An interesting trend emerged over the past year. Nearly everyone I know has become a practicing horticulturist. A dear friend of mine (who pre-pandemic, couldn’t keep a sturdy aloe plant alive) now spends her evenings chatting with her many tomato plants. “They respond especially well to compliments” she tells me, with a straight face. This mindfulness involved in nurturing our little gardens, is very much a reflection of how we now choose to lead our lives. Slowly and intentionally; with love, care and nourishment.
With this in mind, as the doors to travel re-open for many of us, a VAWAA experience truly seems to be the best way to travel in this post-pandemic world.
Never before has the importance of quality human connection been as important. Our personal time is sacrosanct, and who better to spend it with than remarkable individuals who add value to our lives with their generosity of heart and spirit. Fredy, a member of the VAWAA family, spent four days on Ursula’s beautiful estate in Southern Italy, learning about Historic Cuisine. His words: “As we sailed late into the night through discussions and laughter on the waves of our host’s homemade wine, we realized that food isn’t about nutrition only. It is about sharing love and enjoying this fleeting moment called ‘life’!” While Fredy embarked upon a culinary expedition, it’s also the many interesting conversations, and moments in-between which he carries with him forever.
VAWAA experiences are carried out in a safe and contained manner. Traveling to a single destination is safer for you, local communities and other travelers. Covid protocols are well managed before, during and after an experience. The nature of nearly all VAWAA experiences is such that they are carried out in lovely private spaces, or the beautiful outdoors. Photography with Tomas is in the magical archipelagos of Spain’s Canary Islands. This photography apprenticeship with Tomas is experienced by capturing diverse landscapes of the island - black lava, white sand beaches, forests and mountains. The one-on-one, intimate nature of this experience lends itself to being very safe for all parties involved!
Curated & Vetted.
Each VAWAA experience is curated and carefully vetted. Master artists essentially become your “local” best friend. In the post-pandemic world, they have the most up-to-date information on the community and local guidelines. With VAWAA, you also have a concierge to assist you through every step of the journey, giving you the mental freedom to explore.
VAWAA artist Silvia, an ebru painting master, is an expert in the art, architecture and culture of Istanbul.
During the pandemic, many of us discovered our creative passions and picked up new skills. Whether it was the art of home brewing kombucha, or creating a ceramics corner in your home, these practices brought immense joy and healing to many. VAWAA experiences are an opportunity to keep building on these skills and way of life. Lisa apprenticed with Helen, a master artist specializing in the art of Hand Papermaking and artist books, in Philadelphia. Lisa’s words: “I'm in a state of flux with my artwork - kinda between series and ideas. By choosing to step outside of my normal art making media, I was able to loosen up my thoughts and just work. It was freeing to be able to break away from past series. The landscape series was finished by the time I left on day two. It amazed me that I could come up with such complete ideas in two days. I'm quite pleased with the work. Of course I could not have done any of it without Helen, Jayne, and Helen Rose. Each day we had lunch and coffee breaks together - along with a killer chocolate cake made by Jayne. Helen's house, yard and studio are lovely. I felt very welcome in Helen's house. Helen seemed to read my mind as I worked. She gave just the right amount of advice and then let me go off and create. She was always present for questions and had plenty of examples on hand for inspiration. She kept the pacing just right for me. I am so thankful for this experience and feel energized to continue on with my new series”.
VAWAA artist Helen is based in Washington DC.
Whole new world.
We are welcomed into the rich, multilayered world of a Master Artist. Experiencing the world as they live it is irreplaceable. Aditya apprenticed under Silvia, known for her mastery of the meditative art of Ebru Painting, in Çengelköy. “Spending time with Silvia and learning Ebru from her was the highlight of our entire trip! In her gorgeous atelier surrounded by her garden, we immersed ourselves in the meditative and mystical art of Ebru. Our sessions in her atelier were almost effortless. She also took us to one of her teacher’s studio, where we learned the traditional Ebru flower art. We really appreciated the breadth of Ebru knowledge Silvia shared with us. We shared food and tea, spoke about art, Sufi and Islamic philosophies, the history and architecture of Istanbul, and many, many more things. Silvia is well known in the community and knows many people from different spheres of life. We were able to learn so much more through her during our time there. Through her research on water over the years, she has become an expert in the art, architecture and culture of Istanbul, and we were really lucky to have experienced the city through her lens. It was also a treat staying at her beautiful house full of her art and immense creative energy! Silvia showed us around her charming town of Çengelköy, on the shores of the Bosphorus, and took us to some of her favorite spots on the Asian and European sides of the Bosphorus river. Our most memorable moments were trying various local delicacies in and out of her studio, taking in the sunset from the rooftop of a traditional 'Han' or inn (where traders stayed when visiting Istanbul back in the Silk Route days), and enjoying a whirling dervish dance and Turkish music performance with Silvia and her family. In her delightful company, we did not realize how the time flew by!”
VAWAA presents a wonderful opportunity to be part of a meaningful exchange of creativity and ideas, as well as culture and community. This is especially significant after the lengthy period of solitude several of us have faced. Jenny’s VAWAA with Katja at her Ceramics studio in beautiful Križe, a small town with incredible views of the Julian Alps, was magical, both inside and outside the studio. “Katja is an absolute gem and the more days passed by, the more I realized this VAWAA was like finding a pearl. This was truly a beautiful exchange, sharing space, ideas, stories, vulnerability, eye contact, smiles, laughs, and food! Outside the studio: vegetarian dinners at Katja's with her son, watching the winter sky light up on fire as we drove to yoga together, meeting Katja's architect friend Maša over dinner, and visiting Marko's printing, calligraphy, and paper-making studio in Ljubljana”.
Freeing & Transformative.
Ultimately, each VAWAA experience is made up of several life enhancing moments one never would have been able to plan themselves. Amy says it best, after her VAWAA experience of Paper Mache Clay Sculpture with Iria in Coruña . “My time in Galicia, Spain has been a transformative experience, learning sculpture-making from the super talented artist Iria at her serene home+studio tucked in the greenest part of La Caruna. I’m super thankful for Iria’s guidance, generosity, kindness, and the fun adventures we shared! From full-moon hikes through rocky terrains past ancient monasteries during midnight, to chilling at her friend’s breezy surf club by the sea. Viewing sunsets reminiscent of Caspar Friedrich’s landscape paintings to cozying up in the oldest jazz club in Spain. Trying percebes for the first time and spending lots of quality face time with my two loves, chorizo and pulpo. Meeting her talented array of sweet friends. Witnessing how a region in Ferrol was saved entirely by art and one man’s passion for street art. Lastly, I am super grateful for learning a new craft from Iria, who taught me how to literally bring a woman to life...transforming the little lady from my paintings into sculpture form!”.
Written by Kimsuka Iyer
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