Many years have passed since I last visited here. Much has changed, but one thing has remained constant and unwavering: a commitment to living a creative life. For me, that means living with my eyes wide open to the ordinary beauty of everyday life. Shadows on a wall, flattened bottle tops embedded in the tar of shopping malls, faded flowers, snail patterns on leaves, foam lace on the beach. And stains – those visual storytellers that remind us of events and moments where everything did not go according to plan.
I discovered the inherent beauty of stains many years ago – I’ve never been a purist of any kind, so I suppose it’s not surprising. Stains remind me that life isn’t – shouldn’t be – perfect. When I was approached a few years ago to offer a stitching workshop at the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, I knew I would have to incorporate stains – the domestic kind that especially women encounter on a daily basis, and whose job it (still) often is to remove. I’ve had a few in-person workshops since then, with thrilling results; for me, the best part is so see the relief and utter glee on the faces of the participants as they mess about with red wine, tomato sauce, turmeric, coffee.
I’ve always messed about with words, even before I could fully understand them. From the very beginning, I loved the patterns they formed on the pages of books, and I loved the loopy shapes of my very first writing exercises at age five or six. And of course I love that so many stories can be told and written, in so many languages, with a finite number of words.
The permutations and possibilities are endless.
I suspect that most people share my fear of the blank page, or canvas and sometimes find it hard to know what to write, say, paint, draw. Word play is used in my workshop to help unearth personal, subconscious content as a tool to find the visual elements of your story.
This year I finally managed to translate my in-person Stained Table Narrative Stitching Workshop into a digital version, which is available here https://willemien-de-villiers-studio.teachable.com
You will have lifetime access and can take as long as you need to complete it. I’ll connect with you in the comments section, available after each module (there are six).
I loved every aspect of creating this version of my workshop, but most of all for the opportunity it gave me to revisit my own process. To rediscover the reasons I create, of exactly what excites me to create. Revisiting this very neglected blog is one of the many aspects of my art-making I rediscovered, especially visiting the stored library of images I’ve used in previous blogs.
I chose a random selection to show in the story below – a reminder of the quirks of my mind, as unique as yours.