Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
BIG thank you to Dom Atreides, Editor of Welsh Icons for a lovely review of The Dragon Tree launch at The National Botanic Garden of Wales:
This bit made me cry! 'Sitting in the cafe afterwords words such as beautiful, inspiring and imaginative were thrown around like confetti. I for once could not agree more.'
And this is one of my absolute favourite photo's from the show kindly taken by gifted photographer Derek Wiltshire from
Here are some more of his shots from the day.
Monday, 28 January 2013
Just had to share another of my favourite photo's that have been posted on my facbook from audience members. This time the photograph is taken by Brian Crofft. Brian is a member of Swansea Ukulele Group. He joined after being on my Ukulele and Song writing course at the Garden last Spring. He also took part in the Dragon Tree Film shoot at The Tin Shed in Laugharne.
I LOVE this picture ... look at all the snow still piled up outside the back of the Marquee!!!
Sunday, 27 January 2013
Completely blown away to have had such a wonderful last day of Exhibition with
The Dragon Tree Installation & my official book launch of The Dragon Tree at the
National Botanic Garden of Wales Gallery today!
I was there between 11.30am and 2.30pm at a 'Meet the Author' opportunity.
Thank you so much to the more than 200 visitors at my Arts Installation
& Book launch today!
What a send off before packing up and getting ready to take the whole production over to St.David's in February where we'll be performing live music and dance on Saturday February 16th at 2pm and showing the films at Oriel Y Parc at 2pm & 3pm, as well as exhibiting the Arts Installation
in The Cwrt House late afternoon
Even the little ones
seemed to like it!
Today I gave away lucky shell book marks as a thank you to people for coming to support my Dragon Tree Book Launch today in the Gallery
Thank you so much to The National Botanic Garden of Wales for their tremendous support this week with my Dragon Tree Arts Intallation in their beautiful Gallery, the Live Music & Dance Launch in the Marquee as well as the launch of my Dragon Tree film in the Theatre Botanica.
It meant the world to me to be able to invite so many people to share my work with me in such an inspirational and wonderous setting.
Thank you to everyone who has been posting photographs of yesterday's fabulous launch to my facebook page. Have to say I look a bit odd in some of them! I reckon I pull some right ol' funny faces when I'm up there on stage!
But this picture by Christine Ravenhill Stock, really grabbed me .. it's an arty interpretation through photography and has me on the left, Rachel Hargrave on the drum, Martin Kurina dancing and the 4 of the lads from Swansea Ukulele Group performing.
I love that it's red like the Welsh Dragon, and I even love Christine's title for the photograph:
The Dragon Breathes ..
Thanks Christine! I like it so much that I might even print it out and frame it for my recording studio.
Saturday, 26 January 2013
Brilliant turn out today!!
I am somewhat overwhelmed to say that over 250 people came to share my Dragon Tree Live Performance with me today!
The launch kicked off with LegaC Contemporary Dancers interpreting my first track
The beautiful Rachel Hargrave playing drums and 3 of the cracking Swansea Uke boys.
Rachel stayed on the drum and my gifted friend Amanda Painting joined me on vocals for
Women Build Fires
Mandy went onto Piano and we were joined by Johnstown Primary School Eco Council for the Dance of the Ribbons
4 of the gorgeous Swansea Ukulele Group came to join me in performing Mr Blueface,
with Rachel on shaker ...
Then Rachel went onto drum and we performed Rock and a Hard place
with Matin Kurina street dancing
Then I joined Rachel on Djembe, sitting on my rather lovely new story telling chair!
Mandy came back on stage to perform 600 Castles which led into Dolphin Dancing.
Bigyn Primary School danced with dolphins led by the lovely Sam Collins.
Then I invited everyone back onto the stage to perform together for the last track before we went to watch The Dragon Tree Film
in the Theatr Botnica.
We were very lucky that Rachel Stelmach from Disability Arts Cymru managed to get to the Garden through the adverse weather, to display her lyric presentation for people who might not be able to hear the songs.
So, what was my highlight of my day?
Well, there were a few, more feelings of intense relief! We had a fair few weather related gremlins to deal with, but overcame them!!
If I'm completely honest, writing this blog is a highlight! I'm looking at the pictures and thinking ... was I actually there doing this today? Because it is almost as if it were a dream. Even looking at the pictures, it is as if I am looking at someone else!
A great big first for me today; I have put on film events exhibiting the work of the people I have supported to make thier own films, like the young mums group for instance, but I have never exhibited one of my own films before today!
I have never prayed so hard for the computer to say 'YES!' The theatre was completely packed. I looked at everyone watching my film, all concentrating, as if transfixed. It was a new feeling, a strange feeling .. I almost can't describe it. It's only now that I think .. WOW! How incredibly privelidged am I, that people come and support my work in this way.
Bless you all!
Now we're gearing up to St.David's in February kicking off 13th at Oriel Y Parc with a Dragon Tree Ukuele Workshop and then the BIG event on the 16th ... will keep you posted!
Massive thank you to the National Botanic Garden of Wales for hosting The Dragon Tree this week.
But heart felt thanks and genuine gratitude to The Arts Council of Wales for my Individual Mainline Grant.
Friday, 25 January 2013
Just spent the day getting the Marquee ready for the BIG event tomorrow!!
Launching my Dragon Tree live performance, book and film at
The National Botanic Garden of Wales
But it's not all glamourous stuff!
There's the chairs to put out ...
All the gubbings to bring in from the car and van
Testing the sound &
getting to grip with the technicals!
And off course, setting up the PA
MASSIVE thanks to Jeff Beer today
for his continued hard work.
And special thanks to the maintenance team at the Garden particularly Wynne and Roger who have been so kind to me in helping to set up, not just today but throughout this week at the Garden.
So utterly and completely chuffed to bits with my hand made story telling chair for The Dragon Tree, made by Mike Prankerd from Greenwood Designs. Perfect for The Dragon Tree, it's called 'Sailor Chair' Totally sourced locally, I can't wait to sit on my Story Telling Chair tomorrow at the launch of my Dragon Tree live performance, book and film! 26th January 1pm start.
Mike makes 'bespoke rustic furniture art' which he exhibits and sells across the UK in places like Hatfield House and Blenheim Palace, as well as The National Botanic Garden of Wales.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
foto by Darren Boxer
Wonderful Press release from the National Botanic Garden of Wales website.
Many heart felt thanks folks: Here's the link ...
I'll be at The Gallery in The National Botanic Garden of Wales again today between 11am to 2pm if anyone fancies wrapping up warm and coming for a cuppa t'would be lovely to see you.
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Because I have had such an amazing time in The Gallery at NBGW this week, I decided I wanted one of my own! Me being me, I rushed home to chase Rightmove and see what I could find .. and lo and behold, a beautiful building called The Old Sunday School is available on a peppercorn rent.
Only thing is, there's no water .. not a problem really, cos you could take a huge bottle of water, but no loo! So, it was no good for me because it's about 40 minutes from where I live. Then I thought, well, I wonder if any of my friends would like to have it in their life.
If you live near Cilcerran @ 10 mins from Lampeter, and you would like a lovely Gallery or workshop space .. why not take a look ...
Here's the link to Morgan and Davies in Lampeter ...
Another wonderful day at the Gallery today. There were 16 visitors yesterday to my arts installation during my 2 hours stint and 17 today. I'm quite taken aback by that, given the weather and it being mid-week. Most of the people today were people who volunteer at the Garden or staff, plus my lovely friend who appears in 2 of the film shoots for The Dragon Tree, Bob Edwards.
I talked to Bob about the wonderful NEW idea I have for the follow on book/installation ... but I won't share that with you until after the live performances of this tour. Needless to say, I'm really excited to be so inspired and Bob's knowledge of ... well, just about everything ... made the time whizz past. Thanks for coming to have a cuppa, poppet!
An older woman and her daughter came to the Gallery and asked me about the furniture used. It is all recycled, been given a new lease of life, lifted from dusty corners of skips or junk shops to be up-cycled into the beautiful Gallery.
The older woman told me about a sideboard of her great, great grandmother's, that now lives with her, but she couldn't get it into her house, so they had to split it in 2. When they did, they found newspaper clippings from many years gone by and one of the clippings was a piece about a family member. Like 'hidden treasure'. We talked about how exciting it was to imagine people in our family, whom we have never met, opening the cupbaords, their fingers holding the very same handles.
Our artefacts outlive us. To those who will look back at our time, yet never known us, these things will be how they try to define us ...
And that was the central to the conversation I had with Simon who is the Curator of the Garden. He came to see me and we had a wonderful chat.
He has only been at the Garden for 18 months and was curator at the Botanic Garden in the Isle of Wight for 24 years.
He told me about the AMAZINGLY exciting installations that he facilitated there. Like an Easter Islands head, a huge one, made from old cars, on the cliff top ... a field of huge outdoor candles, all lit one at a time in the darkenss to ambient music and then blown out by the wind, line by line ... Already he has planted new forests at the Garden, saplings that will tower for our children's, children to dance around one day.
How wonderful to have the time to share with people and hear their stories, inspired by what I have done, in my small way, at the Gallery.
Wonder who I'll meet tomorrow.
Whilst with my Arts Installation, I wrote this in my little book and thought I would share it with you ...
There's something very magical about 'just sitting in a Gallery'
Today the snow has started to fall again, everyone is struggling back to school and work on the icey roads, So, the heady numbers of yesterday's launch have vanished like the vapour of my frost bitten breath as it fades into the snowflaked air.
... and yet the peace and calm I feel right now in this very moment, is almost more emotional than any other moment.
This is new to me: bathing in the end product of my creativity.
As a singer songwriter/musician, even within theatre productions, community plays and directorship, I feel very different to this. It is momentary, almost transient- a snatch of time for an hour or so of intense performance, like a water shoot roller coaster ride, literally, where the carriage runs up the hill in anticipation, then charges down the tracks; we're all screaming, with our hands held in the air. Then we hit the water shoot at the bottom - this is the performance, the water droplets spraying beautifully, cascading waterfalls of intense joy, yet gone almost before it has arrived, leaving us with only a snapshot memory.
This experience here, today, is more akin to a glorious hazy sunny afternoon on a gondola, watching water slowly ripple. Stopping only to soak the sun into my face, trailing my fingers in the warm waters, closing my eyes as the boat glides gentley, welcoming the slow lap of the waters, an unknown journey of quiet, calm and peace.
I didn't know it would feel like this to have my
I didn't know the joy I must have brought to so many artists in facilitating them to do this.
For me, I thought it was about enabling the sharing of beautiful stories through different creative platforms so the world could enjoy them, but now as 'the artist' I can sense a feeling of self, of wholeness. I understand that feeling now, sat here alone, on a cold snow filled Monday morning.
The slate floor of the Gallery spreads before me like a map of all the feet that have walked upon it. The wooden beams above me do not strain under the extra weight snowed upon the roof tiles. The linnen draped windows hang with a slithered peep hole, to draw the lightness of the clouds into my soul.
I didn't know.
But now ...
Now I do.
I'll be here all week if you feel like coming to the Garden to join me in this quiet stillness to share the calm, between 11am and 12pm. It's free entry.
I reckon Thursday will be the day when I climb back on the roller coaster, somewhat reluctantly it has to be said, to start the build up to the BIG LAUNCH on Saturday 26th January.
No doubt the children of Bigyn and Johnstown Primary Schools who are rehearsing, will be excited and nervous, just as they would be waiting in that fairground queue.
I will focus this week on my immense sense of self and if I can retain and share this inner peace on the 26th, I will have grown as an artist ... and as a person.