Julia Douglas & Colin Usher
and also Becca & Dougie
Scottish couple, Colin Usher and Julia Douglas, moved into this stunning mansion house in the centre of the vibrant market town of Nérac (47) in South West France, in 2017 to set up a contemporary arts centre. Even though they are still renovating the property, it is fast becoming a centre for artistic development, providing funded and self-funded residencies, creative courses and cultural events for all types of creative practitioner.
This property is called Studio Faire. It is a centre for creative development and the home of Colin, Julia and their two Labradors, Becca and Dougie.
Colin Usher is a digital media professional, photographer & drummer. Colin spent his 20s as a photographer for The Face, The List, Dance & Theatre companies, while playing drums in indie bands in the earnest search of a record deal and music based career.
He bought his first Mac in 1993 and has worked in and around the creative industries ever since.
The Proclaimers have also relied on Colin to look after their digital media since 2001. He has directed, shot and edited many videos for them (and many other bands) as well as designing album covers and taking care of their web presence.
Find out more at: colinusher.com
Julia Douglas VAS SSA studied Textiles and Surface Decoration, specialising in Textile Screen Printing. During her MA in Art & Design her work became more sculptural and she has been known to use knitting, felt making, paper making and found objects to make her sculptures. She has even broken 12,500 cloth pegs to make a dress (‘Highly Sprung’ is now in the permanent collection of Aberdeen Art Gallery) and stitched together hundreds of snap fasteners to make ‘Prayer Gloves’ (now in the permanent collection of Deveron Arts).
She has also co-ordinated Open Call Exhibitions for the Society of Scottish Artists and is pretty darn good at designing websites for artists.
Find out more at: www.juliadouglas.co.uk
Becca Douglas Usher is a 9 year old Labrador. Often found in a shady spot in the garden or relaxing under the dining table, just in case a crumb should drop! She has a very friendly and gentle nature. She will smile at you when you arrive and snooze at your feet to keep you company while you relax.
Dougie Douglas Usher is a 5 year old Labrador. Often found sunbathing in the garden. He has an insatiable appetite and will scoff any food left unattended! He is affectionate and loves company. Like a shadow, he will follow you to ensure you (he!) need never be alone. We do ask him to stay out of your bedroom though and he’s cool with that.
The journey so far …
We have been very open and honest all along about the ups and downs of this adventure of ours (moving to France to buy a property to transform into a contemporary art centre) and we have done this mostly to keep friends, family and colleagues updated, and also to...read more
It's been hard to keep you updated on progress at Studio Faire, since we moved in to the property in April, because we have mostly been cracking a few eggs to make an omelette ... in other words, taking stuff away and generally making a mess of the place!...read more
Only 1 month left to apply for a special ‘early bird’ discounted rate for a stay at Studio Faire, this new contemporary art centre in South West France. You don't have to have a specific project in mind, Studio Faire is a place to think, sketch, write,...read more
This week saw us open our doors for the first time to host a 1 day course : Mastering Portraiture with Colin Usher, An inspiring photographic day class at Studio Faire in Nérac. Two great students attended, Janey & Fiona, who were so enthusiastic that it...read more
The Studio Faire Residency Award at Visual Arts Scotland & Society of Scottish Artists Annual Exhibition: OPEN 2018. Over the past 12 years, Studio Faire's co-founder Julia Douglas has been working and exhibiting with two of Scotland's most prestigious Art...read more
We were delighted to be invited, once again, to be 'contributors' in French Property News this month. Words by Julia and photos by Colin (if you can't read the article by clicking on the image then scroll down the page, full text pasted in below):...read more
We have THE BIGGEST NEWS to share with you … we have found STUDIO FAIRE and ... we got the keys TODAY!!! Now we can start our adventure to create STUDIO FAIRE for real! We have a way to go as much still needs to be done to the property to make it suitable for the...read more
Last September, I was invited to write an article for French Property News, so I put pen to paper to share our personal experience of trying to buy a property in France from the UK. Much has happened since, but you may be interested in reading about our journey up to...read more
We are often asked 'How did you choose the Lot-et-Garonne?' It was quite simple really. After circling the airports that have cheap flights from Edinburgh to the South of France on the map and visiting for a couple of driving trips, we narrowed it down to Bordeaux as...read more
We have been extremely busy here at Studio Faire over the past couple of months hunting down the perfect property for creative residencies in the region and climbing the mountain of paperwork that inevitably ensues (the French really LOVE paper!). We are desperately...read more
Throughout August and September we have been running a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo and today is the very last day. With the generosity and faith of our supporters, we have raised an amazing £8,130 towards the deposit for a business premises, which offers its...read more
We have been laying down the foundations of a new business. Studio Faire is a small enterprise we’ll be setting up in South West France. A business that will benefit many people over the coming years. Normally setting up a new business involves raising finance or...read more
Nicola Henderson talks about Studio Faire https://vimeo.com/176292020 Our IndieGoGo Campaign is Live for August. Please click here to join us on our...read more
This crowdfunding malarky is a very strange beast. Surprising, awkward and encouraging! Surprising: When we put the 30-day campaign live 24 days ago we thought that it was a numbers game. We hoped for lots of small contributions to reach our large goal. Between us,...read more
Gerard Lohan discusses Julia & Colin of Studio Faire https://vimeo.com/176313580 Our IndieGoGo Campaign is Live for August. Please click here to join us on our...read more
Four months after moving to the Lot-et-Garonne in South West France we finally felt able to have a house-warming party (*la crémaillère). Why did it take us so long? Well, we needed to make some friends first so that we had someone to invite. It was a huge success...read more
We are delighted to be featured in this month's issue of French Property News Last month, Julia was invited to write an article for the magazine so she put pen to paper to describe our journey so far. The article obviously needed to be relevant to news about French...read more
Peter Snow discusses Julia & Colin of Studio Faire https://vimeo.com/176292018 Our IndieGoGo Campaign is Live for August. Please click here to join us on our...read more
Today we have reached the halfway point in our 30-day crowdfunding campaign. We have now raised a wonderful £2,836 through the support and generosity of 48 backers. But we still have a very long way to go in the next 15 days if we are ever going to make Studio Faire a...read more
Janine Ferguson from Haddington talks about space and pace. https://vimeo.com/176313576 Our IndieGoGo Campaign is Live for August Please click here to join us on our...read more
The best way for us to get ourselves down here to the Lot-et-Garonne was to drive. Having a lovely cousin who works for a car hire firm was very helpful in getting a great deal on a van hire for the move and we were able to return the van to Gatwick instead of having...read more
A comfortable, relaxed and supportive environment. https://vimeo.com/176291291 Our IndieGoGo Campaign is Live for August Please click here to join us on our...read more
It’s been some week here in the Lot-et-Garonne, with the launch of the CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN (the generosity of contributors astounding us!), a DRIVE the full length of France to England to sell the car (a blog about that coming soon), an article in the SUD OUEST (the...read more
Hee hee hee, we've made it into the local papers! Fame at last!!! SUD OUEST: http://www.sudouest.fr/2016/08/05/des-artistes-d-edimbourg-au-centre-bourg-2457895-3788.php Here's a wee excerpt: Writing and Photograph by Céline Larigaldie. Translation by Google and Julia...read more
Jennifer talks about needing that creative space and time. https://vimeo.com/176292016 Our IndieGoGo Campaign is Live for AugustPlease click here to join us on our...read more
Ceramic artist, Carol Sinclair, introduces the concept of Studio Faire https://vimeo.com/176313578 Our IndieGoGo Campaign is Live for AugustPlease click here to join us on our...read more
With just a few name-drops in there! https://vimeo.com/176313579 Our IndieGoGo Campaign is Live for AugustPlease click here to join us on our...read more
Celie Byrne is a Scottish artist, who has been selected for this year's Royal Scottish Academy Open Exhibition and is also a member of the Society of Scottish Artists. Here she gives her impression of what Studio Faire will be. Celie Byrne, in deepest, darkest Fife. ...read more
We have now launched our crowdfunding campaign at IndieGoGo. Click here to join us on our journey We moved here in early April 2016. This was the first step on our journey to set up Studio Faire. Three months in and we've just launched our campaign to raise the...read more
We have found another amazing place… could this be Studio Faire? This property is in a pretty decent sized town with supermarkets, restaurants, bars, fabulous Boulangerie and a weekly market, so artists can be completely independent and soak up the local atmosphere,...read more
We've now lived here in France for 6 weeks or so. We've loved every minute of it. From discovering the sights and sounds of Nérac and its bustling Saturday market, stumbling across La Romieu, the stunning commune literally 10 mins down the road in Gers to browsing...read more
The pack-up and journey Bit of a gap since our last blog, we have good reason though. On Friday 8th April, we picked up the rental van from Europcar and began the massive pack. Our great pals, Claire & Dave arrived with their 2 lovely daughters, Molly Mae & Sol Misty...read more
We are on a major countdown now, with only 5 sleeps until we move to France! Nights are getting a bit restless and dogs are getting anxious by all of the upheaval in the house, but an excited glint can be found in our eyes as we prepare to go on this adventure to...read more
I actually met Rachel McCrum yonks ago. Around 6 years I think. I thought she was really cool! Strikingly handsome, with traditionally Irish pale skin and (at present anyway) cropped jet black hair (could well be suicide blond by the time you read this though!)....read more
Turning A Dream Into Reality Colin and I got together in 2005. We were both living in rented accommodation and after a decade of house prices defying gravity in the UK, no family inheritance to give us a leg up and both of us being self employed creatives, we had...read more
Early February 2016 saw us embark on a roller coaster of a week in the Lot-et-Garonne (47) in South West France. Our mission... To find a rental property in the area we love, to serve as both a base for developing Studio Faire and to give us a little time to explore...read more
I never fell out of love with my first love, I think I may have neglected it for a while though. Summer 2015 saw me diving head-first back into my original creative passion of photography and I have never been so energised or animated. Then... I moved to Edinburgh...read more
US Julia is on a mission to develop the Studio Faire blog into an informative, entertaining blog about the Douglas Usher journey to set up a creative retreat in rural South West France. With a focus on the creative reader who is interested in joining us on this...read more
We were not completely naive you know? We did realise that it was a huge risk to fall in love with a property at such an early stage of our research into the Lot-et-Garonne department, the costs of renovating a French property and what this would mean for our French...read more
Having narrowed down the perfect location for Studio Faire to the South West of France, an easy one and a half hour drive from airports in Bordeaux, Bergerac or Toulouse, we have since been on a mission to find that elusive property which will offer the perfect pace...read more
Image: Nérac not Condom! Last month we jumped on a plane from Edinburgh to Bordeaux to go on a mission to hone in on the areas we have been looking at online for the creative retreat. Everything looks amazing from Scotland, but we don't want to risk choosing an area...read more
In a couple of weeks Colin and I will be taking a trip across the Channel to visit some of the locations we have in mind for Studio Faire. What are the key crucial factors for location? Well, apart from lush green countryside, bright warm sunshine the majority of the...read more
Listening to Radio 6 a few months back I was given the aural pleasure of discovering Feloche, the French mandolin toting cajun lad from the island La Gomera in the Canaries. His album Silbo, is never far from the top of my Spotify play list and is a familiar friend on...read more
A common (and not unpredictable) question asked by almost everyone when they hear of our mission to set up a creative retreat in South West France is ‘Do you speak French?’ It’s asked with a nod of the head at the end and a presumption of an answer in the affirmative…...read more
Saturday 24th Jan saw us visit The Olympia in London and the The France Show 2015. A bit of research, networking, tasting, listening and much learning ensued. We met banks, we talked to estate agents (immobilier), we watched an auction and we enjoyed the general...read more
As part of our plans to relocate, we have been immersing, absorbing and burying ourselves in all things French. Reading Living France Magazine a few months back, there was a competition to win a copy of the book 'A La Mod, My So-Called Tranquil Life In Rural France.'...read more
In early 2014, we decided to start looking in earnest at France as the destination for the next chapter in our lives. We instantly found Leggett Immobilier, award winning estate agents specialising in UK buyers looking to re-locate to France. Astounded by what is...read more