Style Stories

Colleen Whitver’s Style Story

It’s curious that when faced with the task of introducing the woman who taught me most successfully the power of prose and the beauty of literature, I’m at a loss for compelling words. In fact, it seems that little could adequately sum up my high school experience with Colleen Whitver.

You probably don’t know this, but I was home-schooled for high school and spent most of my time between the upstairs office of my parents’ cafe, ballet class, and my part time job at a dance shop. During my Junior and Senior years, I participated in a home-school tutorial group which met once a week for a full day of “regular” school with classmates and tutors for each of our courses. The name of the group was Whitver Academy. Yes, that Whitver. Colleen was the namesake of our school and the inspired leader of our studies. Specifically, she was my literature tutor.

In an environment where our time together as a class was very much limited, Colleen made every moment count. She walked me and my classmates through the complexity of Conrad, the conflict of Austen, and the charm of Chaucer while also opening our minds to philosophies and world-views beyond our own. We shared in open, thought-provoking conversations about the various stories and authors that we studied. Many times our discussions bled over to greater topics of life, faith, service, and purpose. I can fairly say that I learned to value not only the importance of literature but also the strength of an open-mind, the significance of discourse, and the impact of good storytelling from Colleen. Not surprisingly, the root of these values have found natural form in Colleen’s home as well. Family, history, art, narrative, hospitality, and community gathering are among the many beautiful things that have influenced her style.

In addition to cultivating young minds, Colleen also cultivates the earth through her relaxed Southern garden, weaves stories through her body of poetry, and explores cultures and history through her small business of vintage jewelry repurposing. Earlier this year, I took an afternoon to catch up with Colleen in her and commercial illustrator/artist husband Harry’s Nashville home over Earl Grey tea and tasty baked goods. It was wholly refreshing and a sweet welcome-home excursion. This woman has spirit and courage and wisdom for days! In addition, her home style reflects all the deep, rich stories of her own history and narrative.

So, please give a warm welcome to Colleen – poet, educator, earth cultivator, and story-teller.

DSC_0208 (1)

DSC_0118

DSC_0114

DSC_0101

DSC_0315

DSC_0126

DSC_0367

DSC_0227

DSC_0240

DSC_0144

DSC_0178

DSC_0208

DSC_0182

DSC_0306

DSC_0301

DSC_0318

DSC_0327

DSC_0330DSC_0356

Adventure for Colleen and Harry continues daily.  This year they welcomed their first grandson into the world. Colleen is making steps towards publishing a volume of poetry from her life time of work. In addition, she continues to sell pieces from her collection of repurposed jewelry, InVintage Jewelry, from her home. Harry also continues to work as a commercial illustrator, although Colleen wishes he would retire out of that and concentrate more on his fine art projects. Recently, he outfitted his 1977 Citroen 2CV as a portable “plein aire” art studio. There’s never a dull moment in the Whitver household! And you’ll soon learn more about all that in my podcast interview with Colleen.

Until then, here are a few items inspired by Colleen’s style.

 

SHOP a look inspired by this POST:

 

 

 

This story…

by-hilary-signature-small

 

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

7 Comments

  • Reply cindy landham December 3, 2013 at 8:51 am

    YES YES YES!! I love this post! I have been refreshed, encouraged, challenged, loved well and fed well in this amazing home many times – Colleen and Harry and their menagerie are good medicine to all. Their warm home is a perfect picture of them – open, fascinating, artistic, stimulating, creative, accepting, comforting…i could go on. Thank you for these photos…sweet reminders of their blessed and unique hospitality. [love that t-615 branded cuff Colleen :)] Thank you, Hil.

  • Reply Colleen Whitver December 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Hilary,
    What a pleasure to have you come visit again. May it happen often and soon.
    Blessings,
    Colleen

  • Reply Mimi Davis December 3, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    The gift of hospitality is rare in itself, but that gift combined with the depth and sense of history that can make people of all backgrounds comfortable and challenged at the same time is almost mythical. Colleen possesses such a collection of gifts and more, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to partake. It’s amazing to me that such a beautifully written, poetic and accurate article can only scratch the surface of the person we know as Colleen Whitver, but that’s the nature of Colleen. Thank you, Hillary, for painting this deeply nostalgic picture of such a dear woman for us to enjoy, and thank you, Colleen, for being a dear woman who shares joy so liberally. 🙂

  • Reply Marion December 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Great story!

  • Reply emily December 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    glorious.

  • Reply Kay Arnold December 9, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Beautiful description of a life well-lived, rich with character, and shared with hundreds who have been invited into Colleen and Harry’s world…thankful my family has been included and experienced the Whitvers.

  • Reply Marion December 3, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Thank you for posting this again. Colleen is a legend in my world!

  • Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: