EVS at Zavod Voluntariat for already 8 months, Anaëlle had the chance to participate in a SCI workcamp, her first time in this kind of project.
Me and others volunteers were warmly welcomed at the Layer house, who is a cultural art centre and also a nice place to take a coffee in Kranj, Slovenia. Established in 2011, the name of this place is a tribute to the baroque painter Leopold Layer.
The layer house is also the office of the organization Zavod Carnica, a great NGO who created and implemented this workcamp.
The goal of this workcamp was to renovate an old house with its garden and make this place alive again, accessible and open for differents art projects. The idea was also meant to create an inspiring environment for local artists, a place to express new ideas in group dynamics, and a community garden with a playground for children.
In the first day I met the 11 others volunteer for this project. We were an international team from France, Spain, Kirghizistan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine, Italy and England.
After taking our cue in our new home where we slept, we MET with Zala, the coordinator of the project, and Blaž, the camp leader, to get to know each other first and then to talk more about our work during these 10 days. The strength of our group was the diversity of knowledge; some were more oriented to architecture or art in general, others more interested in urban planning, tourism and others more accustomed to physical work. After discussing the qualities of each of us the long awaited moment arrived…. The discovery of the house and garden !!!
Well, we were not disappointed but very surprised! The garden was more like a huge forest of weeds and the house seemed like abandoned centuries ago… We somehow tried to discover the rooms of the house avoiding spider webs and many overlapping objects. It would be a lie not to admit that when my eyes met the eyes of the other volunteers, I could feel the anxiety but also a lot of excitement. After this visit we finally have a clearer picture of the future work.
At the end of the first day we decided to learn more about our group in an informal way over a glass of wine or beer, maybe two glasses, or three…!
Now I will try to explain how was the work, the team work, the organization of the work, what we did, how and why.
First it was the least exciting part: cleaning the house and the garden. Later we started to scrape walls with spatula, and believe me, after two days of scrapping ripe to remove layers of paint, I thought I lost my arm… But all of these efforts paid off!! We found the very first layer of paint of the walls, the oldest but the most beautiful and we all agreed on this: We should preserve this and paint in white around the wallpaper, to draw attention to the old parts.
It was very easy to work within a team and it was fast dividing the tasks because of the great atmosphere and connection of the group.
We were also here to discover the city and the residents, that’s why we had planned some activities after work. Each evening there was a jazz festival in the city, it was the best time to relax!
We also participated in an opening of a photography exhibition created by Tomaž Šantl from Kranj, We went to a movie night event outside, we visited the tunnel underneath the town of Kranj, we did a guided tour in the city, we also had the chance to have a private explanation of the Bansky exhibition… and the best thing was when we went to “Glinokopna jezerca” near Kranj, to swim and do a picnic, it was very nice!
It was my best experience as a volunteer. I met amazing people and spent a great time with them. I also felt very helpful in a good cause, through participating in the creation of a new place for the people of Kranj who were very amazed and impressed with our work during the opening event of the house. I hope this house will endure over time and inspire people to develop new ideas to enrich the cultural life of Kranj.