Monday, September 12, 2016

Exquisite & Delicate - The Journals of Derika Volpi

This coming Saturday, 17 September, I am very excited to be hosting a visual journaling workshop at the Play Café which will be taught by my wonderful friend and artist, Derika Volpi.  She holds a BA (Fine Arts) degree in Information Design, and is passionate about hand lettering, typography, layout, sketching and photography.  Have a look at her instagram profile (@derikavol) and you'll see what I mean!

Derika's visual journals as well as her photography highlights all the wonderful detail that most of us tend to overlook when we see beautiful big landscapes or when we travel to new and unknown places. We are so often overwhelmed and taken by everything that is "bigger and better" that we lose so much of the exceptionally beautiful detail that surrounds us.  This is a theme that keeps emerging in much of her work.

She prefers to work in small and portable formats mostly. As a busy home-schooling mother of 2, many of her journal pages are done in her tiny A6 Moleskine Diary - which is a practice that she has inspired me to follow too.  She believes in a minimalist approach to art materials.  Derika's pages are often a combination of 3 elements only - collage, sketches and hand lettering.

She adores paper and prefers to use old labels, postage stamps, pages from old journals, vintage book papers, even the patterned insides of used envelopes as well as tiny seeds and leaves discovered during nature trips - which she loves taking with her family.

During the workshop, she will be guiding us through the creation of tiny journals made with recycled papers, and also introduce us to her unique style elements as we create our own visual journal pages.

Message me if you'd like to attend - and I'll forward you the details.

Here's a sneek peak into some of her wonderful journals:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Play Café Retreats & Workshop News

I've had the amazing opportunity to facilitate two 1-day retreats during the past winter months.  It is a little slice of heaven for me to be able to spend an entire day with beautiful likeminded souls and to share with them the incredible practice of visual journaling which I am so passionate about.

The first one was held in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

Then came LEEF Magazine's Creative Retreat in the beautiful Cape Town where 52 courageous women journaled their hearts out at the gorgeous Altydlig Wine Estate.  What an amazing experience to be able to work with this team!  I'll be doing one of these again - this time in Johannesburg on 19 November - and feeling blessed to be working with Christine and her wonderful team once again.

Seriously wished I could put these two in my pocket and take them home with me!

Stunning view of Table Mountain covered in a rainshower in the distance.

And here's a rundown of what's happening in-house this term at the Play Café Studio/Workshop in Pretoria:

Our first workshop took place on 27 August.  We made flag journals....that became banners of love...  So much beauty came from these girls as they poured their hearts into these flags. 
17 September's workshop is 2 weeks away.  Are you coming?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Brewing at the Play Café...

5 new workshops are brewing at the Play Café this term.
One of them will take place in the beautiful Stellenbosch  - during the Stellenbosch Woordfees
(Word Festival).  So appropriate - considering we'll be spilling our souls on paper, making our own books and filling them with our own profound words and images.
Email me if you'd like to know more -

Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 and "being busy"

I wanted to start my first blog entry of 2016 with an overview of 2015.
Then I discovered this unpublished post in my blog's "back room" - written in August 2015.
And looking back on the year, this is so profound that I feel it needs to be heard.
Unknowingly I seemed to have written this as a message for the future - for 2016.

August 2015:
I wrote, "I'm happy to say that my days of immobility in terms of movement and being unable to drive are now over.  Although I still have not regained full mobility of my right arm and shoulder.  Bone growth is progressing at a slower rate than expected.  I am able to do most of the basic day to day tasks.  But my year has not been as productive as I planned it to be.

Maybe it actually has!
Why do I measure success in terms of productivity?
And what does it mean to be "productive"?
Does the work that we do on the we overcome our own obstacles and fears, how we deal with adversity...not count when we measure productivity?
Is it just about OUTput then?
I'm somewhat shocked at my own values in this regard while I'm writing this.
Productivity seems to be weighed according to what we can measure, that which is quantifiable - that is how I've been conditioned.  Is that perhaps because external behaviour is visible and measurable and exchangeable for that other visible and measurable commodity that dictates most of our lives - money?
If we're physically busy, then we are seen as productive and successful, it seems.

Today I'm challenging my own views.

You see, I've spent almost half of the year so far on my back.  But I got to read many pages that I've always wanted to, but never gotten around to doing before.  I had time to contemplate and think things through.  I had an opportunity to practice working, writing and sketching with my non-dominant hand.  I kept a journal - The Left Hand Chronicles - because I could only use my left hand and basic art materials at the time.  My lines were childlike but they were the most authentic marks I'd ever made on paper.

Deep processes of healing and growth were unfolding way beneath the layers of my skin.  Like the slow, deep movements of magma, water and tectonic plates under the earth's surface.  In time, some of those changes make it out to the surface of the earth and into the atmosphere.  The magnitude of those changes become visible to the eye only after they have actually occurred - sometimes months or even years later.

Productivity is not just that which can be measured and quantified in terms of behaviour.   Success has no set definition either.  The criteria that define it are uniquely personal and very different for each individual.

I saw a wonderful quote the other day.
Beware the barenness of a busy life

So here's to a wonderful 2016 and to living your own, unique brand of success.  
And may your sense of peace and contentment flourish as a result.
With love