We hosted Russian writer Irina Pivovarova in April and had such a wonderful time getting to know Irina. Many thanks to her for sharing so much laughter and so many great stories. Here is a brief interview with Irina at the end of her residency:
Where do you come from? I come from Moscow, Russia where I live and work.
What do you do professionally? I’m a scriptwriter and I work both for TV and Cinema.
Why did you decide to do a writing retreat? What project brought you to Bordeneuve?
I’m a mother of two adorable daughters of 2 and 7 years old who are at the same time my biggest inspirations and the reason that I couldn’t concentrate on the project that I wanted bring to life. I tell them bedtime stories and then I thought that I probably could connect the stories and write a book for my children. And perhaps for other children too. So I needed a quiet and calm place to work and to do not think about anything else but the story. Away from it all – my daily routine, my work, etc.
What was the experience at Bordeneuve like?
It was even better than I imagined. The place was designed for a person like me – I could wander in the forest thinking about fairies and ogres, sit and write by the crackling fire, and draw on a long wooden table where I could put all my stuff. That was all I cared about. The rest of it was taken care of. The food was amazing, the respect of my silence and concentration was almost sacred. I wrote like mad because I couldn’t let down the whole idea of this supreme writer’s paradise. Really I couldn’t think of BETTER conditions for a writer than at Bordeneuve. I guess I could describe my time there as the one of the happiest and most fruitful in my life.
What advice do you have for others considering going on a retreat? What makes a writing retreat successful and satisfying?
I guess you should bring your own ideas and your strong will to succeed. The rest is all there. You have all that is necessary for concentration and inspiration here. It this house, in those beautiful fields and mountains, in the magical chorus of the birds.
Australian artist Anna Caione is delightfully complex. Her work reflects her own contradictions, her restlessness, her transplanted roots, her ease with city life and her yearning for a simpler existence, outside the city. Her work is delicate and loving, almost ephemeral and in some ways unsettling. An endless fairy’s web of red string loops over and around heavy, wooden beams, creating an alarming juxtaposition of weight and color. Bound tightly beside that is my piano stool, transformed into a gagged package, the black piano stark against abstract bits of red. A crazy quilt of incidental pieces of fabric, jute and cardboard inadvertently suggest an inverted American flag. The lightly textured collage works hung beneath the quilt document her long-ranging travels and her complex web of heritage and loyalties.
Anna was confronted very quickly with the realities of the remote countryside when she began her residency this month. She adapted happily to the seclusion and found unexpected freedom in working with limitations. “This experience resulted in a body of work based on spontaneity, limitation and the found object. I had no car, no artshop and no familiar terrain.” Anticipating this while packing in Australia, she allowed herself only a small palette of colours and materials, relying on what she could find in nature and in boxes of my odds and ends. “Small works are visual diaries about travel, borders, globalization, movement, limitations and connections. The works are authentic in that they include found objects such as tickets, dockets and receipts that are then incorporated into abstract compositions.’
During her residency, she was feeling inspired by Kandinsky, by process art, the abstract expressionists and Arte Povera. Anna ventured off into the fields around the house for several hours a day to draw tiny landscapes in ink. During her second week she ventured off into the forest and gathered slim branches. Over the course of several days, she assembled them to become awkward dance partners, tipped with bright primary colors and loose pieces of string.
Anna was born to Italian parents who immigrated to Australia in the 1950’s. She holds several degrees in art from schools in both Australia and Italy. She met her husband Roberto, an architect from the Piedmonte, while pursuing studies in Turin. They currently live in Melboune with their 6-year old daughter. Anna is represented by the Catherine Asquith gallery and teaches design theory at tertiary level. Her works belong in private and public collections in Australia, Italy, Holland and Ireland.
Collage by Anna Caione
Here are a few photos from Anna’s residency. On Friday the 19th, we hosted a small vernissage to show off her works to a handful of friends. It was a lovely evening. We so enjoyed Anna’s company and thoughtfulness. Hopefully we’ll see her again soon!
I knew Rebecca and I were going to get along when I saw the Gloria Swanson quote on her website
“All creative people should be required to leave California for three months every year.”
Having grown up in the Bay Area, I understand the prudence of that statement. One can get a sort of tunnel vision living there. Rebecca is the inverse: raised in the midwest, she transplanted herself to southern California for love many years ago. As an adult, she started painting and developed (as so many do) a love affair with the light and the landscape of our beautiful state. But she hasn’t forgotton that it is not the only place in the world and that people live to a different rhythm elsewhere. And thus, as a passionate painter of landscapes, she travels.
Rebecca is typical of the people we attract in that she has a very full life outside of her art. Family, garden, pets and a teaching job all make demands on her time and so she dedicates a few weeks every summer to travelling in landscapes that speak to her and painting them. This is a woman who lives very deeply in the moment. At Bordeneuve she painted in the morning, practiced yoga indoors, away from the intense noon sun and carried on painting in the afternoons. She then relaxed in the setting sun with us over a glass of rosé and a light meal. Rainy days had us rummaging through cupboards for interesting bottles and food for still-lifes and on sunny days we set out in the car looking for beautiful places to paint (of which we have no shortage…!). She writes “I can’t stay enough about how much I gained from my stay there. Not only was my painting experience wonderfully productive, the retreat itself was so beneficial for my wellbeing…I loved being in that space, and the simplicity and slower pace helped contribute to my peace of mind.”
Rebecca exhibits regularly around Santa Barbara, CA and has graciously allowed me to share a few paintings with you – these are a few of my favourites:
We’re so happy to be screening Catherine Cameron‘s two short films this evening. They are done in collaboration with Erich Kruse Nielsen and feature shots of Bordeneuve – including the cats! Here is sneak peak at Come With Me – She Dances Alone. See you tonight!
This week we’ve welcomed Catherine Cameron and Erich Kruse Nielsen to Bordeneuve. Catherine and Erich are both Norweigan by birth but live in Glasgow where they pursue careers in art photography, music and film.
On Friday, 17 August Catherine and Erich will be presenting their collaborative work:
Come with me –
–She dances alone
Everyone is invited for an auberge espagnole prior to the film (19h30) and weather permitting, we’ll screen a family-oriented movie afterwards so we can all enjoy the starry skies together!
Stay tuned for precise info on parking and all those niggly details – feel free to bring your summer guests too! Feel free to contact me directly email@example.com with any questions.
Catherine Cameron is a Norwegian living in Glasgow, Scotland. Cameron has practiced art photography the last ten years, and since 2006 she has had numerous solo exhibitions worldwide. Some of the collections that hold her works are The Museum of Fine Art Houston, USA, Chris Rauschenberg Collection, USA, and Centro Internazionale di Fotografia Scavi Scaligeri, Verona, Italy. Currently she is attending Glasgow School of Art finishing her BFA (Hons).
Erich Kruse Nielsen is also Norwegian and lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Kruse Nielsen trained in music, theatre, film and scriptwriting at Barratt Due Institute of Music, University of Bergen, Stockholm University and Bergh School of Communication before he entered a career as a business developper – a career he pursued for almost 25 years. The last three years he has challenged his original training and is now writing music, plays and films in addition to being a voice actor for audio books.