Former healthcare trainer Sandi Foley-De Vincenzo is helping people create a simple life while unleashing their inner wild child in a new series of creative journal-making workshops in Shellharbour.
Sandi, who was a 2010 Australian of the Year nominee for her dedication to the healthcare industry through mentoring and training, has blended the health benefits of mindfulness and intuitive creativity for her ‘A Simple Life’ fabric collage and textile art journal cover workshops.
Run through her business The Creative Wild Child, the workshops will be held at the Imaginarium in Shellharbour Village from 7 October and will see participants first create a journal cover.
“It’s the start of a series because when you’re making a journal there’s many different ways you can do that,” she said.
“As a start, I’m going to teach them how to do slow stitching.”
She said participants were encouraged to bring along old shirts, jumpers or textiles to tear up to create their journal cover.
“They might not want to make a journal, they might just want to learn about slow stitching, which is fine because slow stitching is a way of hand stitching, like the old days when they used to mend,” she said.
“It’s a form of meditation because you go within and you’re creative as well because you’re creating this artwork but you’re doing it with textiles, fabric, embellishments and trinkets.
”It’s also about thinking outside the square of repurposing things you’ve got in your home rather than throwing it out.”
Participants will then learn to bind the journal, which can be used as a gratitude journal, art journal or a gift.
Sandi said “intuitive creating” meant not following a plan, but rather being led by your own inspiration.
She said she was drawing on skills gained from studying art therapy, which gave her an understanding of the mind and how it works.
However, she’s seen many examples of the power of the mind through her work.
“I’ve been a trainer all my life, mainly in medicine, healthcare, teaching dental nursing and medical reception, so I have always felt this need to help people and share,” she said.
“What I used to love about training, particularly when I taught anatomy and physiology, is that people get this light bulb moment and they go ‘Ah’.
“That’s what is spine-tingling for me, when somebody gets it or they change their perception or they feel they’re achieving something.
“Creativity does that.”
She said one example was a recent workshop with colleague Michelle Springett, where a participant didn’t believe they could paint.
“We said ‘Look, just give it a go. What do you have to lose?’,” she said.
“Well, at the end, what he ended up with… He just blossomed. If you could just see the look on his face.
“He was so inspired and said “I want to do this again’. That is what it’s all about.”
Sandi said she knew the pressures of everyday life and how much people needed help to slow down.
“I know it’s crazy at the moment, but if we can go within and try to get in touch with our ‘inner wild child’ and utilise that, then that helps,” she said.
Sandi left healthcare about six years ago, moving from the Blue Mountains to purchase a creative products shop in Kiama, where she also ran workshops.
“I created a ‘paint and sip’ environment back then at the shop because I was paying big rent, and I wanted to utilise the space but I also wanted to help the community,” she said.
“We would sit around, bring some food and just chat and be with like-minded people and I absolutely loved that.
“I was bringing people from all over Australia to do workshops in Kiama, so that people in regional areas could get access to other creatives that were doing brilliant work.”
Sandi had to close her business due to COVID-19 and ended up returning to mentoring in the medical field.
However, a couple of months ago the pull to return to creative workshops saw her piggybacking off what she did at the shop by running public and private workshops at various venues.
She is also running the two-day creative wellness retreat Inspire and Flourish in Jamberoo on 4-5 November with Michelle Springett.
“Michelle is going to be doing the art side by doing a canvas, and I’ll be teaching them how to make a gratitude journal, and they can do art in that gratitude journal,” she said.
‘A Simple Life’ Fabric Collage and Textile Art Journal Cover workshop will be held at The Imaginarium in Shellharbour Village on 7 October and Inspire and Flourish will be held at Havenwood Farm, Jamberoo on 4-5 November.
To book tickets, visit the Creative Wild Child website.