The history of Azule is closely linked to the history of our Founder, Camille Shafer and her husband, David.  Born in France amidst WWII, Camille lost her right hand at just 2 years of age to a booby trap.  By 1964, Camille had adapted & went to study at the Ecole des Beoux Arts in France, where she was active in the Student Protest Movement.

At 26, Camille emigrated to Canada to teach art, shortly after meeting her husband, David Shafer, a photographer from the midlands of the US.

David and Camille Shafer moved to Hot Springs, N.C. in 1972.  They connected with their neighbors immediately in the community of Bluff, in Madison County, and began a life of homesteading.

Camille and Dave’s house, a small cabin in the woods, became a center of activity and their community grew. Organizing art and music events, quilt shows, and regular jam sessions, their home began to transform into the beginnings of what Azule would one day encapture, a place for community and arts in all their forms.

An architecture without architect:

There is no thoughts of an achievement that could be reached within a lifetime. All decisions are made for duration… they (Camille and Dave Shafer) are developing and following an array of attitudes which, while answering their needs at the present time, will lead to a gift to the community at large for the future, outside of the real estate market.

To learn every detail, to live the creative process, to understand it, to share it and to communicate it, are the means before a finished comfortable place brings the main chores of cleaning, maintaining, more money etc., all at the expense of creating and experimenting. To live (for 10 years now -that is 30 years in 2013 +10 previous years of preparation, attempts, failures and so much research -) inside a construction site has developed behaviors related to comfort and basic necessities that are at odds with ideas of social promotion, but that are also bringing back memories of our youth and giving value to the fights of former generations of artists.


-Gwylene Gallimard
Former Board Member &
Long time friend to azule

Camille & David Shafer move to Western North Carolina

→ 1972 ←

After marrying in 1969, Camille & David Shafer moved to a small cabin outside the community of Hot Springs.  Quickly the couple settled into the fabric of rural life, David taking a post office job and Camille crafting quilts.  It wasn’t long before they became integral members of the community and their home a space of creative exploration & community building.

Expansion Begins


By 1980 Camille built the first model of what would one day become Azule, and expansion of the cabin began with the vision of becoming a hub of the wider artistic community. Utilizing local craftsmen & reusing materials the expansion took off.

In 1988 David was diagnosed with progressive Multiple Sclerosis and emphasis was put on keeping Azule accessible. David passed in 2001, only a few years before Azule welcomed its first Art Residents.


incorporated as a Non Profit

First Art Residents Arrive


To Now


Since welcoming our first Art Resident Azule has hosted over 600 Artists from around the world