We are looking forward to our second year up and running as an artist retreat in 2019.
Since 2014, we have been hosting volunteers to help us renovate our old barn into movement and art studios. We are now putting more focus on the garden, some smaller building jobs and building a fun community over the summer months!
Our ideal would be to host two volunteers (friends or couple) who can stay between 2-4 weeks. We will try to have a specific project organised for each stay, see more about that below. There will also always be something to get on with in the garden and greenhouse.
At times, it will be possible for helpers to use our studio facilities for their own artistic work. This depends a bit on what else is happening here.
More about us:
We are a couple in our late thirties who have decided to build our lives how we would like them to be rather than running in the big city treadmill. We moved to our old rundown farm in the remote and beautiful Hållnäs peninsular in 2011 and plan to turn it into an artists' residency, retreat and course venue. We have hosted volunteers for parts of the year since 2014.
Alex is a former teacher currently retraining as a chef, Åsa is a theatre designer/artist from Uppland (the county where we live) as well as an art teacher and rather engaged in local community development work. We have two small children, Vide (born 2013) and Alma (born 2017). As we are busy with our family, we might not always be the very sociable hosts we would like to be - our bed-time routine starts early these days...
We have a cat.
We are relaxed people who like good conversation over a glass of wine. We like listening to folk and world music and play a little accordion and guitar. We aim to make a sustainable imprint on the environment which is wild and coastal around us. Long term helpers would definitely have a chance to get close to the natural world here.
As we have young children at home, we tend to have early starts and early nights. In 2019 Alex will be away on training courses quite often and Åsa is also quite busy with work and projects. So we will not be as available at home as in previous years.
Since 2018, we have been open to bookings from small groups and individuals who need a quiet and relaxing space close to nature for creative processes. Last year, we hosted a yoga retreat, an amateur theatre company members´day, a theatre residency and a dance residency. We call our place Hållnäs Konstkoloni.
We aim to produce most of our own organic food, at least in the summer time.
We have arrived at a point where the basic building work is mostly finished; we have made the living spaces comfortable for ourselves and a smaller number of visitors and have broken enough ground to produce most of our own food in the summer time. We have installed a kitchen for general use in the barn and installed facilities in two studio spaces. We have built a simple but quite large greenhouse from old windows and a wooden frame. But there are always smaller renovation or decorating projects which we still want to push on if a volunteer is interested.
So basic carpentry skills and an interest in gardening would be helpful to start with :)
You can reach us by public transport and travel to Uppsala or Gävle over the day but a car is recommended if you want to be a bit independent. It is the remote forests here with elk, mosquitos and disease carrying ticks, so be prepared for real Swedish backwoods living :)
Niñera / cuidado de niños
Mantenimiento / bricolage
Cocinar / compras
Ayuda en proyecto ecológico
Ayuda en casa
Ayuda informática / Internet
We are a bilingual family and use English a lot at home, but the children go to Swedish preschool and speak to both of us in Swedish but switch to English with grandparents and volunteers.
We are committed to the reality of balancing family life with having volunteers and running a business. We would like to think we welcome people into our lives and can be an example of how to start a small hosting business in a remote rural location.
The ideal workawayer for us would be a relaxed, creative person with an interest in building and renovation, gardening, nature and art.
Skills in carpentry, plumbing, electrics, cars, computers, tiling, bike repair, painting and horticulture are very welcome, but we basically most of all need friendly people who are happy to roll up their sleeves with us and help us make our dream happen. We try to match up your interests and skills with projects that need to get done.
In spring/summer of 2019, there are a few projects that we hope will happen:
Insulating the barn art studio (we use woodwool/concrete blocks, plastered with mud and painted with egg oil tempera)
Fixing a leaking roof on the main house
Setting up permanent beds in the greenhouse
Laying stones by entrances to the barn
Possibly installing an iron fire place in the barn
Renovating and painting garden furniture
There is also always some of this to be done at our place:
Handling fire wood for heating (chopping, splitting and stacking)
Weeding, planting, preparing beds (we try to use covering as a method in our garden, but are not quite there yet)
Taking care of harvest in late summer
Mowing lawns and preventing nature from moving in alltogether
We try not to have a volunteer looking after our children all day or very frequently. We like being with our children when we are at home and they go to the local day care when it is not summer holidays. Occasionally we ask a volunteer to act as a baby-sitter.
Occasionally, you might find yourself helping an artist in residence with something, but mostly we take care of the artists ourselves. At times, Åsa might also need a hand with some art-related project.
Please note that we do not have our own insurance covering volunteers/employees. Although we will of course make every precaution to prevent accidents, we strongly recommend you buy a travel insurance that covers manual work, from World Nomads or similar.
Swedish, English, some Spanish
We offer helpers lodging in an adjacent property with three cabins (4 double rooms), in the main one there is a fully working kitchen and a bathroom with shower, washing machine and compost toilet.
At present there is a router with a SIM card which helpers can top up if they use the 20 gigabytes which we install every month for new volunteers (its quite cheap if one isn't streaming videos etc). We have mobile Wifi always in our house but we have to be bit restrictive about helpers using it as it is extra admin for us and it uses up our monthly bandwidth, but it is always there if someone needs to check something quickly or make travel and work arrangements.
We eat lunch together and we will provide the food for breakfast and evening meal that helpers cook themselves. We appreciate help with preparing lunch, washing up and with the cleaning of the cabins.
Hållnäs is a beautiful part of Uppland, with a wild rocky coast line, many birds and wild animals, old fishing villages and iron mills dating from 18th Century - some turned into culture centers, like Lövsta which is not far from us and worth a visit. There is plenty to see and do if you are interested in nature walks and history, but no pubs or shops nearby. The closest town, Tierp, has cinema, banks, shops and train station and is about 30 mins drive from us.
The nearest bus stop is 20 mins bike ride away, the nearest cash point is in Skärplinge, ca 20 mins drive by car.
However, when you arrive at our place, you will hopefully understand why we've chosen this spot, and like us enjoy the quiet and beauty of this remote village.
The idyllic surroundings aside, it's worth mentioning that the Baltic coast, just like Russia, Eastern Europe, and parts of central europe has ticks (the tiny insects) that spread lyme disease (bacterial infection) and TBE (a virus), the latter can be serious. You can google these, so you have an idea what it is.
Generally, it's enough to wear long trousers/sleeves when walking in high grass and forest, and check oneself for ticks often. We are vaccinated against TBE ourselves, many of our neighbors are not.
Most travel clinics offer TBE vaccination. In some countries they may not offer it or it is very expensive. If you are traveling in Sweden before you come to us you can have the vaccinations in all cities at drop-in clinics. You need two jabs at least two weeks apart to be covered.
Most ticks are NOT dangerous, and there aren't many people that get TBE each year - but we'd rather mention this now than when/if you get a tick!
We have discovered that in Swedish healthcare it is very good for EU volunteers to have a European health insurance card. They are free from your country's insurance system.
Acceso a Internet
Acceso a Internet limitado
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5 hours per day, 5 days a week.