the Italian coffee break is an art form

Sei italiano? Vedi giù – è in italiano!

I’m certainly not the only one who finds difficulty in sitting down and doing absolutely nothing! I’m not talking so much about meditation, as simply having a rest: taking a seat, switching off the computer and the phone, putting the day’s work out of my mind. Leaning back into some cushions, mmmmmm.

P1030097resting in the early months, painting from 2013

Since buying my house, I’ve not rested enough! It is hard to sit down, when I have to look at walls which still need plastering, when I’m thinking about upcoming deadlines for events or paperwork, or being interrupted and cajoled to go and look at a house someone wants to sell. And like many people in the modern world, I have got used to doing everything at a fairly perky pace, even though my work and life don’t require it. Continue reading



Sei italiano? Vedi giù – è in italiano!

Having developed my magical haven of creative outpourings – the arthouse – and having overcome some challenges in doing so, I thought it apt to blog about this: about how to make a space to make.

Many people seem to envy artists having the ‘luck’ to be able to create as and when they want to. They also perhaps do not appreciate the immense amounts of graft, planning, and sacrifice which go into that ‘luck’ – making space is an art in itself.

Although a fully-creatively-liberated life and work require wise juggling of multiple aspects, the basic premise of finding room for yourself to be expressive, or to experiment, is simple. But if you don’t go about it methodically, it might never transpire.

Here are 5 key tips to how you can transform your life positively, by forging out a hole in your life, that your creativity can grow and flourish:

P1030938my new sewing space, in the hidden room


Thinking a while, jotting down some ideas on paper, or on a note on your laptop, can start to open your mind to what you actually want to do. For myself, a project remains in my head like a fluffy cloud – out of focus until I start to state what it actually is. What do I want to achieve, is it a concept or a physical object, a work of art or a performance? Is it something to be shared or to be completely secret?

Once a few notes are taken down, things start to come into focus, and we gain perspective. This way, we can see if the idea is really too big, if it needs more work, or more resources, and if it is a thing we can create this year, or this decade even. Size not being a restriction, but it is essential we know the scale of a thing, so that we can begin moving forward, taking the first steps.

For many years, e.g. my love of second-hand clothing was just a fuzzy warm feeling in my core, whenever I went to the market or charity shop. It made me feel happy, and I even had dreams of glorious finds which made me wake up and smile all day. But it wasn’t until I a) got a sewing table set up, and b) began a weekly sewing party, that it began to grow into a branch of my business.

P1030916my writing nest, on the studio balcony


There’s always room, somewhere! Even if you own the tiniest apartment, there is always an hour or two in every day, in which a table or corner or seat will be free: grab it! Make a sign to declare to your family or flat-mates (or just to yourself!), that between such and such an hour, every day/ week, you will be there, making your dreams into reality!

A laptop on a knee is one thing, but you really need space around your computer to take notes, print out documents or imagery, think visually. It’s tempting to think, if it is starred or bookmarked on my address bar, I’ll see it again later, but it’s a whole other dimension to bring it into the physical by re-presenting what you love on paper, in colour, in your own words. Seriously: it is key that you bring it out of the ether and into the physical.

If you have a spare room- holy of holies! Get organising; make it into the space which works for you; get your material or paper or scraps boxed or shelved up, find the right chair or cushion to rest your derriere, and make sure there’s a lock on the door!

For me, I needed a whole building to house my diverse creative outlets. The big sunny studio to paint in yes, but also a multitude of other, flexible spaces which would support the spectrum of messy/ intricate/ dust-free/ paper-based/ sewing/ cooking activities I wanted to bring forth. Sharing the arthouse with guests (via my B&B) means I regularly have to adapt or move my workspace, temporarily, or for up to a few months. For this reason, I have one über-special room which is only for my most treasured secrets and creative activities, hidden away underground, and accessible only by a not-too-visible staircase… there’s no reason why this secret creative place mightn’t be manifested by a box or book with a lock on it.

  P1030926the meditation niche: trying again to make it sacred!


Similarly, and as important, is your claim to your own mental-emotional space. Especially if your family or work or even your social life make all-consuming demands on you, it’s time to set a new boundary.

No-one else can attend to this, it has to be you, and this is best done in a way which makes it a win-win-win situation: if there are a bunch of people depending on you, then your being more fulfilled will radiate out to them. If at the end of the day, the person standing in your way is a part of yourself, then facing up to this is a hugely positive step.

Adding a creative element to your everyday is something which will bring you extra energy, access internal resources, life choices, business possibilities, and more. So this is a great asset particularly to your mental-emotional being, where the modern world places a lot of heavy demands. If you don’t set aside the hours, or even the minutes, each day, no-one else is likely to come and offer them to you; our contemporary culture conditions us to assume we are in a constant state of lack, so we really have to work at forging out our healthy and rightful energetic space.

P1030939mother mary, please help me overcome my challenges!


When we start entering our creative world, alongside all the positive energy this releases, all manner of interesting reactions can begin to happen around us.

From jealous friends who are envious of our perceived ‘free time’ (a kind of luxury which they also want, but might not yet know how to acquire), to rental contracts and other bureaucratic complexities, which seem in place only to limit our happiness.

Deal with it. Every block has its equal and opposing solution, no matter how high a mountain it might seem to scale initially. Often it is simply a road we have not yet travelled; it’s unfamiliar, and we don’t want to tread onto an unfamiliar road.

Sometimes challenges are only a reason to not do a thing, a reason to not try. But experiment with mind-mapping/ brain-storming/ internet research, to find ways around every block you come across, because they will appear, and you will have to get used to overcoming them. Look back at what you’ve gotten over in years past- I guarantee you’ll find something which, before you did it, seemed like it would be impossible, truly impossible. If someone else already did it, you can; just get on and learn how to do stuff – the more you do this, the more you’ll be able to do it.

P1030925good old-fashioned soup, like my mum used to make


When one is being creative, it’s all very well sitting down at the easel, but in order to have something to actually put onto the canvas, you need a certain element of fullness – you must be inspired, and ready to pour forth!

This might come entirely from your own ideas and inner-calling, but when you are stuck, you need to keep your fires stoked. Go immerse yourself in visual or aural stimulus; read or watch a film or get into nature or swim in the river, or picnic or take a walk with your camera. The world is an astonishing place, needing only to be experienced, to make its magic known.

If you’re struggling, go eat some chocolate, or some soup or something nourishing; never try to create on an empty stomach!

_DSC0856yes, occasional treats are an integral part of self-nourishment, of being inspired to make!


Another reason I made my arthouse; this small kingdom of artistic liberty, where I can paint, write, photograph, dance, sing, and say what I want to is, it’s vital to have a place where we feel safe to say what we think and feel, without being restrained by any other person’s prejudice, be it personal, cultural or societal.

P1030943penelope takes over my special daybed in the sewing room!

This is not about our having our selfish satisfaction of the senses, but of our being able to get out what is at the core of us: our unique presence and expression, which extends out into the world, as a perfect thread within the perfect fabric of our common consciousness.

This is not about forcing one’s e.g. paintings/ writings/ eccentric clothing out into the marketplace, but about how we allow ourselves to first thrive, so that we can reach out into the world, inspiring and nourishing everyone else. When we take even a couples of minutes per week, to sew or read or be in our passion, we afterwards radiate something, which is more than we were before, energetically.

 P1030951 the hidden room; I love that the ceiling is now like waves, having been covered with newspapers

Thank you so much for reading!

If you like this blog, please share it with your friends – see the tabs, below!

Grazie mille per aver letto!

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Dopo aver sviluppato il mio magico paradiso di sfoghi creativi – il cinema d’essai – e dopo aver superato alcune difficoltà nel farlo, ho ritenuto opportuno di blog su questo: su come fare uno spazio per fare.

Anche se una vita e lavoro completamente liberato-creativamente, richiede giocoleria saggia di molteplici aspetti, la premessa fondamentale di trovare spazio per voi stessi, di essere espressivi, o per fare esperimenti, è semplice. Ma se non lo fai metodicamente, potrebbe non succederà mai.

Ecco 5 suggerimenti su come puoi trasformare sua vita in una moda positive, tramite forgiando un buco nella tua vita, che la vostra creatività può crescere e prosperare.


il io nuovo spazio per cucire, nella stanza nascosta


Se pensiamo un po’, annotando alcune idee su carta, o su una nota sul laptop, si può iniziare ad aprire la mente a ciò che si vuole realmente fare. Per me, un progetto rimanga nella mia testa come una soffice nuvola – fuori fuoco fino a quando comincio a dichiarare ciò che effettivamente è. Questa cosa che voglio realizzare, è un concetto oppure un oggetto fisico, un’opera d’arte o uno spettacolo? E’ qualcosa da condividere o di essere completamente segreto?

Dopo alcune note sono scritte, le cose cominciano a venire a fuoco, e riusciamo a ottenere un senso di prospettiva. In questo modo, possiamo vedere se l’idea è davvero troppo grande, se ha bisogno di più lavoro, oppure più risorse, o se è una cosa che si può creare quest’anno, oppure questo decennio… Le dimensioni non deve’essere una restrizione, ma è essenziale che conosciamo la scala di una cosa, in modo da poter iniziare a muoversi avanti, prendendo i primi passi.

Ad esempio, per molti anni, il mio amore di abiti usati era solo una sensazione calda e sfocata nel mio centro, ogni volta che sono andato al negozio dell’usato o il mercato. Mi ha fatto sentire felice, e ho anche avuto sogni degli reperti gloriosi, che mi ha fatto svegliare e sorridere tutto il giorno. Ma non è stato fino a) ho organizzato un tavolo per cucire, e b) iniziato una festa per cucire settimanale, che ha cominciato a crescere come una parte della mia attività.


la mia nida per scrivere, sul balcone del studio


C’è sempre spazio, da qualche parte! Anche se si è proprietari dell’appartamento più piccolo nel mondo, c’è sempre una o due ore ogni giorno, in cui un tavolo o un angolo o la sede sarà libero: afferrarlo! Fare un segno per dichiarare alla tua famiglia o tuoi amici (o solo per te!), che tra tale e tale ore, ogni giorno o settimana, ci sarà, rendendo i tuoi sogni reale!

Un laptop sulle ginocchia è una cosa, ma davvero bisogno di spazio tutto intorno al computer per prendere le note, stampare i documenti o immagini, pensare visualmente. Si sarebbe tentati di pensare, se è memorizzato sulla mia barra dell’indirizzo, vedrò più tardi. ma è tutta un’altra cosa, per portarlo nel fisico, rappresentando ciò che ti piace su carta, a colori, con parole tue. Scherzi a parte: è fondamentale che si porta dall’etere, nel fisico.

Se hai una stanza libera, santo dei santi! Inizia l’organizzazione: renderlo lo spazio che lavora per te; ottenere il vostro materiale o carta o scarti inscatolati o
archiviato, trovare la sedia o un cuscino per riposare la tua derriere, e
assicurarsi ci sia un blocco sulla porta!

Perme, hoavuto bisogno di unintero edificioper ospitarei mieidiversiflussicreativi! Ilgrande studiopieno di soleper dipingere, si, ma ancheuna serie di altrispazi flessibili, che sosterrebbeunaserie di attivitàdisordinato/intricate/senza polvere: cartaceo/cucito/cucina…

Perché condivido l’arthouse anche con gli ospiti (tramite il mio B & B) significa che devo regolarmente adattare o spostare il mio lavoro, temporaneamente , o fino a pochi mesi. Per questa ragione, ho pure una stanza über-speciale che è solo per i miei segreti e attività più preziosi e particolari: questa stanza è nascosta sottoterra, e accessibile solo da una scala non troppo visibile … Si potrebbe anche manifestare uno spazio creativo e segreto, con una scatola o un libro chiuso.


il mio spazio per mediazione: sto provando di nuovo per trasformare sacro!


Similmente, e altrettanto importante, è quello di affermare il tuo spazio mentale-emozionale. Soprattutto se la tua famiglia, o di lavoro, o anche la tua vita sociale fanno richieste pesanti su di te, è il momento di impostare una nuova linea di confine.

Nessun altro può occuparsi di questo, deve essere te, e questo è meglio farlo in una modo che lo rende una situazione in cui tutti vincono: se ci sono un sacco di persone che dipendono su di te, poi quando si sono più soddisfatte, si irradiare questa contentezza a loro. Se, alla fine, la persona bloccando la tua strada è te stesso, allora se puoi accettare questo è un passo estremamente positivo.

L’aggiunta di un elemento creativo al tuo quotidiano è qualcosa che ti porterà energia in più, che ti consente di accede a risorse interne, le scelte di vita, possibilità di affari, e altro ancora. Quindi questa è una grande risorsa particolarmente per il tuo benessere mentale-emozionale, in cui il mondo moderno mette un sacco di richieste pesanti. Se non mettere da parte le ore, o anche i minuti, ogni giorno, nessun altro è probabile che venga e offrire a te; le nostre condizioni cultura contemporanea ci supporre che siamo in un costante stato di mancanza, quindi abbiamo davvero lavorare a creare il nostro giusto spazio energetico e sano.


madonna, ti prego, aiutami a superare i miei problemi!

  1. SFIDE
    Quando iniziamo entrare in un mondo creativo, insieme a tutta l’energia positiva che cede, tutti i tipi di reazioni interessanti può cominciare ad accadere intorno a noi.

Da amici gelosi che sono invidiosi del nostro percepito ‘tempo libero’ (una specie di lusso che vogliono anche, ma non possono ancora sapere come sia possibile acquisire), al contratti di affitto e altre complessità burocratiche, che sembrano in atto solo a limitare la nostra felicità .

Affrontare. Ogni blocco ha la sua soluzione uguale e opposto, non importa quanto in alto una montagna potrebbe sembrare inizialmente. Spesso è semplicemente una strada che non abbiamo ancora viaggiato; è poco familiare, e non vogliamo percorrere su una strada sconosciuta.

A volte guardiamo sfide solo come motivo per non fare una cosa, un motivo per non provare. Ma provate mindmapping / brain-storming / ricerca internet, per trovare modi per aggirare tutti i blocchi che si incontra, perché appariranno, e si dovrà abituarsi a superarli. Guardare indietro a quello che hai ottenuto nel corso negli anni passati – ti garantisco troverai qualcosa di che, prima che fatto, sembrava che sarebbe impossibile, veramente impossibile.

Se qualcun altro ha già fatto, è anche possibile farlo; solo andare avanti e imparare a fare le cose – più si farlo, il più sarete in grado di farlo.


buona zuppa vecchio stile, come la mia mamma ha fatto

  1. NUTRIMENTO!Quando siamo dell’umore giusto per essere creativi, è bene sedersi al cavalletto, ma per avere qualcosa da mettere in realtà sulla tela, è necessario un certo elemento di pienezza – è necessario essere ispirato e pronto ad agire!

    Questo potrebbe venire interamente, le tue idee e interno-vocazione, ma quando si sono bloccati, è necessario mantenere i fuochi alimentate. Vai immergersi in stimolo visivo o auditiva; leggere o guardare un film o entrare in natura o nuotare nel fiume, o fate un picnic o fare una passeggiata con la fotocamera. Il mondo è un luogo stupefacente, che necessitano solo essere vissuto, per rendere nota la sua magia.

    Se stai lottando, andare a mangiare un po’ di cioccolato, o qualche zuppa o qualcosa di nutriente; mai cercare di creare su uno stomaco vuoto!


yes, occasional treats are an integral part of self-nourishment, of being inspired to make!

Un altro motivo per cui ho fatto il mio arthouse; questo piccolo regno della libertà artistica, dove posso dipingere, scrivere, fotografia, danza, canta, e dire quello che voglio è, è fondamentale per avere un posto in cui ci sentiamo sicuri di dire ciò che pensiamo e sentiamo, senza essere limitata dalla il pregiudizio di un’altra persona, sia questa personale, culturale o sociale.

penelope ruba mio divano speciale nella stanza del cucito!

Questo non riguarda avere la nostra soddisfazione egoistica dei sensi, ma del nostro essere in grado di ottenere ciò che è al centro di noi: la nostra presenza ed espressione unici, che estende nel mondo, come un filo perfetto nel tessuto perfetto della nostra consapevolezza comunale.

Questo non riguarda forzare la nostra pittura / scrittura / abbigliamento eccentrico nel mercato, ma su come ci permettiamo di prosperare primo, in modo da poter avvicinarsi ai mondo, ispirando e nutrendo tutti gli altri. Quando prendiamo anche pochi minuti ogni settimana, per cucire o leggere o per essere nella nostra passione, irradiamo qualcosa dopo, che è più che eravamo prima, energicamente.


la stanza nascosta; mi piace che il soffitto è ora come le onde, è stato coperto con i giornali

Grazie mille per aver letto!

Se ti piace questo blog, seguire, e condividi con i tuoi amici!

chapelroombedfulllandscapeVuoi sapere più sull’Arthouse?

Seguire le linguette alla tua superiore sinistro!

l’arthouse ha un B+B magicale: andare a leggere il recensioni – sono splendidi!
l’arthouse gestisce un NEGOZIO ONLINE!
C’e anche una camagna PATREON in corso, per sostenere il progetto fiorenti ancora di più!

È anche possibile seguire l’arthouse su Facebook, Twitter, Kiltr, Pinterest


Sei italiano? Vedi sotto, è in italiano!

Mine is peace. What about you? What was your theme for 2014 – a positive word which sums up the best that came out of the year?

The past week we had two days of severe weather, with snow and ice in great quantities (everything being relative!): the town came to a standstill, and we all looked out on this landscape transformed anew into a clean and magestic place. No choice but to sit in peace, and enjoy it!

_DSC0855It has been an extraordinary year on all levels, personally, culturally, globally, but the thing which stands out for me, is this all-consuming peace which has entered my life and work recently – and which I see descending on the minds of people across the world, but that is a subject for another day.

Peace is a quality I searched long and hard for, in different countries and cultures, multifarious work/ living conditions, in communities and in solitude, but which I hadn’t really experienced much of, until this year. I got in a pattern of getting up and moving on, to avoid having to look at any one thing too long.

_DSC0996There’s something wonderful about the freedom of living nomadically, but only up to a point. That point was when I decided to set up a centre for creative transformation, and bought my house in Italy, early in 2011. From then, it was all about being still, putting down roots, resting on my laurels – though I underestimated entirely the scale of setting up a business and life in a foreign country!

_DSC0880Despite the past years being hard slog, I learned something profound recently, about what happens when one stays in one place more than a couple of years. We become part of that place, whether or not we are even trying. We become woven into the fabric of the community; all our tiny interactions and conversations, deeds and events, slowly enter like threads into the multicoloured textile of the place.

_DSC0830There was a meeting at the castle this week, when I was gifted the ‘keys to the city’ (freedom of the town!), alongside other Guardia citizens who were being recognised for their work in the world. I was overwhelmed by the good words from the mayor and the cultural assessor, about the positive effects these past 5 yrs, of my presence in the town. I got emotional, when I thanked the people of Guardia in return, for what they have done to help lift me up to where I am now.

_DSC0919And I was ruminating the past couple of days, about what it is to stay still a while, and how it naturally brings peace. I was searching so hard for my right environment, when all the time, my very act of upping and leaving every year or so, was disrupting that very state I was searching for. How ironic, as often life is!

 _DSC0889  In Guardia, despite the fact I’m more Scottish-focussed than ever (and was never really an Italophile!), a quiet peace descended without my noticing, until it completely enveloped me, and I was an integral part of where I am: the people, the landscape, the food, the wine, the language, the atmosphere and energy…

_DSC0892The mayor and cultural assessor made such beautiful speeches, and then the many sweet folks from the town came and shook my hand, and gave me generous words of support – this brought me an amazing feeling of warmth, of home, of safety and security, of being looked after and respected. It also made me realise, I am doing what I’m meant to be doing in the world – helping people see the beauty and value of where they already are.

_DSC0823So this new year, I am appreciating all this peace in my life, which is so wonderfully nourishing and healing, inspiring and encouraging, stabilising and empowering. And I am working on how I can better radiate this peace out into the world more.

Tell me your word which best represents what 2014 meant to you (and why?) in the comments below – I’d love to hear what you’re ruminating on, at this big gateway into the new year!

Thank you so much for reading! You can follow this blog, and share it with your friends, if you like it!

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Il mio èpace’. E tu?
Quale era la tua tema per il 2014?
C’è una parola positiva per te, che riassume le cose migliori che hanno arrivati quest‘anno?

La scorsa settimana ci sono stati due giorni di maltempo, con neve e ghiaccio in grandi quantità (si, tutto e relativo, ma per qui, era tanto!): il paesi si è fermato. Guardavamo il paesaggio trasformato nuovamente in un luogo pulito e maestoso. Niente altro da fare, che sedersi in pace, e goderne!

_DSC0983E ‘stato un anno straordinario a tutti i livell: personalmente, culturalmente, a livello globale, ma la più grande differenzà per me, è questa pace che pervade tutto, che è entrata di recente nella mia vita e nel mio lavoro è che io vedo entrare nelle menti nelle persone in tutto il mondo, ma questo è un argomento per un altro giorno.

La pace è una qualità che l’ho cercato per, lungo e duramente; in paesi e culture diverse, in molteplici condizioni di lavoro / vita, e nelle comunità e nella solitudine. Ma non avevo realmente trovato, finché adesso. Ho seguito un ritmo di alzarsi e allontanamento, per evitare di dover guardare una qualsiasi cosa troppo lunga.

_DSC0940C’è qualcosa di meraviglioso della libertà di vivere nomadicamente, ma solo fino a un certo punto. Questo punto è stato quando ho deciso per creare un centro di trasformazione creative, e ho comprato la mia casa in Italia, all’inizio del 2011. Da questo punto, ho voluto essere firmata, mettere radici, riposare anche se ho sottovalutato completamente la scala di creare un’impresa e una vita all’estero!

_DSC0866Nonostante i ultimi anni sono stati così duri e faticosi, ho imparato recentemente qualcosa di profondo, su che cosa succede quando rimaniamo in un luogo per più d’un anno. Diventiamo una parte di quello posts, anche se non stiamo nemmeno cercando di fare. Diventiamo intrecciata nel tessuto della comunità; tutti i nostri piccoli interazioni e conversazioni, atti ed eventi, lentamente entrano come fili nel tessuto multicolorato del paese.

_DSC0903C’è stato un incontro al castello questa settimana, quando ero dotato le ‘chiavi della città(la libertà del paese), a fianco di altri cittadini Guardiesi che erano riconosciuti per il loro lavoro nel mondo. Sono stato sopraffatto dalle buone parole dal parte del sindaco e dall’assessore culturale, sugli effetti positivi di questi ultimi 5 anni, della mia presenza in città. Sono diventato emozionale, quando in cambio l’ho ringraziato il popolo di Guardia, per tutto quello che hanno fatto per aiutarmi alzare, fino a dove ho arrivato quest’anno.

_DSC0917Sono stato ruminando negli ultimi due giorni, su cosa significa rimanere in un solo posto per un periodo lungo: come questo atto si porta naturalmente la pace. Stavo cercando tanti anni così duramente per il mio ambiente giusto, quando tutti questi anni, il mio atto di traslocare, ha disturbato quel stato stavo cercando. Che ironia, come le nostre vite sono spesso!

In Guardia, nonostante il fatto che sono più orientate alla Scozia che mai (pure perche non era mai veramente Italophile), un pace tranquillo ha disceso – senza che me ne accorga, finché mi avvolse completamente. Ed ecco: io sono una parte integrate di dove mi trovo: legato con le gente, il paesaggio, il cibo, il linguaggio, l’atmosfera e l’energia

 _DSC0863  Il sindaco e assessore culturale reso così belle discorsi, e quindi molte persone simpatiche dalla città vennero e strinsero il mio mano, e mi ha dato generose parole. Tutto questo mi ha portato una sensazione straordinaria; di calore, di sentirsi a casa, di sicurezza e protezione, di essere curato e rispettato. Inoltre mi ha fatto capire, sto facendo quello che devo fare nel mondo aiutare le persone a vedere la bellezza ed il valore di ciò che li circonda.

_DSC0823Quindi questo anno nuovo, sto apprezzando tutte questa pace nella mia vita, cio è così meravigliosamente nutriente e guarigiante, ispirando e incoraggiando, stabilizzando e rafforzando. E sto lavorando per irradiare questa pace più nel mondo!
Dimmi la tua parola che rappresenta il meglio quello che 2014 ha significato per voi (e perché) nei commenti qui sotto mi piacerebbe sentire cosa stai pensando!
Grazie mille per aver letto! Puoi seguire questo blog, e condividerlo con i tuoi amici, se ti piace!
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Unlike every other person who comes to Italy, I was absolutely not an Italophile when I arrived, having never had, up until meeting un Italiano online, any interest in the country: neither the language nor the food, the fashion nor the folks. It all seemed like a clichè in fact, and not my kind of clichè either.

17166_223120506985_6708118_n‘at least it’s warmer than scotland’, sperlonga beach, december 2009

I remember all my first impressions: overload of the senses (I do suffer with HSP or sensory overload, mind you – hehe!); having come from very rural Scotland at midwinter, the designer-everything of Caserta was kind of a shock to my system. Rural Scottish people don’t always do glamour so well and, though in Scotland I was considered ‘scrubs up well’, my new partner was highly, visibly, verbally unimpressed. Now, where I came from, it was either extremely rude or extremely mean to openly comment on another person’s appearance in an overtly negative way – unless we are all drunk, and all laughing about it together. Continue reading


Last night was the opening party for a sweet wee expo I am doing, down in Telese at Giuseppe Lese’s Hops2o beer house.

Here are a few snapshots of the preparations and vernissage:


The kitchen has been a squeeze, with two Terra Vivente artist residency guests, and my own makeshift office and studio, as my downstairs rooms are still too damp to house paintings, nor anything papery…


I spent at least 2 days painting all the edges of the big unframed paintings, with several layers of gouache needed on each edge.


It has been a bit of higgledy-piggledy summer, as I moved out of my studio and down to my basement (the old stable) to allow the lovely international artists to stay in my upper rooms all summer… I hadn’t really taken into account how much stuff I’d have to house, and then the big water issue from the house above set me back loads: wet wet wet, damaged paintings, had to simplify my pop-up shop event hugely, needed to keep all delicate things at the front of the house, and avoid any wooden furniture touching the floor, etc, etc. Urgh. So ultimately, the consequence was my having to try and do all my art activities in the kitchen, which has been shared with my lovely (and very accomodating!) guests.

_DSC0299   Anyways, it felt great to get the stack of 15 paintings, some of them rather large, out of the kitchen, and up towards to car. I’m very grateful to my dear artist guest Fleur Brett, who assisted me in not straining a muscle in my back, by helping pull the trolley up those big steps. Phew! This is one of the reasons I dislike framing my artwork- glass and wood are heavy!

_DSC0301One of the slightly challenging aspects of having a house in an Italian medieval quarter: everything we want carried in or out, must be taken under our own steam, up a load of steep stairs, and up a steep cobbled hill (or two). I can get the car down to this wee piazza, but only if I fold the wing mirrors in.


The show was about the easiest ever I have hung: Giuseppe got these fabulous vertical strips of wood attached to the walls, with nice metal hooks in- all I needed to do was put a painting on each one, in an aesthetically-correct manner, and hooray! I love seeing my colourful artwork on these warm, dark grey walls.


_DSC0307Here is an article in the regional paper Il Sannio: it talks about the expo being a selection of works from the past 7 yrs, which is a powerful period of time, as it represents the period in which the human body replaces every single cell with a new one. So every 7 year cycle, we are effectively a completely different person.This article also refers to my involvement in the Scottish referendum debate; the importance of our spiritual autonomy and sustainability within ourselves, in order to be a country and culture which can flourish.


My paintings contain stories about our cycles, our patterns in life: about how we can find equilibrium by being aware of these cycles, being responsible and conscious- the potential to interact healthily in our own co-creation, by not simply following a destructive pattern to its logical end, e.g. The above painting which we used in the poster for this expo, is a good solid example of the kinds of figurative artworks I do: it has a small figure inside a bigger one. To me, the larger self represents a person who has this dialogue, energetic discourse, relationship with the smaller self inside.


I feel strongly about leaving the interpretation of art to whoever might be looking at it in any given moment, and am passionately against the dry assumptions of ego-based art forces, which think that ‘regular’ folks cannot see art. I heartily believe that creativity is a divine right of every person, and that art in particular is a thing which we all have an eye to see, a heart to feel, a voice to speak about. I’ve had all sorts of very differing reactions to the same painting throughout my career, from sheer anger to tears of compassion and grief.

I adore the fabric that is woven around a piece of artwork, by the myriad emotions and perspectives which are presented by those experiencing it.


We had a lovely wee presentation from Guiseppe, about his dream to bring this lovely beer house into being, and to have a place which brings together wonderful artisan produce, great music and inspiring art. His beer house is quite unlike any other place in the zone- perhaps much more like a northern European pub- I am happy to have my work there, as he shares my values and attention to detail, and creates this warm atmosphere which I prefer (in contrast to a cold gallery space).

_DSC0323Here we are cutting ribbon, with the mayor of Telese, and another of our international artists from the Terra Vivente Art Studio, Indian photographere Shiv Ahuja.



And then we got stuck in with eating and drinking and looking at art and chatting at length! Fabulous!

_DSC0333It has been a brilliant experience, hanging out with all the artists, and with some lovely Guardia people, this summer- we have gone to many expo openings, had tons of shared meals and bottles of wine, and created a truly stupendous web of connections, which now reaches from Guardia’s centro storico to the far side of the planet!

  _DSC0335It is one of my greatest pleasures to break bread and share a good beer with new and old friends. Life doesn’t get much better than that, eh!

_DSC0336At the end of the evening, I had a great discussion with some wonderful people whose family is originally from Guardia, who have some very old property here, and are inspired by what is happening, to possibly set up something interesting too- that, and another old friend contacted me this week about scoping the town out as a possible base for a spiritual centre. Things seem to have such a good momentum here! Then I was interviewed by Alessio, Lorenzo and Mariapaola for Art’Empori until I was flagging from brain drain -hehe! I sped home up the hill to Guardia, singing loudly and thoroughly satiated.

You can read more about my work via my Arthouse website.






So it was a busy busy summer in the centro storico of Guardia Sanframondi!


Instead of the silent Via Dietro Gli Orti, with only occasional yowling of cats, twittering of birds, water cascading and regular intermittent yelling from neighbours, there were hoards of people outside of my door, and filling the street, and the gardens!


_DSC1606 Though I was stretched, doing a lot of hands-on stuff for my own installation and pop-up shop, and supporting my guests, and messing about with the DIY on the arthouse, and getting ready for Scotland… etc… never-the-less I was sufficiently lucid to see that we’d created something pretty damn special.

 _DSC3189 - Version 2Alongside the stupendous Helena Wadsley, I helped host the Terra Vivente Art Studio: two months of art residency, with tremendously sweet and engaged folks from as far away as Australia and India… It was truly a whole load more splendid that we could have imagined when we first chatted about it!


_DSC1520    Multifarious ad hoc get-togethers, improvised dinners and parties, had us all bonding like we were family. Real meetings of minds, in an atmosphere of sharing, deepening, being creative and true. It was all ever-so-slightly chaotic, but the one thing which stood out, was the universal praise for the GOOD VIBE- everyone felt it was tangible, and left with shining eyes and wide smiles. I personally felt like, wow, I’m here- this is just how I hoped it could be.


10531322_10203195132574072_1024160144_nSome strong friendships were struck up, and a mass of new creative dialogue, both within the gates of the centro storico, and in regards to/ dialogue about the place. Slowly, slowly (piano, piano), a collective vision is coming together, of how such a place as Guardia might have a thriving alternative community: how this community might flourish and inspire, whilst simultaneously providing a magical haven for those needing respite from the madness of modern life…




my arthouse website

the arthouse B&B profile on Airbnb

Ri-CREARE on facebook





my studio in the arthouse, Guardia Sanframondi, 2013

Finding the space to be creative was always my priority in life: from an early age I’d carry an old plastic bread bag around with pencils and paper and books in, so that I could set up my hobby work wherever I went.


my workspace, Glasgow School of Art, 1995

In art school I adored, and thrived, having a studio- a place where I could finally splash paint around, let it drip onto the floor, experiment with all manner of oils and inks and natural materials. It felt like an extension of my imagination, my emotional and psychological space, having an area to leave my projects out, to come back to them the next day. This developed a strong need in me for a constant ‘making-working-being space’, that I could be free to be myself most fully in.


UP gallery, Calder High-rises, Edinburgh, 2007

Between art school and my having my arthouse in Italy, I tried every which way to set up the perfect art space, but my need for multi-functionality was challenged when I was always renting property.

Nevertheless, I managed to run a great variety of studio-gallery-workshop-events-spaces from a village in Cyprus, a top-floor council high-rise flat in Edinburgh, and a ‘Secret Shop’ in a glen cottage in the Scottish Borders, to a travelling circus-tent gallery which was eventually pitched in the gardens in front of where the arthouse is… My use of the space evolved, from a place to simply show paintings, to additionally being a meeting, celebrating, healing zone, and the centre of a dynamic raising of energy and ideas.


Secret Shop, Scottish Borders 2008: photo credit Colin Gajewski

The freedom I worked so hard to manifest in my life -to think, work, feel, be- meant that I existed almost exclusively out with galleries and conventional art circles. It felt like my values, awareness and viewpoint were highly different from the mainstream, and even from the alternative, so it was essential to me that I cultivated my own clear path, that I could develop this philosphy of Spiralling Upwards which I strongly sensed might be needed in the world.


Secret Shop travelling tent gallery in Guardia, 2010: photo credit Sergio Desiato

It took a long time for me to realise how my different way of thinking and perceiving might fit into the world- mostly it seemed to me that society, culture, peers wanted me to dampen down my spirits and wheisht. On the other hand, I passionately wanted to celebrate being alive, to see the beauty in small simple things, and to inspire and enthuse others: I sought to raise the energy rather than stopping it up, and knew I’d have to find a particular, special container in order to house such a magical world- in order to not be interrupted every time I got the vibe good!


Guardia Sanframondi’s old town facade, 2012: the arthouse is to the lower right

The way my house finally came to me is quite a story! I’m writing it down on paper, whilst developing the various strands of my business and life in Italy and Scotland… but it appeared at the perfect moment, and just how I dreamed it- not that I could’ve imagined it physically (this jumble of rooms and alcoves, built in under the ground in this incredible, atmospheric, abandoned centro storico!), but it has grown rapidly into the most apt container possible, for all my creative outpourings and enthusiasms!


Guardia Sanframondi’s old town facade, from the Ponte Ratello looking west

I’m writing in my book too, about the whole process of manifesting a dream lifestyle- about the minutiae, the hard slog, the focus required to make a vision in the world (especially when you have to carve it out of very little, and when your dream is sort of the opposite of where the herd seem to be flocking to).


Guardia Sanframondi’s old town facade, from below the gardens

I always thought so far out of the box that I wasn’t ever anywhere near any box: I lived barefoot and wild in various countries, subsisting by selling artwork, life-modelling, helping grow organic food, etc. in order not to compromise… well, anything. Once my ideas and energy and intention were ripe and ready though, it became time to search for a container, to put all my stuff into it, so that I could finally make sense/ find my place/ identity in the world. The container, to me, is the holy grail, holding the sacred flow, allowing it to alchemise. It’s the organising factor- a boundary and box to keep the energy in place, that it can grow. There’s a time and a place for thinking inside the box!


La Chiesa Dentro Di Me, installation at the arthouse 2014, photo credit Sara Cancellieri