Saturday, 21 September 2013

Old stones and ancient bones

Old stones and ancient bones
poems from the hollow hills
a new book from Gordon MacLellan

I don’t often publish my own poems and stories. I write articles and practical books and keep my more personal writing, well, personal.

But after a slightly hysterical trip to Orkney last year, I decided it was time to start sharing some of those more passionate moments with stones, bones, trees, woods and ponds. Old stones and ancient bones is the result: a small flock of poems inspried by neolithic sites, reclaimed limestone quarries and riverbanks

Getting your own copy: I will sooner or later have copies to sell - but I am on the road just now and won’t be home for another 3 weeks - it is probably quicker to get a copy direct from Lulu or maybe Amazon (but not on their system yet) - or order from your local independent book seller!

Contents include:
The hills are waiting, The satyr’s songs: the Waking Song, Broch of Gurness, Tomb of the Eagles, Anticipation 1 and 2, Kelpie

Taster poem to keep you going:


Autumn waits, 
Falling into gold, and yellow, and russet,
As mist gathers,
Wool unravelled through the trees.
In the hollow dales, 
The lake anticipates winter,
And the rune-cracked ice.
But for now,
Its dark, cold reflective depth
Is divination enough

Title: Old stones and ancient bones
Author: Gordon MacLellan
Publisher: Creeping Toad
ISBN 978-1-291-46593-8

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

From sea eagles to small children: training courses this autumn!

Time for glue, imaginations, inspirations and wild and rewarding days! Flex those elbows, wiggle those fingers and give your inspiration a boost!

card sculpture landscape
Saturday 28th: Celebrating Wildlife
I am running workshops at this exciting event in Portree on Skye organised by the Skye and Lochalsh Environment Forum.. I’ll be running one session on building new environmental stories and another that i suspect will end up with either lots of dramatic sea-eagle, otter and wild cat masks or beautiful, elegant landscape sculptures in card...or both

Official blurb:

“Join SLEF and a wide range of other organisations to celebrate the biodiversity of Skye & Lochalsh.
Based in  Portree High School, activities will include wild stories, art, photography competition, lots of free stuff, advice about wildlife recording and how to get involved, music, drama.....
Also a chance to discuss the future of the Local Biodiversity Action Plan document - due to be revised during winter 2013/14.”
Visit the SLEF website for more information:

15, 16, 17th 
quick geometric shapes
3 Nights of Lanterns: 
willow, tissue and glue!
Three workshops to learn willow making techniques- in return we hope you can spare some time to help families make their own lanterns at our public workshops in November

Its not necessary to attend all the workshops but beneficial if you can

Tuesday 15th October 7pm til 9pm Willow lanterns & fixings: starting with the quick ones - a chance to meet materials and get a feel for how willow works and just what you can do with some wet tissue paper and glue!
Wednesday 16th October 7pm til 9pm More complex willow lanterns & Starting large sculptures: getting more adventurous: with me, you can try your hand at willow fish, processional people or whatever takes your fancy: looking at the basic principles involved in making more complex shapes that can still be carried. While I’m doing that the wonderful Mark Hornsey from the equally wonderful  Babbling Vagabonds will be starting work on some static lantern installations and looking at some much bigger things
Thursday 17th October 6pm til 9pm Large willow sculptures: Mark is leading this session when the ideas from Wednesday really come to life!
Please book - limited places- invite anyone you know who may be interested
e-mail for more details
we might even end up with a lantern family!

Materials and tools will be provided. Dress for mess!

2 training courses down in Devon. These days are designed to give participants that opportunity to try activities but also to pause and think, to plan and to share ideas, experiences and issues with each other. Rich, rewarding days in a wonderful setting - come and join us!

Monday 4th
9.30 - 4.30
Dartington Estate
Organised by Wildwise: contact them for more information or to make a booking

“we live in a world worth celebrating" - and this workshop will help you do just that. From first inspirations and wild ideas through planning the event to activities to excite and engage people, Celebrations will help you organise your own occasions of wonder and delight. With lanterns, flags, processional masks and tiny installations, there will be activities to try and materials to improvise with
Who the course is for:
Teachers, youth and play workers, environment and community workers and anyone who is hoping to get people out and doing something adventurous and creative in their local area
What will you take away:
  • ways of getting people started; how to spark first ideas and encourage imagination
  • a plan for designing celebrations with groups
  • checklists for yourself – points to cover
  • ways of using the immediate environment to offer stories and settings for celebrations
  • discussions about traditional celebrations and new ideas – principles and goals to look for in a celebration
  • the experience of trying activities for yourself: processional flags, tiny installations, lanterns, masks, puppets - small and very large
woodland giant!

Tuesday 5th
Adventures with younger children!
9.30 - 4.30
Dartington Estate
organised by Wildwise: contact them for more information and to make bookings  

Build your own toolkit of activities and themes to use with younger children. Looking at a world full of stories, we can use the world around us to inspire language, encourage communication and foster a deep sense of excitement in and connection with that world - and discover the best pizza for a troll, who hides on the other side of the tree and how to call a dragon from a flowerbed. Using readily transferable techniques and easily sourced materials, this workshop will encourage us to value and cherish the creativity of younger children

Who the course is for:
Early Years teachers, Forest School practitioners, family centre and playgroup leaders, environmental education and countryside staff
What will you take away:
  • ways of building storylines with young children that help us shape their experience and learning
  • activities to encourage creative exploration
  • event ideas for family groups
  • direct experience of a range of activity ideas for outside storybuilding to rainy day alternatives, mixing discovery with story, drama, art and craft ideas
  • the value of tiny things and the power of giants
the value of tiny things1

Sunday, 8 September 2013

On the road and far from home...

storymaking in the rain in Migdale Woods

Up in the far north of Scotland just now in the middle of 2 weeks of storytelling and storymaking with groups....images and some story beginnings....

Story start 1
One dark night in the middle of the forest, 
when the trees were swaying and owls hooting, 
a boy called Flash and his dog Storm....

Ogden Water: away with the faeries, goblins and trolls!

Shaping stories with drawings, words and found materials...

Storystart 2
One freezing cold night when everything was deadly quiet, 
someone knocked on my door. 
It was a strange little man with long spiky hair....

Out  among the midges in Migdale Woods, story makers gather....

and at the end of the day, this big Toad meets a small cousin!
Thanks to all our schools and groups so far:
Ogden Water Country Park, Halifax (1st stop on road north, no they are nowhere near Thurso, the next port of call!)

more sessions next week!