Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.
- Chinese proverb
I can swoon over the wonders of our weekend in Tuscany; I can expatiate on the talents of our Plated Stories Workshop participants, expound on their humor and creativity; I can discuss how well we all thought it went… endlessly if you ask me. The give and take of information and inspiration, the back and forth of ideas and insight, bottle of red after bottle of red followed by dessert and the voices and the laughter rang out long and far into the night.
But I won't.
All I will say is that I am deeply satisfied. As a workshop organizer, an instructor, a teacher, I am satisfied and feel that a job was well done. I love watching people grow, gather up their confidence and move forward. I love thinking that I have influenced someone (inspired is so smug and self-righteous a word I do not like using it), influenced and motivated someone to write, to think, to improve, convinced someone – and in this case several people – that they have what it takes to be a writer. An excellent, influential writer and storyteller.
What Ilva and I have created together has snowballed (such an inelegant word but hasn't it just?): a blog, awards and recognition, editorial projects and a workshop. Thanks to Linda of Tuscan Muse, Linda the ideal mix of professionalism, humor and wit, warmth and generosity and an outstanding organizer of… unforgettable experiences (she organizes a string of workshops on photography, watercolor painting, Italian, etc), who brought Ilva and I together, down to the beautiful, welcoming Antica Tenuta Le Casacce and started the Plated Stories Workshop ball rolling.
I have already given my impressions of the workshop on Plated Stories. Now, it is better said in images.
photo courtesy of Robin Ove
But I can also let you in on a bit what goes on and what we teach in a Plated Stories Workshop… seeing as how our Autumn Workshop is already organized and open for registration, 3 – 5 October, also in Tuscany, Italy, but at the splendid 19th century villa Il Salicone. So what do you need to know about the Plated Stories Workshop?
* The relaxed and convivial atmosphere (in short, we have tons of fun!) in a picture-perfect Tuscan setting (or wherever we may go in 2015) is the ideal environment for Telling a Story Through Words and Images.
* It is a weekend in which you will be totally and completely immersed in the art and craft of writing and photography & styling.
* The workshop program, intensive and hands on, will give you the tools needed as both a photographer and a writer to understand, develop, hone and eventually master your skills, inspire a more critical eye, instill confidence and challenge you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, both technically and creatively.
photo courtesy of Linda Bass
* You will learn how text and images, stories and photos, can and should interact, intertwine, combine into one story or composition in order to have more impact as a whole.
photo courtesy Ilva Beretta
* As writers, we will explore writing vs storytelling and how to understand, hone and master the skills required for each.
* As writers, we will explore voice and style with the aim of discovering and strengthening our own.
* As writers, we will learn how to prop shop just like the photographers do! And then learn how to put those props to use most effectively.
* As writers, we will read and write, explore moods, emotions, colors and senses, expand awareness and modes of expression.
photos courtesy Ilva Beretta
* And, as writers, you will begin to see stories, words, descriptions where you hadn't thought to look before, and begin to see the world through stories as well as visuals.
I won't go into the photography half of the workshop; simply visit Ilva Beretta's portfolio and you will understand why you should learn from her. You will see a photographer with an incredible eye, a distinctive voice and a varied style, which is rarer than you may think – how many wonderful photographers have a beautiful style but never vary that style from one shot to the next? And more than that, Ilva is able to communicate her thoughts and her ideas, again a teaching skill not all photo workshop instructors have.
A tremendous thank you to the magnificent Linda Bass of Tuscan Muse, Paola Thomas of paolathomas.com and mirrormirror, Briana of Briana Moore Photography, Robin Ove of What About the Food?, Deepa Gopinath of One Small Pot, and Cathy Warner of Bread Experience. And of course Ilva of Lucullian Delights and Plated Stories.