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.
“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?”
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
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.
Top half of the garden with the goats
The lower half of the garden as it looks in Sept 2016
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’
A.I.R. DRAWinternational – JULIE PAYNE (AUS) October 2012