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Wednesday, 23 December 2009




Forty children, two artists and a composer - Me, James Mayhew and Rebecca Leek - black paper, scissors, a strong light and shadows made - all mixed up with carols, music and a beautifully poetic story "Mr. Winter Vanishing" by French illustrator and writer Quitterie de Castelbajac. This was a Rhapsode event of making a play in a day to celebrate the winter Solstice.

We started the day off with simple tools - scissors and paper along with some beautiful specially written songs by Rebecca and let the day organically, creatively grow and form to result in a performance at the end of the day!

It was a truly magical experience. I have always wanted to use paper cutting to use shadows. Its a natural development of them. As soon as you hold them in your hands and see the delicacy of them and the way the light plays behind and through them - it makes them even more transitory. Their actual being seems transitory - easily broken, fragile and yet tangible. That why I think they are so beautiful when they are expressing love and thought and longings.


This experience in part was out of my confort zone. I am oddly schizophrenic... I love being with people and out in the world - but truthfully I am never happier that when I am completely alone and working in silence so I can hear the rumble of the traffic and the sound of the wind in the trees. I love the solitude. And its very meditative what I do. The cutting can be repetitive and soothing too. I like knowing what I am doing and seeing the cut appear before me.

I havent ever really been part of any performances. I did school plays of course... but was always one of the chorus, or hidden away somehere. I was horse mad - so riding was my thing.That too of course is off on your own or with a group, but essentially you are just in your own head.





So Solstice was many things I am not used to, even though a big part of my personality is stepping off the metaphorical cliff. You have to as an artist - people can tell if you are a phoney or if something isnt genuine. I really loved the whole experience. We were all in it together - developing our ideas, seeing what worked and what didnt. And all the individual parts grew to a beautiful whole. There was a great sense of community and togetherness and knowing that the children involved would really remember the day!


I wont ever forget it, and it makes me want to do lots more...

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