Saturday, 11 October 2014

Leek: once, now and next

LEEK: once, now and next

very little of the original Dieulacres is left....
 Free public activities celebrating the richness of Leek's heritage, the excitement of the town now and dreams for its future

Using the 800th anniversary of the founding of the now vanished Dieulacres Abbey to get ideas going, Leek: once, now and next sets out to encourage the people of Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands to celebrate the richness of their heritage. I'm involved in this as one of the artists - so join us for some wild times, big drawings, fascinating talks and occasional silliness!

With a grant from Awards for All, the project offers free activities for families, youth and community groups, clubs and the general public involving everything from "design your own abbey" pop-up landscapes, to "once and future" lanterns, and a "Leek Now" Big Draw frieze. In the middle of the project there will be a "Birthday Party for a Lost Abbey" featuring Abbey Lanterns from local youth groups, music, storytelling and a giant Abbey Birthday Cake

The Lost Abbey: running through all our events is the thread of Dieulacres: Leek's Lost Abbey. For a few hundred years Dieulacres was one of the richest and most important Cistercian Abbey's in the county but with its Dissolution in the reformation almost all traces of it disappeared. A few carvings and other stoneworks  survive in the buildings of Abbey Farm, but that is all. 2014 would have been the Abbey's 800 birthday…

Buxton-based community arts group, Stone and Water find innovative ways of celebrating the richness of the people, wildlife and landscapes of the Peak District. Recent project have included crocheting a prehistoric seabed fro the ancient seas that gave us the limestone of the White Peak and adventurous activities designed to encourage people to go "exploring with stories"

Borderland Voices aims to promote mental health through the arts and to raise public awareness and understanding of mental health issues by delivering accessible arts projects and offering creative space for self-expression within a mutually supportive community.

Public events
all events are free and no booking is required
Sunday 12th: Apple Day, visit this farm in the Upper Dove Valley for an autumn day of orchards, fruit recipes, art and stories and a chance to explore this beautiful landscape, its animals and plants
Time: 11am - 3.30pm
Where: Dove Valley Centre, Under Whitle, between Sheen and Longnor

Friday 17th: Stitching time: join our artists and add your own panel to the new Cope for the Lost Abbey. Images of ancient saints and modern heroes lie side-by-side on this community cloak. With fabric and felt, wool, silk, thread, beads and sequins: no experience is needed!
Time: 1 - 3pm
Where: Silverdale Library, Newcastle: High St, Silverdale, Newcastle ST5 6LY, 01782 297444

illumination workshops have been
capturing Moorlands moments
Saturday 18th: Old stories, new adventures! Join our storyteller to listen to old tales of the Moorlands: of giants and mermaids and magic and monsters! Create your own stories about life and adventures in Leek
Time 10am - 12noon
Where: Leek Library, Nicholson Institute Stockwell Street Leek. ST13 6DW

Saturday 18th: unrolling Leek! a Big Draw event, we'll be drawing all your favourite places in Leek on one huge piece of paper: from Brough Park to the Foxlowe, from William Plummer's anchor memorial to your own back garden, everywhere works!
Time: 2 - 4pm
Where: Foxlowe Art Centre, Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 6AD

Thursday  23rd, Ladydale Well, the Leek Ladder and other marvels: a talk by  archaeologist Mark Olly. A chance to meet the more mysterious side of the town, join us to think, wonder and speculate
Time: 7.30 (finishing about 9 - 9.30), refreshments provided
Where: Quaker Meeting House, Overton Bank
Leek ST13 5ES

Saturday 25th, Birthday Party for a Lost Abbey! make a small monk puppet, write a poem, listen to stories, wonder at the Abbey Lanterns, add your own visions for the future of Leek - an afternoon of activities and creativity will lead to the unveiling of the Cope and the formal cutting of the Abbey Birthday Cake
Time: 2 - 6pm
Where Foxlowe Art Centre, Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 6AD

Tuesday 28th, Ancient Adventures: To celebrate Leek's ancient history: come along and make your own medieval castle or pop up abbey – and add some tiny puppets to tell some ancient tales!
Time 10am - 12noon, 1.30 - 3pm: drop in, allow yourself 45 minutes to make something!
Where: Leek Library, Nicholson Institute Stockwell Street Leek. ST13 6DW

Wednesday 29th, Dieulacres Abbey - Leek's vanishing heritage. A talk by local historian Michael Fisher: find out about the history of Leek's lost abbey!
Time: 7.30 - 9
Where: Foxlowe Arts Centre, Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 6AD

Thursday 30th: Ancient tales, modern adventures: storytelling, story making, art: what adventures can we invent for the trees, animals and children of Brough Park?
Times: 10 -12, 1 - 3
Where: Brough Park: Vicarage Road Car Park or walk in and find us under a tree in the middle of the Park!

For more information, contact 01298 77964

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Adventures at Abriachan

Adventures at Abriachan

25th and 26th September 2014

a two day workshop drawing inspiration from woods of Abriachan Forest Trust to give us poems, stories, puppets and plays….
workshops began with long scribble-sheets of ideas

workshops began with long scribbly drawings, sharing ideas, looking out of windows and speculating wildly as people arrived.
scribbles became pages in our Old Book of Abriachan

first draft, meet the actual maiden below

The woods gave us  characters to play with, strange artefacts to discuss, goblin camps with troll-snot on sticks* to enjoy, smoke signals to send

Deep in the woods, 1
Deep in the woods,
The wind whispered through the branches,
Speaking in quiet airy voices,
Voices sounding like waves on the sea.
The treetops creaked like sailing ships.

Always watching
For sea eagles,
Always watching,
Always waiting.

Distant voices?
Distant laughter?
Children having fun?
Over where?
Over there!

Don’t go!
a little old house where a little old man sits

Deep in the woods, 2
Beyond the path,
Beyond the pond,
There is an old, old house,
Where a lonely old man sits,
Knitting his beard into socks,
A beard so big he carries it in a bag,
Too old to use the stairs,
Too crumbly to use the ladders,
He zip wires up and zip wires down
When he goes shopping 
For shrimps in Drumnadrochit

Stories and poems grew out of moments, notes and pictures. Unexpected characters grew under our fingers

a poem written as pictures
a rather lovely storyboard

3. Not nasty, just lonely

An old witch lives
In a house made of branches and bracken,
On a beach beside a burn,
Brewing bubbling potions
In a big, iron cauldron

But lonely old man
Met lonely old woman
And they went out for a romantic meal

Goblin Girl, 1...

... and her friend, Goblin Girl 2

Day 1 produced small puppets and instant plays while on Day 2 we took time to make more complicated puppets and build more involved stories, inviting parents, carers and stray passersby to join us for final performances in the Textural Maze

a dramatic moment

3 warriors on a quest for the red ribbon that will stop wars
(they also found an emergency caterpillar)

Goblin Girls out adventuring

a rapt audience

* less educated people call it marshmallow