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Posts Tagged ‘writers residence’

Bea Chang Takes a Work Break in Granada

Bea Chang, hard at work on the Gallinero terrace

Here’s Bea, hard at work.

Bea Chang,a writer whose formative years have taken her around the world, leaves today after spending a week in the Gallinero working. Though Bea is on a joyous two month Morocco-Spain-and-Ireland tour, she’s aware that her classmates in the creative-writing masters program at the University of Washington are spending the summer working on their critically important end-of-term projects.  So she Googled “writers refuge Spain” and up popped the Gallinero.

Bea has been our most discreet, least demanding guest. She said she wanted to work and we left her to it. Her project is to write a series of short stories based on her travels this summer. “It’s like travel writing,” says Bea, “but in fiction, not non fiction. I loved the Gallinero because it was secluded and quiet, so conducive to writing.”

Bea, we wish you all the best in getting an A+ on your project, in getting it published and becoming famous. And we hope to see you again soon in the Gallinero.

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Six Things that Surprise Artists When They Stay in the Gallinero – I/II

The Gallinero bedroom/workroom with view through to kitchen/sitting roomMaureen Booth, Granada, July 18, 2011–I’ve had artists coming to stay in my “Gallinero” artists’ residence and work with me in my printmaking studio for a year and a half now. I’ve welcomed all sorts of people: working artists, advanced beginners, people between the ages of 15 and 82, a Canadian return-to-art person, a couple of delightful veteran artists and art educators from Colorado, a Hungarian sculptor, an Australian painter… All of them have taught me something, and I’d like to think the experience was mutual. And there’s one thing they all agree upon: Printmaking here in Granada and staying in the Gallinero is a unique creative experience. That compels me to try to figure out what makes it so. I’ve made a list of possible factors: Read more…

Small World, Milanese Connection, First Writer

Our old friend, Barbara Mason (from the Atelier Meridian in Portland, Oregon), was kind enough last summer to recommend my etching workshop to a friend called Mary Marjerrison. Mary showed up a couple of weeks ago with her friend, the author, Nancy Tomasetti, the Gallinero’s first writer. Did they come from Oregon? No, they came from Milan, Italy, where they both live. It’s a small world. Hence the silly title of this post.

Mary Marjerrison in Maureen Booth's printmaking studioMary, who works in administration at an international school in Milan was able to rob a week for printmaking thanks to the very civilized Italian tradition of the “Settimana bianca,” a week off school in March. Perhaps it’s because she was previously an art teacher, or because of her high energy level (How many grandmothers do you know who run marathons?), but Mary got straight down to work, preparing her solar-print acetates in the Gallinero in the evenings and showing up each morning prepared to burn the images onto plates.

Perhaps her efficiency in the studio also had to do with the fact that she didn’t have a lot of experience with solar plates and was eager to learn. It’s often more difficult to work with people who already know a lot about the subject. Maybe that’s why the Chinese say, “Before you can fill a glass it must be empty.” I think she made more successful prints in one week with me than most artists make in two. Even so, Mary insists that she didn’t have enough time and that she needs to come back and do some more work as soon as possible. That’s excellent news.Maureen and Mary in the studio

While Mary and Maureen were in the studio all morning every
morning, Nancy stayed ensconced in the Gallinero with Nancy Tomasetti working in El Gallineroher feet up by the fire and her laptop on–you guessed it–her lap. The first thing they did when they arrived was to reorganize the furniture in the kitchen, relegating the little Spanish-style kitchen table with the brasero (brazier) under it to a rear corner, dragging the old coffee table out of the pantry and swiveling the sofa around so it faced the wood stove. (It worked well; we left it that way.)

Nancy is from New York but studied in Wisconsin. She still has a house on the shores of Lake Michigan, and goes back there ever summer to spend time with old friends and family.

Besides working on her latest short story, Nancy, who had never visited the Alhambra, took a morning off work to see Granada’s–and one of Europe’s–prime tourist attractions, and one of the few which actually lives up to its advanced billing.

In all, I couldn’t have hoped for a more rewarding visit from these two Milanese-American artists. I hope they do make it back sometime.

What’s a Gallinero? Why Should You Want to Stay There?

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Interior of El Gallinero, Maureen Booth's artist and writers' residence in GranadaA “Gallinero” in Spanish is a Chicken Coop

We called our new artists’ and writers’ residence “El Gallinero” because it’s located where our chicken house used to be. Sometime after the chickens had an unfortunate encounter with a weazel, we built my first painting studio there in the mid-70’s. When I got my new etching and painting studio 10 years later, the old one was relegated to storeroom status, and deteriorated over the years.

For a long time I’ve needed a place to accommodate the artists who come for my summer etching workshops and those who come to do collaborative work during the rest of the year. Then last fall we decided to get started on it. The plans were a bit vague: re-roof and restore the original studio, add a kitchen/living area in the available space behind it, and a little terrace with a view off the kitchen.

“Why Does This Casita Have to be Limited to Artists?”

Luckily our village builders are tolerant and creative, and they signed on for the project. Little by little the new artists’ residence began to take shape.  We were delighted with the results, achieved in spite of five straight weeks of record monsoon winds and rains during the building work. At one point someone said, “Why does this casita have to be limited to artists? Wouldn’t writers appreciate it’s spaciousness, tastefulness and tranquil setting, too?”  That’s how the Gallinero became an “artists’ and writers’ refuge.”

We’re Open for Business

We have now begun to accept reservations. Please take a look at the information and photographs in the pages of this site and see if you don’t think a shorter or longer stay in the Gallinero might not get your creative juices flowing. Of course, the appeal of this residence is not limited just to its own spaces and installations. It’s located in Spain, at the edge of a village nine kilometers (an easy 15-minutes) from the historical Andalusian city of Granada with both the Sierra Nevada ski resort and the Mediterranean shore within a 45-minute drive. If you haven’t been to Granada yet, it’s about time. If you’ve been here already, you know why you’ve been yearning to come back.

The Spanish say, “Todo es ponerse.” A rough English translation: “Just go for it!”

Exterior of El Gallinero, Maureen Booth's artists' and writers' residence in Granada