I just had one of those days where everything fell into place in my mind: plans and perspective collided and made good! After a week or so of getting progressively stuck in the detail- of pushing furniture around, cleaning the same floor five times, and not finding particularly more harmony in return for all the graft put in- it suddenly all shifted!


watching rain in the valley, from arthouse studio balcony

Probably brought on by a lovely long, deep chat with a dear friend, a large glass of local wine, and the cosiest of evenings in, as the night whipped up a storm,chasing the heat of our glorious late summer away for good. The centro storico (medieval quarter) has a very special energy, and the cold months bring out an incredible vibe, most condusive to rumination, reflection, meditation.


sunset through my kitchen window

These kind o’ moments are what I live for; when a step to the side, a few precious moments with the perfect atmosphere, and all things come right. Yum: I love it when you get that shift in thought which helps you to see that you actually have all the resources, expertise, ideas within you, and just need to shuffle them around a little, to make them work infinitely better- like when you bring together the perfect dish from ingredients growing right outside your kitchen window, which you forgot were flourishing there!


summer deliciousness from a wee raised bed by the arthouse

So here’s my plan!

Mini-residencies at the arthouse: themed retreats for a maximum of four people at a time, with seasonal activities and access to all the magic of a happy artist’s life in atmospheric Italy!

Do you like the sound of that?

Here are some of my ideas, which I’m mapping out…



me in my studio, this morning

I’ve been waiting for years to pluck up the courage to do this! I’ve always loved sharing my creative space with others, and inspiring them to pursue their own creative paths- so here’s a chance to work alongside an artist who is living the dream!

A variety of insightful retreats for artists, photographers, writers and folks who want to free up the creative power in their lives.

All based in the tranquil, inspirational context of the magical arthouse. These intimate retreats will incorporate gentle discourse and inner investigation, in a nourishing creative environment.

There’ll be trips out and about in the spectacular surrounding landscape of the Campania region, and the opportunity to connect with other local and visiting artists.


me in my studio, last summer



winter 2011-12, heavy snow in guardia, first time in 60yrs!

Drink mulled wine and feast on roasted chestnuts at Christmas markets in castles, visit Naples’ winter lights and festivities, be enchanted by local presepes, mountain walks and celebrate Christmas eve mass in Latin. It doesn’t get much more authentic than that!


mini-presepe, Guardia’s centro storico



my wee vintage sewing machine

Two-week retreats in the spring and late summer, with visits to the big second-hand markets in Caserta and Telese, then back to the kitchen table for a sew-in! Italian fashion, re-fatto: loads of fun and new ideas, with designer and vintage fabrics, for just a few euros!


skirt for €1, from a local market



guardia’s old town; still lots of houses for sale!

And the one so many of you have been waiting for: house-hunting! All the good contacts, without the baksheesh 😉

All the low-down on how to choose the right property, and how not to be ripped off (there’s a lot more of this going on than you can imagine!), translation, connections with good people and trustworthy professionals, and frank and insightful chat about how our cultures differ and complement each other. 

Find out how it really is to live in Guardia Sanframondi year round as a foreigner, from one who knows! Literally invaluable perspective, before you dive into your dream.


the cantina, from the first viewing of the arthouse in 2011


I’ll be developing the themes, and getting retreat pages set up here on my blog, over the next few weeks!

2 thoughts on “AUTUMNAL ALCHEMY…

  1. Rachel Wood says:

    Dear Clare, this sounds wonderful and I’d love to hear more about your plans and the Arthouse and hope our paths might cross! Autumn greetings from Bath to you, Rachel

    Liked by 1 person

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