Forming a Project

Walking Research
Walking Research

I spend a lot of my time teaching people how to make a piece of work from scratch. I am finding that I know less and less about this the more I make my own work. So it is now a year since I was asked to think about doing something for Heron Corn Mill as part of my residency there and it is only these last couple of months that what to do has become clearer. For a long time I was gathering stuff, just gathering, filing and forgetting. Then some how the forgetting bit kept popping up – again and again – making me not forget it – those early walks following routes to and from the mill, and observing upturned tree roots on my own route down the A6.  Then I finally found out how to get from Milnthorpe to Heron Corn Mill and back again but not along the A6.  Then I got braver and went over the marsh… Continue reading “Forming a Project”

Lineage, Creative Workshops and Little Known Artist/Makers.

Stick Man
Stick Man
Bag of Boots
Bag of Boots

I have spent the Summer and early Autumn working with a handful of people who are making new work.  We spent days at Heron Corn Mill connecting, intertwining, disconnecting and reconnecting and then when it was all over – disconnecting.  It is always difficult when something ends, so we are trying to continue in a disconnected way.  I am curious about what will come of this.

It was interesting to work with the group using exercises that have developed over time.  I have been mindful of the many teacher artists I have worked with and learned from and whose work has permeated my own. I find myself spending time honouring those teachers from whom the exercise has developed and it is interesting to find what actually becomes your own authentic work.  This is why it is difficult to present modules of work to students where the emphasis is on the practitioner because so often the practitioner is a hybrid and so I often find myself in a strange network of practice as heritage or practice as lineage – digging back.

Continue reading “Lineage, Creative Workshops and Little Known Artist/Makers.”

Why I am part of the moving wood

Gateway Six in Dorset (Little Blue Man)

I am so happy to be back at my Cumbrian outpost.  This coming weekend I am joined by a group of creative people who bring their talent and ideas to work on something that requires “not knowing”.  It’s a brave state of mind to be in and marks the beginning of several new pieces of work we will create inspired by the setting that is Heron Corn Mill

This week I have been reflecting on the idea of  getting involved in something I don’t fully understand if I am honest. I joined the Labour Party recently and I am very aware that I may be seen as one of those people who are just backing  Jeremy Corbyn without thinking about the wider implications.  Well I am joining the moving wood for that reason and I am willing to learn something from this apparent outsider that the others couldn’t teach me in the past or else I would have joined them many years ago.

The road to Beetham
The road to Beetham

Like my creative  group who will work this weekend I have stuck my neck out, paid a nominal fee and am attempting to produce some creative responses to my recent political excursions.  It’s scary putting yourself out there when you feel vulnerable and uneducated in a specific area.  But not knowing I think is the best place from which to learn and I am happy to learn about how things may change in a creative way.

So here is my latest effort on The Marching Trees: my personal interpretation of the mobilisation of the movement that is the people behind Jeremy Corbyn.  Thanks again to Helen Chadwick and Kite for their gorgeous rendition of Goethe’s poem adapted by Robert Bly.

You can see the first effort here:

I can only respond to this Corbyn phenomena creatively from a hunch and an instinct that his vision seems achievable despite the odds.

This effort comes especially on the back of my residency at Heron Corn Mill that has a history of working people and disenfranchised tenant farmers.  People wonder why we go on about history but history is NOW.  We carry history to the present because it marks the unchanging/changing life that we live NOW.  Thanks for reading I really appreciate your support in this particular journey.

The Wood Begins To Move

Red Cardigan and sticks
Red Cardigan and sticks

It has been tumultuous recently with Brexit, the Labour party machinations and the disturbing power struggles of people who would lead us.

I have always been of the socialist persuasion but I wouldn’t call myself very active. However this time I have been compelled to do something because for once I have seen the actions and example of  a leader who has great human concern and dignity.  I do believe that Jeremy Corbyn represents what constitutes a good leader.  He always comes back to his source: caring for those less better off.

In 2010 I was working on a project for the RSC which I called Birnam Wood which conceived Macbeth as a women’s story.  I am slightly stirred again by the current Conservative leadership campaigns which remind me of my work on that project which had, unfortunately, limited development – it was the recession.  It still is the recession and I have found myself yet again reinventing the wheel observing the tree as a teacher as the wood begins to march.

I posted the following on Facebook when the Labour haemorrhage began.  The offer still stands.

“Getting more and more disappointed with the people who are leaving Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet but encouraged by his new appointments. I would like to offer the ones who have resigned a free workshop with me working on physical exercises concerning leading and following. Leading and following effectively is very delicate and complex. It involves walking/moving with, alongside, sensing, being sensitive to: making it almost impossible to see that you are the leader and it is not the same as mirror work. It requires that the leader allows rather than dictates. Enrique Pardo (Pantheatre) introduced me to this many years ago – on a workshop in London when he was over in England. Pardo used to say it was about making your follower look fantastic, making yourself invisible, making your follower look as if they were the one leading. It’s one of the hardest things to do – give up on your own ego and help someone else make an action without anyone knowing whose idea it was, bringing them along with you without taking the credit for the action. It requires great skill with peripheral vision and great sensitivity in making actions in the unknown. It is not about copying it is about being with. I would suggest that Jeremy Corbyn is the perfect leader. Every time I listen to him I have felt as if he is with the flow of the people who do not have much power. He has given me some hope in the possibility of change.”

Since posting,  the bleeding has stopped but we still don’t have a solution…..however, the man with honour continues to hold out an olive branch to those who are making his job difficult.   Somehow I hope and believe things will change and heal.  Jeremy Corbyn, despite the mass men and women who would fell him, stands strong with dignity.

This short film is a return, a short tribute to trees, leadership, peaceful protest and hope.  Thanks to Helen Chadwick for her permission to use the music and thanks to Goethe, Shakespeare and Robert Bly, oh and Ian Cameron for the pic of me in the red cardigan.