Artist residency in Italy, October 1-15, 2022 (Video and post)

Rooster puppet

I had the pleasure of spending the first 2 weeks of October in the beautiful Tuscan countryside at La Macina di San Cresci, a wonderful artist residency near the town of Greve in Chianti.

At the end of my stay, I presented my recently completed works, and those in progress, to the local community. You can view the recording on YouTube . Note: Captions are available in English and Italian : Select English(Canada) or Italian from Settings|Subtitles/CC).

Check out my post below for more details!

Recording of artist presentation with Neil Kobewka, another featured artist in residence (details below).

At La Macina di San Cresci

Dog in foreground, woman sitting at table painting in outdoor setting
Working in the garden studio at La Macina while Argo, the resident dog, looks on.
Photo by Jodelle Marx

This was my third visit, and once again this place gave me a welcome pause from daily life that allowed me to reflect on my upcoming projects and plan their execution. With full days at my disposal, I was able to fully enjoy creative exploration without time constraints and life’s usual distractions.

The peaceful setting and lack of schedule at La Macina provides an ideal environment for artists to grow new ideas: Indeed, it was here, during a previous visit, that I created my first “Animalesque” drawing, which has now grown into the theme of an upcoming animation. Stay tuned!

My first “Animalesque” drawing, created at La Macina in 2019

Next animated work: A walk around San Cresci

During my previous visit in 2019, I interviewed several residents of the area with the goal of creating an animation: A walk around San Cresci. As I have aimed to do with previous works involving past travels, I wanted to convey the charm, uniqueness, and fascination I have for this place through animation. This project was on hold as I completed my latest animation, Costa Rica’s Creatures, which launched in September.

About the work

A walk around San Cresci will combine puppets, stop motion and hand-drawn animation, and video. Below is some artwork for the piece that I finished during my stay, as well as a glimpse of the creation process.


My decision to bring limited art supplies with me posed an interesting challenge, and one that helped me focus on my goal of using found or discarded materials to create my art: I used found materials from the residency’s supply room to create both the backdrop for the animation and the rooster puppet (featured in the next section).

Background with removable clay trees

Gallo Nero (“GN”): Legend of the black rooster, and puppet

The black rooster (Gallo Nero, or GN as I have named my puppet) will appear throughout the work. The legend of the black rooster explains its significance in Chianti’s history.

This visit was especially fun, as my husband Neil Kobewka joined me for the second week and used his time to create poetry, a longtime passion of his. This was his first artist residency and at the end, he also presented his work: A poem entitled “Autumn in Chianti” (also featured in the presentation recording). He also became GN’s puppeteer, and got to know him a bit better in the process!

Unexpected sights and fun facts

An abundance of guinea pigs

Valerio Cianti, a nearby resident, runs a farm that hosts an assortment of animals, including guinea pigs, peacocks, rabbits, and numerous types of birds. Valerio graciously hosted us for a visit one afternoon. He and his animal companions will be featured in A walk around San Cresci.

Fagioli al fiasco

On the last night of the residency, our hosts Duccio Trassinelli and Demetria Verduci prepared a lovely reception and spread, which included the traditional Tuscan dish Fagioli al Fiasco, made with white beans and sage leaves.

Fun fact: The original meaning of the word “fiasco” is (according to Wikipedia and other sources), “a typical Italian style of bottle, usually with a round body and bottom, partially or completely covered with a close-fitting straw basket.”

In conclusion

The above conveys only a fraction of what I experienced during my stay. I look forward to sharing more stories and impressions in A walk around San Cresci. With each visit, I have learned more details about this area’s rich history and traditions, as well as its evolution in today’s ever changing world.

Grazie to La Macina di San Cresci, and the local community, for another great visit. I look forward to seeing you all again soon, and in the meantime, I’ll relive the experience through animation!



Photo credit for image of fiasco: giulio nepi, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons