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Tuesday, April 22

GULDAGERGAARD MANOR HOUSE


Once a tulip farm and apple orchard, Guldagergaard (pronounced Gool-aya-goh) translates to Golden Acre Farm in Danish.  The manor house was the home for the family until 1990 and the house was kept in traditional style while incorporating contemporary Danish design.  The estate is now a public park and around 1996 the manor house and out buildings were converted into an international research centre for ceramics.  On the grounds you will also find an extensive kiln park (8 different outdoor wood firing and gas kilns), the studio facilities, the Apple House gallery and  sculpture garden.


The coffee table in the living room is decorated with ceramic tiles depicting the estate during it's early years as a farm, and some of the surrounding features such as a beach (approximately 3km away).



The house accommodates up to 12 artists with 10 shared and private bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, large shared kitchen, dining hall, and library/living room.  I love my little minimal bedroom.  The manor acts as a meeting place for all those involved with the centre and houses the staff offices. Bicycles are available to us for touring around the small sea-side town and on the countryside paths.  I've really been enjoying hanging my clothes out on the line and using the linen roller in the laundry room.  You will also notice pieces from the Guldegergaard collection throughout the house (guest artists are required to donate a ceramic work).  







The view from my bedroom window is a large sculpture piece by UK ceramics celebrity Paul Scott.



Living here is very much a communal environment.  Each night 1 or 2 residents cook dinner for everyone and we eat together in the dining hall.  Many artists staying here at the moment are working as assistants for their accommodations.  In exchange for working 4-5 hours at the centre (cleaning, studio maintenance, yard work, Guldagergaard ceramic projects, etc.) artists can stay without the fees.  I was nervous about the communal living vibe, but this place has really positive energy, it's so comfortable, and everyone here is so great. I love it. 

Check in on Thursday when I post about the studio facilities.


















Monday, April 21

FABERGÉ ABROAD : NEAR WINCHESTER


Just another lonely boy from the city finds his way back home
sit in quiet down by the river
wait and hope for my luck will change
sit in silent sounds in the mirror
watch my twig slowly drift away..

An hour outside of London is the city of Winchester: known for its namesake cathedral, the former capital of England, and the location in which the Domesday Book was compiled.  Twenty minutes further southeast and you will find yourself in Bishop's Waltham.

I traveled there to visit Loopy, a darling friend who runs the award-winning Bowman Ales Brewery and who appointed himself my de facto tour guide through Hampshire. 

One of our first visits was to the New Forest, a surprisingly large area of pasture, heathland and forest to be found in such a densely populated county. We found a modest Canadian war memorial dotted with flags and faded photographs; according to Loopy, the New Forest was the international site for D Day preparations where tens of thousands made camp and prepared for their call. The heath is now populated by indigenous ponies and donkeys who happily graze in peace.



Nearby in the tiny town of Fritham is the most marvelous of pubs, the Royal Oak. Its timber walls and thatch roof frame two cozy rooms, a fire roaring in its hearth and ramblers sipping pints of best bitters well before noon



Across the parking lot we found the site of the Schultze Gunpowder Factory. Suffering rapid decline in business during the early twentieth century due to anti-German sentiment, all that remains of Schultze is a metal post box. 




We next ventured to Pagham, a seaside village in the country of West Sussex. As we walked along the beach, Loopy explained that it was the site of massive coastal erosion. An ever-growing spit has displaced the entrance to the harbour, and is forcing an aggressive tide to flow parallel to the beach. Last year during a storm the tide rose up to the door of the yacht club, and residents were panicking about the lack of interest and support they were receiving from the government. After our walk we continued our beer tour at the nearby Kings Beach Hotel, named for King George and also under threat of purchase by a supermarket chain.






The next morning I was left to my own devices, and was intent on finding Hazelholt Farm. My parents were tenants in a servants lodge on the property (the other lodge apparently occupied at the time by a German POW), and it was there that I had spent some of my earliest days on this earth. I set out across a public access footpath and wandered from farm to farm, eventually relying on the kindness of strangers to guide me. The quaint little lodge was deserted, bucolic, and predictably not at all as I remembered it.

-Henri Fabergé