Some people travel to look at masterpieces; others go to create them. The sensory excitement and fresh eyes of a new experience, the anonymity and re-definition of self are great food for the creative soul. Whatever your passion: be it painting, writing, cooking, jewellery-making, photography, sketching or even pottery, there are travel experiences with a bit of organisation and research which help create or personalise just for your needs.
There are manifold retreats that offer the opportunity to meet with like-minded people under the tutelage of a maestro in any chosen field in any given location. I met with Cynthia Morgan of Casa Paterna Retreats in Umbria, Italy (http://www.casapaternaretreats.com). She offers not only set itineraries but also an in-depth knowledge of the area to help you design your own seamless retreat.
She told me, “Guests are delighted to find that we accommodate up to 12 guests with the intimacy of living in a traditional Italian home. We help customise their retreats by suggesting local secrets, appropriate to their chosen craft or sport. And offer suggestions they may not think of.
If independence or solo travel is more your holiday style, working with a local professional that can share their specialist knowledge of an area as well as their creative talents is the perfect solution. I recently found such a specialist in Tuscany. Alfredo Falvo (http://www.tuscanyphotographyday.com) is a locally-born photographer so has in-depth knowledge of where the light will be and when.
He told me: “My workshops are different because I know the Val d’Orcia (Tuscany) intimately. I know the people who make it special. I listen to what my clients want and can adapt the day accordingly. I teach the skills required in different situations. A landscape requires different settings than a portrait. I want people to go home with stories through their images.”
MEET THE LOCALS
Most vacation destinations will have well-trodden paths to art galleries and museums. But think outside the box. Try to visit places local artisans are at work as they are make their craft. The experience was moving to witness the passion and pride with which the work is done. Ask people their stories. Not only will it be a creative learning experience but your involvement will make your travelling experience of the region that much more profound.
In an urban environment, a great way to meet local artists is to join an art walk. These can be Googled in advance and many cities have both guided and self-guided tours. Bangkok, for example, has a gallery-hopping event once every two months in the art district of Silom’s Charoenkrung Road.
FOLLOW THE FIESTA: ART AND PARTY
Plan your trip around an arts festival: from premier international modern and contemporary art, to local festivities showcasing the arts alongside music, theatre, entertainment, local cuisine and drink.
Happy creative travelling!
Text by Debbie Oakes / Photos by Alfredo Falvo (tuscanyphotographyday.com)
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