Monday, December 9, 2019


I began this post back in July...but didn't get terribly far.  I think I will just post SOMETHING even if it isn't in order, because when I try and get organised and chronological I find that so much time has passed that it becomes an insurmountable challenge, and then I don't actually get around to posting at all.  So here are a few pics of what I've done this year, probably not in proper order, but...perhaps it doesn't matter so much!

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It's Winter here now, though sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, as we've had some extraordinary days of warmth and sunshine.

I miss my little blog.  It seems to be so hard to find the time to write, and I also feel too, that blogs may be going the way of handwritten letters, no one seems to have the time or the attention span, they've all moved to Twitter I think.  And I find even with myself, as someone who grew up before personal computers and the internet, that my attention span, my ability to concentrate on ONE thing without being distracted, has been affected.  I don't know what the answer is.

But, I'm here now, and I have things to show.  Strange that my desire to move to the country for a 'quiet life' seems to have actually had the opposite effect.  I specifically decided not to commit to  a solo project for this year's 'Brave New Works' Arts Festival in my little town, because I really relished the thought of a winter spent percolating some ideas quietly and without a looming deadline.  But there is always something happening, I always seem to be going somewhere or doing something, so I've not had much in the way of sitting quietly and writing by the fire!


A dear friend and marvellous writer and poet, Linda Bradbury and I put our heads together and created a 2 woman show, Windborne, for the Denmark Festival of Voice 2019 in June.  Poetry, stories, songs old and new...of exile and belonging, of finding refuge, and being turned away...and how we are all immigrants in one way or another, searching for home.  The lovely photos were taken by Hazel Blake.


Three paintings, three stories, all feathers and birds, tales turned around and looked at from a different point of view.  Perhaps the brothers in The Wild Swans grew to love their wings, and the freedom flight gave them.  Perhaps, in this day and age of exile from nature, banishment from the more-than-human world, it's not so mad to want to escape human company and hold counsel with birds as the mad King Suibhne did.  And in the ancient Welsh tale of Blodeuwedd...was becoming an owl really a punishment to a women who had been called into existence solely to be given to a man she knew nothing of...did they stop to ask her what she wanted?


The Great Southern Art Trail is a major event on the calendar of any artist in the area, coinciding with the September school holidays.  The Butter Factory Artists' Collective chose an exhibition theme, LAND+MARKS, to be interpreted in any way we felt seemed right for us.  I considered the marks we make upon the land, and the marks the land leaves upon us.  'Love Letters to a Wild Planet' was an attempt at saying something, using non-literal 'calligraphy', creating poetry or prayers or love letters that might say anything you wanted them to, about your love for this wild green place we call home.

Oh yes, and somewhere in the last few months, I began making jewellery!


I think I began in May!  Some time ago my dad gave me some recycled copper electrical wire.  I KNEW it would come in handy for something...just wasn't sure what.  And I still have all the beautiful sea glass that my friend Sophia, who so sadly and suddenly passed away last year, gave me before she moved to Scotland.  It finally dawned on me that I could do something useful with both at the same time.  That led on to further experiments, and a fair amount of web research and YouTube watching to learn more.  So I've finally found a use for all the weird bits and bobs of old jewellery, interesting beads, and thrift shop finds that I have collected over the years.


Brave New Works Arts Festival came around again, and though I was intending to have a quiet time of it this year, it didn't quite turn out that way.  The Denmark Storytellers' debut performances saw me providing incidental music and sound flourishes as nine storytellers wove their original and adapted tales to rapt audiences.  Nine Tales, told over four performances, three half hour stories per show.  Some of them had never done anything like this before, and it was marvellous to behold as they held the audiences in the palms of their hands; confident, charismatic, beautiful.

The theme for BNW #26 was LOVE...because even if it seems cliched or sentimental, there was such a strong feeling that this is what we need now, this is what the world needs desperately now.  But I did struggle to wrap my head around a way of creating work for an exhibition with a theme as open, as broad, and as emotional as 'Love'.  But serendipity or synchronicity, or both, stepped in as it always seems to when you need it.  I did a Screen Printing workshop and because of misplaced emails, I had to rush at the last minute to find a subject to use as my artwork.  So I did a quick digital drawing of a 'Tree Heart' and used that as my rough guide.  I haven't done any screen printing for over thirty years, but I was quite pleased with the result (though the photos could be better!)

But I needed something else...a big piece as the centrepiece.  My friend was in Frankfurt for the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, and she described it in a text as a mini 'Metropolis', and I couldn't resist a little joke..."Superman's or Fritz Lang's?" I asked.  And across the miles, on opposite sides of the world, we discussed via text, the 1927 classic silent film.  And she told me the quote that comes right at the end of the film.  "The Heart must be the Mediator between the Head and the Hands." And suddenly I had my image...and it became this...'Head, HEART, Hands.'  A large piece on heavy watercolour paper, in charcoal, pencil and acrylic ink.  And it went home with a very lovely man who bought it as a Christmas present for his wife.

I liked the technique/style so much, I did another one.  I wonder if any readers remember this picture, from, oh, about ten years ago?!

Well, this one was based on the same 'model', only she's a lot bigger these days.  It's not really a portrait, but a likeness is there.  I can't believe how fast time little munchkins are 18 and 15 now.

'Let Loose Your Wild, Green Heart'

Phew!  And now Christmas is only two weeks away and there is always so much to do this time of year!  But perhaps I'm sort-of up to date now.  And if you don't hear from me before Christmas, have a wonderful festive season, and here's to love and joy and good news in 2020...because the world so desperately needs it.

Peace and Goodwill to all of humanity, and to all the more-than-human world too, for we are not separate.

Friday, March 8, 2019

A New Year... we are in March, so this new year is travelling very fast.  It has been a little while and more since I last wrote, but I have been busy.

When I last wrote, the 'Wolf Bride' was still fresh in my mind, after the performances at the Butter Factory Studios, a wonderful Artists' Collective of fantastic women.  And now, I'm one of them!  It's a very new and exciting adventure for me, I now have somewhere not only to show my work, but also a place, that's a little bigger than the tiny corner of our shed, to make that work.  I'm looking forward to all the possibilities this year presents.

But more on what I've been making and doing.  I had some fun a few weeks ago with scraps of fabric and onion skins.  I also decided it was high time I finished the Talesingr puppet.  I've had my small books of the Talesingr stories for sale in the gallery shop for a while, and it seemed the perfect time to bring the stories, the Talesingr's Children, and the Talesingr herself all together in one place.  So, I spent a few days sewing and stitching small scraps of naturally dyed silk and cotton, digging among my beads and bits and bobs collections, and bringing her to life.  I'm pleased with how she turned out, I think she is ready to tell stories now.  I hope I'm up to the challenge of collaborating with her.

The Talesingr sitting regally at the Butter Factory Gallery

I felt that it was time to give the Talesingr's Children a new lease of life.  I still have three of the five that I made, so I created new settings for them.  Here are two, together with the Talesingr at last.

The 'Tale of the Foolish Bird'

'The Tale of the Wolfbride'.  My first 'incarnation' of the story that became the songs, that became the poems, became the performance.

A couple of small, new pieces, currently in the gallery.  I'm working on a collaborative project with a friend that will become a performance for this year's Festival of Voice in June.  We are working with ideas of birds, flightpaths, flight, survival, migrations, refugees...and how to find home, a place of feathers have been much in my mind.

And...I bought a new guitar!  A lovely Tanglewood steel string acoustic electric dreadnought.  I am loving it.

I'm busy, busy, busy with creative things.  The first project is taking up much of my mind and time, we only have 3 months.  The Butter Factory has a major exhibition opening in the middle of April, and I'm working on ideas for that right now.  Then there is a big, storytelling project happening in town over the next few months, culminating in several performances at this year's 'Brave New Works' festival in November.  And there is another story knocking on my door and refusing to leave me alone, so I am researching and thinking and scribbling and making mad and strange connections between things.  It might be something and it might be nothing, but I won't know until I've taken the journey.  

Strange how these projects overlap and meld, I look up something, follow a thread of thought for one, and find myself side-tracked, hijacked and led by the nose into another.  The fundamental interconnectedness of all things.  And I love a quest.

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