Tales from the Hedge

Leaves

Seven Doors in an Unyeilding Stone

Tom Hirons & Rima Staines

Earlier this year, I received an intriguing invitation from my friends Tom Hirons & Rima Staines -- storytellers, mythic wanderers, and proprietors of Hedgespoken Press. They were planning an unusual new project, and asked if I'd like to join in.

Drawing by Rima StainesThey envisioned a series of pocket-sized books designed and published by Hedgespoken. Seven authors. Seven beautiful books. Seven ways to approach the unapproachable and speak about the unspeakable.

"We picture," they said, "a small book found somewhere in the wilds or in some threshold place: a railway station or the waiting room of an undertaker or a nurse; the book is a flash of lightning, a searing experience, something initiatory. We imagine a reader finding a book unexpectedly, picking it up and being drawn in, to another world, leaving that world slightly stunned and perhaps a little changed."

What a marvelously mythic concept! And also, what a challenging one. I wondered what on earth I could write...but, of course, I said "yes" at once.

My book of tiny talesThe seven small books are now complete, and will be available as of mid-November. There's a launch party at Dartington Village Hall on November 10th, and all are welcome -- so please come join us for stories and revelry if you happen to be in travelling distance of Dartmoor.

My own contribution to the series is a collection of seven tiny tales that fall somewhere between poetry and prose: mythic messages that you might find buried in ivy and leaves or under a mossy stone. Tom calls them "poems-prayers-chants," and that's as good a description as any.

The other authors in the series are Jay Griffiths, Martin Shaw, Sylvia V. Linsteadt, and Joanna Hruby, plus Tom and Rima themselves. For more information, or to pre-order the books (either individually or as a boxed set), please visit the Hedgespoken Press site. And while you are there, please ramble through their other fine book and art offerings as well.

Leaves

Books by Sylvia  Joanna  and Martin

Books by Tom  Rima  and Jay

Leaves

Terri Windling & Rima Staines, 2011


Magic in hand

Falconer's Joy by Tom Hirons

Over at Hedgespoken Press, my Dartmoor neighbours Tom Hirons & Rima Staines are making magic again. The press has just published Falconer's Joy,  a hand-size chapbook of new poetry by Tom (following The Nettle-Eater and Sometimes a Wild God)...and there's another project coming out very soon which I've had a bit of a hand in, along with Sylvia Lindsteadt and several other good folks. All will be revealed later this month.

You can keep up with the mythic rumblings via the Hedgespoken Press newsletter.

Lapwing Stars

Magic in hand

Rima Staines and Sylvia V. Linsteadt in my studio

Tattermalion

Magic afootRima and Sylvia in my studio last month, and Tilly with a copy of their book, Tatterdemalion.


Coming up this weekend:

Hedgespoken's The Singing Bone

Rima Staines & Tom Hirons are launching their summer show at Lowton Farm this weekend: The Singing Bone, a lovely piece of storytelling woven with music and puppetry. Soon after, Hedgespoken hits the road, carrying stories, art, and magic to festivals, communities, and off-grid performances spaces across the British Isles. We won't see much of them again until autumn, which is when they return to Lowton Farm to work on their first full-lenth theatre piece, The Hedgehog's Bride: devised by the Hedgespoken puppetry team, and directed by my husband Howard.

Beautiful Lowton Farm

Howard Gayton and Rima Staines at Lowton Farm

Tom Hirons at Lowton Farm

This weekend's event is also a celebration of the Hedgespoken dream, and of all who have supported it. Once upon a time this traveling folk theatre was just a gleam in Tom & Rima's eyes -- but after a successful crowd-funding campaign, followed by a lot of hard, hard work, this amazing couple have it all up and running as they'd planned, with several projects now coming to fruition.

The Hedsgespoken Truck

One of these projects is Tatterdemalion, a beautiful and deeply folkloric new book by Rima and Sylvia Linsteadt that has just been published by Unbound. The text, by Sylvia, was written in response to Rima's paintings, and the result is pure enchantment. Here's Sylvia explaining the project:

Below: Tilly gives our brand new copy of Tatterdemalion her seal of approval.

Tilly gives Tatterdemalion her seal of approval

If you're anywhere within striking distance of Devon, please come join us at the Hedgespoken show this weekend. (Tickets here.) I'll be there on Saturday, at the 3 pm show. Howard, as part of the Hedgespoken team, will be there on both Saturday and Sunday, debuting his new "Punch & Judy" puppet show as one of the side attractions.

Below: The wicked, incorrigible Mr. Punch making an impromptu appearance in the Hedgespoken doorway....

Mr. Punch makes an appearance in Hedgespoken's doorway

Rima watching Mr. Punch

Tom watching Mr Punch

Dame Judy confront the naughty Mr. Punch

Crow, that old trickster

  

Also, for any of you who live Totnes-way, Howard will be at the Totnes Party in the Town on Friday night, directing the performers who are part of Alice Oswald's poetry procession at 8 pm. (Look for the crows!)

  


The Hedgespoken Winter Raffle

It's the last day of the Hedgespoken Winter Raffle, and the last day to help this fine project by purchasing a raffle ticket, and/or by spreading the word. Six good reasons for supporting Hedgespoken:

1. It is an insanely cool project.
2. Everyone involved has been working insanely hard to get it off the ground.
3. Mythic Arts & Folk Arts aren't often supported by traditional Arts Funding sources, so it's up to
    those of us who love them & believe in them to support them in whatever ways we can.
4. My husband Howard is involved with making the Folk Theatre part of Hedgespoken happen, and
    it's going to be magical indeed.
5. For only £1 you might end up owning an original Rima Staines painting, or a handworked
    Smicklegrin leather mask.
6. Rima Staines & Tom Hirons are Good Folks (did you know they first met through their
    involvement with The Journal of Mythic Arts?)...so let's get this truck on the road.

For more information on the project go to the Hedgespoken website.
For updates on the project see the video above (from December), and the Hedgespoken blog.
The very beginnings of the project are here...and my gracious, how far they've come!

Hedgespoken-by-starlight-fi


Hurrah!

A fair trio of vagabonds

Let's raise a toast to Rima Staines & Tom Hirons for concluding a successful crowd-funding campaign in which they raised £30,816 for Hedgespoken, their Mythic-Arts-on-wheels project.  Well done! You can keep abreast of their news and follow the building process through the Hedgespoken blog and Facebook page.

That's Howard in the picture above, along with drum-maker Suzi Crockford (whose lovely shamanic blog I hope you all know) and woodworker extraordinaire Eric Hodges, on the Hedgespoken film day. If you somehow managed to miss it all this past month, go here to read what the project is all about, watch the film, and see my other photos from the film day.

Hedgespoken sketch by Rima Staines


A reminder

Hedgespoken

The Hedgespoken crowdfunding campaign (created by Rima Staines & Tom Hirons) is still underway at Indiegogo. They're close to the half-way point but have reached the "slow middle" -- so if you can help with a donation or by spreading the word, please do. I'm very much hoping that the Mythic Arts community can get this Mythic-Art-on-Wheels project fully funded and on the road.

For more information on the project, see my previous Hedgespoken post, read Tom & Rima's description of what the Hedgespoken truck will be used for (a traveling home for them, but also so much more), and visit the Hedgespoken blog for regular updates (and other cool stuff).

Bluebell Honeymoon by Rima Staines

Rima's painting desk in the old truck


Roll up! Roll up!

(Watch in full screen mode for best effect.)

Last night was the great unveiling of the crowdfunding campaign for Hedgespoken: a magical new project created by artists/writers/performers Rima Staines and Tom Hirons.

A few weeks ago, they called for a Vagabond Tribe of friends and neighbors to gather 'round: raggle-taggle musicians and circus magicians; gypsy dancers, moonspinners, and fortune tellers; jugglers and clowns and children and crows; a faery harpist and gentle fey folk who arrived riding ribbon-bedecked ponies.

While we ate, drank, and made merry, filmmaker Annabel Allison gentle but firmly corralled us into the footage that would be used for Tom & Rima's Indiegogo campaign: music, dance, songs and laughter to summon the Little Gods of Luck, Travel, Coin, and Story. If the magic has worked, then you shall find yourself entirely unable to resist supporting their magnificent scheme for a Mythic Arts centre on wheels.

Vagabond 1

Vagabond 2

"With its drop-down stage, fancy awning and proscenium arch," Tom & Rima say, "Hedgespoken will serve as a stage wherever it goes. Whether it’s us telling tales and making mischief with handmade puppet shows, or it’s other actors, musicians or sword-swallowers using the stage-space as part of a Hedgespoken Travelling Show, our aim is to spread a little old magic by doing what we love.

"Hedgespoken has the wherewithal to act as a mini-theatre, a cabaret stage or acoustic music venue, anywhere. Perhaps your village green, or that disused urban space, wayside or park – Hedgespoken arrives, makes magic, plants seeds of imagination, and then leaves, in the tradition of wandering bards, travelling storytellers and itinerant puppet theatres and circuses that are so much part of our heritage."

Hedgespoken painting by Rima

Vagabond 3

Howard and I participated on the beautiful day of filming near Stone Lane Gardens, during which I snapped the photos here....

Vagabond 4

Vagabond 5

Vagabonds 6

Vagabond 7

Vagabond 8a

Vagabond

Vagabond 9

Vagabond 10

Vagabond 11

Vagabond 12

Vagabond 13

Vagabond 14

Vagabond 15

Vagabond 16

Vagabond 17

Truck plan, side view

Vagabond 18

To help all this become reality, please put on your best motley clothes and head over to the brand new Hedgespoken website ... where you can learn more about what makes it so special, and how to contribute to the dream.

I'm biased, I confess, because I love Rima and Tom, and also because my husband has done puppet work with them and is likely to be involved with their theatre-on-wheels in the future. But biased or not, Hedgespoken is an extraordinary project, created by extraordinarily lovely people ... so I hope that all you Mythic Art fans out there will dig deep to contribute if you're able. Or, conversely, if your pockets are empty, please give Tom & Rima your blessing and help them by spreading the word.

Even Tilly is doing her bit.

Vagabonds at home

Puppet by RimaMore photos here on the Hedgespoken blog.