Thursday, June 28, 2012


Sunshine! We haven’t seen it in what feels like forever, but we have it today. Glorious sun, light breeze, quite warm … hmmmm …feels like summer. It also feels like it should come with an announcement saying “appearing for one day only…”  

Fearing that it actually might be for one day only, Brian, Elfie and I went for a walk in Gidleigh Wood - a beautiful nature reserve near us. Huge oak and beech trees, moss covered boulders and wildflowers everywhere. This truly seems like a troll wood. It certainly is home to all sorts of creatures of Faerie, but the combination of grand old trees and rocks makes it especially perfect for trolls. We didn’t see any today but it was enough to walk in the woods and enjoy the sun on the water and shining through the trees. Elfie was so excited, I’m sure he frightened them all away, especially when he fell in the river. 

Part two of the Around The Table with Brian and Wendy is up on the John Barleycorn Must Die blogspot. Have a look (or read). It’s really fun and an interesting insight into how artists think (or don’t think at times!). I wish we had dinners with interesting conversation like this all the time - but we don’t. We’re so tired at the end of a working day that we just sit around and watch TV. I’m telling you this just in case you thought we did REALLY interesting things all the time. Hah! 

Well - I’m finishing this the next day and yes - I was right. It’s raining again. No sun -no summer. The faeries have all gone to Italy or somewhere else where the sun is shining. So - if you are reading this in a place where the sun is out, have a look around you - you may just see some Dartmoor faeries having a little holiday away! 

Just in case you think I just sit around all day complaining about the rain, I thought I'd show you the troll I'm working on for the New York exhibition in October. see? I can work AND complain at the same time!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mother Leap's Day Out

Over the past weekend, Brian and I attended Karen Kay’s Three Wishes Faery Festival in Cornwall. We knew that we were going to be talking in a tent (since it’s an outdoor festival with no place to project images) so we decided that we needed to bring someone along who could help us explain what we do and how we do it, and especially help us talk about the “Trolls” book. I looked around and asked various trolls how they felt about coming out for the weekend. Most of them (very wisely) decided to stay home. Mother Leap on the other hand, was delighted to have a nice day out (as she put it). Little did she know (and I didn’t want to tell her) that the weather forecast was particularly forbidding for Saturday. And so it proved. Galeforce winds, driving rain, mud. Not a fun time in Faeryland I’ll tell you. Mother Leap spent most of her time in a black plastic rubbish bag. But - although our bodies were damp and wind battered, our spirits were high. We had a great time with all of the wonderful faeries that came out to play at the festival. Mother Leap came out of her plastic bag for the lecture and loved the attention as well. 
At the Lecture

Sunday was SO much better! Sun and no wind. Mother Leap once again came with us but she was able to be out in the open in her own basket, making the rounds of the attendees and stall holders and once again participating in the talk we gave. She thoroughly enjoyed it all! Here are a few pictures of the event. 

Wendy with Mother Leap

Brian and the toadstools
I seem to spend my time at the back of crowds so I never really get many good photos of what’s actually happening. Our friend Emily Carding was taking part in the world record -breaking event of fairies gathered together in one place – all with (as stipulated in the Guiness book of records) wands, wings and tutus. You’ll have to imagine the rest of them – all 200 and something.
Emily Carding 

 Anyway - wind, rain or not, it was a truly fun event. Thanks SO much Karen for inviting us to be a part of it! Mother Leap thanks you too. She can’t wait to get out again. There’ll be no stopping her now!
Karen, Wendy, and Mother Leap

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Celebrating in Lobster Light

We have had a week of celebrations here in Chagford. Well - so has the rest of the country. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated al over the U.K. from last Saturday (the 2nd ) until Tuesday. I spent the week before helping the primary school children make puppets for a performance in Chagford Square on Saturday afternoon. It was called the Mad Tinner’s Teaparty ( a take on the mad hatter’s teaparty)and almost every child in Chagford school participated in some way. It was conceived of and directed by William Todd Jones - with a lot of help from puppet and costume making volunteers. Unfortunately, I was at the back of the crowd for the performance and couldn’t actually take any decent pictures, so you’ll just have to believe me when I say that the singing strawberries, the talking cakes and the singing plates of eggs and chips (that’s french-fries for you Americans) were great along with the two huge (3meters tall) puppets of the queen and the Mad Tinner, dancing corgi dogs, wild ponies and a fly-by from a whole lot of crows. Almost everything was made from recycled and found materials. It was really a lot of fun (and a lot of work too!). 

There was a picnic in the park for the whole village and live music in the square. We haven’t had this much fun as a whole village in a long time. It was lovely. 

We also celebrated our wedding anniversary last week. We’ve been married a LONG time! We always tend to celebrate in the same way. We drive down to the coast and find a place that sells fresh lobsters and bring a couple of them home for dinner to have with champagne. This has been our treat for years. We realized that we were getting older (or perhaps just more temperate) when we couldn’t even finish the bottle of champagne and we still had lobster left over too! Oh well - time marches on. But - we have over the years discovered that if we take a photo of the two of us leaning down over the platter of lobsters, the light that bounces back on us from the lobsters makes us look really quite good (come on - it’s all relative). We now call this “lobster light” and we recommend it to anyone celebrating an anniversary and wanting to look like you’ve been lit with an amber or rose gel light (those are the gels that make glamorous movie stars look good!) Or you could just walk around with a cooked lobster tied around your neck for a more lasting effect. Well -that’s our tip for the week. 

Last night we lit candles for dinner and mysteriously one of them burned down and one didn’t. There was no breeze or draft and they were the same size when we lit them. The only explanation I can think of is that the one near Brian burned faster because he talked non-stop (except for eating) through the whole dinner. Hot air can do that I guess. 

No magical adventures this week, apart from the celebrations. It’s been extremely cold and raining far too much to go out and explore. We did both get a lot of work done so I suppose that was a good thing really. From the weather report, I think we’ll be working all this coming week as well. Hmmmm. 

We’re getting excited about the publication of the “Trolls” book at the end of the summer (no - I don’t know the exact date yet, but it is available for pre-order on Amazon or signed pre-order at AFA NYC). It was fun to see the photos of the paintings from the book that Heidi put up on the facebook page. Here’s a photo of the troll child who also features in the book.

Another exciting thing happening is that we will have an app coming out in the autumn as well. It will be a series of meditations, rather like the ones we use in our workshops and lectures, and it’s going to be quite special - but more about that later! 

That’s it for now. Here’s to another rainy week!