Response Time!

I was having a wander around online last week and I came across a video, which I didn’t know existed, following the development of a piece I made for a project called Response Time last year. Response Time is a fantastic project that was launched in Aberystwyth by Scriptography Productions, and has since travelled to other spaces in Wales. It involves a set period of time, normally 48 hours, in which artists, writers and performers are invited into a space to create performance art in response to the art and the space, which is shown on site at the end of the 48 hours. It leads to some excellent work, and inspires some powerful magic in those that join in. For a start, it proves that you can make art with only a limited amount of time. It also encourages new ways of looking at art, spaces and possibilities. There is no time to worry, overwork it or lose interest. There is no time to over think it, only time to create and let it loose into the world.

There are several pieces I’ve made for Response Time that I would love to develop further, but even if I never do they have all given me a great deal of confidence and informed my way of working deeply! Anyway, I thought I’d share the video I found, so you can get a glimpse of some of the work I do (and how excited I get about things…)

Project Response: Transitions Hayley Addis from Ian Smyth on Vimeo.

The piece I ended up making in the event I talk about here was a video, which you can catch a glimpse of here. I visited the gallery on the Friday evening, filmed everything on the Saturday and then edited it together that night as I had rehearsals most of the Sunday. The sketch book I talk about was present for people to look at as well, but ended up being a mostly unseen artefact – which is interesting in itself for a performance art-work.

Now… I wonder if the video I made exists online somewhere too! It disappeared from my computer shortly after the event…

 

(Video made by Ian Smyth, who documented that weekend and filmed the footage which I edited together into my video-art!)

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Brighid’s Blessings; the Spirit of Brighid Conference 2015

Last weekend, on the waves of Imbolc and the rising spring that washed away the snow, I travelled to Penarth, on the edge of Cardiff, to a Pagan conference dedicated to Brighid as the maiden goddess. It was fitting that she was there, as a Goddess of Inspiration, for the launching of The Goblin Circus as a show.

What is The Goblin Circus, you ask? It is a multi-platform artwork, a world, centring around a one-woman-many-goblin theatrical-storytelling circus show. Which is a mouthful, so I mostly think of it as just ‘The Circus’. It’s online home is growing here

My friend Wendy and I were escorted to the venue by her partner Mike, and we set up a table for her books and my art/books/oracles/stuff. The talks were fascinating, with topics ranging from the history of Wicca, Gnosticism, the Ogham and “Meeting the Great Anaesthetist” i.e. how we as pagans can live a good life and a good death.

We met lots of people, I spent most of the breaks re-learning how much I enjoy the company of five year old faeries, and then the talks were over and it was time for the room to clear (hunting for food, mostly) and the sound-checks to take over. I bounced on stage to make sure I knew what not to touch whilst I did my thing… and was greeted with friendly, supportive hugs (Damh the Bard had been informed that I was nervous!) and help getting my head around the mic! Blanche Rowan very kindly made sure the mic would be in a good place for me and told me she’d move things back round when they began so I didn’t need to worry about it (and wouldn’t accidentally drop something, not being used to tech on stage!) and I trundled off to find food and breathe very deeply…

7pm rolled around. Folks were settling down for the evening. I straightened my jacket, pulled on my top hat, and stepped into the wings.

The crowd were silent. A friend later described them as “spellbound”. All I could do was share the Circus and take a bow when I had done my fifteen minutes. It felt good,

It wasn’t until there was a break later in the evening that folk told me they’d enjoyed it and I could finally relax. (And it wasn’t until hours later that I realised… no-one had talked over it… I had their complete attention for the entire thing. Now that was an achievement! Also goes to show just how respectful that audience was 🙂 )

Then there was music and dancing! While I danced I let the energy rise, in honour of the gods, in honour of my work, in honour of the community of cauldron-born pagans who supported me, and in a blessing on all these things.

Blanche Rowan and Mike Gulston were enchanting and Damh the Bard was inspiring! He was both talented and kind, even inviting the five year old fairy onstage to dance while he played (her very first gig!) I escorted her into the spotlight and felt very honoured to be her back-up dancer.

Finally the evening wound to a close, we packed up and left, talking the entire journey home.

This was a wonderful space to launch the Circus as a performance, as a circus, and I feel very grateful for the opportunity to do so. This was organised as a one off event but I hope, very much, that it returns again next year. In the meantime, I’m looking to take the enchantment of the Goblin Circus on the road this summer… so we shall see what magic the Cauldron Born brings!

On that note, if you’d like the Circus to come to your event, do let me know 🙂

Manifest Your Dreams

Exhibition at the Mulberry BushLast month I facilitated at a retreat in Spain and had my first solo art exhibition… where I sold a painting to someone whose dream it was.

Next month I travel to Budapest to present an aesthetics paper at a week-long philosophy conference, using the funds from the sale of said painting.

Last year I had an essay on Rhiannon published in an anthology, I’ve got short pieces coming out in three books this year and then, in December, Girls and Philosophy comes out – with one of the chapters written by me.

My dreams have always included travelling, teaching, books and art… looks like the magic wand waving has paid off!

Over the last few years, I’ve manifested these dreams for myself (with the support of my fiance and friends). It hasn’t been complicated, but it has been hard work. Here’s my map to success:

1. Decide what you actually want.

Not what you think you might like, but what you actually, really and truly want. Visualise it, feel it in your body, imagine you are living that dream. How does it feel? If it feels right, even if it is scary, then make the choice now that this is what you want. I wasn’t clear on how exactly it was going to look when I saw myself standing, talking to a large room of people on a subject I’m passionate about, on an adventure across the world… but I knew that was what I wanted to happen. So Hungary happens next month.

2. Commit to it.

Fully commit to it. Even if you don’t know the bigger picture. Even if you don’t know the how. Even if you don’t know anything other than this is what your heart desires. Commit to it totally.

3. Step forward.

Open yourself to opportunities. Apply for opportunities that look good. Sign up to mailing lists on subjects related to your desire. When you see an opportunity to manifest your dream; take it. Say yes. Ask for the place on that course, the time-slot on the schedule, the work-placement in your field, the lift to a faraway place. Send off the application to speak at a foreign philosophical society’s conference…

4. Follow up that lead!

Once the door opens and you step through it, follow that white rabbit all the way to the other side of wonderland. Follow up that email, complete the application, write that rough draft and hit ‘SUBMIT’. Then when they say ‘Yes, we want you’, confirm that you’ll be going!

5. Trust the Universe.

Trust it. Don’t dig up the seeds you’ve planted to see if they are growing yet. Follow up on leads, definitely, but don’t poke them till they die. Don’t worry about the How-exactly it will all work out. Let the solution come to you. (This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t balance your books and explore the possibilities, definitely do that. This may be precisely where the Universe has hidden your key.) Maybe that exhibition that got delayed by two months will be perfectly placed to unexpectedly cover the costs involved…

6. Follow it through to the end.

There’s no point writing half a book if you want to be a novelist. You’re not a world-wide traveller if you hang up your hat after the first trip out. And you probably shouldn’t call yourself a professional artist if no-one ever sees your work. BUT if you finish the manuscript  and get it out there – you’re an author. If you wrangle one trip a year and really explore the places you get to, you’re living the dream. If you get your paintings in a local cafe, you’ve succeeded in gifting the world with more beauty. Don’t give up until you’ve finished it. You deserve more than that! Book your flights and get on the plane, let it take you to your dreams. And while you’re on the way… have a dream about what the next step you truly desire might be…

When I get back, I think I’m gonna get stuck into painting for the Healing hearts Oracle (and my next exhibition.)

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Let your loves entwine

Pondering: Throughout the ages tales tell of otherworldly music drifting into the everyday world and leading unsuspecting humans on an adventure. Does music from another time count as coming from another world as well? 

Medieval Archery Halo at St Dogmaels
Ready to aim high!

I’m a longbow archer, (currently the County Outdoor Lady Longbow Champion at that) and our club was running a have-a-go stall at an event this bank holiday. My friend and I had agreed to go help before realising that it was a medieval day. Perfect! We’ve been working on Renaissance and Medieval Music! With 24 hours to go, and most of that full of work and rehearsals, I set to making something that might pass as a medieval costume. We pulled together the songs we’d been working on and discovered we have a full set that we can do with only the two of us and arrived, songbook in hand, to make some magic!

There is something about hands-on-activities that really excites people and we were rushed off our feet all day, talking about the longbows and organising the people as they came in to shoot so in the end we got to sing whilst packing up – which prompted some interesting heckling! It was a glorious day, the club raised a good amount of funds to keep it running over the winter and we got to sing in the end. All in all, a grand day out.

Despite the fact that we didn’t get to sing much, we still gathered several opportunities. It is funny how being open with people about what you do can lead to new connections, new chances. It makes me wonder how many opportunities I missed when I was too nervous to share my passions with those I met in case they… what? Rejected me? I’m not sure really. All I know is that I tended to keep my love of myth and magic under my hat in all but the most obvious situations. I’m learning though; every time we share what lights us up, others respond in kind and we make connections with those that love our passions too. And those that don’t share those passions often know someone who does!

It also struck me that often when we follow one passion (in this case archery) and hold the other in mind (music!) they will find ways to overlap and feed each other.

My takeaway from this: Don’t bother compartmentalising life. Share what you love and allow each aspect of your life to inform and feed the others. In this way you connect with others who love the same things, opportunities open for you and life becomes a veritable feast of delight!

Maybe at the Philosophy Conference in February I’ll do a philosophical piece on faeries… now where was that copy of Collingwood’s ‘Philosophy of Enchantment‘?