Monday, 4 March 2013

Fusion through glass


Remember how in the beginning of this journey I showed you the work of my inspirational friend Sherrall Morris .. I felt as though the piece of glass she had made represented what it was that I wanted to achieve ... a fusion of different elements to make the whole of who I am creatively ...
 
When I started touring The Dragon Tree, Sherrall sent me this lovely pendant that she had made me for good luck ...

 
How poignant that now the piece is fused in such a way that you see it totally as a whole!
 
The eye is aware that there are many pieces of glass, but they are seen as one.
 
Thankyou Sherrall. I wore it throughout the tour.

Funding Closes but the journey continues ...


I can't quite believe it, but the year of my Individual Mainline Grant has come to a close! My funding finished on March 1st 2013 but I can feel a real sense that my journey is just beginning.

I can't thank The Arts Council of Wales enough for the most amazing year only made possible through the funding, enabling me to take time out of my busy schedule as a Creative Director within Community Arts, to focus on my own creativity. I have learnt so many things, which I will talk about in future blogs. I know I initially set up this blog as a requirement for the grant, but I have really enjoyed it! It's a kind of digital diary, and I've been absolutely blown away by the support people have given me through it, with literally 1000's of people from all over the world joining me.

So, I have decided to keep the blog going! It has become an integral part of my life now!

Here's a link to The Arts Council of Wales http://www.artswales.org.uk/

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Thanks Simon!


Although literally 100's of you have been sharing and tweeting about #thedragontree for me, for which I bless you and send you much love ... the other person in addition to Mark Jones in my last blog, who has been so wonderfully supportive, tweeting and asking his connections to re-tweet #thedragon tree is the actor who is in the clip:  the very beautiful, Simon Morgan- Thomas.
 
When he smiles, he lights up the room!
 
I met Simon at Mess up the Mess, which is a youth theatre company in Carmarthenshire. I was doing song writing workshops and he was an actor doing african drumming with the young people. We clicked straight away. Well, anyone with a room full of african drums is hard not to like!



 
So, I asked Simon if he would be Dafydd, the main character in The Dragon Tree, but he wasn't available for the whole of the shoot schedule. This led me to the idea of having many incarnations of Dafydd, linked by wearing the same hat, scarf and braces. Infact, it was Simon who inspired me to write The Dragon Tree book by asking me the back story of the character.
 
Simon was fabulous! I went to see him perform at Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea and was blown away. I met his parents and what a lovely family they are.
 
I chose the Mad Man clip as a show reel because it is one of my favourite clips from the 50 minute film. I had no idea that Simon would get right behind it and work so hard helping to get it out there!
 
He managed to get the likes of Karen Price from Media Wales on board tweeting, Chapter Arts Centre and even The Film Agency for Wales ... for which I am so grateful!
 
If you need an actor who not only is creative, imaginative, daring and lovely to be with, but committed to supporting the arts and helping others ... then look no further than ...
 
 Simon Morgan-Thomas!
 
Here's his equity details ...
Equity No. 322 839
Spotlight Pin. 2610-1275-5430
 

Ganjo Style


Just want to say a MASSIVE thank you to Mark Jones (obviously on the left!) who has been helping me to promote my #dragontree Mad Man show reel on Youtube.





Mark runs a business called The A-Gent. He promotes artists and represents them, but what people don't know about Mark, is that he is actually a gifted strategic thinker who does so much for his local and entertainment community.



But let's start with his creativity!


 
 
Mark is a funny man, a very funny man! Just being in his company makes you smile, which is why he is a regular at high profile events. As a networker he is unsurpassable! He has, what my Nan would have called, funny bones.

I first met Mark many years ago, when I was a younger woman and used to go out to night clubs dancing with my sister (still do on the sly, but don't tell anyone!) Anyways, at the end of the night, we would all end up in the kebab shop, which became almost like a second night out, and Mark (a tad worse for wear, it has to be said) would come and sit with us. Well, we would be laughing our heads off!

Then, when I joined facebook, I noticed Mark was making comedy films for youtube with a character he has invented called Ganjo! The character, in my humble opinion, is a sort of cross between Keith Lemon and the opera singer role in Go Compere!! Mark writes all his own material, directs his own skits and works tirelessly to get his work out there.

I think some people confuse Ganjo with the Mark the businessman ... one is ferociously funny, the other a ferocious and uber-competant entrenpeneur! Yet both are lovely to spend time with!
 
So, why do I think he is a clever strategic thinker?
 
A friend of my sister's was up for Miss Wales. She needed to raise funds as part of the competition. I gave her some advice and support because she really is a lovely girl, although to be honest, Beauty Contests don't sit well with me, still politics aside, she's my sister's friend, and any friend of my sister's, is a friend of mine. She told me Mark was also helping her, so I contacted him to see what he was doing. And this is where I really sat up and thought ... now that is clever!!!
 
He hadn't managed to raise any money but a chewing gum factory had offered to give him literally 1000's of packets of chewing gum!!
 
What on earth are you going to do with all of that? I said ... and he proceeded to tell me how he had managed to get a football stadium to open their doors for him for free, and he was bringing together people to make a record breaking attempt at the most people chewing gum at the same time.
 
It was a £1 to enter and you got a free packet of chewing gum!! GENIUS!! How to get 1000's of people to spend a £1 on a packet of chewing gum, whilst raising money for a cancer charity!!!
 
You see how his unique and quirky take of the world permeates his business thinking ... s
 
o I rang him and we had a business meeting ... we sat and giggled and laughed all afternoon in the golf club and I seriously felt as though we'd been friends for years and then I remembered, off course, we kind of had!!
 
So, thank you Mark, from the bottom of my heart for all your help and I hope that we can work together very soon in the future, because my friend, you are proof, that working hard and having fun, can go hand in hand.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sam's Dream Installation

 
It gave me a great pleasure to be able to use part of the grant to commission work from artists who have not only become lifetime friends, but who have supported my work in the past as volunteers. I have spoken of Sam and her role in my journey before in my blog ... can you imagine how swollen my heart was to be able to give her creativity a platform in this way!

 
Jeff and I 'found' a ladder in the back of the church but it wasn't big enough to get to the rafters, I really wanted to hang Sam's Dream Installation over the pews ...

 
But as it was, it worked out for the best because hanging it from the wooden edging, enabled people to engage with it during the break

 
Thank you Sam.
 
Sam also led the children of Bigyn Primary in mind/ body movement at the St.Cadoc's Church live Dragon Tree performance
 
 
Oooo and I should add that Sam's Dream Installation is made of just some of the treasures that nature sent to me during the research phase of The Dragon tree, and she has woven her magic with willow, felt, her wonderful creativity and lots of love   ... AND ... it looks as though Sam's beautiful work is going to be a resident exhibit at The Court House in St.David's. It feels very special indeed to leave a piece of the dragon tree journey with The Court House.
 

Dragon Tree Film Exhibition: a personal story

 
In the 2nd half, the house lights went down and everyone watched my film.

 
What a strange feeling it is!!
Praying, literally, that the computer doesn't blip.
Off course it did! Technical gremlins have been as much a part of this tour as I have!!

 
 
It was a very magical time for me because I went to the back of the room, where  Lilly Mae, Jade and William were running around. They are wee little ones and it had been a long night for them. So I sat on the floor by the radiator and they came to sit with me. We all cwtched up quietly and I rocked them in my lap.
 
Then, suddenly, Jade sat up ...
'What's wrong?' I whispered.
'A mouse!' said Jade.
'Oh, it'll be fine, hush now ...' and to be honest I thought perhaps she was imagining it.
 
'Look!' pointed Jade ...
and lo and behold, a little mouse was scurrying uner the table, whizzing back and for looking for cake crumbs!
 
Well, how I didn't giggle out loud, I don't know. William (who is 5) was snoozing, i'd just got him off, and so I signed to Jade shhhhh!! and pointed at William ... who woke up.
 
He looked at Jade ...
'What?' he asked.
'Mouse!' she mouthed!
He sat bolt upright ... 'Oh dear,' I thought, 'I have a room full of people watching my film, and William has just discovered there is a mouse under the cake table!!'
 
...but bless him, he lent right up to my ear and said in his smallest voice,
'I have to go and get the mouse now.'
'William, I really need you to be a good boy. If you can sit for 10 more minutes and wait til the film is finished, I'll chase the mouse with you.'
 
He looked at me long and hard, as if trying to work out if I would keep my promise. But William has known me for 3 years, since he and his Mum first joined the choir that I use to run in Trevethin; William has performed in The Milennium Centre with me, been on residential in St.David's, and many other adventures ... could he trust me to chase the mouse with him? Was it worth 10 more minutes of waiting?
 
He smiled into my face,
'OK.' he said.
 
 

Dragon Break!! Bara brith and welsh cakes!!

 
It was so lovely to meet everyone in the break, thank you for all your kind words
and lovely feedback
 

 
And thank you for buying my Dragon Tree book and helping me to raise funds to go back to Zhodina Orphanage in Belarus as a Volunteer Musician in Residence

 
It was lovely to see so many old friends come together, bless you for your support,
it meant the world to me

 
 
I left out my working journals. I never usually display my journals, it's the first time during The Dragon tree, and I get a bit embarrassed about showing them, but I actually had a phone call from someone today saying they thought they were fabulous!! A window into my head ...

 
Thanks to the Ladies guild for keeping the refreshments flowing!
 
But before we move onto the 2nd half the evening ... let me show you
Sam's Dream Catcher ... (next blog!)

The Dragon Tree Live Performance at St.Cadoc's Church, Trevethin


What a cracking night at St.Cadoc's Church, Trevethin. Fabulous turn out!!

 
Thank you so much everyone for coming, to this, the last of the funded performances as part of my Individual Mainline Grant from T
he Arts Council of Wales


Thanks to Amanda Painting on piano, the Swansea Ukulele lads on uke, the children of Bigyn Primary school with Sam Collins
for being my extra special guests

 
Thanks to Rector Brian Pippen and Liz and the Ladies Guild for doing teas and coffees in teh break, and for making the bara brith!


Thanks to Jeff Beer for humping all the gear, driving and most of all for being
a fab sound engineer!


 
Thank you so much to The Arts Council of Wales for having given me this absolutely unbelievable opportunity this year to follow my own journey, explore my own creativity and allow me to reverse roles with the community. I have in effect, as an artist, begun to find my a new voice of my own, much in the same way
as I support others to find theirs'











Dragon Tree Arts Installation at St.Cadoc's Church, Trevethin

 
Dai collage looked a treat in St.Cadoc's church
We had 2 volunteer lighting technicians join us, 14 year old Cory and 16 year old Spencer.
 

 
And their lighting lit Dai up a treat!
They did a great job!
 

 
I decided to put Dai on the floor. I wanted him on the stage area sitting with the uke lads but he was so big, he took up half the stage!
 

 
 
Afterwards, Liz , one of the church volunteers, asked if Dai Collage could stay behind!!
I think he might have liked to, but he will be busy in galleries speaking my lyrics in welsh again, very soon!