Sunday, November 18, 2018

Love is the Answer...

Quite a while ago, I decided to join in on Mo Orkiszewski's beautiful "I dream of a world where love is the answer" project.  Mo is an amazing artist living in Sydney, she creates the most beautiful stitched and multi-media works made from repurposed and found materials, natural findings and more.  The dream project brings together contributions of pennants and tiny talismans from artists all over the world, all to be gathered together by Mo into one beautiful art piece.  Do drop in to her website and have a look at all the other beautiful contributions, as well as Mo's own lovely work.  Here are a few quick photos of my piece, which will be winging its way eastward tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sadness and The Wolf Bride

Over the first weekend in November, I performed The Wolf Bride on three consecutive nights, during our Brave New Works #25 Festival.  It was nerve wracking, and marvellous, in equal measures.  I know I've done it before, but not quite like this, and not with an art exhibition to go with it.  Possibly trying to wear too many hats, I think, I'm glad I did it all, but I'm not sure I'd do it all again.

But the audiences were wonderful, and my tale seems to touch a nerve every time I tell it, as I not only had previous audience members back to see and hear again, but the comments from people seeing the performance for the first time told me how much this story resonates.  Something is coming through in this tale that touches people deeply, I keep hearing the same phrases over and over again, "you touched my heart..", " touched something deep inside me...", "I remembered my own wildness listening to your story..."  Audience members came up and clutched my hand to thank me...I even made blokes cry (not an easy thing in Australia!)  I can't take credit for all this, I think I've only managed to distill something that is coming through me, rather than of me, an old tale that we need to retell again.

I put my little books and prints out on display, and lots of people went home with them as well, I hope they enjoy the broadening of the story that the Wolf Poems bring.

And I found out a few days ago that one of the big paintings on display, the Cailleach Dancing, has bewitched one audience member so much that she has decided the Sharp Old Woman has to come home with her.  I do love it when a painting finds its owner, it whispers a story that they recognise, and they know it belongs to them.

Here are a few pics of the exhibition, and the performances.

More little booklets.  I'm a bit obsessed with books.

Decided to put all the Talesingr's Children into one little book.  I think it's about time for some more stories too.

A set/exhibition design in my Visual Journal.  In the end many of these ideas had to be abandoned simply because...well, sometimes, simple is best.  But, maybe they'll get used for something else one day!

And more thoughts on a simple 'travelling' set idea.

The final page in the Visual Journal.  The final version of 'This is Not a Wolf Poem'.

The Exhibition set up.

Set up for performance.

Yours truly!

And below, a sampler of this year's Brave New Works Festival, filmed by Michael Hemmings.  You can find a little snippet of me just past the 2 minute mark, but it's worth watching the rest.  Quite a show this little town puts on!

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But sadness followed a wonderful weekend.  On Wednesday last week, I heard the news that a dear friend had passed away, in Scotland, where she has lived for the last twenty years.  And it dawned on me that SHE was the wild spirit I knew who really did, "disappear outdoors in all weathers and at all hours, because the first snow must be danced in barefoot..." just as my Wolf Bride did.  I didn't realise how much she had influenced my story, and now I will never be able to tell her, and she will never hear it.  Sophia would swim pretty much anywhere she could find water deep enough, no matter what the weather.  She danced barefoot on beaches and paddocks and moors and the machair, and she sang.  She sang anywhere and everywhere there was someone to listen, in folk clubs and pubs, at Celtic Connections and other festivals many times over the years. She was the person who talked me into joining the Gaelic choir she co-founded, way back in 1996 when we met and bonded over W.B. Yeats at uni.  I doubt if I'd be singing in public at all if it wasn't for her.  It is surreal to lose someone you've known for so long, who has been living a long way away for so is as if she is still 'over there', and I can't quite get my head around the idea that she won't be turning up to stay a few days and drink whiskey and talk and sing long into the night.  Here she is, singing with Skeeal, a Manx group she sang with a few years ago.  She had the most glorious, deep, earthy beautiful voice, but could reach soaring heights too.  I still can't believe she's gone.  

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