Newsletter october 2020

Hello folks and sorry for the delay in sending out this newsletter.  It has been an unusual year for everyone and also for me.  It has been a very productive time full of activity.  You will see many improvements to the house(s) and gardens and also the options for the art holidays.

COVID virus.

 Yes, I must mention it....Up here in the mountains of Italy we have adapted well and the  h ouse is well organised for hygien, social distancing and the provision of masks, gels etc.  it all works easily and effectively.

I haven't been able to offer art holidays at all this year and all bookings for 2020 have been transferred to 2021  It has been strange not to have the usual sounds of chattering, laughing and the sound of aristic production and I look forward to having many guests next year.

I have been kept busy teaching English to local people and having Italian B&B guests who have come up to the mountains for a holiday.

 Casa Celtica is finished

  • barn front 2013
  • barn facing road 2013
  • barn- working on the new roof
  • Casa Celtica front
  • Casa Celtica, facing the road
I have been restoring an old stable-barn for the last seven years and now it is finished.  In this building the art is incorporated into the fabric of the building. I've used natural materials as much as possible and recycled many things which has resulted in some spectacular effects.

Here are the 'before' and 'after' pictures.  I worked on all aspects of the building, from putting on the new roof, building up the w alls, pointing, plastering, tiling and 'adding things'.  My degree was in sculpture and this is my biggest project yet.

The front of the house is a face, with    two eyese, the railings are eyelashes and the door is the mouth.

Stone Trees

  • stone tree 4 (the climber)
  • stone trees from terazzo
  • barn before stone trees
  • stone trees 1 and 2
  • stone tree inside, round stairwell
  • stone tree 2 (the olive tree)
  • Building stone tree 3
  • stone tree 1 (the fruit tree)
  • stone tree 3 ( abstract)
I have built in 'stone trees' in the large ventilation areas of the hay loft.  I asn't allowed windows because this side overlooked a neighbour's house so I had an idea....  I made the trunks of the trees from stones from the nearby River Secchia, then the leaves of the trees were river ashed stones from the River Secchiello, then the fruit of the trees were coloured drinking glasses.  The idea was that little rays of coloured light would pass through.   The first one worked well so I made four 'stone trees' in total and then took the idea of the coloured drinking glasses further in the extension of the house.

Inside the stone trees

  • stone tree 2 - inside
  • stone tree 3 - inside (bathroom)
  • stone tree 2 - inside (stairs)
  • stone tree 1 - inside (bedroom)
  • stone treee 1 - inside (bedroom)

Inside the old stable-barn

  • dragon door to the bathroom
  • ground floor - the old stable
  • bathroom
  • bathroom using mosiac tiles
  • ground floor of old stables
  • bedroom
  • window from stairs to utility room
  • platform bedroom
  • bedroom with stairs to little balcony
  • balcony bedroom
The inside remains simple and, at the same time, retains the hisotry of the building.  The ground floor was the old stable and is now a big room where the old columns remain, and the arched ceiling made of hand made bricks has also been cleaned up and remains visible.
The spiral staircase with a (donated) tree trunk in the centre, and handles of river washed wood, leads up to the first floor.  There is a large bedroom with beautiful arched windows, one of which leads to a small balcony.  The bed and door are made of old bedheads.
The bathroom is mosaiced using 'found' mosiacs, a recycled door with a dragon in coloured glass (my winter project of 2020) and a variety of lighting effects from the various coloured windows.
Then, the stairs continue up to a ballcony area where there is another little bedroom.


  • terazzo is the roof of the extension
  • front of the extension
  • coloured windows in utility room
  • bathroom ground floor
  • kitchen
  • utility room with window to main room
  • coloured window in kitchen
  • coloured windows in bathroom
You will have noticed that there is no kitchen and so an extension was needed.  It is a large kitchen, a little room for laundry and an other bathroom.  I designed and assembled the IKEA flatpacks for a beautiful and practical effect.

Because the extension is mostly underground and faces north I was worried about the lack of light.

So, during the winter of 2020 I made various coloured glass windows , and this occupation became quite addictive!   I developed the idea of the coloured drinking glasses by making little tunnels in the form of arches, through the walls, allowing light to come through.  This time i mosaiced little pieces of broken mirror to the surfaces internally and externally in order to maximise the light.  I must say that the end result is quite stunning...  Even during the night the light of the moon comes through.

Outside, on the terrazzo which is the roof of the extension I asked the blacksmith not to add a handrail to the railing as i wanted to make this out of branches from the river.   They are beautiful.  


  • coloured glass lamps
  • pond
  • phoenix in garden
  • gazebo in wood
  • gazebo in metal
  • terazzo Casa Celtica
  • Breakfast area for ground floor
  • gazebo in metal
I've also been busy outside.   I transformed the old drinking troughs for animals into little pools with water features and waterlilies.

In the garden you will find other pieces of coloured glasswork.  I told you it became an addiction!

Then there are two new gasebos to work in.  I meant to make them for social distancing and they work well.  I taught English to local people over the summer here.  
Then there are other little areas to draw, to chat or to relax.

Magical Mystery tours

  • Monte Cusna view
  • woods
  • woods in sunlight
  • toano
  • river
  • horses
This summer I had the opportunity to further explore this little piece of paradise in which I live.  I can only say that it is more magical every time I go for a little tour  even if only a fe kilometres away.

Perhaps I even had a summer holiday!

What inspiration!

Francesco's tours

  • Francesco and carraige
  • three donkeys
  • two cows munching hay
  • happy pigs
  • making parmesan cheese
  • parmesan cheese
Francesco is a colourful local character who you can often see around town with his horses.

He has many relatives who have lived in Villa Minozzo and so he has a wealth of knowledge about the history the customs and thegeogrphy to share with you.   He offers half or one day tours (donations to a local charity) such as;

Food and wine tour.   You can visit a local cow farm, then the caseificio where the parmesan cheese is made, see how the salame is made, and have a look at the world of balsamic vinegar..  He can also include other seasonal information such as chatting to mushroom or truffle hunters, myrtle, walnut or other fresh food collectors.  And of course you can taste some local wines.

A visit to a local organic farm.
This idyllic farm which seems to be from a  fairy tale is an excellent opportunity to dra happy animals in a lovely environment.

You can take the chairlift to the top of Monte Cusna at night to watch the sunset, and then the shooting stars - in August.

He can also take you on beautiful walks in the area, talking about the culture and traditions of the landscape.  You can decide with him how long the walk should be and at what level.

As alays there are other options for your day off for example, 'Luca Tours', horseriding with Rosella, climbing or white ater rafting with a local company, or even just taking a walk from the house.  There is always something interesting, something to inspire.  

Ballerina in the garden

  • ballerina 1
  • ballerina 2
  • ballerina 3
  • ballerina 4
I didn't have any art holiday guests this year but many italians came to the mountains for the summer holiday.
One day  I returned home to the house and the mother of this beautiful ballerina explained that they had found my garden inspiration for her to make these beautiful poses.

I am so happy that my 'house of art' is helping artists of all types to find inspiration.

Grazie Giulia


This is a photo of me with my via ferrata gear...  I have returned to a previous incarnation as a mountain guide....

I would like that this coming year more Italians would come to learn art, and also English.

I look forward to a house full of laughter and creativity in 2021.

if you would like to send me an email with your questions about next year's holidays please feel free.  I respond to all emails.

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