"This has to be the most brilliant start up I have heard about for a very long time. For all among us who don’t relish the idea of a typical tourist resort kind of vacation, and have neither the skills nor the desire to climb Mount Everest, there's this...
Geetika Agrawal of R/GA (design firm) in New York has launched, Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA). Agrawal dreamed up this travel idea while on her own 12-month sabbatical away from the agency. During this leave, Agrawal spent a month in each of twelve countries using her time to find artists with whom travelers can learn a skill through the VAWAA program.
After spending one month in each of Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru, she landed back in New York with a network of artists skilled in shoemaking, ceramics, rattan weaving, sacred movement and healing, natural dyeing, calligraphy, woodworking, felting, tango, and more. The list is always growing, and includes a bespoke shoemaker in Prague; a wet plate collodion photographer in Slovenia; a leather shadow puppet maker in Malaysia; a creative writer in Vietnam; and a bamboo bicycle maker in Bangalore.
She is always on the lookout for new artisans. As she travels, Agrawal has been personally curating the artists, with whom travellers can book studio sessions through the site. Each studio session is open to a maximum of one to three guests to make the experience authentic and of the highest possible quality. It is meant to be an intimate experience. Agrawal works with the artists to create an outline for each studio session that defines the duration, price and experience.
"Although some may compare this to a workshop or a course, I call it a 'studio session' because of the depth and richness of the experience. It is a period of time you spend together with an artist in their studio learning not just the techniques, but also getting to know the artist and understanding their creative process—including going to the market to buy materials or taking short trips. Depending on the artist and their art, this can vary from 10 hours to 100 hours spread over a couple of days to a few weeks with daily or periodic interaction. Most of the time is spent in the artist's workspace, which can be their atelier, home or outdoors."
All photos courtesy of VAWAA
For more information see the VAWAA website