Video: a snapshot of summer 2014 at Palazzo Rinaldi

July 2014: local media La Siritide visits Palazzo Rinaldi Artists’ Residency in occasion of one of its end of Residency exhibitions/ open studio day. Featuring works by Artists-in-Residence Tracy Boyd (USA) and Cecilia Westerberg (Denmark).

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Interview with writer Susan Lanigan (Palazzo Rinaldi AIR 2011)

Susan Lanigan writer

 

Susan, first of all many congratulations on your novel White Feathers, which has been acquired by O’Brien Press Brandon Imprint for publication in autumn 2014.  We are excited for you and can’t wait to read it! Can you tell us first of all what gave you the idea for the novel, and made you wish to write a story set during WWI?

Thank you! I had been toying with the idea of the white feathers of cowardice a while, trying to write a short story where past collided with present and failing. Then I had this idea: what about telling the story straight, from the point of view of a girl from the period. being pushed towards giving a white feather, and the horribly personalised symbol of institutional violence that carried, and it went from there. I think I’m very interested in female power versus male power and how the former can be very intimate and targeted, whereas the latter is more generally malign. And how in World War One the two got mixed up together.

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Above: Susan during her Residency stay

What’s your favourite part of the whole writing process?

I think there are moments where everything coheres in a dramatic point and when you’re writing that, even if it’s for the fourth time, you still have that little lurch of waiting for the other character to open the door and start to speak. Or when the characters take the initiative and lose patience with you! Though you have to put manners on them sometimes.

What would you say have been the biggest challenges in putting the novel together?

Scope. You can start with a very wide-angle view and realise after a while that you just have too much. And when you try and bring down matters to a resolution, you can so many balls in the air that you succumb to a juggling failure, not doing the important elements in the story justice.

This was the novel you were working on during your Residency at Palazzo Rinaldi in 2011. Can you tell us a little bit about that particular stage in the development of the novel, and in what ways you feel a Residency stay benefited this?

I was working on the second draft, which was still very experimental, but helped clarify a lot about the background of my protagonist, Eva. I remember being very, very hot, the heat nearly wore me out. But it was so remote, and beautiful. The scenery that is; Eva’s background is not quite as lovely, unfortunately for her!

Quite a few of our Artists-in-Residence are writers, often looking for their first break.  What advice do you have for someone who may be working on their first manuscript right now and dreaming of signing that publishing deal?

Find a story you care enough about and characters you get obsessed with. That makes it easier to keep going. Until obsession kicks in, discipline is the way to go. But I finished White Feathers because I couldn’t not finish it. I had to see this story through. 

Finally, when can we expect the novel to be out…and are you already working on your next one?

Publication day is 25 August! I do have a nearly-finished first draft of another one about a dangerous relationship in a dangerous place on the eve of World War II, but I’m still in the grip of the characters of this one…so we’ll see what happens.

Susan Lanigan is a writer based in Dublin, Ireland. She is represented by Svetlana Pironko at the Author Rights Agency.

Interview: I lived and worked in Artists’ Residencies around the world for 2 years

Part of the pleasure of running Palazzo Rinaldi artists’ residency is the opportunity to encounter some extraordinary people along the way, completely committed to their practice and art as a way of life.  One of these has to be Colorado-based visual artist Amy Clay, who back in 2009 made Palazzo Rinaldi her Italian stop on a planned 2-year creative and personal journey living and working in Artists’ Residencies around the world.  Along the way she collected thoughts, impressions and images and eventually published them in a book, now available online. 

We are catching up with Amy to ask her a few questions about her extraordinary experience and how this impacted her creative process.

 

     Amy at Palazzo Rinaldi in 2009

 

  •  Hi Amy!  Can you tell our blog readers a little bit about what inspired you to undertake your voyage in Residencies around the world in the first place?
I have always been a gypsy – insatiably curious about the world in all its diverse and interesting variety. Nothing is more thrilling to me than launching off into the unknown on some kind of adventure.  As an artist, I had been drooling over the extensive network of artist residencies for years, making a mental list of places that inspired me the most. So, when after many years of being grounded with my domestic commitments, I was free to wander again, I knew I wanted to combine my twin loves of travel and art. Artist residencies were the ticket.
  • With so much choice out there, how did you choose what Residencies to attend?

It was a combination of countries I was interested in visiting, and the residencies themselves. Each residency is unique, and they offer such different things, so I spent hours researching the accommodations/studios/costs etc before applying to them. My two favorite resources are: www.resartist.org, and www.transartists.org. Be warned, it is a rabbit hole!

  • We were of course delighted to be included in your wish list.  What are your memories of your stay at Palazzo Rinaldi?

What I loved about Palazzo Rinaldi, which was very different from the other places I’ve stayed, was being invited into such a warm and welcoming family home. I was the only artist at the time, so I was blessed with some quality time with the Caprara family as well as the quiet of the home and studio.

The village of Noepoli is truly an experience of life, Italy, unchanged by time. Because it is not a tourist destination, you really feel deeply the culture you are living in, as opposed to a Disney-fied version of it. And then there’s the location of the residency itself – at the top of an ancient hilltop hamlet with 360 degree views of the surrounding Basilicata region. Stunning!
I also was given a chance to have a small exhibition and slide show for the locals, who despite the language barrier, filled the room and seemed to enjoy my take on their wonderful village.

AMY_GNOCCHI2                AMY_SHOW               PREP1
                      
           Above from L Amy at Palazzo Rinaldi: learning to make gnocchi, and getting ready for the end-of-Residency exhibition
  • From a creative point of view, how did you feel your practice developed during your 2-year time away? 

I loved being on the road so much, that it actually became more of a 4 year journey!  I was very curious how much our culture, language, environment impacts the creative process, and by stepping outside of that familiar world, into the unknown, what changes would happen to me and my work. In a nutshell, what I discovered was the solid core of my authentic voice. That there is always an unchanging “signature”, the essential you. And then there is the exterior world which is open to change and interpretation and play. I thoroughly enjoyed that visual feast of the senses as I traveled the world, and just observed how it interacted with new materials and new forms to make the resulting work. Of course, the interaction with my fellow artist travelers had a profound impact too.   

  • You visited India, Mexico, New Zealand and Iceland among other exotic locations.  What were the challenges involved in traveling so far away from home for such a long period of time? 

People often would say how “brave” I was to take off as I did, from the comforts of my home. But I don’t feel particularly brave, it’s very much my nature to want to explore. I’m less attached to my “things” than to the excitement of a new adventure. Although it’s wonderful to have a base, from which to launch,  financially, I couldn’t have both. So I chose freedom!

  • What would you say was the best thing about undertaking this long term project?

It’s so hard to qualify that, but I suppose it’s the confidence in myself – knowing that wherever I land I will find beauty, amazing people and creative purpose. And that this world is a magnificent place, not scary or broken. The infinite manifestations of form on this planet are truly astounding, and I don’t want to miss any of it. So as we speak, I’m asking myself – what’s next!

  • And finally…what advice would you give to fellow artists planning to attend a residency abroad for the first time?

Do your research, choose as best you can (try to find some reviews if possible), and then the minute you are on your way, relax and surrender to whatever shows up. Most likely it will be a rich and rewarding and sometimes crazy ride!

Amy Guion Clay is a visual artist and traveler who exhibits her work internationally. She continues to enjoy the life of the artist in residence around the world.  Her book The Far Shores of Being is now available online.

Papermarbling Workshop with AIR Carey Watters

In June 2013 we had the pleasure to host a public Papermarbling Workshop, facilitated by our AIR Carey Watters (WI, USA), Assistant Professor in Graphic Design and Typography at the University of Wisconsin.

Paper marbling is a traditional printmaking technique: a method of aqueous surface design, which can produce patterns similar to marble or stone, often used in bookbinding and stationary making.  Carey has been working with this technique for years, playing with surfaces and transparencies and creating both beautiful standalone works and creative stationery sets.

While in Residency Carey experimented with antique atlas maps, designed and hand-bound notebooks, and even marbled one of our baked cotto tiles!

Carey W.          papermarbling works float2          float3

With a disposition as sunny as the terrace where her works dried out, floating in color, Carey proved to be a natural teacher, spending  time with us in the Residency explaining and allowing us to try out her techniques, and proposing a workshop for the local community- which of course we we re delighted to host.

On the day of the workshop the participants crowded into the upstairs studio and around the table, where Carey began by demonstrating the basics of the technique.

Carey Watters workshop  Workshop participants

(Before the workshop, Carey mentioned laughing how everytime she runs this particular workshop the first ‘reveal’ of the marbling on paper is always welcomed with a big ‘…oooooooh!’ from the crowd – …and this was exactly what happened!)  Soon after the initial surprise, people who had never tried their hand at papermarbling or anything similar had the opportunity to experiment for the first time, and make up their own papermarbling patterns.

workshop at Palazzo Rinaldi

Another fascinating aspect of the workshop was to see that absolutely all ages were able to create some fun and unique works.  Here is the lovely Cumpà Antonio (80 years +) proudly showing his finished piece!

all ages  Cumpa' Antonio

As the patterns dried over the next few days, Carey and Pina started binding the finished works as covers for notebooks, that were then distributed to all the workshop participants as a souvenir of the day.  Thank you Carey for allowing us a peek into the fascinating world of paper marbling and book binding!