Posts Tagged ‘Morocco’

Women Doing Business from the Heart



Happy Wednesday everyone!  I’d like to introduce you to my talented friend Shireen Bawnlavery. She’s created a Portal for Women doing business from the heart. If you’d like to read about my humble beginnings – how our family came from Morocco (there’s a bit of drama and intrigue involved!) you might enjoy reading my story here. In case you’re wondering about the Triangular building it’s the Europe Hotel in Vancouver!



Where we come from and what happens to us along the way helps to shape who we are and who we become.  Since I come from an exotic place it’s not surprising that some of that has found it’s way into my life and art. Also the feeling of not belonging helped shape how I approach my inspirational illustrations and how I  share my art stories and teachings. Art truly does heal. Read all about it here!

While you are on Shireen’s website please check out the other stories of fabulous women doing business from the heart!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!  There is so much to be grateful for isn’t there?  I am so grateful to those of you who stop by and read my blog, check out my Facebook page and Pinterest boards. When you do this it’s like leaving footprints on my heart! xo

With love and Gratitude,

Violette xo

Gratitude mixed media Fabric book

Hello Creatives!  So sorry that I didn’t blog on Monday but we decided to stay an extra day in beautiful Qualicum on Vancouver Island!


Here I am with Mr. G on the deck of the lovely Captain’s Inn – such stunning views! I must say, walking on the beach barefoot really makes my spirit happy! Mr. G was happy however the sun was in his eyes in this picture Smile.


I couldn’t resist taking my power pose when Mr. G wanted to take my picture in front of the sunset.


We had to take the ferry (a two hour trip) to get to Vancouver Island so i drew this girl’s face in my composition book on the ride over and coloured her in with copic markers and pencil crayons.  We were going to visit our friends Pete and Debbie in Bowser (near Qualicum).  My friend Deb taught me how to make the quilted messy tote last year remember?  So i thought maybe if Deb was up to it we could make a quilted fabric book this time.  I was inspired by an article in Sew Somerset by Olivia Thomas of Olive Rose. She created Transfer books. Instead of using Image transfer with gel medium we (Deb) transferred my design onto pre-treated cotton muslin which had been adhered to freezer paper (inkjet printer).   Deb used one of her own faces to create her book.


This is what my finished book looks like – i just have to add a signature of lined paper and VOILA!  I have a lovely little book to fill up with things that i am grateful for. Just to let you know the colours on the face were heightened with Tulip Fabric Markers – it made a huge difference to the vibrancy of the face and scarf.


Unfortunately I did not take step by step photos of the book making process.  Deb had me choose a few fabrics that i liked.  I wanted to create a “gypsy vibe” so picked out fabrics that looked gypsyfied.  We cut out a basic shape of the head and body from the printed muslin and layered the fabric pieces on top.  I sewed them onto the fabric.  Next is the tricky part in my book since I’m dyslexic.  You layer a back piece,, a piece of quilt batting, medium weight interfacing and the front piece and somehow magically sew them all together and turn them right side out. Don’t ask me how to do it as i had to have Deb do the stacking otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see the lovely front of the book Smile. You have to do the same to the backside only i used matching fabric and the checked plaid inside fabric. The beaded fringe was added before sewing – can you say tricky?


Next with embroidery floss I added some random stiches.


The edges were whip stitched with embroidery floss. Deb had a state of the art Bernina which scared the living daylights outta me so i had her stitch this decorative leaf pattern for me. I had to go back to her older machine as i couldn’t get used to the push button computerized model. I’m so low tech Winking smile.


Since I never quite know when to quit when making something I had to embellish my book with more things.  In the article they suggest buttons and a charm.


In my huge drawer of beads and other such things i found these lovely pieces – a mosaic cross (very gypsy no?), a camel (from my homeland Morocco), a fish (representing spirituality) and the hand of Fatima (from Morocco) -  a good luck charm. They all wanted to be a part of the project.


This little “fill” bead kept hanging around wanting to be part of the book.  I wasn’t going to add it but it just lay there staring at me – so i had to sew the sucker in!


It reminds me to fill the book with gratitude.


The project in Sew Somerset calls for twill tape or fabric for the spine but i thought an old zipper would work just fine.


So i hand stitched the zipper in as a spine.  All I need to do is fill with a signature of paper!  Hooray!

Let the gratitude begin!

Love, Violette xo

Graphic Facilitation Workshop 2


This is a continuation of yesterday’s blogpost on the Graphic Facilitation workshop i attended in Rossland, B.C. Idgie’s is the restaurant some of the participants and facilitators ate at on the second night. The food was AWESOME and the company was excellent.  It’s always such fun to get to know people after the workshop, find out what makes them tick, what their passion is etc.


On the third night a group was heading out to a Japanese restaurant.  I was going to join them however i decided to honour my feelings and take some time to myself. My head was going to explode with all of the information and busyness that i needed alone time.  So I walked around the charming town of Rossland (after a quick dinner at the local pub) and snapped photos of things that interested me.  This hammock sure beckoned me!  Doesn’t it look inviting?


More of the Circle/lines exercise – check out the orbs in this photo!


One fun little exercise we did was the teabag experiment.  We plopped a water logged teabag onto a page and after the splotch dried we drew around it to “make something out of it”. I found it to be quite fun and as usual i had a conversation with the splotch to see what it wanted to be – mine was the strange bird like creature.


A full on view of my symbols/icon page.  I need to work on thickening my lines – i enjoyed this exercise!


We broke out into groups of 4 and then had to create a piece together – that was a bit of a challenge.  We were given little sticky notes with drawings done by other students which depicted something – we figured ours was about balance and set about creating a “finding balance” piece. Interestingly enough we had to “balance” ourselves while we tried drawing on top of each other!


One group created a fun and decorative piece called The Circus is coming to town. I love how they pulled everything together into one colourful and dynamic graphic recording.


Brandy – one of the participants created this wonderful piece after we all listened to this inspiring 3 minute TED Talk by Matt Cutts on “Try Something new for 30 Days” As you can imagine it’s quite challenging trying to capture all of the info from one short talk.  I think Brandy did a brilliant job of it!  We did have some time after the talk to fill in the details.


For one of the exercises I got up and told a 5 minute story of how our family immigrated from Morocco to Canada.  I can’t recall whose piece this is but i love all of the imagery they used to tell the story. The short story was full of vivid imagery of escape, trains, ships, Mounties, Rocky Mountains, Morocco/civil war, My Mom and her apron and 2 scared toddlers.


Anni created this lovely piece!  The heart in the middle extends beyond the orange tree – my maiden name is Naranjo which means Orange tree in Spanish.


This is an illustration i created for our “Graphic Facilitators toolbox”. Rather than write down what tools we needed Nancy White asked us go to “the wall” and record it!  How clever is that?  I didn’t have the chance to colour in my heading. One funny thing – Nancy told us to dress in comfy clothes when we are recording and NOT wear thongs – when you bend over they would show beyond your pants and that’s a no- no and a distraction!  Ha!


One tool often used in graphic facilitation is sticky notes.  On this wall we grouped together what we had learned over the course of the 3 day workshop.  It’s a great way to synthesis it all!


Here i am thumbing through one of Nancy’s books – it’s the Usborne book of Drawing Doodling and Colouring This book is one I’d like to get – to be inspired to create some fanciful things!  I found myself looking through Nancy’s books saying to myself “Need it, need it, want it, have it, have it…….”

I won’t bore you with anymore photos of the conference!  Smile I do however urge you to get outside of your comfort zone and learn something new. It will definitely impact your work and expand your options!  I have a feeling you’ll be seeing and noticing a lot more graphic facilitation used in different disciplines! It’s a wonderful way to remember complex ideas!