Creative Workshops at Villa Lena this Spring

Published: March 6, 2020

This Spring we have not one, but TWO, collaborative duos joining us as creative contributors this Spring! These artists will be living in the villa with the artists-in-residence and working in the artist studios during their stay with us in Spring. We’re very excited to welcome creative collaborations at Villa Lena so we can offer offer multifaceted creative workshops for our guests.

1st April – 1st May

Sophia Kaplan & Tara Burke 

Whether it’s picking wildflowers from the mountainside or discovering beautiful seasonal produce at market, Sophia Kaplan loves capturing little snapshots of the weird, wonderful and enduringly romantic natural world around her. Using flowers, grasses, fruit, vegetables, and custom vessels, she encourages viewers to find beauty in the details and develop a more thoughtful connection to nature. Sophia was born in Melbourne in 1987 and now lives in Sydney. She is the co-author of indoor plant books Leaf Supply and Indoor Jungle and has hosted workshops at the Sydney Opera House and Carriageworks.

Sophia will be teaching a variety of flower related workshops:
Flower Crowns
Make your own beautiful one-of-a-kind floral crown using fresh flowers and other greeneries from the surrounding nature.
Flower Pressing
Forage and preserve flora from the Villa Lena estate and take home the perfect momento of your holiday.
Flower Arranging
Forage for materials to create an arrangement that reflects your style.

Hand Building with Clay with Tara Burke
Tara Burke is a Melbourne-born ceramicist currently based in London. Working with various materials ranging from terracotta to porcelain, Tara uses hand-building techniques to create vessels with a focus on accommodating floral forms.

Learn the basic skills of hand building with clay and incorporate foraged flowers from the estate in your designs. 

Friends from their home country Australia, Tara and Sophia often collaborate on projects. Together they can help you practice your new found flower arranging knowledge in your very own ceramic vessel!


4th May – 12th June

Cecilia Charlton and Goia Mujalli 



Cecilia Charlton grew up in Corning, NY to a family of seamstresses and engineers. After working within ceramics and jewelry making, and travelling across the USA and Central America, she finally arrived at art school.  She now resides in London, where she continues her studio practice as well as curation with her curatorial collective, Pinch Project.
Goia Mujalli grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where she started studying painting at the school Parque Lage. Later she moved to London to study at the Slade School of Fine Art where she did her BFA in Painting and then her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art.

Cecilia and Goia will be teaching two different workshops during their time at Villa Lena:

Embroidery Sewing Circle
Sewing circles have historically been places where women can share skills and ideas while creating community through conversation. In this workshop, we will use the backdrop of embroidery to provide an opportunity for participants to create a space for conversation and sharing, speaking about anything from their daily lives to larger topics that are impacting contemporary society.

Musical Chairs – Collaborative Embroidery
Gather around one large piece of fabric to create a collective embroidered piece. Every 10 minutes the fabric is rotate and participants can share and respond to each others approach to embroidery.

 

For the full events schedule please see our online events calendar

The Perfect Easter Holiday | Spring Activities at Villa Lena

Published: January 24, 2020

The Easter and Half-term holidays are on the horizon! We’ve been busy here at Villa Lena preparing a jam-packed schedule of varied activities and workshops for the whole family to enjoy…

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

COOKING WORKSHOPS

Pasta & Pizza Workshops
Get creative in our kitchen! Create delicious, fresh and totally-yours homemade pasta from scratch, cooked to perfection by our chef, and share the meal together. Or join our in-house Pizzaiolo and get involved with rolling the dough and assembling your own crazy combination of toppings. Enjoy your creation together with a delicious salad and glass of wine. Great for pizza lovers!

 

Forage and cook | What’s in the garden
Pick what’s best in season in our vegetable orto, crunch on some fresh greens, cook a new recipe and share the meal together.

 

EXPLORE VILLA LENA

Nature Walk and Sunset Picnic
Join our Agricultural team on a special evening trip deep into the forests to see what wildlife live in the land surrounding Villa Lena. Hope to see some deer, wild boars and maybe even muflons during the sunset hour together with a picnic basket and a bottle of wine in a secluded setting.

 

Join a Guided Hike or Get Your Hands Dirty
Explore the area surrounding Villa Lena during a guided 1.5 hrs hike. Secret corners and breathtaking panoramas are waiting to be discovered. Wear appropriate attire and comfortable and closed shoes. Or if you’d prefer a more intimate experience with the surroundings, join everybody’s favourite gardener Donato in the Villa’s vegetable garden. Get to know the land, see how he cultivates our organic orto and help pick veggies for tonight’s meal!

 

FOR THE KIDS

Kids Club
Drop the children off at the daily kids club so you can make the most of your holiday. There will be supervised games, workshops and a movie screening in Fattoria’s cosy screening room.

 

FOR THE ADULTS…

Wine & Olive Oil Tasting Tasting
At Villa Lena we produce our own wine on site. Start your masterclass off with a tour of our vineyard and then sample both our own products, plus some from the local region, and delve into the world of organic, biodynamic and natural wines. Tuscany also produces some of the best olive oil in the world, known for its spicy and flavourful taste. Learn about the traditional and organic techniques used to harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the 2,000 olive trees on the Villa Lena estate and sample the distinctive product we create here in the olive oil tasting workshop.

 

Italian & Botanical Cocktail Workshops
Learn the secrets and techniques behind traditional Italian cocktails such as Spritz and Negroni, with our barman. Or experiment with the flavours of Tuscany, picked directly from our organic orto and inventively worked into your spirit of choice. 

CREATIVE EXPERIENCES

Floral & Clay Workshops with artists-in-residence Sophia Kaplan & Tara Burke
Sophia will be running a variety of floral workshops during her time at Villa Lena, including flower arranging, flower pressing, and fresh flower crowns using foraged flora. Then learn the basic skills of hand building with clay with Tara and incorporate foraged flowers from the estate in your designs.

 

MEET THE ARTISTS


Open Studios & Artists Aperitivo
Pop down to the artists’ studios to see what our current group of residents have been thinking about and creating, and take the chance to enjoy an aperitivo with them in the garden of the 19th century Villa.

To see the full schedule for April see our events calendar.

 

October Half-Term at Villa Lena

Published: September 10, 2019

Autumn is just around the corner and the change of the season brings much to be excited about. Whilst the sun continues to shine in Tuscany throughout the season, the fall brings fresh bounty, milder temperatures and less crowds. What more could you ask for?

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Kids Clay with Keegan Luttrell

Published: August 7, 2019

Throughout the months of July/August 2019, Villa Lena hosts clay workshops in the artist studios and ceramics studio; a fun experimental workshop for kids that focuses on the imaginative qualities of clay!

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REFLECTING ON HIS RESIDENCY | PETER MOLESWORTH

Published: October 3, 2018

Dear Julia,

At this point I am almost certain that I will not be able to give you what you want with my journal entry. The more words I assign to my experience, the less effectively I can communicate it. In fact, it is maddening; to spend so many hours reflecting, writing in search of some grand metaphor, to repeatedly think I’ve finished only then to erase the hundreds of words I have cobbled together and begin another new attempt. Each time I think I’ve finished, I’ll feel a small relief, eagerly reread the piece, realize I’ve failed, and then delete everything in a haste to begin once more and waste another thousand inadequate words.

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REFLECTING ON HER RESIDENCY | JULIE IROMUANYA

Published: August 29, 2018

Julie Iromuanya travelled from Tucson, Arizona in the USA- where she is an assistant professor at the Creative Writing MFA course at the University of Arizona, to come to stay with us at Villa Lena as an artist in residence for the month of June.

She is the author of Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (Coffee House Press), a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize for Debut Fiction.

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The Stinkhorn of Pisa by David Fenster and Laura Copelin

Published: January 25, 2018

Former residents Laura Copelin and David Fenster, from Marfa, Texas,  spent their residency studying local mushrooms species. They explored the botanical gardens of Pisa and Florence and spoke to scientists there. This fuelled some interesting collaborative work, and helped them realising The Latticed Stinkhorn of Pisa documentary.

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Reflecting on her Residency | Flora Wellesley Wesley

Published: October 26, 2017

In my first few days at Villa Lena I was surprised to find myself feeling waves of emotion  come over me, which I put down to both the beauty of the place and the exceptional circumstances in which I was there.

My responses were romantic and tragic, silly and dark. I developed a multifarious practice over the course of the month that was both playful and meditative. It involved tree climbing, mucking around in the pool, drawing without looking, taking photographs, walking, running and dancing.

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Sweet dreams are made of cheese | Butternutten AG

Published: October 3, 2017

illa Lena, Tuscany

Stimulated by a common passion for food and cooking, Butternutten’s Luki + Oli hosted a four-course cheese dinner at Villa Lena.

Every course featured ceramics made in Butternutten workshop by hotel guests, staff people and artists in residence at Villa Lena; the ceramics are inspired by human body parts.

The individual and unusual tableware invited the guests to interact as well as to enter in dialogue with each other. The “cheese dreams” dinner is a way of questioning what eating can be more than food intake and how our being can be shaped.

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On a body (6/6)

Published: April 11, 2017

garden tuscany villa lena agriturismo tuscany

Lauren Ellis Matthews – 2016 diary by an ex-resident – 6 of 6

29 Maggio

Something I’ve finally learned is, when you can choose, be sure to LIKE ALL PARTS. Everything is ultimately seen – all layers – so choose very carefully, should you disrobe from warmth or they shine through from light. And also if you like each little thing it’s endless hidden presents for yourself. A joyous reveal, claque! claque!, chaque bitty petit pois fois.

We had this mad search hunting for this lonely wolf, visiting artist tells us, through truffle and terrain.
I love visiting artist. Nikki? Are all invitées so pale? I adore such ghosts.

Giugno 4

Jump in my grave, why don’t you! says Laura when Soph confesses she tried on her shoes.
Hugo and Reza waltz up and Reza has truly the most lovely and poetic body I have ever seen.

In terms of nature and inheritance: my grandmother gave me my tempting catching contagious laugh which I call a cackle but others seem to like. My mother gave me my flailing dance moves, incoherent and levitated. People don’t seem to mind them either.

Should we do an angel wing, Cecilia asks before toothbrushing my hair blue on my last night.

Oh yes forever.
Here’s whom I’ll miss: everyone. Everything.

Is the cake dry. Laura
It looks dry. Me
Why’s the cake always gotta be dry? Laura
It’s breakfast cake. Me
Why’s breakfast cake gotta be dry? Her

Last night I dream of 2 nurses telling me the only way to cure my inky yeast infection is by invasive and painful excavation, a long strange tube traveling through my left shoulder, or was it right, no left I can see that curse – burst – nurse, snaking down to my itchy vagina to fix it. I feel dirty and ashamed and upset and confused. Shouldn’t it be easier than this? Did I do something wrong? Am I not just allowed to be with boys and wear wet swimsuits?

But then I’m in the kidnappish van with Paul who stops short to not kill a “big green snake”, to which Laura replies, oh I hate snakes I would banish them OLL from the earth if I could. I don’t want to kill them I just want to banish them.

Ciao Palaia

Cycling and wife roads
Scars on our bellies and hearts
And the clouds the clouds oh what clouds

Good night, we said in italian. Good day, thanks a million, please do, tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow.

It’s not lost on me that it’s all well and good to tout the values of love & happenstance at a Tuscan villa enclave, you know with farm-to-table slow food and yoga and organic natural wine, but it’s a very different exercise in the Pisa Galileo airport waiting for an Easyjet flight to a sunken city.

SUNSET Tuscany