At a school as large as Waverley, it’s not easy to get to know everyone as deeply as we may like. Many of us have hidden talents, multiple occupations, previous careers, colourful experiences, and rich insights, ripe for sharing.
As we come to the end of Semester 1, our newsletter is celebrating the gifts, talents and interests of our staff, starting with the enigmatic and creative Mr Yann Vignes.
Q: How long have you worked at Waverley?
“Around six years, I think. I work with the Maintenance Team and fix problems! There’s usually a wide range of issues for teachers – I mostly work with building maintenance. I also teach Yoga at the College.”
Q: Words That Describe You?
“Arty, Collage Maker, Perpetual Learning Yoga Teacher.”
Q: What can you tell us about your Yoga teaching at Waverley?
“I teach boys in Years 7-12, weekdays and early on Saturday mornings, and also as part of Fitness Group. Yoga is a co-curricular elective. It’s great. I try to push the boys a little further in their personal practice, in an environment where nobody is judging or watching. I teach them techniques to go further with breathing, showing them how to breathe deeply and stretch. It’s a nurturing practice, where boys can calm down, breathe and focus. The boys are very receptive. They have learned Sanskrit words for the poses, and I play Indian music during the classes to remind them of yoga’s origin, transporting them to India! They are also learning to meditate.”
Q: Where were you born?
“In France in Rennes (Brittany). Both my parents were born in Madagascar.”
Q: What languages do you speak?
“French, English and some Hebrew. I lived in a kibbutz in the 1980s in Israel – my grandmother was Jewish. I learned a lot about Socialism there, in a community of people working together to have a decent life. One of the things I’ve kept from that time is the saying: “There are no problems, only solutions.” I travelled extensively from a young age and have lived in Mexico, Switzerland, Portugal, New Caledonia … so many places.”
Q: Where is your favourite place in the world?
“Tokyo. It’s the most exciting and safest city in the world. Totally free with a lot of experiences. It’s challenging at night with so many things to see and discover. It’s an amazing place for any age – a place where young and old people are always mixing. I made crêpes in Tokyo outside a restaurant in an expensive suburb. The Japanese are Francophiles. Japanese and French have a similar aesthetic – they have a similar sensitivity, detail and appreciate the arts.”
Q: How long have you been a collage maker?
“11 months. I’ve created 185 collages in that time.”
Q: Can you describe your art practice?
“With my process, I sit at my desk with books everywhere – paper, scissors, glue, stone paper, and I have no idea what is going to come. I go through books. Art books. Then the story comes. Every collage is unique – one piece only. Usually I create something that reflects the last few days. I create the title last, after the pieces are glued. It’s very important and fun. I must have a show this year.”
Q: What’s your idea of a perfect day?
“Practising yoga, teaching yoga, being creative, my artwork, collage, seeing people and engaging people. You’ve got to live in the present – connection is everything – art, yoga. You can’t plan things, you aren’t in control. You have to accept people on a daily basis, with the same attention, care and nurturing in the moment with no reference to the past or previous days.”
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