With Nothing But Art
A house heavy with history, grey and forgotten, towering over one of the best views in Santa Bárbara on Pico Island. No one would expect the explosion of color awaiting as soon as the old door opens to the home of Amanda Scorer. She came to the Azores in 2019, after traveling the world, with nothing but a paintbrush and a dream. Now she is transforming, not only her house but also the people around her.
What looks like Perfection
For most of her life, Amanda lived the picture perfect example of what our society calls “success”. She was the assistant head teacher at a school in her home country Great Britain, had a lovely son, amazing looking holidays, a big house and a nice car. But behind the scenes she struggled heavily with the stress of being a single parent, working too much, a toxic romantic relationship and the realization that this life she had worked so hard for didn’t make her happy at all. So much so that she tried to escape in alcohol and drugs, but it was no use. The truth remained that she was unhappy.
Until the 12th of December 2014. When she broke down and felt nothing but pain and sorrow and this very loud and direct voice telling her one single word: STOP. Stop the drugs, stop the job, stop the relationship, stop it all. Just stop.
In the following weeks she listened to this voice, accepting it as an awakening rather than a breakdown and resigned from her job, sold her house and every single belonging she had. She did what the voice had told her. She stopped. And started anew.
“The voice only told me only one word: Stop.”Amanda about her Awakening
Out Into the World
The first step into her new life was a One Way Ticket to Australia. Staying one year and a half on this fascinating continent she not only travelled and became the artist that she is today, but she also learned some valuable life lessons along the way.
One of them being that she didn’t want fear in her life. Why was she afraid of things that might happen? Why was she afraid to trust? Why did she worry so much about so many things? Worry would not make her life easier. In the contrary. Whatever you focus on, you attract.
Being confronted with these major life lessons she quickly had to realize that she might have set out on a journey to find a new place to call home, but in reality she needed to find herself and unlearn everything she knew.
After her life changing time in Australia her journey continued in India and Nepal, where she developed her spirituality and met people that transformed her life.
As if to test her new faith into a life of abundance she went back to the UK for six months, dipping her toes back into the teaching world, hating every second of it and returning to her nomadic life, exploring Europe this time. She was free, but still longing to finally arrive at a place that felt like home.
As Poor as a Church Mouse
On the day of our interview it was Amandas two year anniversary of coming to Portugal. But on that day back in 2018 she had no idea that only a few months later she would purchase a big house on the Azores. In fact, she had never heard about the archipelago before until someone hired her for a paint job on Pico Island.
Arriving here she instantly felt a strong urge to finally settle again after over four years of traveling. Having learnt to trust her intuition and letting the Universe guide her, she said Yes to the feeling. She looked for places to buy and found the big, dark house that is now known as “Casa da Arte”. She knew: This was it. In the beginning, it did not look well for her, because the prize was too high and her savings were almost in the end. If she wanted this, truly wanted this, she needed to be all in. So she went ahead and paid with every single cent that she had left. Literally.
The home was hers, the keys were placed in her hands but the house was in ruins and she didn’t even have ten euros left to live.
“It was dark, the roof had been leaking, everything was wet and dirty and falling apart. It was a house with 50 years worth of dust and crap. But me being me I screamed ‘I LOVE IT! I am moving in!‘ because I could feel it deep inside my heart.”Amanda on deciding on her house
Nothing Without Purpose
Building a home when you can barely afford your own food is a challenge not everyone is willing to take on. It is hard work and not at all a romantic fairytale. But Amanda is not one to give up or be discouraged. No matter if it is her Diabetes Type I, the freezing winters or the months without money, she tackles everything with dignity and resilience as if this was always meant to be her path. And Life rewarded her trust, over and over again.
While slowly transforming her place into a comfortable home she found whatever she needed beneath the ruins. The day she decided to fix a certain area of the house, she would find the necessary tools. And if it wasn’t found in her own walls she would find it outside, left behind by people who considered these things garbage even tho they were usable.
“Whatever I needed, it appeared.”Amanda about building her home
Whoever visits “Casa da Arte” now is not only surprised by the warmth and color of the space Amanda created, but also the creative ways she reuses and transforms her findings. Driftwood becomes a chandelier, broken dishes become a mosaic, everything with a smooth surface becomes a canvas. Her ability to upcycle and turn what others consider trash into something beautiful and useful is astonishing. Nothing in her house is without purpose. She gives meaning to everything she touches.
“Over 90% of this house is recycled, reused, repurposed, repaired. It might not be new and shiny but I have more than I ever had.”Amanda on her sustainable mission of shaping her place into a home
Opening the Doors
Even tho “Casa da Arte” is still a work in progress, Amandas doors are already wide open. For her friends as well as for strangers and Workaway volunteers who help her renovate the home. Whoever is willing to accept the conditions of a half finished house, has an artistic mind and doesn’t mind her two adorable cats Kinks and Lyra is more than welcome.
During Corona her house was the shelter of two german volunteers – Sophie and Lukas – who got stranded on the island. They left their mark on Casa da Arte not only with important work on the house but also with artpieces like the graffiti on the outside walls. This is what the house is all about. Collective, colorful energy.
For the future Amanda hopes to open up a small museum displaying the rich history of the house and its previous owners as well as the art that defines this unique place.
“No matter how much it hurts, every day is a new day. Every day is a chance to make that day the best day it could ever be.”Amanda on her Healing Process
Healing with Art
Amandas journey has led her around the entire globe and from “having it all and being unhappy” to “living without anything and finding herself”. From the UK, to Australia and Asia all the way to the tiny island of Pico. But her healing and discovery is far from over, as there is always something new to learn and new challenges to be faced. Some days are really hard, as the scars from her old life still linger within her and she has no support from her loved ones and family. That is why spiritual practices and therapeutic exercises are implemented into her days as much as creating art.
Amanda wants to share what she has learned about healing. This is why she offers art therapy classes for free. It is her way of giving back to the community, as creativity can truly transform a broken heart.
As soon as the pandemic is over she will also offer art workshops and commissions to finance the free healing classes and the food on her table. With her background as a teacher, her personal experience and her talent, she combines her skills and passions to something of service and beauty.
Amandas story is a wild one and one that not only teaches us to listen to our heart despite all odds, but mostly that nothing, no matter how broken, dilapidated and forgotten it might seem, is without purpose. Everything can be healed and reshaped. The value remains, it just needs to be treated with love.