“So – was it therapeutic?”

I met Jessa Fairbrother today at a nourishing movement workshop called Flummery Room run by Brenda Waite at The Island in Bristol. Beautiful sessions: Brenda is generous and gentle in how she leads and she manages to encourage us to give something of ourselves, without even asking. Working together, our bodies moving in space to silence or music, we explore repetition, pauses, distance, folding and unfolding. All of us in the group have a chance to get to know ourselves better and to perhaps discover something about each other too. All of this is beyond words, although words are not banned, and they may appear at times in the space too. Something is freed up and we remember how to play again.
At the end there is a chance to talk to some of the other participants; I like that the talk comes after the getting to know another person a little through their movement and how they move with others.
Jessa told me a little about her work – photographs, embroidery, her themes – I became curious. Now home, I’m meant to be sanding down my front door ready to be painted, but how much more enjoyable it is to be reading some of Jessa’s blog posts – nuggets of inspiration and observation. Here is one.

https://jessafairbrother.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/so-was-it-therapeutic/

Persephone: Jenny Joseph

RIP Jenny Joseph.

Jenny Joseph’s Obituary in The Guardian

Jenny Joseph is a name I’m familiar with. It’s on the spine of a book that’s always on my book shelf, and is now on my bedside table, to read for the first time as an adult.  When I was 15, Neil Astley of the newly formed Bloodaxe Books asked me whether I’d like to be on the cover and the back of Jenny’s new book ‘Persephone’.

The pouty photos were taken and tinted by Irene Reddish, and I got paid something like £60 (this was a lot to me, we’re talking about June 1986). Unusually, there’s also a photo story in the middle, with models – my friends – Diana and Judith Taylor, Farne Conway, Fay Gilder, Thomas Gilder and my first boyfriend’s dad, Roger Neville. My life mentor and friend Moira Conway took the pictures for the photo story in the coffee shop of my mother’s bookshop, The Bookhouse, in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

 

‘Great Cultural Knock About!’ Narrative – and Theme… my BEEF workshop feedback

Theme is one of my favourite subjects to teach as it informs the heart of any piece of creative work, whether it be film, fiction writing, theatre, photography, non fiction, textile work… you name it. Plus it’s about emotion, which is the cornerstone of creating anything meaningful. This workshop, and my recent Creative Sparkle workshops have taken me back to the material I taught on the Narrative MA module at Norwich University of the Arts (I loved that job!).

Film maker Dr Vicki Smith asked me to run a workshop at BEEF over the summer. A privilege to be running the first in a series at BEEF’s current home: The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft.

BEEF – Bristol Experimental and Expanded Film – describes itself as ‘a film and sound collective with an analogue heart’, it’s well worth looking up and getting involved in. Vicky is a true experimental film maker and thinker and it’s been great to get to know her through this.

It’s a joy working with creative people, giving them a pile of tools to explore and improve their work and sharing stories. In these workshops – there is a cultural knock about, as one of the workshop attendees wrote in their feedback. Indeed – I view any workshop as essentially being a process of, ‘I am nourishing you and you are nourishing me.’

BEEF workshop.jpg

More about the workshop details:

Details: SATURDAY 30th July  at BEEF’s current home: The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, 14 Hillgrove St, Bristol.

DAY ONE :  EXPLORING YOUR MEDIUM
This set of workshops may be taken singly or together. Close attention will be paid to the role of sound and the senses in experimental film, the advantages and creative applications of different film formats and the consideration of audience.

10-12 am: Elspeth Penny: Narrative – Communicating through Media

A narrative is the unfolding of a structured communication to an audience. Story, genre, time, space, theme, style, plot, characterisation and dialogue, sound, movement, image. This workshop uses practical exercises to explore theme – and how a well worked out theme affects everything we communicate.

Elspeth Penny makes films, tv, literature, theatre…. always ideas led. An experienced creative workshop leader, Elspeth has taught for over fifteen years, including running an MA module in Narrative at Norwich University of the Arts, and loves to work with people of any age and level of experience.

More at:  http://www.beefbristol.org/portfolio/break-the-rules-beef-experimental-film-workshops/

 

Now for the feedback.

Thank you to all of the participants who gave feedback:

 

Very open and dynamic in approach. It did need more time perhaps! Good location and resources. Made me think more about the direction of my work and how to develop it.

 

The exercises were good and energizing and brought the group together in a dynamic and creative way. The film and book examples were well chosen. The exercise at the end of using colours, projection and camera to rapidly explore a filmic theme was really fun and a great idea for an explorative tool.

 

– The creative exercises are very inspiring and helpful.

– The drawing on overhead and filming is brilliant help to see your theme in action.

– It could be an hour longer.

– Please do more of these workshops.

 

Really stretched by boundaries.

Felt like I could think more freely.

Very interesting.

Wow have something/pointers to take away and follow up.

Thanks.

 

Good points.

  1. Great cultural knock about
  2. Made me relax and share
  3. Great set of tool kit to go away with that could be transferred to all/most creative processes.
  4. Great sense of security in the group.

Points to improve

?? Too much in 2 hours. Needs a day.

Thanks all.

 

Note to self: Don’t try to do too much in an hour!

Thanks to Vicky and Esther for your help in planning and on the day.