Archive for January, 2012


Yayyyyyy!  The International short-list for Nomadic Artists taking part in The Nomadic Village UK project 2012 was chosen in January, and we were on it.

We have now been selected and look forward to participating!  I will not be disclosing our proposals this soon into the project….soooooo, WATCH THIS SPACE!!

The Nomadic Village is a temporary 10-day settlement, set up on a vacant lot in County Durham, UK. The nomadic artists’ mobile homes/ateliers will form the structure of the Village, with On-The-Road Productions’ (ORP) Steyr-Ikarus’ bus acting as its Town Hall. Artists will come together to work in this autonomous environment to stimulate creativity and exchange, and to attract local people to observe and participate in the process. At the end of the Village there will be a public exhibition that will invite a wider audience to appreciate the works produced during the Village. The project is run by Klaus Maehring (Lead Artist and founder) from ORP, Austria.

The Nomadic Village UK 2012 is produced in collaboration with ISIS Arts (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) and supported by Durham County Arts Team. It will seek to invite nomadic artists from all over the world, whose practice is rooted in themes surrounding nomadism i.e. – those who intentionally displace themselves to seek encounters that not only influence their work, but form it. Artists who work without borders who continually & creatively respond to situations, places and people along their journey. The Nomadic Village will act as a platform for artists working in this manner, ultimately creating a wider, more visible network.

http://nomadic.cd/2009/NV09.html

http://www.isisarts.org.uk/our-programme/residency-programme/upcoming:+nomadic+village+uk/21

Timetable:

•  Monday 21st – Thursday 24th of May: Arrival and set-up
•  Thursday 24th of May: Launch event, press conference
•  Friday 25th – Thursday 31st of May: Production time
•  Friday 1st of June: Final presentation closing event
•  Saturday 2nd of June: Last Supper

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BURNING MAN – BLACK ROCK CITY 2011

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As we left BLACK ROCK CITY (BRC) in the Nevada Desert and the iconic “BURNING MAN” celebration, I can’t help feeling, “thank feck for that!!!”.   Nothing can prepare a ‘Newbie’, especially one who is three months pregnant, to this onslaught of the senses!

The heat, the dust, the dust and the dust!!  Phewww!!  It was a challenge and a worry knowing that I was subjecting myself to extreme survival situations only having ‘just’ come out of that First Trimester hormonally-up-and-down ‘sicky’ stage.  I was glad that I decided NOT to crew and instead be a ‘gentle’ participant and contributor at this massive event.  I knew I could leave at anytime.  There was no way I was going to put my pregnancy in jeopardy.

The event is characterized by massive art projects, its namesake at the centre which is burnt towards the close.  Participants head into the desert each year to build a working city from the ground up.  This includes an airport, a post office, radio station, hospital and security teams (to name a few).  Self-styled “burners” exercise radical self-reliance, community, civic responsibility and an economy based on giving freely.  It has a beautiful ethos, and there is an air of excitement, acceptance of artistic expression and hedonism like no other I have ever experienced.

Burning Man started with an 8-foot structure burning on a beach in California at summer solstice and has morphed into a sophisticated community with year-round projects.

“LOVE THE DUST MAN!!”

This anti-establishment arts festival and survival project, created from the grey alluvium of the Black Rock Desert, however, leaves its mark in your heart.  It is truly an amazing experience and my RIGHT OF PASSAGE was a success.  I did miss my old wild-party self  and it would have been a very different experience indeed had I not abstained from pretty much ‘everything’! lol.  But this was ‘my’ Right of Passage, and one I accepted in a state of content and happy surrender, with only the occasional bit of frustration!

I did, however, during the cooler hours of the day (when I could venture away from the shade and a loo),  explore, experiment and participate in BRC’s weird and wonderful workshops and events.

Our performance of Mr & Mrs Mud, inspired by our adoptive Asaro tribal family in Papua New Guinea, was a huge success and was very well received.  I was chuffed to have been chosen to receive an award, certificate and medal for our artistic tribal contribution.

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As the day draws nearer, and I busy myself with nesting and preparing myself physically, mentally and spiritually, I find myself wanting to share the wonderful  knowledge I have learned about Natural Birthing – and talk about how and why we have become so distanced from it.

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Being an older  first time mum at 42 I have come up against all kind of negativity and scary stories in the course of this pregnancy.  I was made to believe in the first few months that I was in huge danger of having a disabled child or difficult birth.   As if pregnancy doesn’t make you worry and paranoid enough!

I have kept reminding myself…”we have been having babies for hundreds of thousands of years”!!  It is what we are designed to do!   95% of pregnancies are normal and could be delivered in a normal and unhindered way.  Why have things changed?

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What has happened to this country?  And not just our country.  The rate of assisted deliveries and unnecessary intervention, especially in the West, in something as natural as having a baby, is astronomical.  Are we really too ‘posh to push’ or just so scared of pain and danger that this amazing rite of passage for women is being coercively taken out of our hands?  Apart from the baby itself, what spiritual reward do we get from all that hard work?

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My partner and I have been surrounding ourselves with positive people with positive birth stories and educating ourselves on natural childbirth, labour without pain, self belief and self-hypnosis practices.  All this so that I can have the natural, drug free and pain-free water birth at home, with my partner delivering the baby.  The reason we moved to the area we are in now is because it has the best stats and attitude to natural birthing.  My eyes have been truly opened and I am actually excited about the birth now!  Did you know it is actually possible to have a truly ecstatic birth and even orgasm during labour and birth?

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Tell that to the expecting and labouring mums so terrified of pain that they accept what ever relief is offered to them!  If only the education and time to deliver it was out there for all us expecting mums.  Things would be different.  We would be the ones in control and intervention would be as it is supposed to be – there IF we need it!

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I want a quiet birth, at home, in a darkened room with candles.  My partner will be in the pool with me if that’s what we desire.  I want to eat and drink when necessary and labour for as long as nature intends.  Birthing can be a beautiful, primal, exhilarating experience if you can drop the fear.  Contractions don’t have to be ‘painful’.  They could just be sensations in the body if you re-train your mind…intense yes, bloody hard work yes, the hardest work you are ever likely to do, but not the worst, most fearful and dangerous experience you ever have to ‘suffer’.

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Am I being naive?  Maybe I am.  But there is something in the core of my very being that tells me I am on the right path.

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Amongst other things, I will definitely be keeping the placenta.  I plan to eat it.   Eating the placenta is not very popular but it has lots of health benefits.  Almost all animals do it.  What makes me so different?  The only difference being I will be cooking it up with caramelised onions and red wine, amongst other things, lol.   If you give birth in the hospital, I don’t think they allow you to keep it.  One birthing centre I spoke to would allow me to take it as long as I signed a disclaimer stating that if I were to bury any part of it, it would be six feet deep in the ground.  It is vegetarian friendly too… it is the only meat you can eat that hasn’t been killed first!

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I will be making a blog on it anyway and discussing all aspects of Natural Childbirth including my Birth Story!   At the moment I am just putting thoughts down and will expand this blog as and when.

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For now let me pass on some links and books my partner and I have just read together – will update list as and when!

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NATURAL BIRTH BIBLIOGRAPHY…

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Ina May’s guide to Childbirth – by Ina May Gaskin  – The first part of the book has some amazing and uplifting birth stories.  An excellent and empowering book.  She is the author of “Spiritual Midwifery” and has attended thousands of births.  She lives on the “Farm” in Tennessee.

Birth Space, Safe Place – by Adela Stockton – Nicely written, with emphasis on emotions and empowering the reader rather than facts and figures.

Birth Reborn – What Childbirth Should Be –  by Michel Odent – The French ‘birth guru’ with over 40 years experience in birthing – the founder of Pithiviers Hospital in France.

Childbirth without Fear – by Grantly Dick-Read  – quite an academic read, but well worth the effort.

New Active Birth – by Janet Balaskas – she goes on a bit about the importance of gravity ( we kinda ‘got it’ pretty early on) but a very positive book.

Orgasmic Birth – The best kept secret     (you can download or buy this DVD)

The Business of Being Born (2008)   (you can download or buy this DVD)

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Children are from Heaven – John Grey – putting aside the ‘heaven’ bit, a very good book on how to raise strong, confident children.

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OTHER RELATED BLOGS I WROTE…

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My “Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things From Placenta” was started at NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012, and continues to happen so long as there are bits of placenta left.

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 ”PREOCCUPIED with PLACENTAS”

12 Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta

… and counting!

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Sheela-Na-Gig DISCO BOOTIES FINISHED NOT LIT PLACENTA 'FUNKY-BABY' DISCO BOOTIES Placenta Skin Baby Booties sock monkey portrait Sheela-Na-Gig painted in blood, Nomadic Village 2012 Placenta printed in blood, Nomadic Village 2012 Placenta Print BW Sheela-Na-Gig lino print  in blood/ black food colouring, Nomadic Village 2012 A Womb With a View

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 ”Even before I became pregnant, I knew that I would do something special with it”

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If you want to read more about making beautiful things from placenta and the placenta rawhide please feel free to view my other blogs…

To date I have done the following…

  1. PLACENTA PRINTING using the blood still inside the bag
  2. Painted SHEELA-NA-GIG images with placenta blood and black food colouring
  3. SHEELA-NA-GIG lino prints using placenta blood and black food colouring – also made ‘Thank You’ cards with the lino cut for my “Blessing Way Sisters”
  4. Made PLACENTA RAWHIDE from the Amniotic Sac
  5. Made the artistic piece “A WOMB WITH A VIEW”
  6. Cooked the rest – PLACENTA BOURGUIGNON!
  7. Had a lively discussion about eating placenta and cannibalism – “Be careful!  I know you taste delicious!”
  8. Made PLACENTA SKIN BABY BOOTIES
  9. Made PLACENTA SKIN “FUNKY-BABY” DISCO BOOTIES
  10. SOCK MONKEY with dried placenta in the stuffing – “FERTILITY COSMIC CONFIRMATION FETISH”

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….. as long as there are bits left, I will keeping adding to this list!  ‘Follow’ my blog-site and watch this space!  I will keep updating as I go along!

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Wild Food Foraging and Roadkill!  BBC Radio York 12th January 2012

Had a very entertaining discussion LIVE on air with DJ Jonathan Cowap and fellow guests yesterday.

The topic was about wild food foraging and public attitudes toward it.   I covered the Roadkill side of things!!

There were two other guest speakers;

Chris Bax who is a wild food forager and expert in edible and useful plants (www.tastethewild.co.uk)

Stephanie Moon who is a well known chef and food consultant who resides at Rudding Park, Harrogate. (www.stephaniemoon.co.uk).

It was very informative and funny and the team were great fun!

The full show is 3 hours long, so start the sliding bar at 1.08.28. Click here & Enjoy!!

Just before the New Year, I spoke on a couple of other radio stations, same topic, just different countries –

A lively discussion on a radio station in South Africa, just after Christmas day.  Was a bit strange being introduced in Afrikaans, but luckily the interview was in English!  We discussed alternative eating habits and variations on the traditional Christmas dinner.  Was a really informative and funny show.

Another radio show but this time in Atlanta, on the B98.5FM Morning Show With Vikki and Kelly!   You can hear the unedited version when I can figure out how to upload the damn thing, lol!

There was also a lovely interview with Sarah, a food producer with TakePart.com, from Beverly Hills, California.  We chatted about extreme foraging, roadkill recipes and taxidermy art.  She did really nice follow-up piece called…

The True Story of the Roadkill Cook…

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