An Arts Council England DYCP writing project, and some wonderful 1:1 Cultivator training with author Wyl Menmuir and poet Ella Frears, have really helped shift and shape my writing in recent months, along with membership of the new Writers' Network at The Writers' Block in Redruth.
I've always had a passion for words and a love of language, and have written for personal enjoyment and publication, as well as copywriting, editing & publishing in several arts jobs. I developed & produced in-house publishing projects such as Creative Partnerships Cornwall's Big Picture Magazine from 2003-2005; Dance Agency Cornwall's Your Moves! Dance Newsletter from 1999-2002; and Dance South West's FRESH interactive e-bulletin in 2008-9. Other, more recent things, also involving words:
My Nature Journal: Schools For All Seasons
I co-wrote & co-designed a new children's publication in 2022 as part of the exciting Schools For All Seasons programme with Real Ideas.
Commissioned by project lead Sarah Waller, after being inspired by our ARTiculate bird passport concept, below, the Schools For All Seasons 'My Nature Journal' is the resulting 16-page creative learning tool designed to increase wellbeing in primary aged children, through closer engagement with nature and the seasons.
More than five hundred children across ten school settings have so far experienced and enjoyed the booklets and the guided activities inside. Moving through gentle creative activities to get children moving and outdoors, noticing the nature on their doorsteps, collecting, drawing and writing about their thoughts and feelings - whether they live in town or rurally - the journal also leads children through the Five Ways to Wellbeing from HeadStart Kernow, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. We hope this valuable and successful tool will continue to be used in future projects.
Bird Passports: creative learning & research tools
I wrote, co-designed and produced this original creative research & engagement tool for ARTiculate's Island Light Festival on Scilly in early 2022, in collaboration with designer Cas Smirthwaite, fellow ARTiculate artist Reg Payn and a small group of young consultant editors at the Five Islands Academy.
Printed on high quality sketchbook-style recycled paper, these beautiful A4 booklets took every child at the Academy on a creative journey, following and researching a migratory bird of their choice, during our Wider World project prior to and during the February festival.
With loads of space for the children's own ideas and creative work, the information and prompts inside helped the children to select and then research their chosen migratory species through drawings, designs, songs, stories, myths and mapping activities.
Words On The Wing
Inspired by our incredible birdlife during lockdown and COVID, this lovely ARTiculate migratory and story arts project, kindly supported by Arts Council England, offered artists and members of the public the chance to receive, enjoy, create and share bird-themed artworks in a whole range of inventive ways.
Having conceived the original idea for the 'migratory' art element of the project and produced the project cards, I also enjoyed creating work like the piece shown here, combining poetic writing with hand-drawn imagery, and posting the original works out to friends and to strangers alike.
Migratory art works were posted out as gifts to hundreds of project participants, and handed to children in six primary schools and a school hospital setting in North Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, along with blank project cards & pre-paid postage so the recipients could create and share their own work with others in turn.
The resulting work 'migrated' as far as Russia, other parts of Europe, the USA, Asia, New Zealand and Australia; it was a wonderfully connecting project that cascaded through our communities, helping people to feel more in touch and less isolated. ARTiculate artists were so inspired by the results that we actually based our Island Light Festival 2022 on the project and theme: you can read more on the ARTiculate website.
The Mermaid and the Ice Cream Man
As mum to a toddler and a tiny new baby in 2014, I wrote and published a children's title, working with young illustrator Jenny Simmons whose lovely work is pictured here. I rewrote the story in rhyming verse from a short film script I had written, and my film storyboard also offered the starting points for Jenny's visuals. We published the title with 'Little Bird Loves...Books' and I've been invited to do book readings and Q&As with it in schools and at various community events including several Polzeath Marine Discovery Days. During lockdown, Cornwall College's LAUNCH drama department asked permission to use the text as a story for the students to recreate, using video segments filmed in their homes, and edited into their final assessment.
The Early Bird and her Word Worms
Recently developed character, the Early Bird brought her roving mini-poetry Word Worms workshops to Cardinham Woods as part of the first Words in Woods Festival run by KEAP and IntoBodmin in April 2019.
The Early Bird's roving workshop 'depot' is a set-up on the back of an old-fashioned sit-up bicycle, and it proved very accessible roaming through the woods: around 80 visitors of all ages from 2 to 82 enjoyed creating their very own mini-poetry 'Word Worms', inspired by the trees, birds, sky and wild places in the woods, plus the incentive of a chocolate egg from the Early Bird's nest! They could then choose to either take their Word Worm poem home - or transform it into a Book Worm for the Early Bird to look after in her special book!
Birds and Stars
I conceived and ran a series of creative word/art workshops as part of the Dark Skies: Bright Stars project with Mayes Creative and other partners during 2018.
Brilliant Birds and Marvellous Migrations! workshops in St Ives and Penzance Libraries saw participants of all ages inspired by the incredible migratory journeys of our native birds to create collaged works using printed words and fragments of text, poetry and old maps.
The Galleon PinARTa and its accompanying workshops at Sea Salts & Sail in Mousehole inspired visitors all about stars and maritime navigation, in what was also a collaborative, commissoned project with poet & author Sally Crabtree. Participants wrote poetry and created mini works of art, which were popped into the Galleon PinARTa with sweets, before the bashing and sharing of the goodies at the end of each festival day!
Story Box with Endelienta
I was approached by Endelienta in 2017 to come up with a series of creative writing workshops as part of their North Cornwall Story Box project. I ran a specially-organised after-school club at St Minver School, initially just with the children and then later on bringing in St Minver 'Open The Book' adults to co-create stories in intergenerational pairs. These sessions led to some lovely visual story outcomes, with an exhibition of the finished works, and a community Story Box drop-in workshop for members of the public at Cornwall's Regimental Museum in Bodmin in spring 2018.