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Dear artists, friends of artists, prospective artists, art lovers, poets, writers, dabblers, hangers on and far flung members!  / Lee O'Connor

We have just had our annual September Exhibition and it was a huge success. We had to postpone the show by a week, due to our Biblical storm that washed 8 cars into the sea on Stoupa beach, as well as devastating the access roads of several members (ours included). The weather the following weekend, when we did have our show, was magnificent! The garden of Patriko was a feast for the senses, with art all day long for 3 days - music, fairy lights and candles at night, and many happy visitors. GAIA was very pleased to accept some money raised for them during the show. We hope to repeat this exhibition every year in September. To take part, you have to be a paid up member of the club.

Some of the bars and tavernas have now closed for winter, our firewood has been delivered, red wine stocked up, and we're enjoying the soft rains that have been falling just before the olive harvest starts in earnest. Fires are now allowed again, and you can all start burning your garden cuttings and unwanted artwork! The olive press at the bottom of our washed-away track has been pressing for more than a week, and the smell when we go past is heavenly.

More about what's happening on the local art scene....

Two of our members, Ib Ivar Dahl from Denmark, and Dimitris Raftelis are currently writing a new book called “The Elders of Mani”. Their inspiration is the very ancient trees that live in our region and the events the trees have witnessed over time. The book will include poetry and stories and photos by Dimitris and Ib, and some artwork by members of our group. The book will be published in Denmark next year. We wish them well with this exciting endeavour. Watch this space for more info later. One of the ancient trees that will be telling a story in the book is this plane tree in Arna, between Sparta and Gythio, estimated to be over 2000 years old.

One of our Californian members, Sandra Cherk, did a pastels workshop for us a few weeks ago. There was much interest and excitement, and we had 11 artists making masterpieces under the trees at Patriko! Sandra's teaching was inspired and very much appreciated.

Last weekend some of our members had stalls at the Kastania Festival in Arna, high up in the mountains. I do not yet know how it went, but I felt very sorry for them as it rained for most of the weekend and we also had the first winter snowfall in the Taygetos. This came as a bit of a surprise, as we were still swimming on Wednesday!

Earlier in the summer Peter Kraaijmes, who started this group and who is still our unofficial (in his words only!) leader, led a stone carving workshop. Some really lovely work was done. Peter is also a very talented painter and is offering to do a painting of your house. The cost of the painting is dependent on the material and size. All proceeds will go to GAIA, less the the realistic costs for the canvas and framing . If you are interested, contact Peter on He is still in Holland, we hope to see him back here soon.

Sofia Filea is planning to offer art classes in a number of disciplines including ceramics. For more information contact her on 69405 41541.

There has also been a very exciting collaboration between two of our members, which I was very fortunate to be part of. Dimitris Christeas, a talented local young photographer, did a photoshoot of my jewellery on Pantazi beach, using two beautiful Mani girls, Stavriani and Eleanora, as models. The resulting photos were exceptionally good.

I have been invited to be a guest artist at a Christmas Fair in Kent later this month. It will be in the beautiful Medieval Hall of historic 600 year old Godinton House. If any Mani people are near, do come and see us!

In case you were wondering what it actually takes to be a member of our Arts Club...

- we have painters, sculptors, poets, writers, photographers, actors, jewellers, wood workers, mosaic artists, film makers, stone carvers, a dress designer and maker, script writers, dreamers, wine drinkers, ouzo drinkers and cake eaters!! Apologies if I have left you out!

We have our Friday evening social get-togethers, where we solve the world's problems and catch up on things arty and not so arty. We are now using our winter venue, AKTAION Bar on Stoupa beach road, as PATRIKO is closed for the winter. Anybody is welcome to join us there, starting from 5pm onwards.

If you are visiting over Christmas, PATRIKO will be open for the annual Christmas bazaar on Sunday 18th December. A number of our members will have stalls. See the Events page on Parea Sti Mani for more information.

Please let me (for the newsletter) and Adriana (for the Events page /website) know if you have any events, open studios or art exhibitions coming up that you would like the other members to know about.... anywhere in the world, or any interesting art news.

Lastly, remember... Picasso said:
"A r t   t a k e s   a w a y   f r o m   t h e   s o u l   t h e   d u s t   o f   e v e r y d a y   l i f e."

Best wishes for a creative and dust free winter to you all.
Lee O'Connor

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