Saturday, 6 August 2022

How they sometimes come to along

 

I never unpick, I never remake, I never rub out, I never ever dispose of a little being’s form once it has started to become.

To correct or get rid of a partly created little cloth body would, to me, be akin to sending a message to the magical wisps of inspiration, to the fairy folk all around, that their influence and enlivening presence is no longer welcome to guide my stitching hands, it would be like saying that I know best about the way they should appear, it would be a gross act of self-importance on my part.

Often though, I start to sew, to gather a little bundle of cloth and fold and mould, without having much awareness as to what I am doing, and then I look at what is in my hands and wonder how this one fits with what I thought I was doing. And sometimes I put that little one down, sometimes unfinished, and often then they disappear, in the muddle of my scraps of silks and patterns and wools, and I forget all about them.

Until I come across them again, and wonder when and how they began.

 


This is how it happened with this wee one

Last week she reappeared at the edge of my pretty plate of tiny bits showing me a scrap of white silk veil and asking for her bonnet. 

 

Then as I painted her peeking out face, she told me that she was ready to show me where she lives and introduce me to her friends.

How lucky I feel to have held them


 



 

Monday, 1 August 2022

The Lammas Queen and the young farmer - A Harvest Story

 

Long ago in this beautiful land there lived a farmer and his wife, they loved the land and the land loved them, their little granddaughter lived with them and she played every day about the farm.
Every year the earth gave a glorious plentiful harvest and the farmer reaped all that he needed for his family. Those in need from the village were always welcome to take a share and the edges of the fields were always left for the creatures of the hedgerows, the birds, the field mice and the squirrels all gathered grain for the winter stores and the gnomes of the forest enjoyed a feast too. Every year the farmer and his wife saved enough grain to sow again in the spring, just as their ancestors had done for all the time that the farm had stood on this land. And every year in gratitude the family would bake two wonderful harvest loaves, they would bless both and eat one loaf in celebration, the second loaf would be left in the field in offering the Lammas Queen.  Between the late setting of the summer sun and the early morning, whilst the little girl slept, the harvest Queen would pass over the fields blessing them with her love, as she gathered the loaf which the little girl had left for her. Year followed year and the farmer and his wife grew older and their granddaughter grew to be not so little any more. With each passing year she became more and more able to help her grandparents, and they were grateful’
 
Then it happened one year in the early spring, just before sowing time, that the elderly farmer fell and hurt his leg. How would the seed be sown this year? All night the farmer worried, but in the morning his granddaughter said to him. ‘Have no fear, I am a farmer now too, I will sow our fields.’
 
And with all her heart and will the young farming girl set to work. She had helped her grandfather many a time and knew what to do, but though she knew, she was not yet practiced and though many came from the village to offer help, they did not know this land as well as the old farmer. The grain was sown with all will and heart, but in somewhat higgledy piggledy ways.
 
Nevertheless, the seeds waited patiently in the earth, and the gnomes sang songs through the ground, songs of green sprouts, sounds of growth, songs of the golden harvest that the seedlings would become. But that spring the rain and the sun did not come in the ways that they usually did to help the seedlings grow, the rain came late and then too much, the sun shone hot and then not enough, the wheat grew huddly and muddly. And the elderly couple worried for the harvest, though they tried hard to have faith and not show their granddaughter their concern.
 
On the day before the beginning of the harvest the old farmer stood at the edge of his field and hoped that somehow this scraggly crop would be enough. That night the Lammas Queen moved over the field, and as she passed the wheat seemed move with her beneath the starry sky, and it seemed as if it doubled in size and strength. The next morning the old farmer was joined by his wife and granddaughter and many from the village to harvest the grain. And what a harvest it was, as glorious and plentiful as ever, with as much bounty as anyone might need and plenty of seed to save for the following year.
 
After their celebratory meal, the young farmer carried the loaf of gratitude to the edge of the field, and waited, long into the starry filled night, for this year she was determined to speak her heartfelt thanks to the Lammas Queen.


Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The Story Teller's Spring Tale


With a sudden jubilant burst of sunny glory, spring arrives, and all around new sprouts of green, tinkling flower bells, lauging children, singing birds, life in all its astonishing forms can be felt rising and reaching towards the future. And it is this vital energy which has co-created with me, spinning itself into this last and first of the story teller's seasonal stories.

(You can find the stories for winter, autumn and summer in the previous posts)

THE STORY TELLER'S SPRING TALE 
Suddenly, in the bright instant of this and each Spring morning, all the tinkling flower bells begin to sing, and their delicate fresh perfume fills the air, tickling the story teller’s nose, as the children pull at her skirts, rousing her from winter’s long sleep. ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ they urge, ‘It is time to sing, it is time to dance it is the time… the joyful time to rise!’

The story teller catches the children’s outstretched hands and they run as fast as the wind down the hill to the dew-filled valley and there they all take off their shoes and wriggle their toes and jump so high that the frogs and the bunnies hear the thump! thump! thump! of their feet and come to join the play. Then hop, skip and away they go, 


All but one.
This mama rabbit comes slowly, shyly closer, and the story teller puts her finger to her lips, 'shhhhh...' and the children still their play. 

At the edge of her burrow mama rabbit shows them a small bunny, too floppy to hop, and the story teller bends to see, a thorn and redness on a tiny paw.

Gathering the this littlest one to her heart, the story teller leads the way to the old evergreen.

And there with his back in the tree they find the green healer and they hear him too, fluting a conversation with the birds.
He stands and into his magical hands the story teller lays the tiny bunnykin. With a quick tenderness the thorn is gone and a healing compress wrapped round.  

 
Then in cradling arms the little one sleeps while the others prepare for their spring parade. Whistles are whittled, flower crowns woven, new songs are learnt as voices weave rhymes and rhythms between one heart and all others.
 
Then together into the day the children step, a jubilant procession into the future, and all the birds and butterflies do follow too, in faithful exultation for all which each spring brings forth. 

 
And now with this story I am wishing you all a glorious spring!

Sunday, 31 January 2021

A Story Teller's Winter Tale


Already the feeling of folding inwards towards the longest nights is fading from our beings, and we begin to notice more light in the skies and start to step with the lighter feet that echo the new hopefulness of the earth as it awaits its awakening into spring. And while I wait for this magical story teller to whisper her spring story to me, I share with you her gentle dreaming winter's tale

A STORY TELLER'S WINTER TALE
Now in the stillness of endless time past-by and forever to come, in the sleep spell of the world, in the waiting of winter whiteness, the story teller slips into sleep.


Nestled in the folds of darkened ground below, she shares her dreams with the earth.

She dreams of the children, dancing, singing, she dreams of their stories, their adventures, their worries, she dreams of the bees and their humming and the taste of honey and of the love letters that the flowers write on their petals to be carried on the summer breeze with the fluttering butterflies. She dreams of the splish and the splash of raindrops and the cloak of mist that wraps itself around her shoulders, so gently from the sea.


And some of the story teller’s dreams seep into the lustrous layers of crystals, and some mingle with the messages carried by the roots of trees, and some rise up into the air floating high high into the sky to twirl with the falling feather flakes of the snow goose.

The snowflakes flutter down and cover the ground and the laughing children join their bright lightness and scoop them up and play, because the children do not sleep through the sleeping time of the earth, they play, keeping the spark of joy for life alive.

And now, amongst the happy shouts and snowball throwing and fast sledging, one dear child gathers the snow into a womanly form, drawn from the memory of the story teller’s kindly cradling lap.
All this bright joy is happening in the cold endless air, while under the blanket of snow, the story teller rests, with all her dreams, and all the goodness of her heart, which the children have gladdened all year through their play. And her goodly gladdened heart now nourishes the earth, giving strength and form to the newly growing beings, letting them know of the world they are becoming into and the children who will play with them and touch them with their tender hands and love them with all their hearts in turn.


So soft in the ground is the sighing sound of the story teller’s dreams, and the meanings that they tell is truly older and younger than any words that I know, but if you were to lay your ear against the cold earth and hear with your imagination the feeling that you might hear, would surely be close to a lullaby.






















Sunday, 20 December 2020

A story teller's autumn tale

Now in the quiet time, the in-between time, the pause of the year, there are moments once more for stories to grow and fully form themselves. In the months of autumn blustering winds and my busy time, I have been stealing moments for whisperings, shared dreamings and the watering of words with this wonderous story teller. While the dear kindred soul who wished this being into becoming has been waiting patiently for the autumn tale, which is it my joy to now share.


THE STORY TELLER'S AUTUMN TALE
All as the wind dances to and fro, from long into this autumn afternoon, the story teller listens to the rustling of the falling leaves. Come play they say, come frolic this day. And so the story teller spreads her arms with glee, filling her cloak with a big breath of bluster, she twirls up up onto her toes, almost lifting herself into the swirling colours and the leaves seem to laugh all around her. Gathering a handful of golden russet crackles, she throws them high, high and calls to the wind to take these magical letters, as invitation to the children.

Up up and along blows the wind, flutter, flitter the lovely leaves fly, until each dear child they spy, and float gently gliding down that their message might be found.
And this is what the children hear, from the leaves as they hold them near.
‘Come come to the story teller’s hollow tree
Bring all your gathered autumns treats
Apples, cobnuts and blackberries
We will create a heart-filling feast'


And running and shouting, woohoo wheee come the children,
Tumbling down the hill and tripping over the roots of the huge old hollow tree
They knock, and above them the rainbow bird peeps out to see.


'Yes yes dear ones' the story teller calls, opening the ancient trunk door, 
'Yes leave your hats, coats and scarfs to amuse the wind 
Come in to the warm heart of our beauty-filled tree
Bring all you have brought, come share with me'

And in that secret nook, all lined with the soft growings of the rainbow bird’s song,

The children shelter and show, all that they have gleaned and gathered together
Rowan’s shiniest conker is held by all
Daisy gives generous tastes of her seeded bread
Fern shows how to make a corn cobb doll and a dragon too


Then as the last golden rays begin to slip, dipping behind the branches into the dusk. 
The story teller takes the children out once more,
'Yes bundle up, so you all stay warm.
Now Let us whisper into the patterns of the leaves, all the tales of our adventures, our hopes and even our tears, that as the leaves return to earth the future will grow to reflect all the wisdom of your play'

I hope that encoutering this story has nourished your being, and that you will await with me, the becoming of the story teller's winter tale when it unfolds.






Monday, 14 September 2020

A story teller's summer tale

The summer is slowly ebbing and soon autumnal winds will ruffle the golden leaves, but I will carry the soft glory of this season within me as nourishment for the colder darker months. And this magical story teller will do the same, weaving the whispers and treasures that the playing children have entrusted to her, back into the earth, from where they will spring once more next year.

It has been such a privilege to share moments of my summer time with this wondrous being, who has become at the bequest of a dear kindred soul. This story telling creation will have four seasonal story panels, incorporating transparency work, silks, wools, painting and applique, and of course magical beings to live and move within the frames. 
Today I am able to share with you the summer panel and the story which will accompany it, as well as a little song about the prince of the lavender and the bees.

THE STORY TELLER'S SUMMER TALE 

One summer noon, and perhaps within the folds of this very moment, the story teller is listening to the hum of the bees. She listens for their togetherness in their mummering song and she listens for each bee’s voice, every one. For within their golden buzzing they carry the stories of the flowers they have visited and the old woman hears all the joyful noticings and sing-song questions that the children had come to her with last year.

She hears Rosanna’s wondering at the heart shaped petals she had found and sent with kissed wishes into last year’s summer breeze. She hears Fin’s enchantment with the tiny mint flowers and the small flutterer that danced around them in the warm dusk of the rising golden moon.

And now as the listens dreamily to the bees, reminiscing, she hears other voices of today, children’s voices from the meadow, coming closer and soon they are here, today, perhaps in the folds of this very moment, gathering into her lap, and around her shoulders and at her feet. In their hands they bring treasures, their findlings of today, a seed to plant in the story teller’s skirt, a shell of the sound of the tumbling sea. A stone so hot that it seems to carry the sun, and carried oh so carefully on a purple blossom, a thirsty bee who is too tired to fly.

The story teller holds each child and each child’s wonder and takes their noticings deep into her heart, that the living world will be nourished by all that the children have brought and that next year she will hear these stories in the hum of the bees.

Then the story teller asks Isabel to help her sing a song story with the puppets and all the children gather round to watch and listen.

Click on the picture to hear the song 

The Prince of the Lavender comes 

dancing O'er the Green 

Following the humming bees 

to find his Golden Queen
 

He carries an offering 

his flower sweet and sunny

In hope she will honour him

with just a taste of honey

I wish you a wonder-filled journey from summer into autumn.