‘…a wondrous village within a village where judgement is the only foreign word, and everything is connected by the same ligature of love, and urge for creation…’
Miguel Guerrero Becerra, 2019
Works as Advertised: And Goes Far Beyond
I went to Studio Faire with an untested concept for a novel and came back with twelve chapters, a laser focus on the project, and new friends who feel like old friends. The pace of life in Nérac allows for a completely personal work schedule. From the expansive and private back garden of the Studio Faire house, to the river walk, to the lovely views and old buildings, to the delightful restaurants and farmer’s market on Saturday, this experience was one of the best of my professional and personal life.
It’s hard to overstate the positive energy of the people and place. I was walking along the river path with the other artists, and we came upon a view of the bridge that was so gorgeous we all stopped in awe, and one of them said, “This is too perfect. It’s a cliché.” But there it is: a perfect bubble of time and space that belongs to you, a time to let go of everything else, a time to forget that there is any world outside this place and your own ideas.
As I told Colin and Julia, only half in jest, “If you don’t love this, maybe you’re the problem.”
‘…a perfect bubble of time and space that belongs to you, a time to let go of everything else, a time to forget that there is any world outside this place and your own ideas.’
Julie Price Carpenter, 2023
Why do we attend artist residencies? We need time to refocus, recharge, meet new people, experience new places and devote time to self. Studio Faire provides all of this and more in a serene environment of historic architecture, natural gardens, narrow streets, local food, and friendly people. My three-week stay was the perfect amount of time to explore a beautiful town in the south of France, concentrate on studio work and enjoy a simpler way of life, free from distractions. So much to see in this tiny town including river walks, markets, bakeries, churches, museum, cobblestone streets lined with thousand-year-old structures, and local food experiences. Mustard and tomato ice cream were just one example of unexpected surprises. Although I walked the town each day, I made new discoveries with each excursion that provided ongoing visual stimulation. Studio Faire is a place where meaningful friendships are made that fill the leisure hours with stimulating conversation and company. The residence living and working space is a well decorated, comfortable environment made even more inviting by the presence of two lovely cats and a dog. Colin and Julia are exceptionally welcoming and supportive hosts. They are creative individuals who are truly dedicated and committed to this initiative ensuring that your time will be productive, restorative, and memorable.
I spent a productive two weeks at Studio Faire, researching and writing my current historical novel-in-progress. Hosts Julia and Colin were warm and welcoming and made it easy to get down to work. Nérac is a lovely town with enough to keep you diverted when you need it, but with a slower pace than a large city, and the people are friendly. I’ve already booked a return visit in 2025.
The house is beautiful and spacious with a glorious big garden with plenty of out door spots to work and contemplate and if you are lucky watch the red squirrels playing in the trees.
I found my two week stay there was the perfect balance between lone time and social time, I spent some fun evenings with Colin, Julia and co residents, but there was no pressure either way. Very relaxed.
Thank you Julia and Colin for welcoming me to your home and creating such a fabulous creative space, I hope to be back.
‘…it was a haven of tranquility but not isolated.’
Katie Mawson, 2023
My month at Studio Faire was everything I’d hoped: productive but restful, solitary but social. There was time each day to work and read and think and nap and walk—and then come home to laughter in the garden. Colin and Julia are wonderful, easygoing hosts who were the perfect point of entry to a new community full of lovely folks. They took us on some fun and inspiring day trips while also leaving us to establish whatever creative routines we needed. Nérac itself is a magical place, easy to navigate and full of history and beauty (and the best baguettes ever), the perfect backdrop to creative exploration.
My Studio Faire residency was a 2-week creative feast that will continue to nourish my soul for many moons. Colin and Julia are gracious hosts and artistic dynamos, who have lovingly breathed a special kind of magic and energy into every fiber of Studio Faire making it like a petri dish for rampant creative growth.
I am so grateful for my time at Studio Faire where I was able to selfishly dedicate the days and nights to not only work within the comfort zone of my craft but to push out into the unknown and take a stab at doing something different.
I applied with a deep need to work on my own story and nurture my own artistic needs, and left with enough momentum to keep a clear focus on it. I also loved my fellow residents and the charming town of Nérac with all of its characters! I felt like I was in a wonderful dream for 2 weeks!
‘I felt like I was in a wonderful dream for 2 weeks!’
Christina Burtner, 2023
Colin and Julia were the perfect hosts for my two-week residency at Studio Faire. They started and ended the residency with a dinner attended by the current residents, and it was lovely to compare that first get-to-know-you dinner with the high frivolity of the last dinner when we shared food we’d made, played a fast-paced game of card Monopoly, drank Aperol spritzes, and played Colin’s drum box along to recordings of our favorite Indie songs.
Julia and Colin shared their home with the residents with perfect grace, told us about the best boulangerie to buy bread, and reminded us to set our alarms for the Saturday farmer’s market so we didn’t miss it. They found the nearest flea market when we asked and arranged a little outing for us to go, took us to a ceramic fair in a nearby village another afternoon, and even to Bordeaux for the day when Colin had a chore to run there.
We were free to go along or to stay and work, as we pleased. There was no pressure to produce or to talk about our various projects, and because of that, we invariably did spend time with our fellow residents hashing out sticky creative problems, discussing our goals, and sharing work. The relaxed come-and-go-as-you-like atmosphere of Studio-Faire was ideal for me. I could work in private for hours in my bedroom or the little studio under the stairs, and then take a break and recharge by exploring the town or talking a walk. One day, my fellow resident and I carried our laptop and sketch book to one of the charming locations along the local canal and worked there. It’s one of my favorite “magic” moments of my time there, as is trying tomato-and-basil ice cream at a local restaurant known for its unusual flavors.
This isn’t my first residency and what I’ve found is that residencies make-it or break-it on the people you share time with at them. I’m so glad that Colin and Julia have opened their home to other creatives, and grateful that I am one of the people who have gotten to have the Studio-Faire experience. It was a great two weeks all around – productive, fun, and interesting.
My two weeks at Studio Faire was a gift that keeps on giving, so to speak, and as many of these testimonials already mention, Julia and Colin are brilliant hosts, having formed the perfect atmosphere for creative work. It’s not just because their house is located in what might be the loveliest location on the planet–I can’t think of a more inspiring or beautiful place to create than Nérac, as there is an actual castle in the middle of this ancient little town, surrounded by more ancient little towns set around their own castles. I hardly remember what I expected of the experience beforehand because anything I anticipated got blown away by what I actually experienced.
I arrived ready to work on music and left amazed at how much I was able to accomplish in just fourteen days. A week later, after I returned to the US, even as I was jetlagged, I was ready to play a new rock musical as a house show for my friends in Atlanta. I got in tons of practice time at Studio Faire, where I spent hours each morning outside, singing and playing before the summer heat kicked in. For the first few days, I’d drag a chair to the middle of the garden, performing songs for their pets–an adorable cat and a perfect dog–who made for a very relaxing audience. Then one day, I returned to the house for lunch and found Colin putting together a magnificent wooden bench for folks to enjoy out back, which he and Julia placed in the exact spot where I’d been practicing. This is just one of the ways I felt cared for by the two of them. (When I say “cared for” I mean “spoiled by.”)
Those two are experts at making people feel welcome, probably because they are, themselves, talented artists with knowledge about a variety of creative arenas. They offered me an enormous amount of patience as I bombarded them with questions throughout my stay, and I’m still benefiting from their smart and thoughtful answers. They were also really flexible in terms of knowing when to provide their guests the space for working in solitude and when to provide camaraderie. It helps that the two of them have a wicked sense of humor and are a blast to be around. I would have moved in for good if the place hadn’t been booked for the next year and a half.
Besides the astounding landscape, I enjoyed talking to the fascinating friends they had over for weekend cookouts in the backyard (optional to participate in, of course), day trips to explore the region, a gorgeous night market with live music, and an even more gorgeous Saturday morning market with more varieties of cheese I ever thought possible. The hosts, the town, the house, the time spent were all amazing. Full stop.
‘I would have moved in for good if the place hadn’t been booked for the next year and a half.’
Nora Bonner, 2022
The Great Scots Julia and Colin give with their hearts—what pureness of vision and intention. They are the very best artistic citizens you’ll ever find. I thought of how Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet talked about children: where parents serve as the stable bow, so that the arrow of children may fly free. This is the kind of magic support they offer up to their residents. Such generosity of spirit! Studio Faire is sacred ground. So much good humor and jokes, too. We feasted much. We talked much. And the Art! Art with a capital “A”. Let’s see, how much did I get done? Years worth of work. The inspiration is there. The privacy; they let you alone or keep you company. Julia and Colin are like good shepherds, and my goodness, they make it all seem effortless. What passion. What community. And the gorgeous nights of fun. I am in my fifties, and this experience brought me back to my young art-kid days. I remember again that anything is possible. I am imbued with hope and inspiration. But, Nérac, though. Lot-et-Garonne? Spectacular. The medieval village works its spell on your soul. Vines that are hundreds of years old. The Baïse, the bridges, the cobbled streets. The cheese, the meat, the strawberries. The olives. The storied chocolate of La Cigale. Chocolatines and Jesuits. The wine! The open market. The church, the incredible restaurants. The people. How resonant and true—Nérac’s symbol is a smiling sun. You know, I saw old couples dancing at one of Colin’s music gigs, and their caprice and sweetness—their particular kind of waltzing—brought tears to my eyes. There is truly nothing like this experience. I am still there in Julia and Colin’s back gardens, in the gaze of Henri Quat’, their cat-sentinel; his intense yellow eyes retrieving messages from some other, holy dimension. Thank you again.
‘Art with a capital “A” ‘
Shanna McNair, 2022
Something unexpected and joyful that came out of my two weeks there were all the moments I spent sharing wine, meals, and laughter with the other residents and with Julia and Colin. Throughout my stay Julia and Colin never failed to be hospitable, generous, and kind. They’re special people who’ve created a very special place. I’m so grateful to them for the time and space I had at Studio Faire to work and play. It was lovely, precious, and needed. I will long hold it as a treasured memory!
When I decided to apply to go to Studio Faire I knew that working on a piece wouldn’t be much different than my days at home but in France. That said I tackled a project much larger than I might have, prepping it months before and completing it there.
For me the greatest pleasure was being able to share at the end of the day and the wonderful outings that Julia and Colin took us on. I loved being part of their dream of creating this artist residency, also a dream of mine.
The beauty of the town and countryside were an inspiration and the environment required me to slow down from my urban pace.
It will be a pleasant memory for many years to come.
I like to think that I manifested my time at Studio Faire: I imagined it and there it was! I was seeking a residency in Europe that would help me mark my transition from a long-time teaching career into my new role as a full-time artist. I envisioned a hospitable and inspiring location that would satisfy my love of travel & adventure while motivating lots of creative output. My internet search turned up Studio Faire – and as luck would have it, they had an unexpected opening for exactly the time-frame I was looking for. It felt meant to be!
From the moment I arrived, I realized that the residency was everything I had hoped for. Colin and Julia set exactly the right tone: welcoming, helpful, filled with good-humor, but also leaving plenty of time for sustained creative pursuits. Studio Faire is their charming and comfortable home, as well as providing accommodation and work spaces for up to three residents at a time. And oh! – the studio space that I got to work in! A former garage that was spacious, airy, and well-lit – it brought out a level of focus and productivity beyond anything I’d experienced before. I happily painted for hours each day, stopping just long enough to spend a few moments reading in the garden or taking a leisurely walk through the lovely town of Nérac. The instant camaraderie and support of my fellow residents was an additional perk.
The extraordinary thing that I became aware of during my stay at Studio Faire was how utterly content I was there. There was not a single moment when I wanted to be somewhere else or be doing something different. I was exactly where I wanted to be – which was true for my entire two weeks there. How often in life can anyone say that? It was a true gift, and I’m deeply grateful for the experience.
‘There was a patient and gentle support in that I felt we could say what was on our minds…all felt comfortable.’
Jess Dunn, 2022
A magical corner of the world where you’re never short of inspiration, friendly faces, or rosé, Nérac feels like home. Nostalgia for my time at Studio Faire set in as soon as I boarded the train to leave. While I left with a completed screenplay, I am most grateful for what I learned during my residency: how to slow down, enjoy life, and always make time to do the thing you love most.
A big thanks to both Colin and Julia from Studio Faire for their generosity, kindness and friendship. The art residency allowed me the freedom to breathe, relax, and take time out to focus on my music writing and cello practice. The town of Nérac was inspiring with their weekend food markets, river walks, the jazz festival, the cafes and restaurants, and the supermarket walls of wine and cheese were just mind blowing, but mostly the generosity and kindness from the local people of Nérac was an unexpected delight and they’re dearly missed. I miss the view from my music room which looked out to the garden with its emerald green shutters with sunshine streaming through massive leaves from the outer walls like a Monet painting come to life. For me, the gem that is offered by Studio Faire is a beautiful space for your own artistic time in a calm and friendly environment with great people in a lovely town. The friendships I’ve made at Studio Faire are forever etched into the fabric of my soul and I believe the music I created there was a distinct reflection from these experiences. Thank you.
‘…I rested. I renewed. I reflected.’
Grace Marquez, 2022
I underestimated how much I needed the focused time at Studio Faire. Once there, I rested. I renewed. I reflected. The house just lends itself to this. Most importantly for me; the hope for journeying there, the creative blocks I had been struggling with up to that point, fell away daily in my beautiful garage studio and I created – a lot – one painting after another. The need to express and create felt like a bottle of champagne had just been uncorked and brought it all forth. I was also blessed with a wonderful and unexpected collaboration with a fellow musical artist-in-resident. My creative ideas flowed freely as I explored new ways of working with her and in my own art practice. But the creative output was only one part of this precious time at Studio Faire. I immersed into the town of Nérac with its history, its people, its food and its wonderful culture. Any time spent outside the studio and not on my own was enriched by spending time with the other residents, with Julia, Colin and Dougie and with new friends. Julia and Colin were gracious hosts who shared their home AND their friendship! Thank you for this time to be fully 100% present, to grow as an artist and as a person and for a wonderful experience that has sparked so much energy and wonder in me again.
My residency at Studio Faire was prolific! Time spent in the studio making, and in conversation with the other residents was equally inspiring. Because of how the schedule lined up, I got to meet 4 residents during my month long stay! I am reclusive by nature, but loved socializing and walking around Nérac with the other artists.
I like to curate my studio space to make it my own, it is an important part of my artistic process, and the bureau proved a versatile studio! Within a few days of my arrival the bulletin boards in the bureau were covered in drawings, fabric experiments and locally gathered inspiration. When the boards were full Julia even brought me another so I could expand my visual web. The bureau may seem like a modest space, but I found it wonderfully cozy and functional with its large window looking out on the garden. I had one table set up for drawing, and another for sewing with a Singer machine. In a relatively short time I made several finished works, and numerous experiments that I am still pondering. I also walked away with excellent documentation of the work I made during my stay thanks to Colin! I’ve just begun my MFA at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam and I am so thankful for the time I had at Studio Faire to prepare me for this next step.
Coming to the Studio Faire is quite a journey, a decision taken to advance a piece of work, to find yourself face to face, to devote time to yourself. At the beginning, as with any new experience, it’s a bit worrying: will I succeed? Will anything come of this time taken for myself, for my writing? And then the magic happens. You just have to let go, to find your own rhythm, to let yourself be taken in by the atmosphere of the place, by the kindness of the hosts, Julia and Colin, who know exactly how to keep the right distance and offer a peaceful, simple and secure place, and the habits you’ll acquired here you’ll want to keep forever, to have this chance to have an office that is open onto the garden. I had two extraordinary encounters, with Jessica Cuello, a delicate and sensitive poet, and Claire Murray, a passionate and profound painter. Our discussions in the evenings over drinks and dinners have given me a great deal of insight and have also nourished my work and my thinking. My heart is heavy today as I leave this inspiring view, these lovely people, this sweet dog, this independent cat, and this magnificent house. Special mention for the market and its delicious tomatoes, its juicy peaches, the little restaurants that make Nérac such a special and precious place. For me it was doubly beneficial because as a French person I was also able to practice and improve my English! Thank you Studio Faire for your warm welcome and a perfect stay.
Merci pour tout !
My time at Studio Faire was fleeting but deeply experienced, intense and prolific. Julia and Colin have crafted the perfect retreat for artists of all kinds, to immerse oneself in ones practice, to find space to probe, explore and discover new ideas. The studio space was cool and spacious, and big enough for a wide range of activities at once (wet/dry/clean/dirty), and I successfully broadcast a live session with a group of my students in the UK towards the end of the residency, discussing the evolution of new ideas and sharing good practice and my new colour palette (inspired by the long, hot summer, and the weakening late season light).
The house is beautiful, the environment perfect – quiet, calm and comfortable – and I felt immediately at home and at ease. Warm evenings spent outside in the garden, sharing stimulating conversation, food and wine with fellow resident, screenwriter Charlotte Paillieux, added an extra special dimension to my stay. Colin and Julia were so kind, warm and helpful, and the very lovely Dougie (dog) and Noushka (cat) made up for missing my own pets, an added bonus! Nérac itself is a very short stroll into the charming centre with its little shops, restaurants and cafes. In my short week-long stay, my work ethic was intense, but balanced wonderfully with a visit to an excellent contemporary photography exhibition in nearby Lectoure, a relaxed and tasty barbecue, a delicious meal out in Nérac, and a truly great evening spent at the final summer food market by the river. I’ll treasure this week for a long time, and I’m excited about the work it has begun to inspire. Warmest wishes, and many thanks!
Miles of sunflowers standing tall greeted me as I made my journey to Studio Faire. This would be my home and creative oasis for the month. Surrounded by diverse creative individuals was the constant ember that kept my creativity burning. I fell in love with Nérac and the people who live there. I collected both stories, history, and forgotten treasures of a time gone by. This all informed my artistry. On one occasion we had an intimate evening viewing fiber arts, mixed media and listened to three acts of a screenplay that was written while in residency. A few weeks later, Studio Faire was open for a garden party in which close friends gathered to enjoy each other, my open studio, art and a reading by the resident writer. Studio Faire is alive with creativity and inspiration. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to grow as an artist, explore and connect.
As Studio Faire was my first experience with an artists’ retreat I really didn’t know what to expect, but I can’t imagine a more fruitful environment for creativity. It all comes down to Colin and Julia, who exude good will, charm and humor. They set the tone for your experience in the house, and Nerac itself exerts its own ineffable charm the minute you step out the door. You will be dazzled by the loveliness, by the warmth of the people, by the mystical allure of the river, and in my case by the chateau of Henry IV hovering over the town, begging you to tell a story about it.
Studio Faire? Well, let’s see: Your kind hosts, your spacious room with fine view over yard and gated garden beyond, all the privacy you desire. What more could a writer wish for? How about lively, wide-ranging, always good-humored conversation each night on the terrace accompanied by a bottle (or two) of the Buzet red? A toss of ball and a discreet biscuit to Dougie? And should you choose to venture beyond your secret sanctuary—with your own key to the door—the best pâtisserie in Nerac only 100 paces away (fresh pastries and warm baguettes every morning for the price of coin in your pocket), the endless discoveries of the old town, the bustling and delicious Saturday farmers market, the always-refreshing strolls along the leafy banks of the Baïse, and, just a bit farther afield, the quiet roads and lush fields of the Lot-et-Garonne countryside. Enjoy. When you’re back home, all too soon, it will feel like a dream. Julia and Colin are creating something special here, doing so the right way and generously, in the ideal location.
Studio Faire was one of the best all-around experiences I’ve ever had at a residency. Not only did I get a lot of writing and reading done, but I was able to practice my French with the locals and take a run every day along the River Baïse. Don’t forget the two dots over the i. We had the opportunity to visit one of the local vineyards, a highlight. I bought a fantastic bottle of wine there and wished I bought more. I wished I had more time to spend at the residency. Julia and Colin are wonderful, encouraging, and fun to be around. I found the two weeks went by all too quickly. I did not want to leave. I’m hoping to return again to Nérac and Studio Faire someday soon.
Julia and Colin are consummate hosts, answering questions readily, offering local insights, and planning exactly the right number of events to create harmony among the residents. The facilities at Studio Faire are simple, sturdy, and comfortable. Nérac provides a picturesque and engaging backdrop. Everything about the residency is conducive to productivity or regeneration—or both. If I were fortunate enough to be selected again, I would return without hesitation.
The best word I could come up with to describe my time at Studio Faire is simply… MAGICAL. It’s difficult to articulate precisely the atmosphere there (and in the town of Nérac itself), but that comes close. It’s supportive and encouraging and completely pressure free, allowing you to slow down, focus, and explore, regardless of where you’re at in your project. And trust me, you’re gonna want to explore.
Colin and Julia will be there with you all along the way. That is, if you want them to… They are such the ideal hosts – there to help and support you in any way you might possibly need. It could be a conversation and a drink out on the patio or simply space to be completely left alone to your own devices. It’s all there for you to do as you see fit. What more could you possibly need? So pet the cat, play with the dog, have coffee in the garden, walk around the park, go to the restaurant on the river, get the fish burger.
Don’t hesitate to apply. Whether it’s two weeks or four, you’re gonna want to stay longer!
‘It’s supportive and encouraging and completely pressure free, allowing you to slow down, focus, and explore, regardless of where you’re at in your project.’
Alexander Roberts, 2022
Studio Faire has my heart. An artist residency in a beautiful town in the South of France is truly a dream. With Colin and Julia as generous, joyful, supportive hosts, it seemed too good to be true. I’m so thankful they are providing this opportunity for artists. They are the ideal people to do so, as artists themselves with a keen eye for what it takes to create a successful artist residency both operationally and in spirit. They have created something special in Studio Faire. My experience there was a nurturing, utterly unique, and entirely unforgettable one.
The community of Nérac lifted me up during my stay. There, I was able to explore, immerse in my work, and collude with like-minded artists. The landscape provided a distinctly new vocabulary for me with which to write, and my stay at the exquisite Usher Hall gave me dedicated time to devote to it. Everything at Studio Faire supports your creativity, from the property’s lovely, expansive grounds and charming décor to the welcoming community with its openhearted residents. The street cafés, the grand Saturday outdoor market close by, and the rich French history of the castle in the town center could not provide a better backdrop for whatever stage of your work you find yourself in. I am grateful to have had a wonderful, productive month there. I already miss the conviviality, the friends I met, the vibrant surroundings, and the warm embrace of the Studio and its hosts. The experience will resound in my life and work for years to come, I am certain of it. I can’t wait to return.
The space itself will cradle and spark your creativity regardless if you have a solid plan for your stay or just hope that inspiration will come. Studio Faire is a multi-disciplinary AIR, and it accommodates all types of artist/musicians/writers which is a big plus since you will meet people that are likely not related to the medium that you are working with. I’m a ceramic artist and I usually go to a clay-based residency but this time I decided to step away from my comfort zone and spend four weeks making drawings and sketches for my future sculptural work.
Usually, the main purpose of any artist residency is to experiment, become inspired by the new surroundings and push the boundaries of your artistic practice – Studio Faire provides it all. There is no pressure, no stress, only a kind support and encouragement.
Colin and Julia are very creative and generous people, and they do everything to make you feel welcome not only on the “domestic level”, but also, they take time out of their own busy working schedule to show you the town and the countryside. I really enjoyed our driving excursions, visits to the weekly outdoor market, dining out at the local bars and restaurants, and lovely conversations in the garden.
If you’ve never been in any AIR, Studio Faire is a wonderful place to start; if you went to many residencies, this one will be special and memorable. The space is big and spacious with a lovely outdoor area that gives you an option: if you want to be isolated you will get it, if you want to be social, you will get it. Do not hesitate to apply for the residency, I can’t recommend it more highly.
Studio Faire, tu étais un rêve. Thank you for revitalizing and nourishing my very hungry creative spirit and giving me the space and inspiration to finish a strange and magical draft of my first feature. Once again I am reminded of the necessity of artistic support and dedicated time to produce and create in a healthy, flourishing way, beyond the distractions and expenses of city life. I cannot imagine a more ideal respite from the daily grind than at the immeasurably beautiful estate of Studio Faire, nestled within the dreamy, delicious town of Nérac, home to the people’s king, Henry IV, and the canine king, Dougie Douglas Usher I. Thank you especially to Julia and Colin for being the most gracious, fun loving hosts and for making my experience trés magnifique.
I’ve attended other residencies prior to Studio Faire and must say, it is by far the best residency I’ve completed. As a visual artist working in both drawing, performance and multimedia, the garage studio was perfect to work within throughout the day or evening. The studio itself was conducive to my work and to the patterns and habits that evolve from it. Within a mere two weeks, I had produced more than any previous residency I’d attended as the ability to allow new work to evolve, unfolded with wonder.
The accommodations are beautiful, and the hosts, Julia and Colin are incredibly helpful and insightful. Their care and concern spent matching artists from different genres is evident as the sense of comradery and thoughtful critique is shared amongst the attending residents. Studio Faire is a magical space where one might lose themselves in their art making practice, from the surroundings of the property to explorations of the beautiful town of Nérac, in which it resides. I am left abundant in gratitude for the time I’ve spent at Studio Faire and hope to return at a later date.
‘I’ve attended other residencies prior to Studio Faire and must say, it is by far the best residency I’ve completed.’
Collette Broeders, 2021
I had never participated in a creative residency before and was not quite sure what to expect when I arrived at Studio Faire. Going into it, all I knew was that the location looked stunning, Julia and Colin were committed to fostering and facilitating creative pursuits, and the residency appealed to me for its independent, “choose your own adventure” philosophy. Honestly, the experience exceeded all expectations. In the weeks leading up to my arrival, Julia and I were in near-constant contact about the changing COVID-19 landscape and the travel restrictions and I appreciated the evident care and thoughtfulness she and Colin had about my experience and the logistics of coming abroad during this unstable time.
Once I arrived in Nérac, Colin and Julia welcomed me with such kind, open arms that I immediately felt at home and happy that I had followed through with my residency plans despite the travel challenges. While Studio Faire itself is a huge draw—its gracious spaces, gorgeous garden, and serene ambience all make for a very invigorating and inspiring setting to pursue creative work—Colin and Julia really are what makes this endeavor so special. During the week I was there, I happened to be the only resident (the other two had had to postpone due to the COVID travel issues) and after spending a productive day of writing in the writer’s nook, I’d often join them for a glass of rosé in the garden where we’d chat about my work, their own creative projects, life in Nérac and so much more. I managed to work on two different writing projects and make significant headway on both and my productivity (especially during a relatively short stay) was really due to the environment Colin and Julia provide.
The residency, like Nérac itself, really manages to hit that sweet spot of just enough stimulation and interaction to inspire you and provide distractions when you need a break from work but not so much action or distraction that it feels impossible to get anything done. In other words, I was able to get in that flow state during most of the day, knowing I’d be left uninterrupted while working but, at the same time, that if I needed a break and saw Colin, Julia or their adorable dog Dougie in the kitchen or garden, we could stop and have a little chat or catch up after the day was done. When I was ready to stop one project and begin another, I took a day trip to Bordeaux and Arcachon, both lovely experiences and accessible via train from Nérac, and Colin very graciously gave me a ride home from the train station in Agen (despite my train having a bad delay). Those were the kind of above-and-beyond gestures that he and Julia exhibited throughout my stay, making me feel welcome, taken care of, and in a warm, inviting space to tune out from my day-to-day stresses and get into the creative headspace. As I write this from my home in New York City, I only wish I could be back in Nérac at Studio Faire!
‘…the residency appealed to me for its independent, “choose your own adventure” philosophy.’
Abby Schreiber, 2021
What can I say….I love these guys! My time at Studio Faire was all too quick. Set in the lovely historic town of Nérac my residency was more than I’d hoped it would be.
Colin met me off the train, giving me a quick tour round the wee windy lanes by the river before heading ‘home’ to the lovely big house that is Studio Faire where Julia, accompanied by Becca and Dougie (the dogs of Usher) welcomed us at the door. It’s a very comfortable living space, very relaxed, really happy and so peaceful.
The days are spent however you wish to spend them, whether it is to work or to contemplate on your practice/your life. Julia and Colin have firmly established themselves in the local community and can be trusted to be of whatever assistance needed but also have the respect to let you get on with the thing you need to do, your raison d’etre. Either way, you never feel lonely.
I met writer-in-residence Krystal Sutherland and multimedia-artist-residence Kate Corroon Skakel. Our evenings were spent with everyone catching up and exchanging ideas round the dining table. A real joy.
It was a privilege to be there and it’ll be a privilege to go back.
Studio Faire was my first artistic residency, and it was phenomenal. Julia and Colin have created something very special here – this multi-disciplinary creative oasis right on the doorstep of a medieval French town. Artists live together in a 19th-century manor house that is being slowly restored – the ballroom now a writer’s study, the stone barn now a contemporary art space. As artists themselves, Colin and Julia provide a terrific environment to sink into a project and escape from routine. They are welcoming, warm and generous. I made huge progress on my writing here, helped along by the local wine and cheese from the farmer’s market. Studio Faire is the real deal and I can’t recommend it more highly.
It has been beyond beautiful to work at Studio Faire this month. It’s exceeded all of my wildest dreams. Like, truly. Any artist knows the best work comes from a centered soul – and that’s how I feel in more ways than one. No better way to cap off the residency than a photo shoot with Colin Usher. I am eternally, celestially, sincerely grateful.
Put simply, I had a GREAT time at Studio Faire. It was creative, fun, inspirational and restorative. All that I was hoping for. I wasn’t there for long, only 1 week, but what a week it was. Julia and Colin are fantastic hosts – friendly and supportive. The other artists I was there with were likewise. We had time to ourselves to think and work, and joyous times together around the table at the end of the day, sharing a bottle of wine and getting to know each other and our projects. There was no pressure to have to do anything or participate, it was just the wonderful creative vibe of the residency that generated the work and the community. I loved having the opportunity to get to know everyone. The photoshoot and the support in documenting my installation by Colin was a real bonus. I recommend Studio Faire to anyone looking for such a time of reflective and productive respite whether it is for a week or longer.
Taking two weeks at Studio Faire in Nérac was exactly the right thing for me and my writing project. I had just come out of a difficult project with harsh deadlines and little creative leeway, and Julia & Colin allowed me the opportunity to work in a calm and beautiful environment where I could explore and create on my own schedule. And when I needed a break, the beauty and excitement of a lovely and welcoming town in a foreign country allowed me to recharge in a whole new way. I met a wonderful new group of friends, shared many laughs and left with a completed draft and a renewed sense of vigour. The whole time I was there I kept repeating “when I come back…” and I intend to do just that.
Studio Faire fulfilled all of my expectations and more. My stay was an unforgettable experience, one that will be held close to my heart.
Julia and Colin provided a peaceful space for me to think and create. You can’t help but feel inspired by picturesque Nérac and their grand home, full of history and quirk. It’s exactly as the pictures suggest – idyllic, comfortable and stunning. Snippets of Studio Faire will seep into my work for a long time to come.
I was able to achieve all of my goals. For someone who works with clay, the residency was the perfect opportunity for project development, research, writing and website updating. I even took personally tailored photography lessons with Colin.
To top it all off, I met and worked amongst a talented, friendly line-up of artists. If Studio Faire is this great already, with Julia and Colin’s passion, dedication and continued renovations, it’s set to be one of the greats. Apply now before there’s a waiting list a mile long!
‘If Studio Faire is this great already, with Julia and Colin’s passion, dedication and continued renovations, it’s set to be one of the greats. Apply now before there’s a waiting list a mile long!’
Peta Berghofer, 2019
Carlton Cuse writes: The creative process is not like a situation where you get struck by a single lightning bolt. You have ongoing discoveries, and there’s ongoing creative revelations. Yes, it’s really helpful to be marching toward a specific destination, but, along the way, you must allow yourself room for your ideas to blossom, take root, and grow.
Studio Faire was my garden for the early summer. The house is a sanctuary of peace and calm. The experience of having the quiet lovely town of Nerác unfold and the daily walks along the moss green river became the norm. The process of unwinding…literally unfurling the layers of daily life in the unfamiliar allows for ideas to enter. There is nothing else quite like it.
Colin and Julia are generous, humorous and kind. They did whatever they could to aid to the blossoming, rooting and growing. It goes far beyond providing a room to sleep and work in. The exchanging of ideas and personal histories, storytelling and music…we had it all. And I loved learning about the disparate lives of the other residents as they too made their own discoveries. One could be private in the studio working in one’s personal rhythm, yet there was also opportunity to chat and come to understand what it was to live and work in this very sweet part of the world.
It is opportunities like these, and the people who provide them, that we should be grateful for in the quest for creative revelations. And I very much am.
‘It goes far beyond providing a room to sleep and work in. The exchanging of ideas and personal histories, storytelling and music…we had it all.’
Deborah Whitney, 2019
‘…already planning my return with my collaborators!’
Robin Gee, 2018
Thanks to Studio Faire, it was more than a visit. For three weeks I lived in beautiful Nérac, France, fully immersed in an alternate universe where I forged relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Leaving reduced me to tears. I never expected that.
Thank you Julia and Colin for providing me with the space to create without the distractions and responsibilities of my day-to-day life in the States. I accomplished more in three weeks than I dreamed possible. Illustrations magically poured onto paper. As a result, publishing my book finally feels like a reality instead of a pipe dream.
Yes, I worked hard, but Julia and Colin assisted me in creating the perfect balance of work and play. I will never forget: boating down La Baïse, the photo exhibit at Lectoure, the cats of La Romieu, fields of sunflowers, a French beer festival where a four course meal cost just 17 euros, and Tuesday night market in Nérac – an intimate party for 2,000 of your friends and neighbors. Most of all I will never forget the people.
My three weeks at Studio Faire was perfect. I have only one regret – I had to leave.
Julia and Colin were very hospitable and fun to be around. Their home and their town are breathtaking and gave me everything I needed for inspiration, a quiet work space and social interaction. Colin was able to share his photography knowledge with me, catering to where I needed to grow. I would not hesitate to recommend staying at Studio Faire for an artist’s residency.
From start to finish, Studio Faire was welcoming, relaxing, inspiring and productive! Although short (one week), I still had time to discover the town, paint in the studio and meet some wonderful people. I absolutely loved my time in Nérac. Thanks to Colin & Julia.
Thanks for having us and for all your help and support! It’s been such fun and great to kick start the project too. The web pics and support with the website was invaluable! It’s been so great to get to know you both – you’re both absolute legends… Going to miss you all and the lovely dogs too! Thanks again.
The three weeks I was fortunate to spend at Studio Faire were more than I had hoped for. The profound pleasure of waking up each morning in a beautiful historic house in a beautiful historic town in southwestern France, knowing my studio was steps away and that I could spend as much time there as I chose was a dream come true. Nérac is a magical place, and staying so close to town offered lots of opportunity to explore, take photos and hunt for collage materials to inspire my work. Side trips with Julia, Colin and the other resident artists broadened my appreciation of the region and provided the perfect balance between work and play. I came home energized, inspired and ready to do it all again.
‘I came home energized, inspired and ready to do it all again.’
Julie Bell, 2023
My previous Studio Faire testimonial proved prophetic when late-developing travel plans—and Julia’s efforts to find a time that worked with my itinerary—allowed me to return to the lovely French farmhouse in the town that was once Henri IV’s country home. My second residency surpassed the first one, which is both surprising, as good as the first one was, and not surprising at all. Before I arrived in August, I had been stuck in a long writing slump. The tranquil atmosphere of the house itself, Nérac’s historic charm, the comradery of fellow artists, and the welcoming, supportive demeanor of Julia and Colin all combined to free up my writer’s block immediately. I worked steadily and productively for the full two weeks, and I am happy to report that the momentum from my time at Studio Faire has carried over into the months that followed and it still with me.
As a two-time resident, I have a deep appreciation for just how special a place Julia and Colin have created at Studio Faire. Twice now, I have experienced their unique ability to mix three artists under one roof and achieve a delicate balance between giving three strangers the space to work, while also encouraging a sense of community and shared interests through time spent together at occasional meals and local events. I’ve written this before, and I’ll write it again here: Julia and Colin are consummate hosts because when they ask, “Are you good?” they are inquiring about everything from the work to navigating local customs to well-being and it’s clear they genuinely care about the answer.
My residency at Studio Faire was all I hoped for and more; on day one I was surprised how easy it was to dive into my work, on day three I noticed I was singing in the kitchen, for me the ultimate sign I felt competely at home! Need I say more? What is it about the house that radiates creative energy? Julia and Colin who’ve found a perfect balance between being welcoming hosts and giving all the space and time you need for your work? Dougie the dog’s sweet presence? The easy going and fun contact with my fellow residents, or Nérac’s medieval architecture and amazing king’s hunting grounds-park? The enormous garden? Of course all of this together contributed to the two wonderful and fruitful weeks I had at Studio Faire!
‘…I was singing in the kitchen, for me the ultimate sign I felt competely at home! ‘
Noor van der Brugge, 2023
There was indeed something very special about my two weeks in Nérac. I arrived knowing I wanted to go on a different journey and a journey away from my usual large scale oil paintings. This took the form of 4 small hand made concertina ‘sketch’ books which I absolutely loved doing and have used as the basis for two workshops I’ve run since.
More than the magic that is Nérac (which is pretty magical) there was also my wonderful fellow residents, US writers Rachel Jamison Webster and Bailey Martin. They revived and inspired a rather deflated post Covid artist.
As artists, while we crave the solitude to be creative, doing ‘art’ can sometimes be a lonely trip. So I valued their company enormously.
Wine, fine food and a jazz festival also helped.
So, I can’t thank Julia and Colin enough. Thank you for being the perfect hosts and for giving me such a beautiful setting in which to work. Finally, thank you for the gift, of managing so well to put us likeminded fellow travellers together.
We all started as strangers and ended as friends.
My time at Studio Faire was a gift, in every sense of the word. Not only did I leave with renewed inspiration and a photography series — I came away with dear new friends and memories that I will keep close to my heart forever.
This was my first experience with any sort of artist residency and it blew me away. Julia and Colin have created the perfect environment that strikes the balance between a friendly, communal space and an enriching solo retreat. Their warmth creates a home-away-from-home and they are truly such helpful, wonderful hosts (who will introduce you to the best rosé!). They also were generous with feedback and ideas when I asked, in a way that made me feel like they were invested in my project. I felt very valued and cared for. I loved getting to know their beautiful community (especially the animals) — and I hope to return someday, if only to spend another evening chatting away on the porch.
The gorgeous space holds an inspiring sense of lived-in history. I loved learning about the property, settling into my gorgeous room, and going on explorative walks in Nérac. It feels straight out of a fairytale, caught between the past and present – the perfect spot to find artistic inspiration, and so many beautiful places to photograph. I felt a sense of independence and could spend each day as I pleased, which was a lovely change of pace. Julia and Colin really empower you to explore and discover Nérac for yourself.
I will always be grateful for this experience and will continue to rave about it to everyone who will listen. There is life-changing magic at Studio Faire!
‘There is life-changing magic at Studio Faire!’
Hanna Terwin, 2023
Before Studio Faire, I thought two weeks to focus solely on my creative pursuits was a luxury. After Studio Faire, I realized it was a necessity. My time in Nérac felt like a walk through a cleansing fire. I dropped the baggage, the distractions, and the heaviness of life and returned to my center. Forever grateful to Colin and Julia for building the perfect container to re-connect with my creative core.
As someone whose day job is focused on reality that is virtual and intelligence that is artificial, I am deeply thankful for my one brief shining week at Studio Faire where I had the opportunity to re-immerse in the world of real, tactile, organic, and tangible creation.
Studio Faire has allowed me to sit, to think, and has given me the much-needed momentum to drive my short story forward. But it has also given me friendship and community in what would have been a beautiful but unfamiliar location. Where I would have been a tourist, I was a traveler. Where I would have been a technologist, I was a writer. Where I would have been an Other, I belonged.
The experience of spending time in magnificent Nérac with Julia, Colin, and the other resident artists (as well Dougie, Henri, Noushka), and hearing their stories of rebirth and renewal have inspired me to look inwards towards my own transformation, about what is possible if one lets the stars align.
The two weeks I spent at Studio Faire was one of those moments that I will never forget. A time of extreme work, of setting new goals and completing what was unfinished. Even today I remember with extreme gratitude, the inspiring landscape of the backyard, the sweetness of the pets, the silence and stillness so necessary for artistic creation.
Colin and Julia are lovely, extremely professional and helpful. Long live the residences of Studio Faire.
Where to begin with Studio Faire? Perhaps it begins with the generous offer of Colin to pick us up from the station? A ride which led to a tour of the (beautiful) Nérac township and shopping trip. Neither of which was especially drawn out but just enough for us to get our bearings and essential supplies. It was also the style of gesture which typifies Julia and Colin’s generous hosting.
Or does it begin with the house itself? Slowly and creatively being restored it is a house that mixes rustic charm with comfort and beauty. Its generous grounds, its positioning at the edge of town and that it is large enough to feel spacious yet never overwhelming- all make it an ideal location.
I suspect it begins (and ends) with the work. The work which did, after all, bring myself and the other residents to this beautiful part of the world. Ultimately, Studio Faire is a space which not only allowed but encouraged dedicated creativity each and everyday. Instigated by Julia and Colin but picked up by other residents was an atmosphere of interest and support without ever feeling overly invasive. It encouraged dedicated time to creativity and the freedom to see where that led.
I hope I get to see all of you again. And I can’t wait to see where the projects born there travel to.
‘Studio Faire is a space which not only allowed but encouraged dedicated creativity each and everyday.’
Anna Tregloan, 2022
I went to Studio Faire to allow myself time to write, reflect on my novel-in-progress and to map out the world I am building over the entire book series. I came away with my soul refreshed and my spirits high – and a wonderful new portrait shoot that Colin so generously offered. I can’t thank Julia and Colin enough for allowing me to share this time with them. And I must also thank their friends who welcomed me with open hearts while I was there.
I am still feeling the reverberations of my three weeks at Studio Faire, and find myself coming away with inspiration in ways that I could not have predicted. At the core of this are two thoughtful and ambitious humans, Julia and Colin, and the brave leap they took in envisioning and realizing this space. I am grateful for their professionalism as much as I am for their warmth and frank humour that we shared over glasses of rosé. The fact that Julia is a professional artist who has done numerous residencies herself roots Studio Faire in a depth of understanding and intuition that can’t be understated. On a practical level, I experienced this in the clarity of communication and administration, and in the care taken to maintain the cleanliness of the house. On a social level, I experienced this in the generosity and joy with which Colin and Julia shared their time, their natural inclination to make introductions, and the way the house has been set up to organically foster dialogue and relationships between artists.
And most importantly, I felt this on an artistic level. When I found Studio Faire, there was a line on the website that really struck me: that this is a place that enables artists to “nurture the growth of seedling ideas by giving space to unselfconsciously experiment and play without expectation or obligation.” THIS sounded like what I needed. And indeed, I was able to come here with a seedling of an idea – and there was zero pressure to squash this seedling into a predetermined deliverable. There was total openness to experiment, and whatever happens happens. This enabled me to reflect, observe, and create work in relation to the site in a way that would not have been possible without open time to attune to it. As if all this wasn’t enough, Colin is a remarkably talented photographer, and in a matter of twenty minutes managed to capture my essence in a photograph – what a generous gift.
‘There was total openness to experiment, and whatever happens happens.’
Ellen Bleiwas, 2022
My residency provided me with much-needed time to reflect and immerse myself in creating a new body of drawings inspired by the beautiful mediaeval town of Nérac, to meet creative like-minded people and this experience has left me with more confidence and a renewed love for my drawing again. Julia and Colin were wonderful, supportive hosts and I can’t recommend Studio Faire enough. I was also lucky to get VACMA funding from Creative Scotland to undertake my two weeklong residency.
We arrive tired and broken
in search of something we can’t seem to find in our own lives
Our stories fall away
as the house begins to hold us
gives us permission to rest
to inhabit each moment we are in
The soulful eyes of Dougie signaling we are seen
And they are there in the wings
guardians of our solitude
on the periphery
but generous in spirit
Watching them on your first night retell their love story
and while he described the moment he fell for her dancing in the rain in her wellies
I couldn’t take my eyes off her face
she softened and came alive and was enveloped for a moment by his stunning love for her
Each day unfurls into the next
and the first tentative trip outside the walls
reveals a town with many stories
many lives lived
and some never fully realized
Time gives way to an opening
a conduit to ourselves
a space to meet ourselves again
to greet our creativity like a powerful stranger
And our art calls to us in the early mornings in the garden
and late at night in the studio filled with treasures from another time
This gift that they have given us
some would call it home
Here in this place
they have offered it
My time at Studio Faire was very special, both professionally and personally. I felt respected as an artist; my time was my own. At the same time, I never felt lonely, but always welcome. Julia and Colin have an incredible warmth and an intuitive sense for the needs of others. The house is gorgeous with a joyful energy. Nérac itself was heavenly. I slept deeply, ate well, and had a productive two weeks that now feels like a dream.
My two-week residency at Studio Faire was the perfect balance of inspiration and productivity – that rare, elusive combo that doesn’t come along very often. Julia and Colin have created a beautiful place to gather, to exchange thoughts and ideas, to share a meal, or to exist completely in your own space. It is a truly magical environment, where like-minded, creative individuals come together to explore their artistic process. Studio Faire provided an ideal space for me to write, to contemplate my story, and to simply hang out in that magical, creative zone where time is suspended. I am grateful to have spent two prolific weeks at Studio Faire, nestled in a quaint village, surrounded by nature, birds, good food, lovely wine, beautiful light, and talented artists.
‘…that magical, creative zone where time is suspended.’
Shanti Nelson, 2022
Studio Faire is a residency built around the artist’s need for creative professional growth, providing a platform for experimentation. I am incredibly grateful to Studio Faire for allowing me the space to dream and draw without the pressure to adhere to a “finished product” deadline. The luxury of time and flexibility allowed me to set more authentic goals resulting in artistic balance, the restoration of older ideas and the cultivation for new concepts. If you are looking for a place to transform as a creative then this is an incredibly warm hearted and open minded residency, a conduit for the artist and their voice.
My experience as an artist in residence with Studio Faire was very inspiring. I loved that the residence was right on the edge of town, with walking distance to all the local shops and restaurants; this made the stay manageable in taking care of basic needs. Julia and Colin were very friendly and welcoming. Evenings were spent bicycling the gorgeous countryside, and the bike hire made drop off and pick up easy. I loved my studio in the “garage” with the large glass doors to bring in natural light all day long. Although it mentions people coming and going through the space, I did not find it a distraction and everyone was respectful of my work and time. The house, with its large bedrooms, was beautiful as well as the very lovely outdoor courtyard where we spent some evenings sharing appetizers and conversation. Highly recommend!
I cannot say enough about my experience at Studio Faire. My week-long residency flew by, as the environment Colin and Julia created allowed for the most productive, fulfilling and focused screenwriting work I’ve done in quite some time. Leaving my little “writing cave” in New York City for the peacefulness of Nérac was inspiring, as my mental and physical space at Studio Faire freed my mind and I successfully pushed through major writing blocks I’ve been struggling with. In addition, Colin and Julia are lovely, and I enjoyed our dinners, conversations, and fun out and about in southwestern France. (And their dogs Becca and Dougie are the sweetest). I already miss my routine of going down to my studio and opening up the garden doors to fill my writing space with beautiful light, and the long runs I’d go on exploring the countryside in the early evening. I can’t wait to return to Studio Faire in the future. To all of my artist friends in the States, make the hop across the pond over to Nérac. And do the full month if you can. Studio Faire quickly felt like home away from home.
From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with you all (read: Dougie and Nuschka) at Studio Faire. I am well aware of the luxury and privilege to attend a self-funded residency. However, what I received in exchange for a few hundred euros was truly priceless. Not only did I get a ton of work done on a project that has taken me years to truly start in earnest, I also made lifelong friends, and fell in love all over again with small town France.
The wee Scots are the kindest and goofiest hosts a gal could hope for. We had bonfires, took strolls together in parks, went on day trips to tiny ancient towns, cooked meals together, went out to JAZZ BRUNCH, were introduced to so many lovely people and fellow artists, and even witnessed a choreographed performance piece (that I definitely didn’t secretly film) presented intimately in the dining room featuring Julia and Collin with a guest appearance by Dougie.
The house is amazing. The garden inspiring. The town a storybook.
I will always treasure the time I spent at Studio Faire and am currently calendaring when I can return.
If you are considering a quiet retreat to focus on a creative project and would like to live in a gorgeous home in a perfect quaint village where you can create in style and comfort, look no further. This residency is ideal and you deserve it.
‘The house is amazing. The garden inspiring. The town a storybook.’
Lucille Dawson, 2021
Two weeks at Studio Faire will remain a highlight of my writing career. There is something to be said for an environment, supportive/uplifting hosts and their aesthetic to inspire good work. Julia and Colin are very generous and I looked forward to seeing their sweet faces every day. While I was extremely focused, I had plenty of time to take a jog on the river, walk into town to grab a coffee and baguette or, my absolute favorite, the Saturday market in Nerac! While there are good restaurants in town, the house is so lovely that making a simple meal and eating it in the handsome living room or in the garden is perfect. The times I went out with Julia and Colin were also amazing. But it was the chic yet small room with large windows overlooking the garden called The Bureau which had a vibe that inspired my writing. Thanks to Studio Faire for providing the right atmosphere to generate work I feel good about.
I was the lucky textile-artist who had the opportunity to stay four weeks in the newly renovated Usher Hall at Studio Faire.
South-west France, Lot et Garonne, is a very wonderful part of France with chateaux and vineyards, beautiful small towns with old houses mostly made from sandstone and with shutters in beautiful different colours – which made ME very inspired!
The town Nérac is a special little town with remnants from Henri IV in the 16th century, beautiful old houses, the river Baïse, cafés, restaurants, a wonderful Saturday marché, small places surrounded by old platan trees and very friendly people.
I can really recommend a residency at Studio Faire with our lovely hosts Julia & Colin.
Studio Faire is a creative salve, a haven where residents are gifted space and time and beautiful surroundings in which to let their craft flourish. My days there were blissfully unstructured, though we all seemed to gravitate together in the evenings for wine and dinner and to discuss our ongoing work.
Colin and Julia are so warm and welcoming. Together, they have created something truly unique and special in Nérac. The grounds are vibrant, the house itself is a living sculpture, and the surrounding village is postcard picturesque. Any hint of writer’s block is quickly dispelled by a long stroll along the river or a drive to a nearby village.
Ultimately, Studio Faire gave me the opportunity to step away from the demands of my day-to-day life and wholly focus on editing my book. An epiphany or two struck me while I worked there – it must be all the good creative vibes seeping out of the walls from past residents.
I spent a beautiful few weeks at Studio Faire with Colin, Julia, and my fellow artists. Each day was productive, and each night we gathered together to exchange ideas and a few glasses of wine. While my residency was cut short due to Corona, Colin and Julia ensured that I got home safe, and even presented my work in an online show in lieu of the open studios that were originally planned. They were so kind and accommodating in a time when we all had to rely on our communities so much. I hope to visit again soon!
In January I was a delighted to hear my piece ‘Yours Peggie’ had been selected for the Visual Arts Scotland – Studio Faire Residency Award, it was a huge deal for me being a small town girl who never really travels never mind travelling alone and being away from home for a month. I wanted to make the very best of this opportunity and was keen to try and make some work relating to the area, the history and the people of Nérac. I was not disappointed in the slightest. There were days I was totally immersed in what I was doing that I didn’t emerge from my studio space until hunger or thirst forced me out. Hosts Julia and Colin (and their 2 lovely Labradors, Dougie and Becca) gave just the right measure of attention, information and interaction, not to mention the occasional excursion to exhibitions, markets, and performances with the other residents. The thing that made it for me though was the space, not only the physical space of which there was lots, but the mental space, the space to just be, the space to belong, the space to explore, the space to work, socialise and be inspired. The pace of life in Nérac seemed to stretch time too; right up until my last few days when I felt like I could have just stayed a bit longer another week or two would have been perfect. The Studio Faire experience for me has been invaluable and one I would love to repeat some day, I managed to find a focus, an energy that I wasn’t aware I was capable of and I was surprised by how much I managed to accomplish during my time in Nérac; I am excited to keep this focus and energy going now that I am home again and I wholeheartedly recommend this experience. I can’t wait to see how Studio Faire evolves too, I wish Julia and Colin all the very best for their future in Nérac.
‘Maybe this is something that should be available on prescription…’
Frances Ryan, 2019
My summer at Studio Faire in Nérac was a dream come true. From the moment I saw a photo of the room that would be my living/writing space for 4 weeks, possibilities opened in my mind for new pathways as a writer and translator.
Quiet, early mornings making coffee in the beautiful, historic house; walks through town, with the heavenly smell of fresh baguettes and croissants wafting down the street from the boulangerie; reading, writing, laughing, and talking about life and art with Julia and Colin and the other residents in the garden over wine and camembert; taking personalized French lessons that played a critical role in the development of my book and my practice as a translator; having the extended time to get to know the people and places in the town and fully immerse myself in the language, culture, and lifestyle of southwest France; the food, the markets, the views, the sights, and the friendships I’m lucky to take with me beyond Studio Faire — all of it was such a gift for my writing and my life.
I will never forget my time at Studio Faire because it is embedded in my book. In fact, I would not have written this book in the way I wanted to without my time at Studio Faire. There is a magical thing happening there, created by Julia and Colin’s immense generosity, their infectious spirit of adventure, and their commitment to fostering a life where every moment aligns with your values and passions. I am grateful to them beyond words.
My time at Studio Faire was so serene and memorable. This house is so beautiful, but more importantly Julia and Colin were the best hosts! This place exceeded all of my expectations and any worries I had quickly disappeared because of the kindness of everyone around me. Julia went above and beyond to make me feel at home and show me what I needed to navigate around town. As a fellow artist, she really understands the process of creating and it was so much fun to talk to her! Colin was incredibly generous in doing both a video and photoshoot with me during my time there. His artistic and musical abilities really resonated with me and we had such a blast working together. My fellow residents, Dawn and Laurene were extraordinary and I will never forget how we got to share what we were doing with one another. I feel so lucky to have been there at the same time as them both. It was so cool to see all of us bring our different experiences to the house and really have a great time. My words would be incomplete without mentioning Becca and Dougie. Whenever I took a little or big break from working, I would hang out with the two sweetest dogs. Studio Faire is a perfect blend of work and play and I recommend it to any artist, musician, or writer who wants to escape for a bit. Merci beacoup!
I spent four weeks at Studio Faire and it’s been four of the most fruitful weeks in developing my practice. I came here not knowing exactly what I wanted to do but knowing that I needed space, time and some new inspiration. Studio Faire and Nérac had this in spades! After a few days of getting my bearings and soaking up this new beautiful town it was into the studio and the ideas came quickly. Thanks to Julia and Colin’s passion and knowledge for the arts they knew of lots of different dance companies nearby that I might be interested in reaching out to, so I did. This resulted in me working with two professional dancers based in Mézin. This new working collaboration allowed me to discuss my research with them and hear more about what they do and their thoughts on dance. It was a kind of eureka moment with my practice.
Studio Faire is very much part of the town and thanks to the wonderful reputation Julia and Colin are developing I was able to stage a public performance in the heart of Nérac, being given the ok from the Mayor himself! Staging this performance and seeing the two professional dancers respond to my work is truly one of the most exciting moments in my career.
The environment Julia and Colin (along with Becca and Dougie) have created at Studio Faire is quite special. I felt completely at ease as soon as I arrived, and it quickly became my home away from home. I look forward to returning, not only for this artist retreat which is second to none but to catch up with all the new friends I’ve made in Nérac, and in particular Julia and Colin!
My time at this summer Studio Faire was quite special on many fronts. Not only was I in need of time away from my usual ‘routine’ (if I can even call it that), but I wanted to refresh myself creatively and this was just the place in which to do so! The warmth of the welcome extended by Julia, Colin, Becca and Dougie (their adorable labradors) surely made settling in a straightforward affair, as everything felt so very natural and easy. A room with two huge shuttered windows onto their wonderful garden truly set the scene for what transpired to be a week of sourcing and painting natural forms, found in the garden, on walks by the river and at the market, abundant with every imaginable colour and texture. Quickly reenergised, my senses responded and my creative juices flowed, as I worked in the dappled light of the garden with Becca and Dougie by my side, like joint muses! A week was just long enough and also just not long enough for all that could be tapped into, here…
I would return to this oasis like a shot and would love to do so regularly, to get a shot of everything that this gorgeous part of France has to offer and to the relaxing surroundings that have been carefully created by Julia and Colin, so conducive to art-making and meaningful pause.
‘I would return to this oasis like a shot and would love to do so regularly…’
Brigid Collins, 2018
With it’s lush fields of sunflowers my week at Studio Faire has been a very solar stay. The people we met in Nérac were most warm and welcoming. There is so much to do and see in this magical area with it’s lively food and antiques markets that I hardly had enough time to paint. Beautiful landscapes are abundant, one does not need to go very far, beauty is just around the corner. I was amazed at what a vibrant community of people live in this corner of the world. The slower pace lifestyle was definitely a welcome pause from my busy city life.
I would absolutely recommend the Artist residence, the facilities are clean and vast. The sunny bedrooms with their beautiful old wallpapers will haunt your memories and leave you wondering if perhaps it all happened in a dream. I hope I get to visit this lovely old house someday again. Julia and Colin are just the best!
They say memories come back to us in a coalition of scattered bits and pieces, like rubbed off soap flakes or melting iceberg caps. Memories are the debris of past experiences that streak and doodle our minds in sporadic and uninvited flashes, they swirl and bounce and hiss by imperceptibly with the ripples and whirlpools of time. Some return to us with lesser injuries, but most of them are marred and maimed by the ferocious lapping of the all-consuming ocean of our subconscious, where they float calmly amid forgetfulness and orbs of electric darkness.
I believe, however, that there are full-blooded memories so wholeheartedly fleshed-out, engorged, fed, carved, into our brainpans by the onset of the experiences they stemmed from, that they fasten themselves to unknown compartments of our hearts, where they throb to the rhythm of their own pulsations and refuse to be flung into the diaspora of oblivion.
My experience at Studio Faire pulses and resides at the tip of my heart, my memories of that enchanted place dwell in a warm region peopled by all the other chronicles and occurrences that have nourished and given nutriment to my passion for the craft of writing.
A chart of pink-hued mornings and orange-streaked afternoons sustained me for four weeks. The pomegranate bleeding color of the setting sun splashing against the granulated window panes of my personal studio remains etched in glittering patterns on the walls of my eyeballs. You couldn’t get more inspiration even if you sold your soul to the devil. The burning windows at dawn, the morning runs along the banks of a river of jade, the serene whispering of the wind tickling your earlobes in the middle of the afternoon when I strolled through the gardens, the tiptoeing moonlight that made my breastplate creak, and the blinking, acid stars winking at me when I sat down to stare at the bruised sky before going to bed, my limbs peppered with the appeasing certainty that in this world, in this chunk of terrestrial wonder with its own axis, existed no hurried pressure, no devouring ordinariness, only art and determination, all of it kindled my brain ablaze, transfigured it into a radiant spot where cells and dark matter and imagination collided and a gush of words churned and materialized in shapes and colors and smells I never thought myself capable of conjuring.
I pierced through the veil of uncharted dimensions while working at Studio Faire. I accomplished feats and smashed down barricades that for years had vexed and shunned and pilfered my self-confidence as a writer. For the first time in a long while, I was being given the right space, regaled with the appropriate atmosphere, overindulged with the encouragement of peers and artists, to look into myself, and watch the waters of my soul swell and ebb.
Studio Faire not only changed me, it transformed me. Julia and Colin have established a sanctuary, a wondrous village within a village where judgement is the only foreign word, and everything is connected by the same ligature of love, and urge for creation.
My residency at Studio Faire was a great experience in a great part of France. Julia and Colin have created a lovely atmosphere in which I found it possible to be creatively productive and also enjoy the different rhythm of life in that part of the world. I enjoyed the room my wife and I stayed in, the room I was working in, and the lovely garden in which I also worked. One week was not long enough to do as much as I would have liked, but in that week I did achieve quite a lot for which I’m grateful.
I’d certainly recommend Studio Faire and Julia and Colin as friendly, interested and supportive hosts.
It was critical to find surroundings that coincide with my inner rhythm for seamless creation. Studio Faire was among a list of residencies I had been accepted to and was considering. It was the only one that satisfied every need and want I had, and then some!
My short but life changing two weeks was, in every possible way, a dive to permeate myself with care and gentle intentions. Julia and Colin are two of the best people I’ve ever met and they have created an incredible space for transformation, growth, and creation. Nérac is the most perfect town for such a place to reside and the house and studio have an energy about them that invites you to be a part of their stillness in order to hear and understand your own vision. There’s a freedom to listen to what your spirit needs, even if it was unconventional. I would wake up late and stay in the studio until deep into the night and next morning. Breaks from working involved drives out to vineyards or nearby towns, long walks in the beautiful park along the river and through Nérac, meals with Julia and Colin and their friends, or indulging in the incredible local cuisine solo.
Part of myself will forever remain in that studio where my heart and soul were filled with so much joy. I hope to return one day, if only for a moment, and gaze through those windows to reminisce of a time where my creativity soared and I discovered a little bit more of myself.
Jusqu’à la prochaine fois.
‘Julia and Colin are two of the best people I’ve ever met and they have created an incredible space for transformation, growth, and creation.’
Britany Loar, 2018
My time at Studio Faire came just at the right moment – providing some much needed head-space after a period of intense research and work. With days spent working in my studio room, with occasional breaks to walk by the river or through town, I meandered productively through my two weeks at Studio Faire. Colin and Julia are amazing and always up for a chat and the house and vast gardens were such a treat, alongside resident dogs Dougie and Becca, and the frequently visiting kitten. The town itself is beautiful and has many interesting stories to tell (both historically and pop culturally) and Studio Faire is well located for walks, attractions, and restaurants. (It is also handily located 30 seconds away from the best boulangerie in town). Wonderfully, Studio Faire was also where I spent my 30th birthday. To mark the occasion Colin and Julia organised an excursion to an event at Halle de La Machine in Toulouse, which is something I will never forget! A photoshoot with Colin was a fun bonus to mark the end of my residency period in France (and I suppose, the passing of time). Now several weeks after my residency at Studio Faire, I still think of the autumnal river walks, eating chocolatines, and the warm generosity of Colin and Julia whose work with Studio Faire has truly opened up a place for artists to reset and focus.
I spent a month at Studio Faire, working as a dancer and choreographer on my solo performance. What I found so wonderful about the residence was the relaxed and pressure-free atmosphere that created a safe space for exploration and trial-and-error learning. During my stay, I got deep into the themes and movement that I was working on and after my return home, I noticed a remarkable difference in my dance. I took part in a dance battle event in Estonia, and even though I hadn’t competed in such a long time, somehow it all just worked out. I felt relaxed on the stage and ended up winning the house and taking second place in hip hop. And I do believe that this is thanks to my time at the residence and the way I was able to devote to dance.
I’m extremely happy and grateful that I had the chance of creating and spending time in the beautiful Nérac and Studio Faire. For a young artist like me, it is one of the best experiences of my life and I hope to come back at some point. I want to thank Colin and Julia for their kindness and hospitality and congratulate on building such a wonderful place and opportunity for artists.
‘What I found so wonderful about the residence was the relaxed and pressure-free atmosphere that created a safe space for exploration and trial-and-error learning.’
Lilli Huttula, 2018
If you’re looking for a downtime retreat – somewhere to make new work (be it big and messy or desk confined), hatch a new project, finish a current one, or just need quiet and thinking time to prepare for the next one – I heartedly recommend Studio Faire in Nérac in the South of France. You’ll be warmly greeted by Julia, Colin and their two soft and lovely labs Becca & Dougie.
Studio Faire is at the edge of the lovely little town of Nérac surrounded by fields of sunflowers and medieval villages. Great amenities, great people, great wine!
Huge thanks to Julia and Colin for their wonderful hospitality and their creative support!
I stayed one week at Julia’s and Colin’s residency, Studio Faire, in the beautiful town Nérac. It was a really good time for me.
Since it was quite a short time I didn’t start anything big but I worked on some smaller projects like rearranging songs and I also worked on my postcard project i.e. I write short pieces for some musicians and I send them the piece on a postcard. I call those pieces Circles of Sounds. The piece I started to write in Nérac and I didn’t quite finish was for an Icelandic oboe player.
Other things I did was a lot of walking, jogging and enjoying the company of Julia and Colin. I want to thank them for their hospitality and help.
It was an absolute privilege to spend a week-long residency at Studio Faire with fantastic hosts Julia and Colin.
There is so much of pleasurable interest to see and do (the food!) in the delightful Nérac, its surroundings and nearby villages. There are lovely walks to be had in and around the town, fascinating pieces of architecture both on the grand and domestic scale, as well as some, unsurprisingly, fabulous eateries. But you could easily spend a day or two just relaxing in the gardens enjoying its peaceful atmosphere and exploring the orchard and its overgrown corners – broken by an arduous two minute hike to the boulangerie across the road (did I mention the food?).
Julia and Colin throw so much of the same hard working energy into creating a welcoming atmosphere as they do into their on-going renovations that I can only see Studio Faire going from strength to strength and I look forward to witnessing its development. I thoroughly recommend and I am grateful I have had the opportunity of the experience.
I had the pleasure of spending a month at Studio Faire in June/July 2019.
Everything about Studio Faire facilitates creative expression and creative rest. My office space was comfortable, spacious, and private with a beautiful view of the garden to let in the light. It’s also (bonus!) close to the kitchen so you’re not far from a snack or hot cup of coffee. My bedroom was also spacious and comfortable, with shutters to keep out the heat and help me to rest properly. The garden is an absolute dream.
Julia and Colin have literally opened up their home to make space for people to be their best creative selves, and I felt completely at home. Because the house and garden are so spacious you have the opportunity to decide how much time you spend with the other residents, which means you can put your head down when you need to and socialize when you’re keen for a break. It’s ideal!
Nerac is a lovely town with a marvelous forest walk, some bakeries to die for, and plenty of things to keep you interested. I loved my time there and would love to return in the future.
‘I felt completely at home.’
Jen Thorpe, 2019
My friend said to me, that I was ”in for a real treat” when I told her I was going to spend three weeks in Studio Faire. And a real treat it was. The house was a real historical dream, perfect for finding inspiration and time for my project. Every room has a character of its own and the house has a perfect balance of unique details and inspirational emptiness that lets your imagination run wild.
The city of Nérac is also a good environment to explore and to be able to focus on your work in solitude. It provides opportunities to experience the southern France lifestyle while creating in peace.
Everyday I was surprised how much time and energy Colin and Julia invested into us residents. Staying at Studio Faire felt like visiting old friends. And Becca and Dougie ensure that dog therapy is part of the package!
I spent a fortnight at Studio Faire and enjoyed a great residency and a lot of laughs. Colin & Julia are fantastic hosts, friendly, funny, welcoming and always willing to provide information, advice and help with practical matters. The relaxed and supportive atmosphere put me quickly at ease and I was able to settle in to creative work immediately.
The house is dripping with character. Julia and Colin are slowly peeling back the layers of history and revealing and restoring the period features to provide a charming space to live and work.
Nérac itself is a great base – small and friendly but with loads of history and character. I loved the old architecture, narrow streets and faded facades and spent a lot of time walking, exploring and filming around the town. There is so much visual and aural richness right there on the doorstep. Studio Faire is a great location for a residency whether you are seeking inspiration and creative recharging or needing some time for quiet reflection and development.
The truly unique and valuable thing about Studio Faire is the way of life the residency offers. The Town, Colin and Julia all provide a sense of wonder and excitement about their environment that is extremely beneficial to making work. Time slows down in Nerac in the most productive way, letting you notice the details and giving you space to address them thoughtfully. Studio Faire was an incredibly important experience and helped me to see my practice in a new light.
What a joyous week it has been.
Time to decompress, to reflect & reenergize.
Finding the light from another sun, another sky, rethinking & reflecting at Studio Faire was exactly what I was needing. The quiet courtyard, the rustle of the leaves, the hooping hoop birds, Eurasian Jays, red squirrels and the resident canine friends: Dougie & Becca, brought other parts of life into the thinking space.
With Julia & Colin as consummate hosts, we were peaked through, sampled and glimpsed treasures of the region, which made us wish we could stay longer, and determined to revisit and try further exploration at another time.
A week was definitely too short for such a glorious opportunity.
I stayed at Studio Faire for 4 weeks in May/June 2018 to create ‘collographic’ paintings and found the place, Julia and Colin delightful, relaxing and inspiring.
I was given a large bedroom and a huge studio space in which to work… [Colin and Julia] were very inclusive and inviting during my stay. I was lucky enough to get to know another ‘resident’ who was there from America, for the same period, to work on her choreography. We all had chats about different music, life etc. We shared a kitchen with little hassle and occasionally cooked meals for each other, such was the natural feel of the place…
… Both Julia and Colin were excellent at introducing me to people they knew when the opportunity arose and we had 40 people at our Meet the Artist session…
I loved being away from my usual environs with the purpose of enjoying myself in a creative frame of mind. Colin and Julia have made a fabulous residency space… I hope to return again and work, as well as catch up with the many delightful people I met there.