Saturday, 14 April 2007


The last day of the Leeds International Storytelling Festival. Jorg Baesecke and Hedwig Rost are on in the afternoon, with their beautiful up close storytelling. They use small, everyday things in their theatre, which transform into huge objects in the imagination. The stories are in English and German and it all makes perfect sense.

In the evening Helen and I go to see Robert Greygrass and Gayle Ross talk about their tribes and traditions, it makes me feel strong and weak at the same time. Strong in that they make me believe in the spiritual world just beyond, weak, in that I will never get there.

I have enjoyed doing these storytelling drawings, I have said before, they help me to remember the event and details of the stories being told and are different to an illustrated story.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Northern Voices

After having such a great night at the storytelling festival last night, Helen and I thought we would go back this evening for an evening of 'Northern Voices', a mixture of folktales and music. It was great to finally see Ian McMillan (the self proclaimed 'Bard of Barnsley') with his stories and poetry is a very funny man. My sketch of him doesn't do him justice. Christine McMahon told some great tales too.

The reality of the situation is what I like about 'folk'. 'Normal' people communicating with 'normal' people, the lack of celebrity pretence is something that the folk scene is keen to cultivate, from what I've seen so far. And that truth can only be a good thing in these corporate days of dwindling responsibilities.

Jim Eldon has a twinkling madman's eye as he tells stories and plays his fiddle, traveller style. He can be smiling and lighthearted one moment, then as he places his fiddle down, clasps his hands together, leans forward and draws you into a murderers lying and skinning nightmare. What a gent.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Leeds International Storytelling Festival

Evening at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and we are in the crowd listening to EDDIE LENIHAN tell his macabre Irish folk tales. I like the way that Eddie links his stories to the present 'urban legend' style by telling us that he heard these strange and gruesome tales first hand from the old people involved in them.

He's a hard man to stop when he's in full storytelling mode, eventually the 'management' draw his attention to the time. "Just two minutes more" he replies. As the audience shuffle out Eddie is giving valuable information to protect yourself from 'The Lads' (which include metal, the colour red, running water and salt). Spending time with Eddie makes you believe that taking precautions against the fairy folk is very wise, especially when humans build and invade more and more of their wilderness lands.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

'We Need Trolls'

I spent the evening in the kitchen, working on a few more drawings for my friend (and author) Steve Way, these are the original pen and watercolour sketches I did. The story is about a girls vivid imagination running wild with a pair of scissors, when she sees scrawled on the family notice board the ominous request 'We need more t'rolls'. I am starting to like my original sketches more than the Photoshop versions, is my confidence in drawing finally coming back to me? We shall see....

Monday, 2 April 2007

Art Appreciation

Yesterday, I spent the evening upstairs, drawing at a low table. I was aware that our cat Jack had entered the room, I was even more aware when he stood up on his back legs and rested his paws, 'old man in bar' style, on the table in front of me. He got into rubbing his chin on the top of my pen, which was quite cute, until he started to dribble over my drawing pad.

I was using fibre tip pens and watercolours at the time, so I coloured the saliva with a drop of ultramarine. 'appreciation' done, he was content to go over by the radiator and settle down for the evening. Bless him.