Cheryl Beer

Cheryl Beer
Award Winning Creative Director making social change through the mediums of sound, story & mantra

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Radio Dates

Catch me chatting about The Dragon Tree on Radio Oystermouth with Michael Kennedy at 6.00pm on Monday 7th January 2013.

The the Acoutic Show with Stuart Loosemore at Radio Tircoed at 8.00pm on Friday 11th January

15th January I'll be live with Alison Lennihan on her Women's Bits show at Radio Tircoed

Sunday 3rd Feb between 11am and 12pm I'll be with Andrew Cross and Pratik Barman at Radio BRfm

I'll also be with Radio Pembrokeshire but we haven't confirmed the date yet ...

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Life is a funny old thing!

Funny old thing, life. Fragile in fact.
Christmas day, a member of my family had a stroke and our plans to spend Christmas editing and finishing were scuppered!
When someone you love has an encounter with a serious illness, it can put things into perspective.
Fusion Inspire has been my life this year and I have loved every minute of it but nothing is more important than caring for those whom you love.
So here I am, back at home on my jack jones, editing the credits for the film and going to bed with another edit read through ... when actually, I should be out dancing with the moon and thanking the powers that be that one of my loved ones is home and on the mend.

Next month the tour starts. I had been quite stressed about it, but now I embrace it.
What a joyous thing to be able to do; to bring a year's worth of creative journey and share it in wonderfully beautiful places.
See YOU there my friends!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Well, there I was thinking I had finished the films! lol! Have been working on the credits and tidying them up but the major bulk of the work is done, PHEW!

But today is Christmas day ... (MERRY CHRISTMAS btw) the day I promised myself I would take off and rest .. and I have tried!

I opened pressies (thanks everyone) and made a massive pile of every vegetable you can imagine (veggie dinner) and then ... mmm .... errr... ummm ... got a bit bored so have decided to finish my hand made personal invites.

I painted them on my retreat and now I'm printing out, cutting and sticking the insides of them.

I'm starting to get excited now!!!

So, if you would like to receive a hand made personal invite, I would love to send you one. I

'm so touched by how many people have viewed my blog throughout this journey and so if YOU are reading this and YOU would like to come and my special guest ... just send me your land address by email at and I will put a hand painted hand made invite in the post to you.

Happy New Year to you and I hope you're also making the most of this quiet down time the festive period brings with it ...

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Working Christmas

Foto's taken whilst returning from recording dolphins at New Quay

HOORAH! Finished all the films! and they all link together now as one piece with the music and narration ...

To be honest I am running behind schedule and would like a few extra months before my tour kicks off but that isn't possible.

The first exhibition starts in the Gallery of The National Botniac Garden of Wales on 21st January and the first live performance and film showing is also at the Garden on 26th January!

I can't believe that's only weeks away! But I rather cleverly, it would seem now, kept my diary clear to focus full time on finishing everything between now and then.


I'm really looking forward to being home for Christmas so I can tie up all the loose ends. I want to finish the book that goes with the production cos it makes sense to launch this at the same time.

Also I have been thinking today about the film credits and I want to do something a bit different so have been sketching out ideas and I think I will make a credits film so that it's a personal thanks to all the amazing people who have taken part in Fusion Inspire: The Dragon tree rather than a rolling list of names.

This will mean making another film but I think it will be worth the extra work to do something challenging. I have promised myself that 25th December is a rest day but I my head can not stop thinking about everything I need to do so it's best to just do it so I can have some peaceful sleep.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Graffiti Time Lapse Edited!

You know, in my life I do lots of amazingly creative and fabulous things but it is the moments like this morning that add the cherry to my wonderfully iced cake!
I found on the doorstop, in a jiffy bag .. the TIME LAPSE film of my Dragon Tree Spray at The National Botanic Garden of Wales with Lloyd Roberts & the children of Bigyn & Johnstown primary schools

The film was made by Darren Boxer and Susan Plant and it absolutely blew my socks off!
Thank you both so much.
You will never know how wonderful it was to see my vision come to life.

You can see the end film as part of my
Dragon Tree Production
which launches at
The National Botanic Garden of Wales
on 26th January.
I have a Dragon Roots Arts Installation
in the Gallery
from 20th January
and will also be performing some of the sound tracks from the film live, with dancers
on the 26th in The Marquee
before the film showcases.
If you can't make this date, I will be then taking the whole production to
St.David's Cathedral
Oriel Y Parc and
The Cwrt House
on February 16th ...
Then to
St.Cadoc's Church.
Trevethin on 28th February
After this date my funding from the Arts Council of Wales ends, but I have already been invited to tour The Dragon Tree films with live vocals in Ireland and Italy during 2013
If you would like to book the Film Exhibition with live vocals and/or the welsh language arts installation into your venue please feel free to drop me a line ...

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Planting the Dragon Tree: Wall Art

What an incredible day!!
It's very hard to explain what it feels like when an idea turns into a plan and then happens!
Today, Artist Lloyd Roberts came to The National Botanic Garden of Wales. I had sent him the design brief for The Dragon Tree.
He started mapping out his design based on my brief on the Education Room walls in The Great Glasshouse. He's such a good sport! You'll notice I made him do the entire 8 hour shoot dressed in the key costume links of our Dafydd character! Hat, scarf and braces!
Darren Boxer and Susan Plant set up the lighting and the camera to take what will be 25 images a second to condense the whole day into 6 minutes of time lapse film to be used in the final production with my other films.

20 children arrived with their teachers: 10 from Bigyn Primary and 10 from Johnstown Primary School.


We divided into teams and the children set to work filling in the allocated coloured spaces on the wall.

After they had left, Lloyd did all the outlining and final touches

We had barely time to think as the caretaker needed to lock up so we cleaned up and skidaddled out of there in the stillness of the dark night.

MASSIVE thankyou's
The National Botanic Garden of Wales
Lloyd Roberts
Darren Boxer
Susan Plant
Bigyn Primary School
Johnstown Primary School
The Arts Council of Wales for my Individual Mainline Grant enabling the whole happening
... But  you know what ... thank you to ME!! Yes, little old me, for pulling it off.


And tonight, I will fall fast asleep very quickly... and dream about a little girl from nowhere who today had the design brief of her new production planted as a seed to grow on the walls deep inside The Great Glasshouse of The National Botanic Garden of Wales and that makes me smile, it makes me proud, it makes me take a sharp intake of breath, it makes me pleased that I am me!


After hours and hours and days and days and weeks of compiling, re-compiling, finalising and starting again ... we finally have the end versions of ALL the soundtracks!!!! HOORAH!!!!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tabl Wyneb Glas

Been in the studio today for a 12 hour stint editing but our system is so old it's all real time ...
So in the slots where I was waiting for the technical stuff to do its thang .. helped by Engineer Exta-ordinaire Jeff Beer, I decided to make my Mr Blue Face Table ...
Tabl Wyneb Glas

I had a thought in my head that I needed a table in the Bi Lingual Arts Installation Exhibition where I could put my journals, and a Visitors Book to record who has seen the exhibition and for comments.

As luck would have it, I picked  up an old coffee table in the second hand shop for a fiver!

I was at a car boot sale and I found a damaged copy of Under Milk Wood

So I had this idea to make a Tabl Wyneb Glas ...
The table represents the song Mr Blueface about The Dylan Thomas Trail

I scored the table, using upva and water.
It's lifted a bit but after about 5 coats
it seems to be sticking ok.
So then I printed out my lyrics to Mr Blueface that have been kindly translated for me by Chaired and Crowned Bard, Ceri Wyn Jones ...

And have put the welsh on one side of parcel tags ... And english on the other

I'm going to hang these on the bars under the table .. thinking I'll use blue ribbon of different lengths. This will then link to my song Dance of the Ribbons, along with the ribbon stick that Dai Collage will be holding, made from a piece of drift wood ... and red ribbon to represent
a dragon's tongue.
I can't tell you what good fun it is and how soul lifting it is, having the time to make things for my own production. Having a grant from The Arts Council of Wales gives me this time out from my community arts work and enables me to apply all the things I use to engage others ...
to engage myself!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wall Art Spray at National Botanic Garden of Wales

Photograph by Darren Boxer

Darren Boxer is making a time lapse film for me of a Wall Art Spray of The Dragon tree that I have commissioned with the grant from Lloyd Roberts who is a GENIUS artsit. I have organised for children to come from 2 local primary schools to help with the spray. It is taking place in the Education Room at The National Botanic Garden of Wales in The Great Glasshouse, which makes me very happy in my soul!
I am planting my Dragon Tree in my favourite place. A place that has had such an impact on me over the last 2 years. It feels very special indeed.
Darren is making a time lapse film of the spray for me which will be last in the series of films. Am so chuffed. He's been a real support throughout Fusion Inspire, taking wonderful photographs of castles on the coastline for the track 600 Castles.

 Artist Lloyd Roberts at work

Darren & I did a creative exchange. He made a time lapse film of the arrival of The Ghost Forest at The Garden and I composed the music for the film for him, recording and performing it in my studio ... and in exchange he is doing the time lapse film for me. Thank you so much Darren.
Creative Exchange is such an important survival technique in difficult times, but I have always worked like this. It develops life long collaborations and friendships. As a freelance self employed person, it can be isolating sometimes so working with the same group of people over the years gives one a sense of team, family, sharing of like minds, community and joy.
Many thanks to
The National Botanic Garden of Wales

More BliPS

Heavens to Betsy!

Even more blips today in the studio .. I was all for tearing my hair out and could feel my teeth grinding but have decided that's not a good look! All things are for a reason. So, I decided to walk away from it and do something else to calm down; Edited some beautiful messages from a group of Young Mums for their babies with them strumming on the ukulele. Then went back to the films to see why they wouldn't play right on the Telly. It was a dodgey DVD. Also cleaned the heads of the DVD player just incase.
My worse nightmare is the films blipping at the Exhibitions in January and Feb during the Tour, so I am defo going to find a Boffin to give me some advice!
As fortune would have it, I am doing the last filming on December 4th with a very lovely film-type-computer-y boffin! Will tell you all about it in my next blog!


Technical BliPS!

Another day in the studio ... today I'm proofing the edits and horror of horrors!!! Got a nasty blip right at the end of the

Am deep breathing and trying to be philosophical about it! There's plenty of time to sort it but I was so overjoyed to finally have completed something in total. Back to the drawing board to find out what went wrong. It was fine in the studio just when I played it on the TV. Reckon it could be something simple like a dirty head or a faulty CD (fingers crossed)

So, like a true professional, I'm going to sort this the only way I know how ...  grit my teeth, put the kettle on and have some sweets!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Studio Lock in

Well, having spent since March writing, composing, filming, directing and making, these last few weeks have been more focussed on producing and this weekend I have chained myself and the engineer to the studio for a 48 lock in to get to grips with the films and the soundtracks with narration, linking all the pieces into a whole.

Easier said than done, let me tell ya!
Thing is, in my head, I see things as a whole; I can see the completeness. The difficult thing is translating that. I almost feel as if I could do with a USB on my forehead to download the WHOLE of The Dragon Tree in one go, but instead, I have to marry together all the pieces so that it doesn't look like a patchwork quilt, but flows as one piece.
As a songwriter, traditionally I have recorded individual tracks and put them together as albums but I want to fuse the songs, to give a concept feel; the concept being the West Wales coastline and the story that has grown from it during my journey, using old folk stories, legends and tales, coupled with people's expectations of today and their aspirations for the future.
I have now consulted with over 650 people throughout the writing process and it's important to me that I encapsulate the human element into the piece as a whole, because for me, the coastline is as much about culture as it is about beautiful landscape; we are part of that landscape.

So, why do I want to do a concept piece? Basically, I'm fulfilling a childhood dream of mine. I grew up in the 70's, being born in the 60's, and my favourite times were those spent dancing to Peter and the Wolf in Juniors, or interpeting War of Worlds in Senior School!
Actually, it goes back much further than that.
I remember being about 4 or 5 years old and catching a glimpse of an animated series called The Point. It was about a boy called Oblio who had a round head. He was cast out of his village by all the triangle headed people. He had a dog a called Arrow and I remember recording the track about the dog with my mum from the radio onto our reel to reel tape recorder, as part of the Top 40 run down on a Sunday. It was called :
Me and my Shadow written by Harry Nilson who also wrote the whole story.

Here's The first clip of that film The Point from the 70's. I managed to find it on Youtube and have just realised it's narrated by Ringo Star! This is years before Thomas the Tank! lol! And, the little boys voice is that of Bobby Brady from The Brady Bunch! Well I never!
Anyway, I digress ... So this childhood introduction to concept story and song  is my inspiration.
I also wanted to do a concept piece because I thought it would be a way of me encapsulating everything that I do.
I make films, I write songs, I direct, I sing, I am a musician, I write children's books, I write poetry, I produce, I edit ... I make things! I have quirky out there ideas and make them so ...
I also LOVE to challenge myself and this really has been a personal challenge creatively mostly due to my technical limitations which I will definitely address before the next production ... do you see what I wrote there!
Yes, I almost dare to say it out loud! the next production .. because I am so at one with myself in this process that I can't see me wanting to stop at the end of the funding year!
The view from my Studio Window
PS. Spooky Coincidence?! 
Although written by Harry Nilson, The Point was co-written by Carol Beers ... now then, I don't know about you, but I find that a bit spooky given that my name is Cheryl Beer! (Can hear the theme music to Tales of the Unexpected in my head running right now!)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A peek at the film scape!

The wonderful Bob Edwards somehow got left out of the photo's on the day!!
So here is a little clip that not only gives you a glimpse of what we got up to, but proves he was there!

Panoramic film direction in progress!

Rob Latham was one of the actors who very kindly came to the film shoot this week at Morfa Isaf and he took this AMAZING photo which he shared with me on facebook.
It's the only pic I have of me directing the shoot. I'm sorry I can't get it any bigger on here but you can see it in its full glory on my facebook.
 In the distance are Arts Care Gofal Celf LegaC Contemporary Dance troop warming up before the big sea plunge with Bob Edwards and Rob playing incarnartions of the main character, Dafydd.
On the rocks I am lining up to film the drummers who represent the echo of the waves .. what you can't see is the beautiful waterfall behind them.
I love this shot becasue it gives you a feel of the day, the wonder of the coastline, the privacy of the secret family cove.
This secret cove is owned is part of the land belonging to the Painting family and I can not thank my friend Amanda enough for welcoming us to her home for the shoot. It truly is the most magical place to stay. She has a guest house and more recent additions are the Romani Caravan and the dry dock Boat accomodation ...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Visionary Arts: Making it so!

 What an incredible day!!
It's very hard for me to put into words the coming together of a collection of ideas
without getting emotional!
Contemporary Dance Troop with Arts Care Gofal Celf LegaC, Rob Latham and Bob Edwards, Sam Collins, Jacqueline Emslie, Rachel Hargrave and the Cardigan Drummers, myself and Amanda Painting made our way down to the secret cove to film the opening film scape for The Dragon Tree.
Thanks everyone: YOU ROCK!



When Mandy and I went down in July to scope the route down, the sun was shining and we didn't have any drums! We got half way down and it looked easy enough! But today in October with all the gear I have to be honest there was a moment when I thought, 'Oh my giddiest of aunts!'
But I knew it would be worth all the hard work to get down to the beautiful cove in Llangrannog.

It became something of a team building experience with people helping each other to make the descent. Certainly the most physical of all my shoots so far!


While the drummers played, LegaC warmed up on the beach.

Let the dance begin ...

Bob Edwards and Rob Latham both represented different incarnations of the main character Dafydd as he lay shipwrecked and confused seeing his whole life before his eyes. Dancing around him with waves ... mermaids making a decision whether or not to save him ...


The Mother of all the Mermaids, Guinivere dances with the shipwrecked fisherman in making her final decision

And then the trek all the way back to Mandy's beautiful Farmhouse, Morfa Isaf

Up & up & up ....


Great BIG team building hugs
when we got to the top!

And then down to some serious packed lunching!

BIG thanks to Joy, one of the mums who came to support the dancers today, to Laura Jenkins, Dance Development Manager for Arts Care Gofal Celf and to Zosia Jo, Dance Tutor at Arts Care Gofal Celf.

Massive thanks to all the dancers, drummers and actors!! And of course to Mandy Painting.

But ... BIGGEST thanks to the SUNSHINE for showing her beautiful face ... and to the West Wales Coast line for being a constant heartbeat.

... and to The Arts Council of Wales for my Individual Mainline Grant :)