This year I became a new member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and in May I made my first delivery of work to the Guild shop in Bovey Tracey, Devon, UK. Five of my costume jewellery pieces can now be seen, chisel marks and all, in the shop as pictured here! Furthermore, this weekend I’ll also be exhibiting three new pieces on the Devon Guild stand at this year’s Contemporary Craft Festival, which runs from the 7th-9th June. For these pieces I’ve hopped across the British channel and taken inspiration from more colourful and temperate climes, resulting in a hoopoe, a bee-eater and a roller-bird!
This spring I have been immersed in a rather special project. I have been working in close collaboration with writer/storyteller Tom Hirons and artist Rima Staines, who together make Hedgespoken, a travelling storytelling theatre company, and Hedgespoken Press, an independent publishing company.
This April, we rehearsed and launched the first two public shows of Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat, a retelling of a classic Lithuanian folktale. Steeped in old magic and half-familiar memories, this beguiling tale of magical transformation, love, betrayal and endurance weaves together storytelling, puppetry, mask-work, foolery and live music…
I had the pleasure of co-directing and co-producing this piece, working with an extraordinarily creative, compassionate and good-humoured team of artistic folk (credited opposite). I also got to do what I love best - wood carving! The puppet for this project was carved by myself and Rima Staines, with advice from master puppet makers John Roberts and Jan Zalud. To view more photos and videos of the puppet being made, visit Iron-Brow and Thorn Coat - the making of part 1 . Iron-Brow-Brow and Thorn-Coat will continue it’s journey this year as we take it into the great outdoors. More news to come!
Iron-Brow and Thorn-coat
Storytelling - Tom Hirons
Puppetry, maskwork, foolery - Helen Aldrich
Artistic direction and production - Sarah Vigars
Performance direction and puppet direction - Howard Gayton
Design and artistic direction - Rima Staines
Puppet-carving - Rima Staines and Sarah Vigars
(with assistance from Jan Zalud and John Roberts)
Mask-carving - Jan Zalud
Writing and story-development - Tom Hirons
Production Photography - Lawrence Galloway
Here are a few snaps of some recently completed pieces. I hope to get these on sale soon. I’m currently in a flurry of puppet making for Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat, so my own projects are currently on hold!
January and February have flown by in a flurry of admin and emails, including, amongst other things, an Arts Council application, a tax return, a Guild application (more on that soon) and preparations for an exciting new project, which I can now at last reveal! Last Monday, work began for Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat, a new storytelling piece by Hedgespoken. If you are not familiar with Hedgespoken’s work you can find out more about them here. In short they are writer/storyteller Tom Hirons and artist Rima Staines and together they travel the country, telling tales from their off-grid storytelling theatre…
I am currently working alongside Rima Staines as Co-Artistic Director and Creative Producer of Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat. Based on a traditional Lithuanian folk tale, this piece will interweave Tom’s storytelling with puppetry, masked performance and live music. Rehearsals begin on 25th March, concluding with two preview performances on the 12th and 13th April at Dartington Arts (link below)
This week, myself and Rima began the puppet making. We have been lucky enough to work under the expert guidance of master puppet makers and wood carvers John Roberts and Jan Zalud. Take a look at the gallery below to see what we’ve been up to... and there’ll be more photos to come as the project develops!
Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat previews at Dartington Arts on the 12th and 13th April. Tickets can be found at: www.dartington.org/event/iron-brow-and-thorn-coat-by-hedgespoken/