Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Wanton return!

Revised copies of The Wanton Green have just come in, so grab your cheque books, or contact me for paypal ideas and give yourself a treat (well, we think it is!)

From original blog posting:
Over the last year, I have been one of a team editing a book that has now been released. The Wanton Green is an exciting collection of essays from (mostly) British pagans exploring their relations to places

From the lost magics and holy waters of London to bleak Staffordshire Moorlands; from childhood adventures in Rochdale to faeries in Devon and Cumbria, a new book, The Wanton Green, offers readers a different perspective on landscape

As our relationship with the world unravels and needs to take new form, or maybe to reconnect with an older pattern, The Wanton Green presents a collection of inspiring, provoking and engaging essays by modern pagans talking about their own deep and passionate relationships with the Earth. With contributions from 20 authors that range from Druids to Heathens, from Chaos Magicians to Witches, Shamans and Voudou Mambo, Wanton Green brings voices from the diverse and growing Pagan community of Britain to the environmental debate and promises food for thought and inspiration for the spirit

Contributors include Emma Restall Orr, Runic John, Robert Wallsi, Jenny Blain, Melissa Harrington, Graham Harvey, Maria van Daalen, Susan Greenwood and Susan Cross. (Visit the Wanton Green blog for tastes of the treats within...)

All the contributors have forgone their royalties, allowing any arising to go to Honouring the Ancient Dead 

Ordering copies
a) direct from me £ 11.99 a copy, + £2.00 P&P for first copy and £1 per copy after that (cheques to Creeping Toad, or I can invoice you - 51-d West, Rd, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6HQ, UK
b) from Mandrake, the publishers
c) through a local bookshop or on-line store

The Wanton Green:
contemporary pagan writings on place
editors: G MacLellan and S Cross

Mandrake Books, Oxford, 2011
ISBN: 978 1  906958 29 9

there is a chapter on Lud's Church where icicles
drip from the ivy and grass at Midwinter (sometimes)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Away with the Faeries!

and we were! on a hot, steamy day in the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, there were visitors everywhere. Picnics were eaten, streams splashed in. Dogs chased balls and balls chased ducks and ducks chased anyone who might have bread concealed about their persons
the team hard at work

This was an event in the Stone and Water Exploring with Stories project. For other events, have a look at the Explorings blog

troll picnic stuffed into someone's hat!

and among all this bedlam, who would have thought that there were still small quiet corners where the watchful watched.....
you can never be sure who is watching!

Our intrepid goblin-hinters, faerie followers and troll-huggers (more than a hundred in the day), peered and pried and found clues (tiny witch's broomsticks, stray goblin ears and troll eyebrows and even scales from a mermaid's tail!)

Under the bridge,
An old troll sits,
Fishing in the river for shoes

The wicked witch of the waters
Lives in a willow tree
Watching the water and wishing she was by the sea

Our discoveries gave us new stories, new friends to meet. Natalie always brings chips when she comes to the Gardens so she can share fish and chips with a troll. Unfortunately, Adam realised that a lot of the ducks (see above) are actually faeries, transformed by some cheating goblins who then had a party, got drunk and fell over. The fountain is, of course, a faerie bath and when the faeries are bathing, the ducks flee because a) who would want to see a naked faerie? and b) short-sighted faeries have been known to use ducks instead of sponges

musicians of all ages, called us to our tasks

References used:
The Fairies (poem) by William Allingham
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony Di Terlizzi and Holly Black
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
one of our hunters brought Natalie, the Christmas Fairy with her as a book to recommend
by the end, we couldn't tell who was human
 and who wasn't...

Summer excitements

As hot sunny days arrive suddenly in a rush, I've been out and about telling stories, being told stories, making a mess and generally having a lovely time sliding people into creative ways of engaging with the world around them

A few examples follow....

All geared up and ready for stories: a community day at Padfield village in Derbyshire for High Peak Community Arts
High Peak Comm Arts have a lovely yurt to tell stories in....
all ready for action: chair, drum and puppet.....
There was also a day at Risley Moss Country Park as part of a biodiversity project Warrington Museum have been running. Here, a team of young people and I explored the woods and made tree books, wrote new tree poems and invented some wild tree stories, aiming to use the group's existing bodiversity knowledge to inform our storytelling

My Tree,
It's thin and tall
but not so small,
That's my tree.
Ash and ivy are leaves
that'll scuttle up your sleeves,
That's my tree
Bright red lines are the marks
that dance around the dark brown bark,
That's my tree

There is no tree that smiles with glee
But my tree

One bird chirping in a tree,
Two blue dragonflies fluttering by the tree,
Three damselflies chasing each other over the pond,
Four daisies blooming in the sun,
Five flies flying away,
Six children squelching in the mud,
Eight birds in a flock,
Nine trees almost making a forest,
Ten buildings in the distance

Most recently, we've just had a day of running Away with the Faeries, Goblins and Trolls....but that can make a new post

Monday, 9 July 2012

Opportunities for a bit of inspiration

Training has suffered a bit in our current distressed times so when there is a chance to do something exciting, we can only hope that people will take the opportunity to dive in.

Why not seize the moment and find new inspiration, activities to use and renewed delight in the work we share.

‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’

featuring leading international and national experts in place-based education

 22nd-24th August 2012, The Burren, Ireland
This unique event will bring together leading local, national and international thinkers and practitioners who specialise in the theme of place-based learning (jncluding your very own Creeping Toad). Place-based learning encourages the use of the local environment as a learning resource. It immerses individuals in local heritage, culture and landscape, encouraging them to become more aware of and engaged with their place.

Go to the previous entry on this blog for more information 
improvising mantids

Monday 15th October 2012
Leaves, grass and plastic bottles: creative ways of using natural, found and recycled materials

 activities and inspiration using natural, found and recycled materials with groups to encourage a creative exploration of the world around us

Description: with resources that fit in a single bag, quick activities to use natural materials in sculpture, storymaking, puppetry and mess on a walk through the woods with a group. Later, we'll add more recycled materials and make masks, bigger puppets, illuminated sculptures, hanging mobiles, drifting ghosts. A chance to experiment, improvise and inspire yourself and your groups with the resources around us

Where: Bishops Wood Environment Centre, Worcestershire

Course cost:  £135.00 
For further details and information about this and other Bishops Wood courses,
please contact:
Bishops Wood Centre
Crossway Green, Stourport-on-Severn
DY13 9SE
Telephone: 01299 250513 Fax: 01299 250131
Visit the website at:

good training offers, ideas, activities and time to absorb them. We cannot guarantee sunshine, however. 

‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’

‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’
featuring leading international and national experts in place-based education
22nd-24th August 2012, The Burren
Burrenbeo Trust are delighted to announce that we are now accepting bookings for our inaugural Learning Landscape Symposium titled ‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’. This unique event will bring together leading local, national and international thinkers and practitioners who specialise in the theme of place-based learning.  Place-based learning encourages the use of the local environment as a learning resource. It immerses individuals in local heritage, culture and landscape, encouraging them to become more aware of and engaged with their place.
With 20 talks and interactive sessions, this workshop will have something for everyone.  Leading experts from the US - David Sobel and David Orr- and the UK - Gordon MacLellan and Tony Kendle - will be joined by our own place based educators including Michael Gibbons, Katy Egan, Sean McDonagh, John Feehan, Gordon D’Arcy, Nessa Cronin, Karen Till, Patrick McCormack, Eugene Lambe and many, many more . Participants will be immersed in one of the nation’s most inspiring places and challenged to engage fully with this place and the issues that impact on it, learning lessons and techniques which can be adapted to their own place and its needs.
The Learning Landscape Workshop will feature a combination of keynote lectures at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, themed workshops in venues across the beautiful village of Kinvara and site based workshops in the stunning Burren landscape.  Areas that will be explored during the event include: what are the benefits, for people and places, of place-based learning? What is best practice worldwide in engaging and inspiring people with regard to their place? And how can the Burren, Ireland ’s ultimate outdoor classroom, be better utilised and developed as a learning landscape? 
This event is open to everyone.  The workshop price is €150 (€125 for Trust members).  Day rates may be offered on request, however these are subject to availability.  
THERE ARE ONLY 100 PLACES AVAILABLE for this event.  Those that book first will be given priority when choosing workshops so get booking if you don’t want to be disappointed.
To book your place please fill in the attached booking form and pop it in the post or send us the necessary details by email or phone to or 091-638096.  To view the evolving programme, go to  A final programme will be circulated well in advance of the event.
Burrenbeo will be offering two full scholarships to attend this workshop (worth €150 each).  To be considered for these please send us 250 words on why you would benefit from attending this workshop, including information on your background on place based learning.  The deadline for such proposals is the 1st August.  
This workshop has been part-supported by The Heritage Council.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Fossils make friends

a weekend that began with foxgloves

Our tent at the Garden pARTy
Our Ancient Landscapes project spent this weekend as an installation on the Buxton Art Trail. We entertained some 150 visitors over the weekend, inviting them to stroke, cuddle and play with our ancient creatures......capturing the essence of the Carboniferous environments that gave rise to the limestone that we live on here

WE were one of four sets of artists exhibiting in Caroline's wonderful garden: Caroline Small herself, Adrienne and Langley Brown, Caroline's Mum and Team ( cakes and tea!) and ourselves. Thanks to Langley and Ady for the tents! Our umbrellas came courtesy of High Peak Community Arts

Visitors wandered into...

block printing fossils with facepaint
ammonite arm
trilobite arm

We did discover, however, that by Day 2 the Reef was growing adventurous....

coral colonising
And then made a valiant escape attempt....
reef pretending to be foxgloves

ancient landscape and ancient limestone