I have a bit of a break here in Umbria.  I’m sleeping late and wandering a bit to keep up on this incredible region.  You may remember that in this blog I talked about my visit to the wonderful folks in Texas.  Now we’ve had the good fortune to receive the Texans here in Italy.  Sharon Zeugin is a master (Maestra) calligrapher, and fascinating painter.  She brought a core group from her hometown of Austin, but many of her fans are from all over the continent.  I don’t normally write about the individuals in our groups, but to give you an idea of the nature of conversations and accomplishments that are commonplace in the setting of an artistic retreat, this group is a good place to start.

The Austin contingent included Suzy Smith-Juncker, (outspoken in paint and in conversation—and a true Texas accent), Nicole Lowenberg,  understated artistic surprises), Mary Bersagel, (Sharon’s able and affable assistant). From Oklahoma City, Wendy Fox and Pat Moses brought serious artistic intentions and true wanderlust.  Jeff and Barbara Mann came from Lansing Michigan; Barbara a fine painter and Jeff a great  aconteur, (He also helped us with some technical advice on our air conditioners).  Painter Aliette Goldmark, a French-born New Yorker awed us with her stories of international travels in academic circles.  Lucy Todd from Bastrop Texas had all of us in stitches with a humor that was actually much drier and on target than a certain San Franciscan.  Heidi and Willi Friesen came from Calgary Alberta, (Willi, a fireman and former pro hockey player), with willing smiles and a fresh take on world events.  (Why does it always surprise us that Canada is actually a different country?)  Mary Chaytor hails from Las Vegas and you’ll see some of her amazing photographs in our upcoming cookbook.  Rounding out the group was Rebecca Pritchard, Presbyterian minister and expert on the history of religious art.

Enza organized visits to see incredible ancient manuscripts at the town hall of nearby Stroncone and at the Augusta Biblioteca in Perugia as well as a concert in the cloister of a ninth-century monastery.  I feel that it’s my job to not interfere with the creative process that is taking place in our church / studio, but in the mornings and evenings and during meals I feel blessed to be afforded a place at the table with such creative and stimulating people.

Pin It on Pinterest