A few years ago I got the chance to visit the home and studio of a talented artist in the city I lived in. Stepping into her bougainvilla lined gates, I had the feeling I had been transported to an entirely new world. Known for her incredibly detailed paintings, her home too was a beautiful reflection of this attention to detail. Her garden, like her paintings, was brimming with flowers, and the smell of jasmine lingered in the air. She was kind and generous and regaled me with stories of her life, her art and all that went into creating her beautiful studio. This was her most sacred space, and I was aware that getting a glimpse into her creative process was a privilege. Stepping into her world was a once in a lifetime experience which a few years on, continues to inspire me. While I did not have the opportunity to learn her craft from her, I can only imagine how incredible that would have been.
The opportunity to enter the mind of a master often results in transformational moments. An experience to hold onto and treasure for years to come. With this in mind, I share with you three opportunities to enter the worlds of three incredible artists. Especially perfect for those of you looking to travel in California.
1. Travel to this layered world
Debra, a textile artist in Los Angeles, echoes my sentiments. “I believe we collect experiences throughout our lives. These experiences mold and change us, they sway our character”. VAWAA offers the chance to experience a mini-apprenticeship to learn Fabric Collage, Stitching and Knotting with Debra in Los Angeles. Debra has been fabric collaging and stitching since she first learnt to sew, crochet, cook and bake as a young girl in the 1960’s.
A tapestry handmade by Debra. Leave your VAWAA with your mini tapestry, crafted by you!
She is inspired by the beauty of nature, and favors organic shapes, colors and textures in both her functional garments and fiber structures. Debra shares how she captures the layered experiences of life by gently manipulating fabric through stitching, knotting, appliqué and layering. During this, time slows and you learn how to work intuitively. As Debra does, you too may find yourself making connections between different periods of life, and the layers of fabric. This tactile sensory experience encourages you to ‘let go’ and let the fabric guide you.
2. Immerse yourself in this 6000 year old craft
If the idea of an olfactory sensory experience draws you in, this VAWAA learning Natural Perfume and Incense Making with Persephenie is perfect for you. Persephenie’s love of scent began the first time she traveled to India and got fascinated by incense. She enjoys researching recipes from cultures around the world, interpreting them, sometimes modernizing them and using natural raw materials.
VAWAA Artist Persephenie teaching the art of natural perfume making.
In this VAWAA, you will spend time in Persephenie’s perfume atelier in Los Angeles, learning about the raw herbs and botanical oils used for incense making, understanding extraction methods and how to mix and process ingredients for incense and perfumery! You will leave this VAWAA with your own hand crafted botanical incense, solid natural perfume, and an organic alcohol based perfume. Persephenie also takes you to the flower district, to explore local perfumeries and the Getty as you discuss the history of aromatics with her.
3. Vacation with a master of America’s most famous textile
Choosing to Vacation with An Artist is a gift to yourself. A gift presenting you with direction, to define your next steps and imagine your future projects. This was the case for Jenny. Jenny dabbled in craftwork over the years, slowly learning how to make her own clothes. Jenny was looking for a break, a vacation near home when she came across this VAWAA - The Art of Denim with Robert in Los Angeles. Robert is a well known bespoke maker of denim jeans, jackets and shirts; master of jean repairs and alterations; and a Vintage Levi 501 collector and seller.
Jenny got the opportunity to see Robert at work in his studio as he regaled her with stories about his work, the brands and people he worked with, and the sewing machines he used. Jenny was delighted to have the chance to work on each machine in his studio. Over two days, she crafted a pair of jeans for herself. Robert oversaw as she completed each part of the process including cutting the fabric. He allowed the time for her to practice, make mistakes, and practice again. Her VAWAA with Robert pushed Jenny to continue down the path of designing and sewing. Robert says, "This is a dying art and you have to love it. If it feels like work, then it's boring."
Each VAWAA is a mini-apprenticeship which is ideal if you use travel as an opportunity to explore, learn, and create. Go on a VAWAA to take a digital detox and reconnect with the physical world. Spend time inside a master artist’s studio making something with your hands. Learn a new creative skill. You can use a VAWAA to reconnect with creativity, hone a passion, get fresh inspiration, and so much more.