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)

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

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.

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.


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.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The first unfoldings of a story

A little while ago I received a beautiful message, a message asking me to create a wonder-filled story, a message of deep appreciation and generous trust in my artistry and my listening relationship with the magical beings.

This message came from a dear mother, who had been looking through the pictures of the years of my work and had fallen in love with a previous cyclical tale of a story teller who listens to what the children tell her of their joys in nature and weaves them back into the world, for children to find anew.
The original story can be found here.

I was at first a little nervous at being asked to create from a similar place, but with the assurance that the atmosphere and frame of that previous story could be used as a ground of inspiration with no expectation of duplication, I felt deeply warmed by this request and found myself breathing deeply with enchantment, my heart full, as I began.

And this beginning, which I share with you now, came of itself so bountifully after I had let it sit with me… germinating ….rising …..becoming what it would.

One afternoon the words and images began to want to spill themselves so I opened an old sketch pad that my mother had given me because it had a few empty pages left in it.

But instead of an empty page I opened onto a rosy warmth, left by my mother, and this felt like the most perfect place to lay some of the first words of the Summer part of the story.

As I wrote in messy curves the archetypal female form in nature welcomed my sense of lap and gathering, of sun in stone, of reverence and reverie. And then, when the words were as much there as they wanted to be, the opposite page with its smudge of pastel pinks and yellows beckoned and there this story-teller showed her face, and in her expression was everything that I had felt of her.
 And then from the curl of the movement of the her hair came the puppet play of a child, the dance, in time, of tiny friends and insects with their gifts.
When I looked at these pages I felt a expansive gratitude to the magical beings who were willing to come into this creation and also a small trepidation and concern for whether I would be able to do justice to this story teller in cloth. Then I breathed deeply with her and was reminded that her essence was with me and that would shine through however she grew into cloth and stitches.

But before I had time to sit with her and sew, a feeling of Spring’s story came to me, and there three pages from the summer warmth was a pastel page of spring green. And here into spring came courage and rhythm, and water and movement bursting forth. And then came the frame, just the sense of the winter before the spring and lastly autumn’s nourishing gratitude.
 I still haven’t told my mother about this serendipitous coming across and use of her left-over seasonal beginnings, I know that she will be so happy, but I couldn’t show anyone any of it until the story teller was more strongly here.

And amazingly, after another time of dreaming sleep, she is coming, she has shown herself and my fingers and seeing have found her and heard her and love her. And we have played in the garden weaving summer into her hair.

So today as I share this beginning with you, with joy, I  trust that you will have a sense of the magic of all this happening, and I am full of thankfulness for the possibility offered by such a kindred request and by the holding which all of you have given over all these years, that I might be here, doing what I love, in conversations with the magical ones.