Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Forgot to Mention

I forgot to mention in my last blog about a wonderful app that was recently produced by a group of artists in Chagford– well -an artist, a writer and a fabulous technician -Steve Dooley, Sam North and Bobby Gilbert. It is a retelling of The Wind In The Willows, especially for the brave new world of electronic devices. The website is: www.thewindinthewillowsapp.com  It is just enchanting! Please take a look at it if you get the chance.

Here’s a photo I just took of Elfie having a little nap with a troll who is coming to New York with us. I think the troll is trying to reserve his strength for the journey. I haven’t told him that he’ll be able to sleep on the plane (or that he’ll be in this position for the next week or so). He looks a bit like “Lindow Man” the preserved bog person when he’s all curled up like that. I always feel a bit guilty curling them up so tightly for travel but it really is the safest way. He’ll have a good stretch when we get there. Elfie just seems to like the company. Buster isn’t always so accommodating!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Celebrations of Trolls

It’s been a fantastic week here! Brian and I are SO excited about the Trolls book and all of the events that are happening around it. 

We just returned on Friday from a great book signing at Forbidden Planet in London and then an amazing launch party and signing for Trolls that was organized by the wonderful James Elphick at the Islington Ironworks. Everyone came in costume (and there were a few hundred people there) and we talked and signed books for hours while bands played and much was eaten and imbibed. Mother Leap attended as well (in her own basket) and enjoyed the attention very much indeed. I don’t know how I’m going to break the news to her that she’s just too big to come to New York with us. I’d have to buy her her own seat on the plane and that’s just not going to happen. She IS coming to Plymouth University book festival with us next Friday the 21st when we’re signing again and speaking after a screening of Dark Crystal. I’m also bringing her to the sculpting and fabricating demonstration I’ll be giving in Chagford at the Globe as part of their Chagford Film Festival on Wednesday the 26th. It’s a busy time here! 

We are also very excited about the meditation app -Pathways to Faery, which will be coming out in October as well. That, combined with the Animazing Gallery exhibition AND New York Comic Con means an even busier October for us. But it’s all fun and wonderful. We are getting such a great response to Trolls (thank you for good reviews on Amazon - it means a lot to us!). 

Brian and I are already beginning to develop some new projects. We haven’t shared our thoughts with anyone yet but hopefully will be able to soon. 

I have a few photos to share with you - nothing magical at the moment. The last time I was out on the moor, my camera battery ran out just as I was about to shoot a fantastic image of a unicorn in conversation with a troll. Perhaps it was just not meant to be recorded. I WILL try again this week. We’re having (I’m almost afraid to mention) an Indian summer here right now. It’s sunny most days and very pleasant. Perfect weather for hunting the hedgerows and grassy pathways for signs of the otherworld. 

Anyway - back to the photos. 
This is one from the Trolls launch party. It’s Toby if he had never left the Labyrinth. I was NOT temped to rescue THIS child! 

Brian and I signing at the launch (with Mother Leap in her basket). We were on a sort of raised platform holding court at one end of a room (one of many - the food and bands were in other rooms and we missed them all!). 

We also went to a fantastic (as only Chagford can do) circus party for our dear friend Elizabeth Jane’s birthday. It was held in her magical woods with everyone flitting amongst the trees dressed in what can only be described as “circus/bordello” costumes -apart from the rather scary clowns. An Absinth tent and a wonderful contact juggler and slack- rope walker (I believe that’s the term) added even more magic to the evening. The Green Fairy was much in evidence as people this morning will certainly be able to attest to, I’m sure. 

Lastly, here is a photo of a troll witch that I’m just finishing up for the Animazing Gallery show. She is in the Trolls book but I’ve restored her to her troll world persona – she appears in the urban section of the book.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back Home

We’re back on Dartmoor now. Beloved grey skies, familiar energies - home. 

Belcastel was an amazing experience. Heidi and Nick, our fantastic hosts, and their daughter Cat, helpers, interns and associates alike were all so kind and fun and helpful. Brian came into his own as a teacher and now knows that he has the ability to pass on his knowledge, his unique “take” on creativity and his endless store of funny and wise stories. I also enjoyed so very much, teaching in this loveliest of settings and although gifted with fewer stories, I did share my one-eyed hamster story with my classes. The castle itself became such a part of our lives and I find that now that I’m home, I dream about it almost every night. And - an added benefit is the fact that we are much more fit now due to the endless number of stone stairs we climbed every day. For the last week we were joined by our very own faery musician, Maxence Bervoet, who played to us every day on his incredible collection of flutes. To hear music echoing through the castle, some of it very much like the music that would have been heard there hundreds of years ago, was enchanting indeed. And troll music! Maxence played troll music!

The weather was punishingly hot at times, especially during the final week, but Brian’s little beehive hut and my workroom in the castle were quite airy and cool most of the time. We did however truly appreciate the air conditioning in our lovely gite that greeted us every evening. 

The Templars and Mary Magdalene are the all- pervasive energies in the castle and the village of Belcastel and indeed in this whole region of France. Very powerful and not something that we’ve experienced anywhere else. Everyone there has their own unique experiences to remember.

Now that we’re home again, we’re going to be very busy for the month of September. We have book signings in London and Plymouth, a “Trolls” launch party in London and I’m giving a sculpting and model making demonstration in Chagford as well. We’ll pass on more information about all of the upcoming events a little later. 

October sees us in New York again with the opening of the Trolls exhibition at Animazing Fine Art Gallery, where Brian, Toby and I will all have work from the Trolls book or work based on the images in the book. It’s going to be so much fun. http://afanyc.com/frouds/trolls-exhibition-events/

We are also appearing at ComicCon New York with our publisher Abrams Books and will be at their booth as well as on a panel discussion chaired by Ellen Kushner. We are also giving a talk at the Society of Illustrators during our time in New York.  We are also launching a new iPad, iPhone meditation app titled “Froud Meditations - Pathways to Faerie”.  For more details coming soon at Big-Ben-Parliament Creations So - a busy month, with a bit of time in the middle to visit family in Michigan and hopefully catch up on some well needed rest! 

Lots to do - but right now, we’re going to go out on to the moor and just see if it has changed in the past month. I’m truly hoping that is hasn't. 

A few more photos for you.
These are of course roof tiles but I’m sure trolls use them when ever they can find them! 

Some castle scenes

Belcastel village 

An amazing site - millions of just hatched flying insects ( Cadis or Mayflies flies perhaps) 

Here are links to some of the things I mentioned. I’ll have more next time. 
http://www.facebook.com/MaxencedesOiseaux - faery piper and flautist 
mailto:info@oustaloubelcastel.com - this is the site for the gite we stayed in http://www.oustaloubelcastel.com/
WWW.CHATEAUBELCASTEL.COM - this is the castle itself 
info@chateaubelcastel.com Chateau Belcastel, 12390 Belcastel (Aveyron)