Another Tilly update

A brave little soul

After a long day at the vet's surgery, we have the most important results back: Tilly definitely doesn't have cancer. Whew! You could probably hear my sigh of relief on the other side of the Atlantic. We're waiting on further lab results before we know for certain what's been causing her continuing problems, but if her vet's best guess is right (and it probably is), there should be a way to manage this, we just haven't got the medicine regime quite right yet. She's got a shaved stomach to show for her difficult day, but she was brave and calm throughout, and is very glad to be home now.

A Blessing by Jeanie TomanekSome of you kind folk have asked if it's possible to contribute to Tilly's medical care, and yes it is: studio angels Lunar Hine and Ellen Kushner have helped to organise a Tilly Fund, as her costs are high and on-going, and every little bit helps. Check out the latest Bumblehill Studio newsletter for more information. (Y'all know there's a studio newsletter, right? It's a weekly email, beautifully complied and curated by Lunar.)

My family and I are deeply grateful to those sweet souls who have contributed to the Tilly Fund...and to all who have sent kind words and prayers. It's incredibly moving to know that Tilly has so many friends, and has touched so many hearts. I also want to say: it seems we're often fund-raising around here for one art project or another, and now even the dog! But please don't worry if you can't contribute financially to any of these things; just being part of this community is a gift. Thank you for being here, making and/or supporting mythic art in all the ways you do.

Bedtime Story by Jeanie Tomanek

The luminous paintings above are "A Blessing" and "Bedtime Story" by Jeanie Tomanek


Listening to the Land

Pilgrimage for Nature

Listening to the Land is a "pilgrimage for nature" in which a core group of 30 people (artists, performers and storytellers among them) will be walking from London to Glasgow this autumn for the UN Conference on Climate Change.

Asset+3My husband, Howard, is one of those 30 pilgrims. He'll be setting off from London in early September, walking up the "spine of Albion," and arriving in Glasgow in early November -- an eight week journey covering roughly 500 miles. The group will be holding community meetings and giving creative workshops, talks, and performances in villages, towns, and cities along the way -- listening to the concerns of the people they meet, listening to the land itself, and weaving it all into a performance scheduled for presentation to the UN climate delegates on Monday, the 8th of November. 

Listening to the Land has received funding from Arts Council England, and backing from the National Trust, the British Pilgrimage Trust, the Wisdom Keepers, Seed Sisters and other organisations -- but it's a big project, and they need to raise an additional £4500 this summer. (It's heartening to see they are already half-way there.) If you can help with even a small donation, please visit their Crowdfunding page -- where you can also learn more about the project, and how to get involved in various ways.

Howard walking a labyrinth on Dartmoor

I'm delighted that Howard is doing this...and, I admit, a bit nervous too. It's a long, long journey, and England is in a dark place right now...but we need the light that collective art-making creates, and the subject could not be more urgent. Howard is no stranger to pilgrimage, having already traversed the Camino to Santiago de Compostela through the French and Spanish Pyrenees; and for many years he criss-crossed Europe with his Commedia troupe, so he's used to being on the road in one form or another. This time he'll be walking with colleagues from the Nomadic Academy of Fools, doing fooling practice and performance along the way. Nature, pilgrimage, foolery. How could he possibly miss it? 

I have a vested interest in seeing that the pilgrims are fed, so please chip in if you can. (No worries if you can't. It's been a hard year for many. Good wishes and prayers are equally welcome.) The fund-raiser runs for 16 more days.

And the walk itself begins dauntingly soon....

Howard and hound

Picture above: Howard and Tilly earlier this week. She's going to miss him so much this autumn, and so will I. But for such a good cause. 


From the gutter to the stars...

Deer

For April Fools Day, Howard answers the question: Why do we need fools?

FoolHis year-long Journey Into the Heart of the Fool continues, despite Coronavirus. His circle of Fools is now working online (since the Fools themselves are locked-down across Europe), finding new ways to continue their training until they can meet up again.

Our "Funding for Foolery" campaign continues as well. We're still hoping to meet our goal and to keep all this stuff-and-nonsense going. If you can throw a bob or two in the hat at these uncertain times, here's the link to his  GoFundMe page.

Fool Report #3: You'll find Howard's latest video update on the GoFundeMe page too -- and I warn you, it's very Foolish indeed. Complete with tiger hat and Coronavirus beard, heaven have mercy.

Happy April Fools Day from Howard, Tilly, and me.

Foolish Tilly

Deer 2


Attention animal lovers

Arthur Rackham

My smart, talented, adventurous and big-hearted goddaughter Ely Todd-Jones is raising funds in order to go volunteer at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, which is one of the most respected animal rescue & rehabilitation centers in Southeast Asia. Would you consider lending your support -- either through a contribution (no matter how small), or by spreading the word of the campaign?

There's more information here on Ely's fund-raising page.

Elephants are magnificent creatures, and their numbers are diminishing due the stress of sharing the planet with us. Ely, who grew up here in Chagford, is pretty magnificent too. Next year she will head to university to study biology and animal communication -- but until then she is devoting her time to wildlife and re-wilding projects.

I am in awe of the work that young people are doing to save our world from environmental catastrophe, but they need our support...and so do the elephants.

Young elephant sleeping at the Elephant Nature Park  Thailand

Images: An illustration from Aesops Fables by Arthur Rackham, and a young elephant sleeping at the Elephant Nature Park.


Nonsense and Foolery

Fool and flower

Fool and bear

My husband, Howard, a theatre director and performer, is about to embark on a year-long Journey into the Heart of the Fool -- via the Nomadic Academy of Fooling (NOA), led by the extraordinary Jonathan Kay. In order to achieve this, we've set up a fund-raising page to help cover the NOA tuition cost, and I hope, dear readers, that some of you might consider contributing. Even the smallest donation will help to get this creative, kind, and lovely man on the road to making magic.

The GoFundMe page is here.

In the video below, filmed in my studio, Howard and I discuss fooling, clowning, Commedia, and a particularly fateful trip to Arizona. A certain hound makes a cameo appearance at the end...and also contributes enthusiastic water-slurping noises in the middle, bless her.

Foolery

In the spirit of nonsense and foolery, here is some further reading on the subject of tricksters, transgressors, and clowns:

A Chorus of Clowns in Masked Comic Theater by the always-brilliant Midori Snyder

Shaking Up the World: Trickster Tales by me (with a recommended reading list)

Merry Robin: The Native British Trickster by mythic scholar John Matthews

Transgression: a conversation on the subject of tricksters & transgressors

Dare to be Foolish: because all artists need to be fools sometimes

Also, if you're feeling very brave, here's a video clip of the Grey Gnomes, some deucedly odd little characters found infesting Howard's studio a few years ago. Don't worry, we've had the fumigators in since then and they haven't dared to come back....

Ophaboom

Me and the Fool I married

And of course, any help you can give us in passing on news of the fundraiser would be very, very appreciated by our whole foolish family.

Fool in training

The colour photographs above (except for the last one) are from Howard's work with the Daughters of Elvin medieval music & dance troupe, directed by Katy Marchant. performing in Devon and Northern Ireland. The black and white pictures are of Howard and his Commedia company, Ophaboom Theatre, performing on the streets of Denmark.