Back again!

Michael and I have been living in the south of France since the covid outbreak. We bought a little holiday house a few years ago and then recently added a studio to the nest so we could work when we came here. We love it here. We love it with the same concerted passion we had for Italy when we bought our little mountain house in the Tuscan mountains almost twenty years ago. The complete happiness in those first ten to fifteen years was life altering, we had the feeling of perpetual holiday, an halcyon of light and colour and passion, creating and being inspired, traveling and growing. Always parallel to our love for Italy was our equal and growing amour with France, seeded from our first times there in art residencies in Provence during the 1990’s. The dream to buy a little place in Provence stayed with us and the sale of one of our old apartments in Ponte a Serraglio meant another dream come true. 

Ponte a Serraglio

In the changeover of our needs as artists, we have turned our apartment and studios in Ponte a Serraglio into an Art Residency for visual artists, musicians and writers. We gained so much from this incredibly beautiful area in the ’Little Switzerland of Tuscany’, that the idea of sharing it with other artists became a reality, at first with a little gallery we had in an old shop that we called La Rondine, hosting artists from around the world while they were in Italy on holiday.

Studios in Ponte A Serraglio Art Residence

Then, a wonderful art festival in the town run by our son and his wife, Jake and Jaqui, brought more artists into the area filling our apartments and studios, while our garden had the perpetual long table of dinners and lunches throughout the summers. On one year, we had a sculpture symposium in the gardens of Villa Fiori, where international sculptors carved marble from Pietrasanta by hand. Now these days are gone, but our studios and apartment and even the old shop gallery remain, so it has become a new project to bring artists back into the area for the inestimable inspiration of culture and beauty that being in Tuscany offers. For us, we spend more time in Pietrasanta these days, where we can carve marble in the studios and also use the foundries, zig zagging back and forth between Tuscany and Provence. 

Fort Gibron, Correns

Our village, Correns, in the heart of Provence, is the first organic village in France. It is a little pink village sitting alongside a glorious river newly emerged from its source. Lovely old plane trees and wandering streets surround an old chateau, the cultural centre of the village, frequently presenting artists and musical events throughout the year. We are immersed in a verdant landscape of vines and olive trees, and surrounded by oak and mediterranean pine forests on the ring of rolling hills that sphincter into a gorge that climbers scale. Paleolithic man has been here, living in the caves and eventually farming this fertile magical valley. It is romantic and beautiful. Our studios were created from the renovation of an old village house that was in ruins. Many of the beautiful elements that make these old houses so special like the beams and the tiles had long gone, so to turn it into studios with the necessary toughness of floors and minimalism was an easier to consider conversion. 

Our studios, (Ateliers), Correns

So now we live between two worlds, two amazing cultures, that have enhanced our quality of life so that everyday we are engaged in the passionate discovery of stories, history, landscape, food, wine, people.

This is my first post for absolutely ages!! We have been in transition between these two wonderful cultures and it has taken a while to get our feet back on the ground, however, now that I have begun again you will hear more!

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  1. Linda Mezzone-Smukler says:

    What an uplifting post! You two have a wonderful life filled with so many great experiences that clearly inspired both your creativity. Richard and I were happy to be a tiny part of that and hope to see you again someday, if this world turns around. Much love always….Linda and Rich

    1. Thank you lovely Linda and Rich – your exhibition of photography at La Rondine was a highlight. Special years and soon we will meet again! Biggest hugs xxx

  2. Catherine Walter says:

    It is so good to read this ! I’m happy for you that you have found a nest in my country !

    1. Thank you Catherine! We are so lucky to be here!

  3. Christopher Joyce says:

    You’re such an inspiration! Hope to see you here in Lucca, or in Correns one day soon. Sending love to you both xxxx

    1. Thank you Chris! So looking forward to catching up with you guys soon – catching up with life! Biggest hugs xx

  4. Elizabeth Litzow says:

    Wonderful post Shona – more needed

  5. Brigitte Bruggemann says:

    Correns sounds lovely!

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