Le Beal, Taulignan, France

Le Béal's contribution to the exhibition is a piece in wadded patchwork created by a small handwork group, using material given as a gift by friends in Africa.

Le Béal is a small land-based community in the Drôme département of the Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France, home to 23 villagers. We are 23 long-term co-workers, some of whom live in with their children, and we welcome several short-term co-workers every year. The life of Le Béal revolves around four house communities, three main workshops (a vegetable garden, a small farm and a herb workshop), and a rich social and cultural life. Parents, brothers and sisters of the villagers are also part of the social landscape of Le Béal and it is a place where many visitors and friends are welcomed throughout the year.   Le Béal is also very involved in the life of the village of Taulignan particularly in musical events, village festivals and fairs. Le Béal's Grand Atelier, which can host more than a hundred guests for social or artistic events, is also a welcoming place for our friends and the people of the village. Le Béal was founded it 1977 in the south of France by a group of young workers who had been trained in the Camphill Schools in Aberdeen as well as in Botton Village. The French context did not allow for volunteer commitment and from the beginning people had to be employed. Creativity, fraternity and solidarity were at work when a common fund with the salaries was started and maintained for many years.  Renovation works, constant adaptation and settling were on the agenda in the early years. Human encounters allowed for important support to the community and for destiny to unfold. These relationships with the authorities, with board members and many others have always been cherished and cultivated. People in Le Béal showed readiness to change course when it was necessary. At some point no new families were willing to commit to the Camphill life style and the decision was taken to employ people coming in to work on a daily basis - an important change in Le Béal history at the end of the nineties. The people present thought this was the end of sharing life in Le Béal. Some years later a young mother with her baby asked if she could come and live in Le Béal and soon after other families were knocking on the door. Today five families live in Le Béal and sharing life between young and old is very much appreciated by all.