I promised I’d be back soon and, true to my word, here I am!
It’s been a very creative couple of weeks and I’ve really enjoyed being a ‘student’ myself, rather than a teacher, for a change. The lovely effervescent Sara arrived on the island and kindly gave up some of her precious holiday to teach a couple of Creative workshops at Villa Nicara. (Thanks must go to her very understanding and patient husband, Kevin, too!)
The first class, ‘SILK PAINTING’, was so interesting – I can’t remember when I had so much fun!! Not only did we learn how to dye the silk (pre roll- edged scarves, which Sara provided) and ‘set’ them in the microwave but we also had a dose of learning to relinquish control “Let go and just see what happens”….(Yikes!! But a particularly useful exercise for me!).
Applying the inks very carefully to the silk in a plastic tray and then gently ‘squidging’ them around, led one to believe there was an element of control over the final outcome. Not a bit of it! Inks very definitely have a mind of their own; they mingle with other colours (or not) at random and each scarf once completed and revealed, brought about squeals of surprise and utter delight !
Bright and colourful, they were left in the sun to dry either flat , knotted or scrunched and rolled (each of which produced a very different result every time).
Quick, easy and above all entirely redeemable , should any unforeseen or disappointing ‘disaster’ occur, I recommend this course to anyone who wants an almost instantaneous result with the minimum of skill and effort. There is a technique to learn of course but that’s where Sara’s excellent teaching skills come in. She had us believing we all were more that capable right from the start – and, well, although she just made it look so easy, hers certainly had a more ‘professional’ look about them! A case for’Practice makes perfect’ after all……
Thank you , Sara!
Sara’s second course, ‘CREATIVE WRITING’, was an altogether more cerebreal affair. As a lover and avid reader of poetry and prose, or indeed anything to do with words, in any shape or form, and with bookcases groaning with well-thumbed anthologies of favourite poets and authors myself, I was completely in my element with this one.
What could be more idyllic than spending an afternoon gathered together under the shade of a pine tree, on a sunny Greek island, quoting and exchanging favourite authors and experimenting with words through a series of cleverly designed exersises.
Like any of the Art forms, the discipline lies in acquiring a sound knowledge of the basics or ‘rules’ first in order to be able to veer successfully off-track. With Sara’s experienced guidance, her impressive imagination and enviable store of language, she encouraged us to step outside the boxes we confine ourselves to subconsciously, and to start thinking laterally. It produced some startling results!
As a group we were all very different individuals and each approached their writing in a unique, identifiable way (be it witty, humorous, factual etc). Yet , after just a short time, guided by Sara, we were each thinking ‘outside the box’ and producing interesting, colourful work, without compromising our natural individual writing styles, in any way. It was remarkable!
Also fascinating was the insight to the publishing world Sara revealed. Whether it’s a first novel, a blog or an anthology of poems that drives us to write, I don’t think any of us realised how ‘formulaic ‘ each genre actually is (as required by the publishing houses). Sara’s suggestion that we start out less ambitiously and begin writing short stories first, which would provide a way to save becoming disheartened by the sheer no. of ‘do’s and dont’s’!
Alas, the course was all too short (just a couple of days this time) but Sara plans to return in July and I’ll be one of the first to sign up for more! If you’d like to join us, please drop me a line and if you’d like read some of Sara’s own work, including her paintings, please check out her BLOG.