Workshop in France: Painters’ boxes.

I’ve been writing a lot about the trip part of the upcoming workshop in France.  It’s a big undertaking, for all of us who are going, to book airfare and housing and solidify travel plans, of course, and naturally everyone wants to know what it’s like where we’re going to be .  However, another important aspect of an art workshop is, obviously, the art itself.  And so, I’d like to take some time, over the next few months, to describe a little bit about what it is that we’ll be doing, there in the heart of Provence, nestled into our gorgeous villa near an abandoned abbey.

In a nutshell, we’re going to be turning stories into tangible objects that we can touch and feel and pick up, and even smell because this is Provence so there simply has to be lavender involved, and we’re going to do that by using those lovely vintage art cases that most of you who are signed up have received by now.**

Think of that box in your hands as a framework- a structure within which Lynn and Kirsten will be teaching a variety of techniques while allowing each participant to explore their own very personal, very unique vision.

Let’s take that idea even further:  we’re going to be turning OUR stories into things that can fit inside these beautiful cases, cases that just happen to look exactly like the one that Vincent Van Gogh carries around with him in the 2018 movie about his life, “At Eternity’s Gate.”  Think of them as magical boxes to be filled with treasures that are unique to your own narrative- something that, in a way, brings you back to the child in you that longs to find that place where just maybe fairies might be depositing special things for you to find.

And here’s the thing:  You are fortunate enough to be learning to turn your narrative into something tangible from two women who describe themselves, first and foremost, as storytellers.  In a recent conversation with Kirsten about this project, that’s the part she wanted to convey most vehemently.  Kirsten, as you may all know, is a ceramics artist, but she absolutely sees herself first as, yes, a storyteller.  With a background in theater, story is her life’s work, and clay is her medium for doing that work.

In a completely separate discussion with Lynn, she also described herself above all else as a storyteller.  Lynn comes from a family who adored the arts, of all kinds, and she too has a background in theater as well as ballet.  While Kirsten works more in the three dimensional world of sculpture, Lynn is more focused on two dimensional art-  she loves, more than anything, to paint.  She works in sculpture as well, in addition to print making- anything to feed her obsession with texture and surfaces and illustrating… which leads us back again to stories…

It’s going to be amazing, I have no doubt.  The perspective one can gain when on the other side of the world is inimitable, and having this time blocked off to not only learn and grow as artists and be inspired by the beauty of France but also to examine one’s personal narrative with not only one but two guides in that process is an extraordinary gift to ourselves.  Whether that narrative will be about your life or simply about this trip to France doesn’t matter.

What matters is that each of us will come home having gained skills and learned techniques, but also explored more deeply who we are as women.

After all, we women are the story keepers, the story tellers, for our families, for ourselves, and often even for the world.  And never underestimate the power contained within that.

 

**There are a few of you who haven’t yet, but don’t worry! You’ll get one too!

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