Sitting in the courtyard at Villa Pia someone said to me, “This place makes me so creative.” She was spending her mornings in the writing workshops then doing her own self directed painting in the afternoon. I am amazed at the level of creativity that happens on Ways With Words' courses. On Friday evenings in Umbria we have a Private View – a posh concept for a fun/informal event when we all gather in the painters’ barn to see a slide show of images from the week (people, places and art work) and more paintings and drawings on the walls. We drink prosecco and marvel at how much has been achieved. Saluti artists.
After dinner we sit in the lounge while the writers read short selected pieces from their week’s writing. One week they were linked by the theme of objects. Each writer had written a description of an object chosen from around Villa Pia, and then transformed the object into a person. The next the writing accompanied slides of a figure drawing class. Such wit and invention.
Meanwhile Bepe, Patrizia, Jesse and Marinella are creative in the kitchen and we marvel at their skill and inventiveness as the huge buffet appears at lunchtime and the 4 course meal each evening. They create with their knives and wooden spoons instead of charcoal, paint and pens. I won’t try and tell them that they are food artists.
Is it the place - Umbria with its pink skies, ploughed fields and hill top villages? Is it people – helpful tutors and supportive colleagues? Is it being away from all the pressures of daily existence?
I think space has something to do with it. Large rooms, high ceilings, panoramic views; does physical space help ideas fly? Psychological space seems unquantifiable but I’m sure there’s lots of that too.
If you need space for yourself and your creativity consider a Ways With Words course in Fingals in Devon (29 April – 4 May 2012) or here at Villa Pia in Umbria (22 Sept – 29 Sept. and/or 29 Sept - 6 Oct.).