Mr. Owl at Le Sivadal
Our amazing view from the terrace
The "gang" in Penne
When we came home from our year sabbatical in October 09 we knew we needed to get back to France as soon as possible. We've outgrown Los Angeles, it's too busy and too big, just not our style anymore. We want countryside, hardly any street lights, beautiful architecture...basically France. 10 years ago we said to each other "in ten years we'll move to France". I always keep goals - 6 months, 1 year, 3 year, 5 years. And each year I'd write down "we'll move to France". It was hard getting back to the studio and back to business. We love the kids but doing the same thing for 10 years was getting old. We wanted to take what we know and move it outside of the classroom/studio. Sometimes it's someone else looking in who opens your eyes and Kim did that for us. Raison d'Art was born last summer and when we came back to Los Angeles we started to market our "summer camp" for teens.
Last Monday we arrived home from our first trip to France with 9 teens. 18 days in the Tarn, 16 at the most amazing house in the country and 2 nights in Toulouse. It was wonderful and exceeded our expectations! We hope we changed some lives and/or opened some eyes. If you're interested in reading about the trip and learning about our new business check it out here.
After being home for a month or so one of our clients asked us if we were interested in selling the studio. Yes, we said. Yes, yes, yes! This client has sent her daughter to us for 4 years and believes in what we do and wants to expand on it. Something we never wanted to do. She's a very smart business woman and a good friend. It was a perfect match. We closed the deal in May and we are now Independent Contractors for her. Still doing some camps and helping her as much as we can with training new teachers, understanding the daily office duties, etc... We will work until the end of this week, take the month of August off (and spend it in Mammoth), come back in September and work through mid-October, but then after that we are moving back to France. Yes, you read that right, we are moving back. How long...hopefully for good.
We found an amazing house to rent in our favorite village St. Antonin Noble Val. During the year we were there (as most of you know) we lived in Les Costes, a 200 year old stone farmhouse in the middle of the countryside. Very little heat, very isolated, but amazing. This time we want to rent in a village for a bit. We think it will make the winters a bit easier, being around other people. We'll rent for a year and in the meantime look for an place to buy.
Next year we'll be offering (2) women's retreats in May, with yoga, cooking classes, wine tasting, visits to museums, villages, etc... and then (4) summer camps for kids (1) for kids 11/12 and the other (3) for kids 13-17. We'll rent the same house we rented this summer as it was so perfect for what we are doing. It's call Le Sivadal and it's just outside of Cordes.
This business idea has become a reality and we can't wait to get over to France to start working on it. We'll register as a french business so we can pay into the french system. We want to be legit. We are also thinking of offering some art classes for local kids on Wednesday and Saturday during the school year.
Bruce is all set to paint, paint and paint. I hope to get settled and get a wheel and a kiln and start throwing pottery again, as it's been almost 2 years since I've thrown. The dogs are super excited too. They had an amazing time during the year they lived there. Nellie has never been but she'll love it too.
So loads of amazing things are happening to us. We are excited, thrilled, a bit scared (because what if it doesn't work), but then so what, we'll figure something else out. Sure we could stay here and try to open another studio in another area, but we don't want to do that and it's so expensive here. What we pay 1 month in Los Angeles will cover us for 4-5 months in France. Isnt' that crazy? So, why not try and make this work. Life's too short.
I will be updating this blog, as I've had many requests to keep my personal blog going. As long as you are not bored with my everyday life, I'm happy to continue reporting, but keep checking our Raison d'Art blog (which also gives information about our programs) and pass it on to anyone you might think would be interested. We are almost done with our website and I'll post that when it's ready.
It's good to be back. I have missed my blogging, but I wasn't ready to announce the sale of the business until now and really didn't have much to talk about. But new exciting stuff is on the horizon, so stay tuned.
Happy couple in Toulouse