Monday, 4 December 2017

Earth Angel Tree of Life Talking Sticks

Living with the sudden onset of hearing loss, the ritual of making talking sticks has been such a welcome addition to my world. 

With Christmas fast approaching, it feels like the right time to send my Earth Angel Tree of Life Talking Sticks off into the world to find new souls to empower. If I close my eyes, I can visualise a community who take the time to listen to each other. 

When Grandfather Speaks by Alfredo Rodriguez

The talking stick is ceremonially made by the speaker, with all that is felt in the heart and is held with the intent to empower the sharing of one's voice. In response, all others welcome a respectful space for listening intently to the speaker. Utterly beautiful ritual of communication.

In many ways, a talking stick could be equally known as a Listening Stick. No-one may answer until the talking stick is passed to them, at which point they are granted the same respect.

And so in the long nights,  as a distraction from my tinnitus and hyperacusis, I set about making a collection of talking sticks that represented the empowerment of the Earth Angel within.

My Earth Angel, Tree of Life Talking Sticks are made from driftwood that I have lovingly collected from Cei Bach, my favourite beach here in West Wales and are the very bones of a Fallen Tree who became the centre focus in one of my stories from my new anthology Earth Angel: Stories to Inspire, which is currently with the Editor.

The driftwood bones are wrapped in Llanwennog wool, spun from sheep that I can see from my home studio, on the distant green hills. The wool is hand dyed in the colours of the autumn coastline.

Each piece has woven into it, a Tibetan Silver Tree of Life charm to give gratitude to the magnificence of trees and their constant gift of breath.

As I was making them, it dawned on me that each one is not only a talking stick but a magic wand, for in re-birthing the broken parts of a fallen tree, so I was re-building the broken parts of myself.

Earth Angel, Tree of Life Talking Sticks are now available at my Quiet Space Studio Facebook Shop. 

They come with a hand printed & hand written information card and are wrapped with paper that I have infused with Frankincense Essential Oils. If you would like more details, please click the link & come on over to my Quiet Space Studio Shop  ...

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Disrupting Design

Having sent my book off to the editor yesterday, I have spent today doing some Research & Development for cover designs. It's a tricky business ... I have literally ended up designing about 20 covers. I really wanted to go for a less is more cover but when I showed Jeff the first one that I designed, he said he thought it looked more like a funeral pamphlet! Well, one of the reasons I love him is because he tells me it like it is and as soon as he had said it, I saw exactly what he meant. So, I have thrown all caution to the wind and started experimenting.

When I was doing my MA Drama, for my finals at The Atrium, University of South Wales, Dr. Emily Underwood Lee from the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling was my Supervisor. She taught me a very interesting lesson. When you think you have your piece in the bag, disrupt it, turn it upside down, introduce something that shouldn't be there and see what happens. At first, I found this notion very distressing. After spending hours, days, weeks on a piece, one's work almost becomes sacrosanct.To disrupt it feels just plain wrong but I trusted her and found a wonderful freedom in this level of experimenting. For instance, here's a cover replacing my face with with a robot angel!

Now, I'm not saying that I am going to use any of today's designs, they have been a journey of Research and Development but it is interesting to see all 20 of them side by side ... because every single one of them is nice but not right ... so now I need to spend time unpicking why.

Even if, at the end of all this, I go back to my very first 'funeral pamphlet' design, that's ok. That's art. I go back to it informed. 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Letting your work go

Oh my giddy aunts, I have just emailed my new book off to the editor. It's a very strange feeling letting my work go. Perhaps because this book is an anthology of all the private stories and poems that have lifted and carried me through, written since my hearing loss,  I feel oddly nervous yet excited; exposed, vulnerable and yet a little proud that I actually managed to send it off. Time now to sit back, kick off my slippers and celebrate with a bar of chocolate ... 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Step into Your Power

I just wanted to share with you that I have spent the whole day working on an Anthology of my Inspirational Stories and Poems. It is a wonderful thing to bring together the threads of the last 14 months since my hearing loss and weave a tapestry of stories to inspire healing for others. 

You know, we are all healers, every one of us. When we fall and graze our knee, it heals. We take it for granted but when you think it through, goodness me. Our cells are renewing every minute. 

We are miracles. Everywhere you look, humans are healing each other and creatures too. In hospitals, surgeries, holisitc treatment centres, vets ... and also in our small exchanges of love. 

Let's step into our power as the incredible beings that we are. Breathe in our magnificence and breath out joy for others.

If you'd like to know more about my work, feel free to  pop over to my website. I am in the process of completely overhauling it but the Home page and the About Page are just about ready. There is a new story on the Home Page with a little film I made yesterday ... 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Power of Publishing

Having made time to deeply reflect upon my work, ground myself in this new now and open my heart to new intentions, I have been working on my website for Parlour Press Publishing

I set up Parlour Press Publishing 17 years ago when I was approached by Caerphilly Youth Service to tour Youth Clubs facilitating Creative Writing Workshops. I drafted a plan to extend the project from workshops so that it had a celebratory outcome, a platform from which the young people could have a voice as writers in their own right and to inspire each other. I was taken aback at the power of publishing in terms of its ability to raise self esteem and touch the hearts of many.

Tales from Two Valleys was a retelling of all the local folk tales of the area and won a National Youth Excellence Award from the Welsh Assembly. What I had intended as one project that I essentially ran from my front parlour (and still do to a certain extent) has now facilitated 49 Community Groups to write collections short stories and anthologies of poems, supported in my workshops and then to publish their work into soft back books or more recently, ebooks. 

In addition, Parlour Press has recorded and edited more films and digital stories than I care to remember. This year alone I have been contracted to edit 21 inter-generational digital stories and 2 major website based storytelling projects, one for

Parlour Press has won Best Practice at the International Mental Health Conference held at Cambridge University, a Gold National Care Award, a further Youth Excellence award ... 

I am really very proud of such a huge body of work that has literally changed lives and fed into national policy regarding education and care in Wales.

But I am so busy out there doing the work that I never get time to reflect or design materials to tell anyone about it! It's all grown via word of mouth. So, it gave me great joy to spend time on the website. 

Feel Free to on come over and have a look ... see what you think. I've kept it as simple as possible. I think sometimes less is more when storytelling through a website. 

Oh and if you you'd like to know more about me, you can visit my Cheryl Beer website ... it's also having a major overhaul at the moment so some pages are not quite ready ... 

Friday, 24 November 2017

Gratitude in Bloom

I went back to school today to do the final evaluation of our Young Promoters Project kindly funded by Night Out, The Arts Council of Wales. 

How lovely to receive a bunch of flowers from the children and staff who took part in the Scheme, thanking me for my work with them. The children so excited to give me them.

It has been  the most wonderful experience, being back in school. I am so grateful to the children and staff for being so utterly kind to me and totally understanding of my hearing disability. 

One little lad, who himself wears a hearing aid, told me, 'Cheryl, you might be deaf but you're brilliant.'  I was truly moved by this. 'So are you,' I replied and he smiled his cheeky smile.

Well, as you can imagine, I have been flying high all day,  knowing that I have inspired children to get involved in theatre, yes, but that I have also inspired them to be kind, likely the most important of all life skills.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Where's my Igloo Gone?

For the last 7 weeks, I have been visiting Ysgol C'aer Felin with the Young Promoters Project funded by Night Out, the Arts Council of Wales. It has been an amazing journey. The children have learnt to become promoters organising the whole event. We have visited  backstage at Y Ffwrnes Theatre and had a marvellous tour, we have filmed a promotion video, learnt about advertising and marketing. It is magical to watch the children grow in confidence, speaking on the telephone writing letters, preparing speeches.

The children even made the cakes for the tuck shop this evening to raise funds so that can all go to the theatre together to see the welsh language panto. 

The children even made a lovely big pot of cawl for the team and the theatre company who came to put on the show Where's my Igloo Gone with The Bone Ensemble.

It was so wonderful to see the community out in full force, excited about theatre. WE SOLD OUT! Unheard of in our little village. Councillors, School Governors, local police, parents, siblings, friends and off course the children.

Well Done Everyone, I'm so proud of you. Thank you Mrs Davies, Head Teacher and Miss Tanner the class teacher for all your hard work and to all the staff for helping.