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Alzbeta’s work has culminated in an open studio showcasing her ideas, process, and progress. She used one of the older studios as her base, building an exhibition with a carefully constructed rusticism.

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A projector was set up turning one of the built-in cupboards into a screen. A slideshow of photos from Alzbeta’s time in the gardens played on a loop, framed by hay and brambles.

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Her desk gave the impression of a witch’s work top. Sketches, books, tools, plants were arranged around the mantelpiece and table. Even the giant spider that had terrorised the studios before dying of natural causes was displayed beside them.

 

All around the room, items that had been discovered in the garden were displayed. From bones and teeth to shards of pottery and pieces of stone. There was even an old lighter and a dead bee.

Work clothes were hung from the walls and windows, and amongst it, Alzbeta’s sketches were shown.

The night was incredibly successful, with the project gaining some interest and even some volunteers.

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Alzbeta remains for another month to fulfill the following project;

Plant an Idea: The aim is to use research and design in order to extend the functionality and aesthetics of the gardens in preparation for planting. This will establish the two large terraced gardens for the inhabitants of Caylus to use.

This will be in partnership with her personal work, which will be realised through a portfolio of drawings, photographs, diagrams, text and any other related media which can serve as an archive of transferable ideas for other shared gardens.

 

As we approach the winter, the maintenance jobs increase. Ensuring that the worsening weather doesn’t undo all previous hard work is itself, hard work.

Alongside the main plot is a steep bank which has eroded slightly over the years. Using the rocks and rubble that have been brought down, Alzbeta and I have constructed two terraces along it. The hope is that they will reduce the amount of soil brought down by the rain, preventing it from damaging the plots and anything planted.

We also plan to recycle more of the rocks to create a seating area in the garden. Using the stones will ensure drainage when it rains, as well as keeping costs down and being ecological.

I mentioned before that the plots had been prepared with muck and were waiting to be covered. We’ve since dug the muck into the soil. We looked into what could be planted now, ensuring an early crop next spring. Bulbs such as garlic and onions are able to survive the winter, while legumes like peas and broad beans will help nourish the soil, as well as providing a good crop. Planting legumes is always beneficial to a garden as they return nitrates to the soil, reducing the need for adding them back in using chemical fertilisers. Some plants leech the nitrates from the soil, affecting how well things grow. The plants of things like broad beans are also great for feeding to goats.

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We took all of this into account when choosing what to plant. We decided on the following vegetables;

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • White Radish
  • Purple Radish
  • Black Radish
  • Pink Radish
  • Broad Beans
  • Peas
  • Rocket
  • Salsify

We also decided to plant flowers on the bank, hopefully, this will help towards reducing erosion. It will also brighten the garden up. Amongst others, we chose Purple Tansy and Red Clover as well as a seed mix specifically designed to attract bees. Attracting bees to the garden will not only help the bees themselves but will also improve the pollination chances of the plants.

 

As I mentioned in the first post, goats were brought in to clear the land. We currently have four, Francesca, Blanche, Mamman and Baby.
Francesca is the leader of the pack. She has the most dominant personality and is constantly escaping. If there’s a way out, she’ll find it. She recently disturbed a theatre piece that was being performed in the lower gardens. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if it weren’t for the fact that she can never find her way back in.

Blanche is next. Not as keen on escaping as Francesca, she is content to eat her way through the garden as is. She loves to be petted, and will push the others out of the way to get to food.


Mamman is a much more timid character than the other two. She doesn’t like to be handled, even if you’re offering food. She often gets pushed out from the food, and so likes to be fed on the rocks where the other two can’t or won’t climb to. However, she isn’t interested in escaping, which is a small blessing.


Baby is the smallest and the youngest. She is Mamman’s kid. Though well past being weaned she sticks with her mother most of the time. She is quite timid and doesn’t like to be handled too much. However, she is easily distracted by food, and will allow you to pet her if she’s eating.

At the moment we have cleared the rubble from the patches. Raked to the sides this creates a simple and natural border for the plots. These were then rotovated to prepare them for planting, and manure has been spread over the top. Fences have been erected around the plots to keep the goats from disturbing them. Hopefully doing this now before anything is planted will get them used to no longer having that space to roam in.


The next step is to cover the plots for winter. The plan is to use cardboard and plastic sheeting. This will keep the rain from disturbing the manure and insulate the soil, allowing the worms to do their jobs. Come the spring, the soil will be enriched and ready to plant.

 

Alys-Rose

Draw-international intern

“How to negotiate a balance between an intellectual insight, spiritual practice and a deepening of craft and skill? How to make drawn lines a scaffolding of concepts and ideas? How to abandon the ambition to make something concrete and still embody the spirit within a drawing? How to be isolated and achieve community, include a tentacle within one’s work that could potentially touch the viewer? What is the place of sentimentality and stubbornness of a traditional technique within the contemporary art discourse?
Surrounded by the gently curved lines of the hills on the horizon, under the dot of the sun, hands deep in dirt. Where do the bells of the universe sound louder than in the gardens of a bucolic village in south western France? What is thirty days of hard physical and artistic work and how far forward or sideways could it propel me?”

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This is artist in residence Alzbeta Wolfova’s project concept in her own words. She is an animation student who has also worked with printmaking. She wanted to work with the garden to create a final piece. Her aim is to create a garden within her drawings, bringing the outside in.
Balancing her creative endeavours with work in the garden, she plans to create a plan or guide for the garden that is aesthetic rather than utilitarian.
Examples of her previous work can be seen on her website at

http://alzbetawolfova.tumblr.com

 

Alys-Rose

Draw-international intern

The most prevalent rock in the area is Limestone. It’s a soft and easily eroded stone. When water runs through it, the rock dissolves, giving the water a high mineral content. This leads to what is known as hard water and causes limescale build up on kettles and other appliances.img_2650

This means that while it’s easy to shape and carve, it doesn’t hold a shape or edge for long unless preserved or constantly sharpened. As a result, though we have other signs of stone age civilisations in the area, there’s little remains of their tools.

The same principle applies to fossils found in the area. While they are around, they are easily damaged and corroded. I have found several in the garden, a partial ammonite which has been eroded by exposure to the elements and the disruption of garden work, and two small scallop-like shells, their imprint forever preserved in a shard of limestone.

Quartz is considered a semi-precious gemstone. It is too common for it to be of much monetary value, but this doesn’t stop it being beautiful. It ranges from white to clear and is in abundance in this area. Chunks of it have been unearthed in the upper gardens, and seams of it can be seen in the walls of the buildings around us.

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Remnants of glass can be found littering the rubble. Some are little more than jagged shards which present a clear hazard, these have been removed in the interest of safety. Others pieces are almost intact, from entire bottles from L’Oreal to small vials that would have held medicine. It’s difficult to determine the age of these pieces, but going by the thickness of the base we can judge that they vary from relatively modern, with thin bases, to older items which have a thick base.

Alongside these are fragments of pottery and porcelain. The spout of a teapot, a shard of a coloured tile or a piece of a patterned plate. Again there are varying ages and states of repair to these finds. Some more modern items can be found, with several fragments or earthenware pottery. These red clay pots are much older and more rustic than the other finds.

 

Finding bones is always a little unnerving, but we can be positive that these are from animals. A shoulder blade the wrong shape to be human, a marrow bone too large to be. The first assumption would be that they died of natural causes, it would even be nice to think that they might be prehistoric. However, we can tell that neither of these is the case. The main break on the bones is too clean for it to be natural, or even made using a stone tool. Another factor that determines that they weren’t a stone age meal is the presence of ridges on the cuts. These suggest that a serrated blade or saw was used to sever the bone. My guess is that they’re no older than Victorian, though they are probably a lot younger.

A small rodent skull presents an enigma. With no extra bones, there is little evidence to show how it died. Research has shown that is a Common Rat, common enough in the area. The site has clearly been used as a rubbish dump for some time, creating the perfect habitat for small rodents. Plenty of cover and an easy food source. Despite this, the garden was at one point one of the most beautiful gardens in the area. This is what we aim to bring it back to.

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However, this habit does give us an interesting insight into people’s lives. Among the glass and bones, there’s also less collectable items like old shoes, or at least their soles. Old tins, drinks cans and fragments of plastic litter the site. There’s even the handle from an old cooking pot. From a social history point of view, it’s a mine of information and a wonderful window in how people lived.

 

Alys-Rose

Draw-international intern.

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View from the garden in the spring

The idea behind Art House Caylus was to create a community garden. A place where people could grow and share their own produce. An aide to those on lower incomes, a chance to share knowledge and expertise. With the work being shared amongst those involved, with everyone getting something for their time.

In theory, it is simple. An exchange of time for goods. However, the original state of the garden made the practice a little more difficult. Rocks were moved, plants and trees cleared, and with time things progressed. From the start, the intent was to do things as ecologically as possible. Any rubble will be reincorporated into the garden, as much use as possible will be made of the existing features and plants. For this purpose, goats were used to clear the scrub and weeds that had grown up over the years of disuse.

For the garden itself, the plan is to grow as much sustainable fruit and veg as possible. Things that only need to be planted once, and re-flower and regrown year in year out, therefore getting maximum yield for minimum work. Already in the garden, there are several forms of fruit trees, which once tended, will flourish even more. Alongside this, there would naturally be a herb garden, for no practical garden would be complete without them. In addition to plants with culinary purposes, those with medicinal ones would also be incorporated.

This is a project which needs the help and support of the community. Whether in the form of time and physical assistance or expertise on anything from plants to construction. Any support would be more than welcome.

Stavros Pavlides is currently artist in residence at DRAWinternational, Caylus. France

Stavros has just completed a two month residency at the Kuono Trust, Kenya.

The Kuona Trust commissioned this video to document his residency in Kenya. It was filmed by Mandela Samuel and Isaac Mulli, edited by Mandela Samuel.

‘This video is far better than anything i could have put together myself and very elegantly captures my experiences in Kenya’

Stavros Pavlides

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Plus d’une trentaine de personnes se sont rassemblées mercredi 1er avril, dans la salle du conseil de la mairie. À l’appel d’une association fraîchement constituée, ArtHouse Caylus, les possibles se sont affirmés autour d’un projet volontairement ouvert : les adhérents proposent et disposent d’un jardin. Pour cultiver dans tous les sens du terme car si des parcelles individuelles de potagers sont possibles, l’art et la culture trouveront place dans ce lieu.

Le partage de l’espace, comme son usage, sera le choix des adhérents, et rien n’en est exclu a priori.

Depuis le jardin d’agrément, la parcelle alimentaire, le jardin travaillé en équipe ou la mise en commun d’équipements pour travailler la sienne propre, le groupe initial est ouvert à tout pourvu que la convivialité, la bonne humeur, le partage et la solidarité s’expriment.

«Si on s’y met, on trouvera des solutions. On sait que les problèmes ne manqueront pas, mais ce n’est pas une raison pour ne pas essayer…»

Premier rendez-vous le 12 avril

Dans son exposé explicatif, Marc, avec un léger accent anglais et enthousiaste, montre les photos réalisées par John McNorton. Les biquettes qui ont commencé le travail de défrichage, il les a devant les yeux de son atelier-école Draw International, rue du Château. L’espace du Jardin du paradis est une esplanade au même niveau mais du côté cirque. Et d’ailleurs, le point de vue de la vieille tour depuis cet observatoire l’a certainement inspiré pour recevoir des artistes en résidence qui auront un beau panorama à dessiner quand ils auront donné quelques coups de bêche !

La conclusion de l’exposé en images parlait toute seule : un parterre fleuri peint par Claude Monet. Les petites touches individuelles participent, par le biais de l’impressionnisme, à un tableau magique qui a fait se soulever des Oh ! admiratifs et des sourires complices.

Le premier grand rendez-vous de tous les bénévoles tentés par cette expérience collective aura lieu le dimanche 12 avril à 14 h 30. Le point de ralliement est l’ancienne gendarmerie. On peut trouver et laisser des bulletins d’adhésion à l’association, à la mairie.