This summer the restaurant chain LEON ran a wellbeing festival for the restaurant managers of their 57 UK and European restaurants, their new one soon to open in Washington USA and the restaurant support team. This two-day event takes place every year at John Vincent’s family home in Sussex and the event really is a family get together. The ‘mums’ and ‘dads’ (that’s what they call their restaurant managers) and the restaurant support team gathered together in one of the fields and started with a ball game as a way of breaking the ice and introducing any new ‘family’ members to each other. The event, like the LEON brand, is well thought out, wholesome and inclusive.
Next a session of Chi-gung (“Life Energy Cultivation”) took place and after that everyone gathered into groups to take part in different events throughout the day. These included swimming, yoga, cooking, movement and play, tennis, home-made remedies and the workshop I was there to teach, low tech printing onto calico bags.
Nichola, one of the ‘mums’ from LEON was there to help me, she was brilliant and as I ran six sessions back to back throughout the day, with a break for a delicious LEON lunch, I couldn’t have done it without her.
I showed everyone a look book of marks that can be made using very simple items such as fruit and vegetables, blocks of wood wrapped in elastic bands, pipe lagging cut into segments and erasers on the end of pencils.
Everyone then had a go on pieces of paper so they could work out their own designs.
Then to get the feel of printing onto fabric everyone printed onto a piece of calico.
Once satisfied with design and colour choices each person printed onto a bag. The bags were hung up in the garden to dry with the names of the designer on them.
Throughout the rest of their stay everyone posted thoughtful messages into the bags of one another. It was such a glorious event and I felt honoured to be part of it. Looking back at the images I took that day you can see people totally engaged in the activity, printing anywhere and everywhere; at the table, on the floor, on chairs or on their laps, completely absorbed in the moment which is what creativity is all about.