosity, wonder & enthusiasm
- journey through self-discovery & self-empowerment to Self-realization
- utilizing your whole brain & expressing your whole self, integrating both right & left sides
- expressing yourself authentically & uncovering your unique style
- transforming and expanding your current reality of possibility
- grounding your visions in reality
- developing a strong container for your dreams and visions
- expressing inspired action rather than obligation
- releasing the past to step fully into your highest potential, brilliance and personal fulfillment
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain
Fire Tree Studios offers shamanic-visionary art journeys, intensives, and retreats and individual and group coaching programs in the Fire Tree Method, organizational consulting , group Mastery Incubators (trainings), a facilitator training in The Fire Tree Method ™ and a community outreach program.
We are located at 710 Building 3-2 E 41st Street in a cottage on the estate of the Perry Mansion which also houses The Sri Atmananda and The Griffin Schools on the corner of Red River and 41st. To find us, take the driveway with the red gate on 41st street, cross the bridge and look for the Tudor cottage with the red door on the left. There is plenty of parking around the studio.
The studio phone is 512.524.0687 or you may email: melissa at firetreestudios.com.
vision keeper + creative catalyst.
intuitive. painter. writer. visionary. artist. mystic. muse. student. teacher. innovator. entrepreneur. creatrix. alchemist. truth seer. medicine woman of color, image, symbol, movement, sound, & word. fear transcend-or. love ambassador.
founder + director.
I am here to celebrate the creative life force as an active teacher— alive and present in my life and yours. I am interested in pure creativity as a channel to nurture deep connection, foster rapid self-awareness, fuel personal evolution and grounded-in-reality expansion.
I believe a massive awakening of creativity and humanity remembering—-celebrating our wholeness as individuals and as a planet–is crucial for our individual and collective evolutionary development. I believe that once we awaken to our creative power and purpose, it is our livelihood to express this fully in the world.
what moves me?
freedom. uninhibited creativity. ruthless compassion. expansion. passion. pLAY. purity. paradox. obsessions of possibility. full Self-expression. radical self-acceptance. transformation. inspiration. illumination. adventure. fearless authenticity. self-empowerment. self-responsibility. abundance. accountability. raw truth & love. CLARITY. alchemy. community. presence. peace. inner = outer. Co-creation. conscious living, loving & business.
My passion is in evoking freedom. I am interested in collaborating with people who hunger to transform their lives and therefore their consciousness. By claiming our authentic voice, living a life grounded in full self-expression, and honoring an innate trust in the creative process…we remember the truth of who we are. As we change ourselves, we change the world around us.
My intention is to facilitate, guide and encourage you on the journey of your creative unfolding and your unique process of awakening & Self-Realization. A safe environment or ‘cocoon’ is needed for our authentic selves to give life. At the heart a creative, I function as a facilitator of sacred space, holding the vision of your full-self expression and a catalyst–trusting at the helm–the creative life force in stimulating trust, ideas and inspiration to awaken your vision for creating and living with authentic full self-expression. If you are in a major life transition, new relationship, launching a business or craving more gusto from your life experience –I am here to inspire and guide you back to yourself and provide the necessary tools and structure for you grow the foundation needed for your ultimate vision.
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
If you are interested in partnering with me to step through the next doorway in your journey toward full self expression, click here for more information on my co+creative individual programs.
about my life experience…the catalyst of potential: shifts & transition.
“Birds make great white sky circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall. And falling, they are given wings.”
I have thrived trough many of life’s transitions, one major shift was leaving a highly-successful-by-certain-standards-yet-un-fulfilling career in internet & technology marketing to pursue a deeper relationship with myself–both creatively and spiritually. Since then, I have passionately journeyed to live for expressing this calling most purposefully.
Once I fully committed to living an inspired life– life abruptly challenged me in my personal relationships to take full responsibility for my experience, and live what I was learning —to truly empower myself, as I realized no one else can really give me the sense of freedom and joy I so eagerly hungered for.
Although it has been an adventurous, heart-opening, and forever-life-affirming-road—This is when I truly woke up: I woke up to the promise that I would never compromise myself and my truth again. That I would learn, no matter how long it took or how frightening it seemed, to be committed to living my truth as the seed of my ultimate joy and happiness and for the greater good of human kind, with passion, humility and grace.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
-Dr. Howard Thurman
- Tulane University, BA in English Literature & minor in Studio Art
- Began my post-undergraduate career as a Weber Group PR intern for Open Market, first E-Commerce solution in Cambridge, MA
- Opened the West-Coast office for Thunder House Online Marketing and Communications in 1997, one of the first leading online marketing firms
- Open and managed the West Coast office of EchoMail ™, online relationship marketing software in 1999
- International Online Marketing Manager for Intel Consumer Products 2000-2002
- Certified Yoga Teacher in 2002 with Larry Shultz @ It’s Yoga in San Francisco
- MACP (Master’s in clinical psychology) in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology with a focus in Creative Expression in 2005
- Completed a training in the art and application of PrOP Psychodrama with Harris Clemes, PhD a unique approach to psychodrama with influences in The Hakomi Method a somatic approach and `process-work
- Counseled many children, adults & elders using expressive arts therapy
- Completed a Sand-Play & Expressive Arts Therapy Internship & training with Mary Watson at The Alvarado School a bi-lingual creative arts Elementary School in San Francisco
- Designed and Implemented the first Expressive Arts Program for Elders at Hayes Valley and Laguna Grove Care – a progressive Humanstic-Existentially oriented assisted living facility for Seniors through Pacific Institute, where I trained in process-work with Nader Shabahangi, PhD and Gestalt Therapy & Flower Essences as a therapeutic intervention with Doris Bersing, PhD.
- Apprenticed with Chris Zydel, Expressive Arts Therapist & Creative Coach at Creative Juices Arts Studio in the intuitive painting process 2004-2007
- Long-time student of Master Coach, Dorothy Divack at the Center of Excellence in San Francisco & New York. Completed The XL Training & The XL Coaches/Consultants Training Program in 2006
- Founded Fire Tree Studios ™ & the Fire Tree Method ™ in Austin; 2007
- Launched the first Fire Tree Method ™ Facilitator Training Program in 2008
The Fire Tree Method ™.
creative transformation & grounded expansion.
It has been my discovery that the creative vortex, lies within the realm of the sacred–where inspiration & acceptance meets the structure of rooted expansion– fire meets tree and the art of creation is born. Spirit is made manifest.
The Fire Tree Method ™ has been birthed out of a desire for deep connection, to self and Other and to experience freedom & true self-expression– to create without inhibitions, realize our creative potential by aligning with our authentic selves and to manifest these visions into reality. Transforming ourselves. Transforming our world.
creativity + structure = freedom
The Fire Tree Method ™ is based on my personal discovery of a paradoxical yet fundamental universal truth: to be truly free, we must have structure: a foundation—or roots, a core of with which to expand from. This is the place of transcendence; the creative vortex, where spirit and form collide. Structure acts as a catalyst to bounce off of— a corral for creativity to interact, experience, dance, play and discover oneself.
The Fire Tree Method ™ was developed after 10 years of intense personal transformation, training, research and self-discovery with the creative process as a channel for authentic self-expression, deep connection and Self-Realization. As a creative, I yearned to live a creative life that was fulfilling, engaging and supported my desire to be free of any self-imposed limitations, one that was grounded in tangible creation and abundance. This exploration was launched by my experience with Michelle Cassous’s Point Zero Painting with Barbara Kauffman at The Painting Studio: Center for Creative Exploration in San Francisco, a process approach to painting, which first gave me a taste of this expansive channel for self-discovery and allowed me to express repressed emotion, awaken and reclaim dormant parts of myself, and harness the power of the creative moment. I began to feel awake and alive! And yet there was more. I was lead to a clinical masters program in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology with a focus in Creative Expression and Expressive Arts Therapy. I craved to ground this new awakening: Emotion is energy. Creativity is energy. And as creative beings, we are the conduits for its expression. It was one thing to express it and it is another thing to harness it for co-creation…and become fully Self-realized.
At the time I discovered this radical painting approach, I began working with Master Coach and spiritual teacher, Dorothy Divack at the Center of Excellence. With Dorothy’s inspirational philosophy of self-empowerment —I learned from her powerful transformational tools and trainings and I was able to create a strong foundation for grounding the expressive arts and transformative arts – the integration of these modalities is where I found the most profound change in my own life. This is the path of the Fire Tree.
“That which we resist, persists.” – Carl Jung
…and that which we accept, transforms.
the expressive + transformative arts.
The expressive/transformative arts utilize all of the creative arts modalities as a vehicle for expansion, self-discovery, transformation, and change. The expressive arts welcome all ages, abilities and levels of creative experience. First time creative explorers are welcome! The expressive arts include but are not limited to: painting, drawing, writing, poetry, movement, dance, music, drama and sand play and are engaged with the intention of journeying into a deeper place within oneself or the collective.
Non-verbal creative self-expression is a powerful channel to the life force within each of us.
Life is full of energy and emotions that need to be EXPRESSED. When this energy is suppressed or repressed, we become DEPRESSED-feeling stagnant, lost or stuck in addictions and unhealthy patterns. The expressive arts are a healthy alternative way to experience, feel and release emotions and fear that keeps us from living & creating our highest potential.
Sometimes the expressive arts are used independently and they can be a powerful offering of deep insight when used together. For example, after creating a painting one might write a story or poem based the experience of the painting and then there might be a movement that wants to express itself from the painting.Besides generating a sense of joyful experience, the expressive arts can provide a deeper way of knowing. They allow us to get out of our minds and more connected to our bodies, intuition, and personal truth.
The Fire Tree Method ™ is grounded in the experience of creative and intuitive process with classes, workshops, intensives and immersions in the painting lab. Individual sessions and incubators offer an architecture for supporting a strong foundation for which creative visioning and manifestation in life experience is achieved.
Certified Fire Tree Visionary Art Facilitators ™ + Fire Tree Method(tm)
From a very young age, my Mother has always told me that as long as I had a sketch pad and some drawing materials, I would be happy. In the seventh grade, when asked what
I wanted to do when I left school, I replied, “I want to go to Art School”. After four years at Art School, majoring in painting, I felt I had lost my creative innocence-that intrinsic connection we all have to crea
tive life force. I shut down, overwhelmed with the critic, and didn’t fully commit to painting again for eight years until I discovered the Painting Process through Fire Tree Studios.
In those eight years I repressed my own personal creative journey, searching for that part of myself everywhere but within, knowing in my core that something fundamental to my being was missing. Thus the search began. I channeled all of my energy into gaining a degree in Art Education and teaching children through to adults in various educational, healing, community and cultural development environments, including special needs, disadvantaged, at-risk, multicultural and English as a second language. Through these diverse experiences, I have become progressively aware of the immense capacity that the creative process has on personal, emotional and spiritual healing and well-being.
I have spent the last two years as a Montessori Guide at my daughter’s school and am currently transitioning into the Expressive Arts as I come to the completion of my training as an Expressive Arts Facilitator and Coaches at Fire Tree Studios through the Fire Tree Method. Inspiring the intrinsic connection between creativity, conscious evolution and wholeness is my passion as a mother, teacher and artist.
I challenge people seek the truth within themselves in order to discover their true passions so they can take empowered action towards creating the life they desire.
I found Fire Tree Studios at the perfect moment of my journey of self-exploration. I was at an impasse in my life; wanting more yet paralyzed by fear. I began painting and working with Melissa in the Fire Tree Method and began to feel more empowered in my life, reconnecting with myself and the creative source within me, finding my voice and taking action to create change in my life.
My work at Fire Tree Studios has lead me to a deeper connection to my intuition and trust in myself, which guides me as I paint in the studio, as I coach and facilitate the painting process and as I live my daily life.
I have dedicated myself to my training as a facilitator of the Fire Tree Method and would like to work towards taking the work of Fire Tree Studios out in the community and empowering others on their journeys back to themselves.
What Ignites Me…
Self-empowerment. Art. Creativity. Curiosity. Play. Exploring the realm of unlimited possibility. Taking Decisive bold action.
facilitators in training.
David Jewel…. bio coming soon.
community outreach program.
As part of their training process, The Fire Tree Method Faciliators in Training will be offering intuitive painting classes in the community to the under-served. We are passionate about making creative expression accessible to diverse populations. Melissa is also available to lead trainings in the expressive arts to organizations that support the under-served. Please contact the studio to inquire for more information.
Fire tree studios is organized as a social enterprise. The studio’s purpose is to inspire social change by expanding consciousness and creativity on both the individual and collective levels. Passionate about community and prosperity, the studio is founded on the belief that abundance is our true nature and that we are all intimately connected. So as a business we believe in evolutionary growth which means that we intend to make a profit to support the expansion of the studio’s contribution and impact the world within around us.
in the media.
Chuck and Karen Robison of “What if it Really Works?” Television tour the studio and learn more about Melissa D’Antoni’s experiences with painting as process.
appreciation from clients.
“For me the Fire Tree Method is a conscious balance of grounding and transcending, structure and flow, expansion and contraction, male and female. It has become clear to me over the past year, that in order for me to do this work –to step into my wholeness with a view to support others as they step into theirs, I need structure and grounding. The Clarity Incubator, combined with Melissa’s supportive guidance and the painting process has taken me on an incredible journey of uncovering and remembering lost parts of myself, self acceptance, forgiveness and self empowerment.”
-Rebecca Knaggs, Artist, Teacher, Fire Tree Method Facilitator in Training.
“Melissa has been a both a client and mentor for several years now. Her painting process is a powerful experience allowing one to delve deep into their creative consciousness and approach their issues head on to help heal and overcome. At Fire Tree Studios, painting is not a distraction, hobby or something to be taught; it’s a tool that provides a window into one’s authentic self and creative soul. Melissa gently guides her students along each one’s unique creative journey without judgment or influence. She is unsurpassed in reading emotions and realizing when someone is teetering on a creative edge and asking the right questions to get them past it. Not only does her method help one to explore their creative being, but it is also fun. Nothing is off limits. Nothing is taboo. I would recommend Fire Tree Studios to anyone and everyone looking for a creative outlet in their lives.”
- Samantha Soper, Web Designer
“Seeking out the services of Melissa has been one of the best decisions I have made. Our work together has helped to facilitate more awareness throughout all aspects of my life, which has brought about more clarity and a greater sense of purpose. No longer will I fall prey to the patterns of old, as the techniques Melissa has so graciously shared, have empowered me to break free of that which is deemed to be less than serving.”
- Valerie Guettler, Software Engineer
“First of all, meeting you was special for me. There’s something about you, and the space you’ve created around you, with which I resonate in a deeply happy place. You catalyze a life-loving, dream-hungry vibration in me. Your presence is palpable, and soul-nourishing. More than that: there’s a kind of bliss and contentment and peace and wholeness in you. Many healers do not radiate happiness, from deep within–something for us to aspire to–but you do. I’m sure your mood is not always happy, but your soul seems to have attained a place of life-loving, to which, I imagine, it knows how to return.
- Geneve Gil, Singer/Musician
“Melissa is a warm, generous soul. She asks hard questions and waits patiently for the answers I had to dredge out of the parts of me that didn’t want to see them. Then she is vastly supportive as I sort out what those answers mean for my life.”
- Susan Corbin, PhD
“I find our private coaching sessions to provide key insight and practical application in obtaining what I really want in life. The process painting classes have taken my art in a direction that is well received. The coaching and process painting equip me with a new level of connection to the spiritual and creative source. In conversation with my friends and peers, I recommend your services when a change in the quality of their lives are desired.”
- Terry East, Entrepreneur
“Working with Melissa provided a much-needed breakthrough that provided me a safe harbor to release old patterns, resentments, and fears keeping me from fulfilling my life purpose. Her insight, intuition, and expertise worked together in a magical blend providing tangible steps to self-realization. Almost immediately after our work together, people and opportunities began to appear in my life providing further proof that I had released the old to make room for the new. I am grateful for her professionalism.”
- Paige Davis, Founder, Blue Avocado
“Melissa’s Coaching is the real deal! She is authentic, talented and a gifted healer. Our work together is the best investment I’ve made in myself. She dispelled my preconceived notions that coaching was a linear, cookie cutter/problem-solving approach to problems in living. She truly understands that change happens on the inside and has a unique ability/gift to be a catalyst in the transformation process. Her work is artful — a crafting together of compassion, awareness and useful, varied tools to bring about growth and change. She embodies the work that she inspires her clients to undertake. I benefited remarkably from our work together and recommend her work to others.”
– Lynn Motley, MSW & Therapist