Friday, November 29, 2013

Catching Up

Hello to everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the U.S!

Brian and I have just returned from almost a month in the states, doing all sorts of exciting things.

We started our trip with a stop in New York to deliver our new (and almost completed) book to our publisher, Abrams Books. We are always SO nervous before we have to show anything to anyone, let alone the people who most need to approve it  - but the response was wonderful! We’ll have the new book –Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales – out next Autumn, hopefully in conjunction with New York ComicCon and an exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculpted figures at AFA gallery. This should all be happening around the beginning to middle of October. It’s very exciting to know that we’ll have another “big” book out there next year! It really IS a big book  - the same size as “TROLLS” with all new artwork  -portraits of faeries and their versions of faerytales we think we know well. As always, the faeries’ points of view are very different in most cases! We’ll keep you posted on related news and events.

Here are some images of our process:






After New York we flew on to Convolution – Gates of Horn and Ivory  -a myth and fantasy convention just outside of San Francisco, where we were guests of honour with Wendy and Richard Pini (of Elf Quest). We met up with the family there – Sarah, Toby, Sebastian and Sarah’s mom Sherri, and combined forces to teach two workshops  -a greenman mask making workshop, taught by Toby and assisted by us and a Troll Talisman workshop, taught by us and assisted by Toby. Sarah, Sherri and Sebastian were there to make sure everything ran smoothly. Sarah and Sherri did an amazing job collecting natural materials for us to use in the Troll Talisman workshop as well as the best collection of leaves we've ever had for a mask making workshop. We really enjoyed both workshops and so did the people participating in them. The masks were beautiful and the Troll Talismans were all quite profound. We’ll certainly be teaching that one again sometime soon. I’m hoping to figure out a spring schedule for a few weekends of teaching at our home (or somewhere in Chagford). I’ll let you know when I’ve got something sorted.
Anyway  - we loved being at Convolution and want to sincerely thank everyone who was involved in making it such an enjoyable, easy and interesting experience for us –especially Kimmi Allbee the convention chairwoman. Thank you Kimmi!!!

We returned to New York after a week of recovering (we both had colds) and sleeping at my mother’s house in Northern Michigan. It’s always so good to be there and just be able to relax and not have to do much. It is so important for us to get to see friends and family in Michigan. We don’t get there nearly as often as we would like to but it’s so special when we DO all meet up. I’m sure my mother was ready to have her house to herself again by the time we left though!

Back in New York we had lunch with Heidi Leigh our AFA gallery owner, where we talked about and planned some coming events for the next few years. We’ll (as I said earlier) be having an exhibition related to Faeries Tales at AFA Soho next October and then we’ll be back at BelCastel in France to teach workshops again in the summer of 2016. Two weeks this time, but the same courses we taught there before. So  - that gives you lots of time to think about joining us if you’d like to spend a week in France! I’ll also have some new pieces in the gallery before Christmas, so check out the AFA website for photos.

The other upcoming events that we’ll be a part of this coming year are  - the Faery Art Show at Krab Jab Studio in Seattle in February, Karen Kay’s Faery Fayre in Glastonbury on March 8th&9th.  And of course the Illustration MasterClass inAmherst this coming June. We’re looking forward to all of them and hope to see some of you either in Glastonbury or in Amherst.

If you have been following Toby’s facebook page (and others as well) you’ll know that he’s finished shooting for his film “Lessons Learned” and now has to turn it into the film we are all waiting to see! It looked totally amazing from what we could see when we face timed with everyone on set and from the photos we've seen. It’s going to be something very special indeed! And I love Digby!

We are updating our website with lots of new information and links to things of interest. It’s been ages since both Sarah and I have been concentrating on the Facebook page  - but, please have a look at the website soon. We’re doing our best to update it! 

Have I caught up with everything? I hope so. I’m getting excited about planning for Christmas this year. Toby, Sarah and Sebastian will be joining us and I’m going to ask the faeries to help us make it extra magical for Sebastian’s first Christmas! 

I left my camera at my mother’s house and until she sends it back, I don’t have any of the photos I took on our trip. Hmmmm. I’ll see if I can conjure something up from my iPad.


I realize that this has been an “information” blog and not a blog about faery experiences. But  - that doesn't mean that they weren't present on our trip and helping us when they could. They were and they did. I know I’ve said this many times before, but if you want to communicate with them  - if you want their help with things happening or about to happen in your life  - just ask. We find that when we remember to ask them for help, they really do come through (although in unexpected ways at times) but if we don’t ask, sometimes they’ll take it upon themselves to “help” anyway, which can be interesting to say the least! I think they are happy to have us home again and we are equally happy to be here! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Upcoming events!

We’ve got some news to share with you all! 

Brian and I are going to be guest artists and instructors at IMC – Illustration Masterclass - in Amherst, Ma. on Amherst College Campus, this June (2014), for the week of 9th through the 15th.

We are so excited to be joining the rest of the fantastic faculty, including Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Donato Giancola, Greg Manchess, Rebecca Guay, Dan DosSantos, Scott Fischer, Ian McCaig, Irene Gallo, James Gurney, Mike Mignola and Lauren Panepinto, for what we know will be an amazing workshop week! 

If you are interested in joining us for the week, please look at the website. It will tell you everything you need to know – including the fact that enrollment is already open and is first come, first serve. http://www.illustrationmasterclass.com/

This is going to be pretty special!

We are also getting ready for Con-volution, which will be held over the weekend of November 1-3. 
We are looking forward to teaching the Troll Talisman workshop and Toby will be teaching a mask making workshop as well. Hopefully the workshops will be scheduled so we can participate as the “Froud Family” – which means you’ll get the benefit of Toby, Brian, Sarah, Sherri and me -and of course Sebastian! 

We will also have art for sale and will be participating in all sorts of activities.



Hope to see you there!







Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pokes of Inspiration

Brian and I are back at work. At the moment it’s beginning to feel like a weird dream. Every time we think we’re getting closer to finishing the book, we discover another thing that needs doing. I don’t know if the faeries think this is funny, but I’m beginning to feel that they are enjoying inspiring us to discover new things to add to the book. I can just hear them saying “what about this? Surely you won’t forget about this faery or this object!”. I wish they would stop now. It’s hard enough without them poking at us! Ahhh - but then again - we DO appreciate their help (just in case they’re listening).  I took a photo of Brian photographing a group of faeries in the Nifty Shed. They insisted on playing tricks. No matter what Brian did, the one on the left (red nose, wild hair) would NOT let his face be in focus. Different angles, different everything - it didn’t matter - twenty photos later, he still wouldn’t “love” the camera. Sometimes they just don’t. Brian tricked him in the end but it took forever!


Our friend, David Todd-Jones has been clearing granite along the wall for us. I caught Brian and David here with Brian looking distinctly worried. I’m not sure what he’s worried about but it WAS just after the uncooperative faery photography. 



The garden is quite autumnal now. Roses are being replaced by Physallis (or Jack o lanterns) that are so magical. There are a few late roses left and we appreciate them even more because they are trying so hard to bloom one final glorious time before winter. 




The dining table was covered in faeries yesterday all waiting to have their photos taken or just lying around recovering from the experience. The sleeping faery is the only one left on the table now but I hate to disturb her - she looks so comfortable there.


Speaking of looking comfortable - here’s Buster looking a bit too comfortable on this chair. I think if he could see this photo, he might decide to go on a diet. 


That’s it for this week from the land of faery foolishness. We’re going into the village tonight for a screening of the silent film “Nosferatu” with Elizabeth Jane Baldry (Harpist, composer, film maker and faery godmother) playing harp accompaniment. It’s part of the Chagford Film Festival on all this week. As part of the festival, the Jen and Kira costumes from Dark Crystal ware on display as well as lots of other film memorabilia and props. If you are near by, come and have a look and see what else is going on this week for the festival. There is SO much to see! 


Friday, September 20, 2013

Pixie Led

Brian and I took a well-deserved break this past weekend and visited friends in Somerset. We spent the weekend talking endlessly, laughing almost constantly and eating and drinking our way through two days of rest and companionship. 

Our friends live in Castel Cary, very near the famous town of Glastonbury, which is overlooked by the stunning Glastonbury Tor with the ruined church tower on the top (I always mean to take a photo of it, but never seem to be in the right place at the right time to snap one). We often stop there on our way to Castel Cary but this time we had a special reason for being there. Our friend, the wonderful faery and fantasy painter Linda Ravenscroft has (as I’m sure many of you already know) opened a gallery/shop called ”The Mystic Garden” on Glastonbury high street. It’s a truly beautiful shop, with SO many beautiful things to see and buy! Linda is always incredibly welcoming and it was great to see her looking so “at home” in Glastonbury. DO go and visit if you possibly can. You’ll love it! Or - visit her on her facebook page and website - lindaravenscroft.com.



Talk about being “pixie led” - on the next leg of our journey –which should have taken us a half hour max. – we ended up driving around for almost two hours in torrential rain trying to get first to Castle Cary and then to the small hamlet just outside of it where our friends live. IMPOSSIBLE! We’ve done this drive many, many times but could we find our way that day? No. We still haven’t figured out why we got so lost. What were those pixies up to? We have no idea.

The next day our hostess kindly offered to take us sightseeing and we decided to visit a National Trust property that we hadn't seen before, called Lytes Cary. It’s a medieval house with absolutely beautiful gardens surrounding it. I had to take a photo of Brian in the topiary. SO Alice in Wonderland! 




We came home Sunday evening, refreshed, restored and ready to get back to work. Sometimes a change IS as good as a rest (or is that a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse?), especially if it is shared with good friends.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

An Interesting Relationship

Brian has started photographing faeries and objects for the new book. Our dining table looks like a cross between a strange junk shop and museum. We’re eating on our laps but the collection of things to photograph is becoming more impressive every day. Buster also has been enjoying the attentions of one of the new characters. We found them this way yesterday and decided that they were forming an interesting friendship. We’ll keep an eye on them and see what transpires!



I went for a short drive yesterday and as I was coming back down our lane, I found the way blocked by this small herd of ponies. I love seeing them this close up. They didn't seem to mind me being there at all - in fact I had to bang on the car door to get them to stop eating and move on a bit. The little foals are especially sweet - very new and spindly-legged! The white one with all over brown spots is a faery horse, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to coming across it every once in a while as it grows up. It was a truly magical to follow them down the lane (and then pass them at a wide spot in time to shut our gate before they could get in to the garden!). 




As summer begins to wind down, we are still having beautiful weather. Brian and I find that sitting out in the garden in the evening (with a glass of wine) is just the perfect end to the busy days we are having. Sometimes, just remembering to breathe is the most important thing to do!




Friday, August 23, 2013

ImagineFX Magazine's Top 100!

Brian just got some great news! He was voted third out of Imagine FX’s 100 most favorite fantasy artists of their 100 issues! It’s just fantastic and we both want to share this with you and thank you all so very much for your support in voting for him and to all of you who support us in so many ways. We truly appreciate it.



This means so much to Brian. He says that knowing that the work he contributes as an artist, is appreciated by so many people who love art AND fantasy, is the biggest boost you could have given him! It is the support of fans that makes him want to keep producing images  -that and the fact that it really IS a vocation and he couldn't do anything else! So  -thank you. You've made an artist very happy indeed!

And HUGE congratulations to FX magazine for producing 100 fabulous issues. We are sure that the next hundred will be just as exciting. 




Please have a look at the link below and read all about it in the 100th anniversary issue and Top 100 Artists supplement.  http://beta.imaginefx.com/shop/magazine/october-2013


Saturday, August 10, 2013

That’s What You Are. Of course!

What a busy month it’s turning out to be for both Brian and me. It shouldn't come as a surprise to us because we've known for ages that we have to have the new book in good shape by the end of August -not finished by any means, but we have to know how it’s going to all fit together by then. At the moment it is still mostly in puzzle pieces. Like a jigsaw puzzle, we've done the edges and now we’re working our way into the middle. I’m not complaining - it’s great fun really (apart from those hours in the middle of the night when Brian and I lie awake and wonder how we’re going to do this). We both know what we’re doing (obviously) but when either of us begins a piece, we both have the feeling that it’s all completely new and we have no idea of how we’re going to produce what ever it is that we’re working on. Then at some point we look at it (or read it) and think “ that’s what you are. Of course!” and then we can just get on with it. 




I've been writing in the morning and making figures in the afternoon. That seems to work well for me. Brian spends his day between his drawing board, computer and the garden. The plants are getting a lot of attention while he waits for paint to dry!

I gave a lecture/workshop this past Sunday as part of the Green Hill exhibition “Widdershins” in Mortonhampstead parish hall. It was very well attended (sold out) and I hope the people attending enjoyed it as much as I did. It’s a true challenge to demonstrate making a figure I under three hours but I like a challenge and I've done this often enough now to be able to (almost) get to the end without panicking! Thank you to some of the audience for reminding me of things I left out! Anyway - it was fun and today I have almost finished the piece I started at the demonstration. 

Yesterday I treated myself to a morning out. It was another beautiful day so I decided to take one of my favorite drives over the moor. I know I photographed these trees (and maybe these sheep) last year but I love to check up on them to see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same with a passing year. I’m happy to report that nothing much has changed. That’s a relief -apart from the fact that this summer I’m seeing it in sunshine instead of rain!



Well -Brian is in the garden again and I think I’ll join him. I was hoping it was time for a glass of wine but looking at the clock I can see that I’ll have to make due with a nice cup of tea.




Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Family Table

We are having a wonderful time here at Stiniel. It’s the first gathering of the family to include Sebastian and we are all delighting in his constant (well pretty constant) smiles and giggles.

It is so interesting to watch a baby observing things we can’t see. Both indoors and out in the garden, he follows the movement of things that are completely invisible to our grown-up eyes. We choose to believe that he is looking at faeries. Hopefully when he is old enough to talk he will still be young enough to see them and will be able to tell us about what he sees. Toby certainly did when he was that age (old enough to talk, that is).

We have been having the most beautiful summer in years -long, long, hot, sunny days that stretch into clear evenings with starry skies. Pure magic!

The flowers are doing their best to all come out at the same time so there are combinations in the garden that we’ve never seen before. A friend of ours is creating magic in the garden by weeding and shaping and coaxing it into something that looks graceful (and grateful!) and cared for and flourishing. It is easy to feel that the nature spirits of this place are extremely happy to see lilies being released from the stranglehold of bindweed and roses and other flowers being given the space to stretch and breathe again. Nurturing is just as important as planting in the first place and Brian and I are truly grateful to see it happening here. Maybe the faeries will reciprocate and plant new ideas in our heads for the book. Now, that would be a good exchange!

Toby’s kickstarter is just doing wonderfully well. If you’ve been following it, you know he reached his goal and is now asking for a stretch goal so he can add another character. Brian and Toby have been spending late nights at the dinner table (always the very best place for ideas!) with wine and cheese, developing a character and scene to be used if Toby can afford it. I love listening to the two of them talking things out and exchanging ideas. It’s not that Sarah and I don’t contribute  - it’s just hard to get a word in sometimes when Brian and Toby get started!  

It’s a very sweet and satisfying thing to know that Toby grew up sitting at that table, listening to the exchange of ideas between the two of us and the many friends who have come to join us there. He has always taken part (even before he could speak) but now of course he brings a whole new vision with him. Sarah and I have both sat and watched Sebastian following their voices as they talk and I believe that we both know that Sebastian too will some day sit there and bring his own ideas into the mix of discussions.  I can’t wait to find out how he views things.



It’s time to venture back out into the sunshine and the grateful garden. 


Monday, July 8, 2013

Just Too Damn Cheerful!


I’ve been sitting at my computer trying to think of a way to start this bit of writing. It’s not that I don’t know what I want to say  - it’s just that I’m not sure how to say it without sounding – I don’t know – just too damn cheerful!
But  - that’s how I’m feeling. I feel happy and hopeful and most of all, grateful.
After almost seven weeks on crutches, following my hip replacement, I am now walking , NOT limping and not in pain. I got the go ahead so really the fourth of July was my independence day! How fitting. I feel better than I have in years. It feels like a miracle. Really  - it IS a miracle that things like this can be fixed at all, let alone, so fantastically! So  - I’m very, very grateful indeed.

But  - that’s not the only thing that is making me happy. Toby just launched (as I’m sure many of you already know) the kickstarter for the short film he is making and it’s doing amazingly well already. It’s so exciting to see him making a “Froudian” film and it is also SO exciting to see how many people are enthusiastic about helping, contributing and encouraging this project. Brian and I are very proud of him and also again, very grateful that something like this will have a chance to be out in the world. If any of you don’t know about the film or the kickstarter, have a look at this link. If you like “Froudian” things (and if you read this blog you probably do!) then have a look and support it if you can.http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1401146961/lessons-learned-a-practical-puppet-short-film?ref=search
 
 

AND another reason I’m happy. Toby, Sarah and Sebastian are coming for a visit soon. We can’t wait! And (I’ll whisper this so the universe doesn’t hear me) it looks like we may even have summer weather for a while! Hard to believe but it just might happen.

As well as all of this happiness, Brian and I are continuing to work like mad on our new book. The faeries seem to be pleased by it so far. Brian’s paintings are just wonderful and the stories that I’ve been inspired to write seem to truly want to be told. Who knew? I guess the faeries did.

I’ve also been sculpting and fabricating again and really enjoying that too. Here’s a faery girl I just finished. I asked her how she would like to be dressed and she said that she wanted to wear gloves  - and so she is. Her clothing is made from a pair of white kid gloves  - wonderful stitching and shaping to use. I loved piecing this together and I think she’s enjoying wearing it.

 

All in all there’s a lot to be happy about and grateful for  - and I am.  Happy summer to you all!



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Happy June!

Happy June! As I embark on my forth week of crutches and staying home, I must say that I’m feeling very well indeed and enjoying getting back to doing a bit of work -both writing and making little figures for the upcoming exhibition in Mortonhampstead. I still can’t imagine being able to work a full day - three hours is about my limit - but all in all, it’s lovely being back in my studio.



Since I haven’t been able to get out, I requested that Brian take some photos for you all while on one of his walks with Elfie. The weather has been beautiful, with more flowers than ever now that the warmth of the sun has brought them all out. I really miss seeing the bluebells, but as you’ll see in the photos, Brian captured them for me (and you).



Brian was on BBC Country File last night, talking about art and faeries and actually sitting by the river sketching a bit. He hasn’t done that in quite a while (weather not at all inspiring until recently) but he said that he enjoyed it so much, he may just spend much more time this summer out in the woods, sketching again. If you (in the U.K. that is) missed it, I think you can see it this week on BBC Iplayer - that’s the limit of my technical knowledge of how one does this -so, you’ll have to figure it out.

The photos that Brian took are magical indeed. Each one is a gateway into Faerie.



OK - it’s nap time now!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Recovering Well

It’s good to be home. I’m now sitting at a small table in our bedroom, with my laptop in front of me, beginning to catch up on everything I've not done since having my hip replacement operation just over a week ago. I’m recovering well and I know that in about five weeks or so, I’ll be walking around again (pain free with any luck) without crutches or a walking stick. Brian is quite wonderful at taking care of me, cooking, tidying and making sure that the house doesn't fall apart while I’m not looking. He keeps asking the Brownies to come and help in the night but so far they haven’t responded. I have the feeling we know too much about them. Buster and Elfie have spent the past week on my bed just keeping me company and making sure that I’m alright. Yesterday however, they decided that enough is enough and I haven’t seen them since. Nothing says “get up and do something” like the absence of one’s loving pets! 

We did have some excitement last Friday. The TV program BBC Country File came to film Brian in the house and also down by our little river. They are doing a feature on the connection between faery artists (painters, sculptors, musicians, etc.) and Chagford. The feature should be aired in their program (Country File) on Sunday, June 9th. If you are able to watch it and are interested in seeing where Brian gets his inspiration, then tune in. Elizabeth Jane Baldry will also be featured talking about faery harp music and the Chagford film group who specialize in Faery Tales. Please don’t count on me for information - I’m sort of stuck here on the edges of this at the moment! 

Brian and I, along with many mythic artists in this area, will be in an exhibition in our neighboring village of Mortonhampstead in June. I’ll give you information about that at the end of this writing. 

In a day or so, I’m going to have my first walk down the lane to see what’s happening in our domain. I’ll take my camera and see if I can catch any creatures doing what they do. But for now, as I said at the beginning of this - it’s good to be home.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Just a Bit More

I took a walk around the garden today since I won’t be walking in it for a week or two. I wanted to check up on the flowers and just see what was new. The bluebells are finally really beginning to show and all of the trees have at least little leaves coming out. It’s always a wonder to see the new growth in the spring, but this year it is especially heartening to finally see spring in its full splendour. It’s still pretty cold but we live in hope! 

I came across this fellow sitting in a group of small hazel trees. He looks extremely happy to be out and about. I asked him if he would like to be in our new book and he said that yes, he thought he would very much like that. I have the feeling he may be trouble, but - I have just the job for him in the story I’m writing and I think he’ll enjoy the experience. I DO hope so. He says he’s a Dartmoor Pixie but I have my doubts. 


I also thought I would share the spring gathering with you. Everyone seems to be at their best at the moment - cobwebs dusted, behaving themselves. Worth a picture, I thought. 


That’s it for a while - unless I come across something absolutely amazing tomorrow! 

Happy Spring!






Sunday, May 12, 2013

Adding Spring to My Step

Hello from all of us here to all of you there. 

Spring is still struggling to gain a firm foothold this year. We DO have lots of flowers out and things are looking a lot greener, but winter still lingers in the corners just waiting for a chance to re-establish itself. 

Brian and I are busy working on our next book. Our summer will be full of scattered pages and stories, paintings and photos. If it’s anything like last time (Trolls) the house will just become one big workroom. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It IS rather exciting to see something taking shape so physically, except perhaps when you’re trying to cook a meal or find anything that doesn't pertain to the book itself. Lots to look forward to then! 

I can’t wait to be able to show you some of the new art that Brian is doing. It’s just wonderful! But - you’ll have to take my word for it for just a while yet. We’ll show some a bit later in the summer. 

Toby, Sarah and Sebastian are coming to visit in July. Of course we’re more excited about that than anything! I’d say we can’t wait -but actually we can because I’ll be on crutches almost up until the day they arrive. 

Here’s where I’m going to ask for your good wishes and healing energy for myself. I’m having a hip replacement operation next Friday the 17th. I had my left hip replaced 7 years ago and now I’m going for the matching set. My right one has been causing me much pain and making me limp for a few years now - so it’s time to do something about it. If any of you feel like sending me good energy and healing, I will gratefully receive it! I am of course asking the faeries for help as well. I just hope they don’t think it would be helpful to turn my leg into a goat’s leg or something equally as interesting. I should only be in hospital until Monday so that’s not bad either. Thank you in advance for good thoughts! 

I’m sending a spring photo of the little trolls doing their garden work again. They are very happy to be out and about, looking after the flowers. They spend most of their time among the cowslips - obviously favourite flowers for them. Maybe it’s the certainty that the cowslips will come up every year in the same place that appeals to them. It is SO very reassuring to see them every spring, being so faithful and beautiful. The bluebells are just beginning to open as well. I’ll miss being able to walk through them this year. I’ll have to just remember the amazingly heady scent of a whole hillside full of bluebells. It’s an easy thing to recall! 


I probably won’t get back to writing for the blog for a little while. I’m going to give myself at least a week or so to settle back home and recover a bit. I can’t indulge myself for too long though - far too much work to do and all of it exciting. 

Hopefully, with any luck, I’ll be skipping about a bit the next time I see any of you - at least I should not be limping any more. 

With all good wishes from us here to you there. 
Wendy, Brian, Elfie and Buster


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Catching Spring

Coming home after a journey of five weeks should have made me feel (very acutely) the passing of time, the change of seasons and the sense of much having happened while I was away. But no. It seems that Nature has held her breath since I left (nothing to do with me I assure you!) and nothing has changed since the beginning of March. Spooky really. The trees are still bare, the primroses are fresh and the daffodils are in full bloom -just as they were when I left. It’s still raining and cold and showing very few signs of doing anything else. I was worried that I would miss spring here completely, but if it ever happens, I’ll get the full benefit of it.

I did experience spring in Portland - along with the worst attack of hayfever I’ve had in years. Everything was budding, blooming, burgeoning and shedding pollen. Then on to Michigan where everything was still buried under a thick blanket of snow and finally back to New York where it was 80 degrees on the day I left. Interesting. I’d blame the faeries but I think they are as bemused as we all are -apart from the ones in Oregon who all seem to be as happy as ever. 

One very good thing about coming home, apart from being with Brian again, was to finally realize that I’ve come out of the six month long funk I’ve been in about not feeling like working, not feeling creative and just not caring about it. Walking back into my studio this week made me SO happy. I can’t wait to focus on our newest project -a new book for Abrams in the same format as Trolls -that is, “big” with lots of paintings, drawings, figures and stories. I’ll say more about it as we get further into it, but it’s very exciting for us and hopefully will be fore you when you get to see it next year. 

If we have a perpetual “late winter” with continual rain and no sun, it will be extra easy to stay indoors and write and sculpt without the distractions of pleasant weather. NOT that I’m hoping for that, by any means!!! 

The thing that helped me out of my creative stalemate more than anything was the time I spent in Portland with Toby, helping him work out the look of characters for a film he is making. He asked me to sculpt full size puppet heads in foam rubber so that he could see what they would be like moving and talking before he sculpted them to cast in foam latex. This is something I’ve always enjoyed doing -basically snipping away at a block of foam with scissors and razorblades until the head takes shape -and haven’t done in years. It’s still fun and even better - I can still do it. I haven’t lost the knack. So -thank you Toby, for giving me the opportunity to discover that ability again. It has inspired me to just start “doing things”. This was done in between times of practicing being a Granny. That was the best thing of all. 

It’s good to be home -bad weather or not. It’s good to sit here and write, good to look around our waterlogged garden again and good to spend time with Brian and Elfie and Buster. I’m very grateful for it all. 

Here’s a bit of spring indoors. We’ll just have to wait for Nature to catch up!







Thursday, March 21, 2013

Welcome Sebastian

I’m sorry it’s been such a long time since I wrote, but Brian and I have taken time out to get used to being grandparents! Neither of us could quite believe how wonderful it would be. So many people have told us that having grandchildren would change our lives (for the better, of course!) and add an amazing dimension to the concept of family. Sherri and Kevin - Sarah’s parents, certainly told us how great it would be. Well - they were SO right! 

We live with magic as a part of our lives on a day to day basis. We look for the magic in everyday occurrences and magical thinking is something we just do (without thinking about it - if you know what I mean!) but - when Sarah and Toby sent us the first picture of Sebastian Cole Froud, we really had no idea of how profoundly it would effect us. The more than thirty years Brian and I have been together just all of a sudden made even more sense and the fact that our family had just expanded by “one” turned our world into the whole universe. 


I am with Toby, Sarah and Sebastian in Portland at the moment. I am loving every minute of it - even the crying. Luckily, being a grandmother means I get to wear earplugs at night! 


I know that there are faeries hovering all around this little boy - curious, delighted and hopefully ready to help and not make too much mischief. I think they are focusing their mischief making on me instead (since it’s hard for them to only play nicely all the time) because my glasses, my watch, my necklace and who knows what else have all gone missing at various times. It certainly can’t be the fact that turning into a grandmother has made me forgetful! No - I blame the faeries. 

So - We welcome you, Sebastian Cole Froud - into this magical, wonderful world. May you thrive and grow and learn that there is magic to be found where ever you are and what ever you do. We can’t wait to experience some of it with you. 

With love, human blessings and faery blessings upon you and your wonderful and loving parents - Sarah and Toby. 

From Brian and Wendy – or Granna and Grandalf!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Keep Your Mind Open

Brian and I had one last fling this week before settling down to some serious work on our new book. We knew that there was so much more to discover around Lewtrenchard Manor that we decided one more overnight stay was COMPLETELY justified. It was work! Honest! It had nothing to do with the fantastic food and wonderful ambiance of the place. And - we weren’t disappointed – not about any of it; but I MEAN about things we discovered. 

We stayed in a room we hadn’t stayed in before. I was casually poking around, opening cupboards and drawers (as one does), when I came across this strange stain in a small drawer in an antique dressing table. It’s a silhouette of a little pixie man wearing a hat. He has feelers and just the beginnings of wings! You never know what you’ll find when you open a drawer in a strange room - not that I advocate doing this! I will tell you where it is though, just in case you ever decide to stay there. It’s in the Prince Rupert room. 

We really hadn’t explored the grounds around the house fully (and still haven’t) but this time we decided to take the pathway that leads up behind Lewtrenchard church. The woodland and “lost” garden around it, are in the process of being restored at the moment, and interesting things are coming to light. As we walked along, we could see an absolutely huge beech tree standing guard next to a strange stone structure to the side of the path. The tree is either in the process of being felled or being saved -we really couldn’t tell which; but either way, big branches had been lopped off and the dead middle of the tree had been exposed. It’s always sad to see a tree in this state but the wonderful thing was this - in the middle of the hollow within the tree, someone had placed a carved wooden heart. You can’t tell from this photo, but it is high (maybe head height), and about 18 inches across, and wedged into the center as if it is the heart of the tree. It’s not new. At least a few seasons have passed since it was placed there I would think. It seemed to us that someone has given this ancient tree a heart to help the spirit of the tree itself. Who ever did it - we love it. It seems such a beautiful statement. 

The tree is sentinel for the stone structure (or what it surrounds), and that is a holy well - as stated in the church information. Although holy wells have more often than not been taken by the church and turned into saint’s wells, the origin of them is far, far older. Sacred wells have been used and revered by people for millennia. This structure was definitely strange at first look. We thought it was a ruined fireplace but the opening in the front was an opening into the well itself. Climbing to the top of the structure, we could see that the circular stonework was indeed a well. Neither of us had seen one quite like this before and seeing it and its guardian tree together was very moving. 



So - you never know what you’ll find on a walk or in a drawer. Keep your eyes open and your mind open too and see where it takes you.