Category: Community Projects

“Spinning & Weaving The Web – Shamanic Drum Palm-Cushion”

I learned an amazing new and ultra simple skill the other weekend thanks to the gorgeous and super talented Gitta Cooper.


I was lucky to be with my Tribe at a favourite annual festival.  It is always held at Lime Tree Farm, a stunning Nature Reserve near Grewelthorpe, Ripon, Yorkshire (UK).

This is a family Pagan camp and is always held at LAMMAS (or LUGHNASADH) commencing on the last Friday in July.  It is a thanksgiving that marks the harvesting of the crops and fruits provided that year, and is symbolised by the baking and offering of bread.  Today it is still very common to find agricultural fetes and contests taking place all over the country.

There is a strong spirit of community.

 At this camp we share skills, hold workshops, share food, sell our hand crafted wares, sing Songs, dance, play music around the fire, basically anything that feels good, fits in with the camp ethos and others want to share!


This year I learned how to spin wool, make yarn and create something special from what I had made, all in the same weekend!

Gitta taught me how to spin wool directly from RAW, unwashed fleece, the kind you pick from the grass in a field, or from a barbed wire fence onto a SIMPLE STICK!!

You could use any type of wool however!



This can be done anywhere, it is so simple!  It can be done whilst walking, talking or chilling 😀 and it’s a great thing for kids to do.



I was Spinning & Weaving The Web that holds us all together!


  It occurred to me while I was winding the fleece around the stick that I was actually singing the songs around me into its creation.  As soon as I became aware of this I did it with conscious intention.

Very soon the finished product contained so many Goddess and folk songs, healing chants, love, sisterhood and reverence.  I pondered on and contemplated the symbology of the Spider, of all the mythological stories, archetypes and related Goddesses.

Spinning and Weaving are such magical acts!


I wanted to make and complete my creation that very weekend, to seal the magic in.

Gitta reminded me how to crotchet a soft, round circular piece which ended up finding its own purpose that evening becoming a hand cushion to protect my palm from the sharp BAT CRYSTAL of my Shamanic Fox/Deer/Bat Drum whilst drumming intensely around the large communal fire.



I love it when a cosmic plan comes together, lol, thank you Gitta 💜


Basic Bat Symbolism

* Shamanic work, Hidden knowledge, Hidden work
* Active dreaming, Past Life Journeys, The Underworld
* Instinct, Perception, Vibrational Sensitivity
* Beginnings (Initiation


Basic Spider Symbolism

* Patience and Receptivity
* Weaver of life’s fate and Creativity
* Feminine Energy and Vibrational Sensitivity
* Shadow self, dark aspects of life or personality




“All creation is sacred.  All that exists is alive


This latest shamanic tool is one in a series I created in the summer of 2016

The common threads running through all of them are:



Speaking Ones Truth,

Standing up for Ones Principles


Treading Lightly on the Earth.


The story of these can be found by following the relevant links below.





“As with a lot of my work, I aspire to gently push the viewer, including myself, to question preconceptions and socio-cultural taboos by creating something beautiful and compelling from something dead and/or socially repulsive”.


Additional Notes…


The Bat Crystal…

The Bat Crystal has its own amazing story.

The Cambodian trip in 2007 was a solo trip that immediately followed a huge fight and subsequent breakdown of a relationship and business partnership.  I literally threw my passport, a pair of knickers and my credit cards into a bag and drove to the airport.  I was at my tethers end.

It was necessary at the time to throw myself to the mercy and wisdom of the Universe, alone and accepting.  I was in great emotional pain.  I wanted to re-find myself, to rediscover my TRUTH,VOICE and COURAGE and begin my life all over again.  I discovered a lot in Cambodia, about life, me and my path.

(read more here…)


As well as working with an independent mobile medical unit that delivered first aid and medical attention to the displaced refugees in a camp just outside the Cambodian capitol, I did a bit of sightseeing, lol.

I hired a moped and visited some ancient caves, in a protected eco-system in the countryside around Phnom Sampeou that were famed for its bat population.



At dusk millions, literally millions of small bats come bursting out of the mountain forming a steady stream toward the countryside, where they spend the evening stuffing themselves with insects.  Towards dawn they retire back into the mountain.

I went caving with a local guy, who, equipped with a torch and a few wide brimmed hats took me deep into the caves, squeezing through tight gaps and exploring huge caverns.

On approaching the main bat cave he handed me a hat with instructions to look ‘up’ very carefully!  The reason for this became apparent when I entered the cave.

It was ‘RAINING’.

But it wasnt rain… it was millions of bats clinging to the cave ceiling – PISSING!

It was incredible!  The noise was intense!

Where ever we shone the huge torch we saw seething masses of little furry rodents with wigs… families of bats, babies, copulating couples… it was quite something!

The guy shone his torch to one of the walls.  I was mesmerized!  The walls glowed!  Most of the interior of the cave was made of CRYSTAL!


For millennia these crystal walls had been absorbing the sounds, smells and essence of BAT day in, day out.

On the floor, which was now many meters deep in Guano, were chunks of these crystals that over time had fallen from the walls… and I put one in my pocket and brought it home.

I knew I would one day make something special out of it… and it now forms the center piece of my drum.



This entire process was deeply informative and transformational.





“Visceral and graphic yet tender and beautiful. Most importantly it was positive and affirming and showed power and perfect honesty”.


“The Shamanic Fox & Snake Goddess Rattle” was completed in July 2016.

It was constructed for my personal use, and to be used during the “Lost Bodies” performance with artist Nicola Hunter (formerly Canavan).  Nicola Hunter is the feisty artist behind the acclaimed“Raising the Skirt” projects.

This is her latest work celebrating grief as a strengthening process for the soul, a metamorphosis and a labored fight in the darkness, answering the call of the Wild Woman. This was a deeply moving and inspirational performance of an actual transition, assisted and held shamanically by me.


Lost Bodies


If YOU are feeling the call to strengthen your own growth process, shed your old skin and follow the call of the Wild Woman, this raw, deep-diving and deeply inspirational performance is not to be missed

‘LOST BODIES’ was performed at TF2016 Day 3 in Croydon, London and is next showing in

LEEDS (UK) on the 7th October 2016 at


Doors – 8:30pm Performance – 9:00pm

£6 in advance.

Bookings –


If you comment below I will keep you posted…..


“Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species. The wildish nature comes to us at birth, society’s attempt to “civilize” us into rigid roles has plundered this treasure, and muffled the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. Without Wild Woman, we become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped” – (Clarissa Pinkola Estes).










I don’t bang on about it on my website, but I’ve been backpacking and exploring this planet for nearly three decades, often on my own.  When it suits I buy vehicles to travel and live in, then sell them on at the end of the trip.  I have experienced so many awe-inspiring places, ultra-amazing people and life-enriching things.  I have faced my own death many times.
Some of my all-time favourite places are Bolivia, Burning Man, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, the Amazon, Andes, Japan, India, New Zealand and lots of South East Asia. The list goes on but I don’t want to sound as if I’m happily blabbing up my own arse, hence why I haven’t travel blogged previously I guess, lol.  This blog isn’t about ego, although when I was younger I suppose I derived a sense of self from it.
I have been interested in ancient, anthropological, esoteric and tribal knowledge for as long as I can remember.  I have stayed for as long as possible with indigenous peoples, experiencing and learning everything I could from modern day attitudes to bush-craft and age-old religious practices.  Always trying to give back, in whatever ways I could, from teaching art classes in the Amazon to being a story teller to the Asaro Mud-men in the highlands of PNG.
I took a full year out in 2000 – 2001 to circumnavigated the globe by backpack.  I enjoyed it so much I did it again for a full year in 2009- 2010.  I used to highly recommend Round The World tickets but my massive Carbon Footprint bothers me a bit these days.
 Food has been a HUGE influence on my Journey.   And the Journey continues….
In response to a recent job offer, and questions about my extensive travelling I wrote this post.  This page is meant to be a handy tool for further discussion should anyone or myself need it.  I have been asked professionally on many occasions about my travels and I struggle every time to talk about it in detail.  So, instead of trawling through time consuming mountains of amazing personal photographs and diaries, or emails with previously recorded experiences I had fun instead dropping a few pins on a ‘Trip Advisor’ map, lol.

Launching “Mobile Murals”


I am now able to take on commissions further afield and minimise my carbon footprint!


Please contact me to discuss your thoughts and requirements.




Mobile Murals.


Nomadic Village 2012


 (Completed during my artists residency at the Nomadic Village 2012)


From the preview photos I had noticed that there were some beautiful old trees on the proposed village site.  It thought it would be wonderful to create a ‘wishing tree’.  It would be in response to the place and situation which anyone can contribute to during the event.


The idea was inspired by journeys in Japan.  It consists of simply writing a wish, a votive offering or message to a loved one and hanging them in the tree for nature to deliver at the right time.  A living tree would be great for this mythological practice, but would require the ability and permission to grow and continue independently long after we have moved on.


A large branch was actually used, set into a base, and decorated with intentions by the local school children who came to participate in a ‘Wishing Tree’ workshop.


The tree was ceremoniously burnt at the end, releasing everyone’s wishes.



Nomadic Village




See the blogs on my other projects created whilst at Nomadic Village –

PLACENTA PABULUM (Project 2 0f 3)

… which lead onto more Placenta work the following year and still to date…



My Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta


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 Print BW Sheela-Na-Gig lino print  in blood/ black food colouring, Nomadic Village 2012 A Womb With a View see through placenta ket ring

umbilical clamp added to the harey purse placenta skin keyring and hares tail ROUND PATCH OF PLACENTA IN THE WINDOW WITH OLIVEPLACENTA PATCHY IN THE SKY Placenta cookery in Olive, Nomadic Village 2012




Made from recycled materials and bronze tipit feathers from the capes of seven golden roadkill pheasants.

  2 years in the making, completed at NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012,

Modeled beautifully by Visual and Shamanic Artist KATIE SURRIDGE of London.


Shamanic Roadkill Cape

Shamanic Roadkill Cape




Scottish Foraging Adventures and Roadkill Collaborations for Beyond Productions and the Discovery Channel – EXTREME WORLDS – Now renamed “FORBIDDEN”

forbidden snip

I am contacted quite often by people interested in my ‘free spirited lifestyle’, artwork and personal angle on wild food foraging, ethical meat-eating and, of course, roadkill.  Sometimes they want to get to know me personally, other times they ask me to be a contributor or consultant on various matters I have special knowledge on.

Anyhow, I was contacted recently by a Researcher from Beyond Productions (Discovery Networks International) who are working on a new series called ‘Extreme Worlds’.  The Australian based company ‘Beyond’ has made many popular shows and documentaries. I personally used to watch their series ‘Taboo’ on the National Geographic Channel years ago.

Taboo - National Geographic

Beyond, a respected and award-winning independent production company based in Sydney, Australia, is producing a new series for Discovery Networks International provisionally entitled ‘Extreme Worlds’.  The series is shooting across the globe, and will comprise of 12 one hour episodes featuring three or four stories each. It will air in 209 countries and territories across the world, reaching an anticipated audience of over 1.3 billion.

Each episode will have a theme that looks at subcultural movements and exciting, unusual and enlightening belief systems or ways of life.

“Well, that’s us then!”  lol.

They wanted to explore the phenomenon of eating roadkill and had been looking at my blog site.  They liked my ‘sass’ and attitude towards the self sustainability aspects of being nomadic and the symbolic, cultural, moral and ethical meanings and values of eating & recycling ‘accidental meat’.

On a recent trip to Scotland and the Orkney Islands.

‘It’ started as a bit of a program about Marcus and myself, living as a new family with high hopes for a different and more alternative future, living off the land, close to nature and doing what we can now, to make that change possible.  Our philosophy on life being one of kindness and inclusion of others, self sustainability and zero waste, all the time respecting Mother Earth, everything on her and trusting the flow of things.

It was then suggested that it would be a lovely idea to have a feast on the last day of filming and include like-minded friends, all eating our foraged foods. I liked the sound of that.  I didn’t feel precious about the whole filming thing anyway, and very nearly sacked the whole thing off a couple of times – it’s a lot of work!!  What was important though was the ‘message’ and it needed to be voiced by friends of sound knowledge, credibility and experience, so we didn’t look like a bunch of redneck, hippy dippy nutters!!

Stereotypical Redneck Nutters

The Media can’t helping being slaves to sensationalism – we don’t have to be.  Despite the odds, I believe one can be authentic in media, depending on the production company, and get a very important point across as to how we are wrecking our planet and what we can do about it. For us, this is to live as peaceably, gently, non-materialistically on our beloved planet which invariably means not conforming to the norm – The norm being, in my opinion, drastically sick and, without change, terminal – for the myopic human race at least, probably taking half the other species with it!

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” –  J. Krishnamurti

As it happened… serendipity cast her magic wand over this band of would-be collaborators.  Instinctively, late one night, alone in those magical early hours sat by a crackling fire, I looked at my list of dear friends and kindred spirits and wondered if I could add a few more to it – a bit of ‘fresh blood’, lol.  I boldly emailed a few people whom I had either met briefly in the past, facebooked or messaged occasionally.  All of these people I admired and respected for what they do.  I was becoming very excited about an opportunity for us all to meet, learn and grow in the hope that one day in the future we may help and support each other, as part of a community/collective with common goals, all hoping for a better and more sustainable existence!  I felt invigorated, instinctual, inspired – and everyone accepted my invitation.

Special Thanks

I know we can’t talk much about it now, however, I hope everyone agreed that we were a band of individuals who felt a personal connection with each other and blessed to be part of a Wee Scottish Adventure!  An inner and outer journey! This was a chance to be close to nature and each other, to respect, inspire, include, share, care and co-create.  We attended with open hearts, mindfulness and responsibility for our own experiences, our effect on the group and the spirit of our gathering.  We had huge fun, some of it totally bonkers as you might imagine!!  In the words of our dear Ebony…

“…you just couldn’t make this shit up!!”

 Special thanks go to the following people  who very generously gave themselves up to make our weekend a truly wonderful and authentic experience.   I would also like to thank the film crew.  They were very professional, open, honest and made the experience lots of fun! 

                                     Thank you.                           


Above all…

Marcus and Max

I want to thank the most amazing man I have ever known – Marcus!!  Without him NONE of this would have happened.  Thank you for your strength, your support, wisdom and belief in me.   You make me feel excited about life, love and the future – about what we can create together (and I’m not just talking about  ‘Mooster’, lol).

Thank you for being an incredible man and deep, open-hearted father.  I love you so much.  xxxxxxxxxxxxx




or, maybe preferably


 In alphabetical order, first names first…  

 Alison Brierley – Nomadic Shamanic Artist, Road Kill Recycler & Life Skill Liberator

Using roadkill bones to make jewellery - BoliviaAlison works with organic materials in an often shamanic nature, a resourceful recycler she transforms wildlife and dead animals such as road kill in an attempt to use everything, she dislikes waste.  She harnesses these methods to honour birth, life, sex, death and renewal, her practice also involves wild foraging, creating a deep connection with the environment by surviving from the land.  Themes in her work stem from nature as well as anthropological and ethnological studies of tribal cultures, these are informed by her extensive travelling.

Alison often works with schools and the wider community on projects, working alongside others to push boundaries and challenge preconceptions.

“During filming for EXTREME WORLDS I will be exploring ideas of survival and self-sufficiently, especially in a nomadic context.  I will recycle road kill (and Max’s placenta, lol) to prepare food, create useful and artistic objects, encouraging interaction, participation, education and activism.   I will share my knowledge with anyone who genuinely wants to learn more about living a simple life, appreciative of each others gifts, and connected to, nature”.

Ali, her partner and child are nomadic and their home is on wheels.  They practice ‘simple living’.

“Our long-term goal is to live off-grid, ever evolving and be totally self-sufficient”.



Bill Wiseman – Our Acting Spokesman for the Revival of Ancient Crafts

Bill has a lifelong interest in ancient crafts and several years’ involvement in experimental archaeology.

Bill acted as a ‘volunteer villager’ in the early days of WestStowAnglo-SaxonVillage in Suffolk, demonstrating ancient crafts to visitors.  He has recreated artefacts from various ancient civilisations for both ornament and practical use.  He has built and used an Iron Age loom (still has it), can spin using drop spindle, weave and make pots using Iron Age methods.

He has made several flat and longbows, and is an excellent archer.  Bill is a true craftsman and passionately enjoys passing on his knowledge and skills to younger folk, as he firmly believes these are things that should not be lost.

Thank you dear Bill for your patience, kindness, calmness and wealth of knowledge. It is an honour to learn from you.


Ebony Andrews: Postgraduate Researcher and Natural Science Enthusiast

Ebony Andrews - Postgraduate researcher and natural science enthusiast.Ebony is currently undertaking PhD research into the interpretation of museum taxidermy collections at museums located in the North of England. She is also a seminar tutor at the University of Leeds.

Formerly a taxidermy assistant for National Museums Scotland, Ebony is trained in the preparation and tanning of animal skins for museological purposes. She has worked with a diverse range of species, from large and charismatic exotics to more common native species and everything in between. In addition, as a volunteer at various museums over the years, Ebony has gained experience in the conservation and restoration of natural science specimens which has contributed to her developing knowledge of taxidermy and taxidermic techniques.

As a Fine Art graduate and self-confessed ‘craftsperson and maker’ rather than ‘artist’, Ebony has exhibited at a number of venues across the UK including the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, and at various sites across London amongst others. Her practice, both in art and research, is strongly influenced by her interest in the political and ethical discourses on the relationship between humans, nature and the natural environment. Working closely with animals has led her on an interesting, and at times emotional journey which is in a constant state of renewal and re-evaluation:

‘How I feel about animals and their habitats has shifted dramatically over the decade in which I have been working both with, and on them. Today issues relating to animals and their environments can provoke strong ethical and moral questions, as indeed they should, and I think it’s crucial that we reflect upon our relationship with the natural world to investigate why’. 

Along with her enthusiasm for nature and the natural world, particularly its preservation, Ebony is also interested in how cultural institutions construct and perpetuate notions of individual and collective identity through the interpretation of history, heritage and memory.


Fergus Drennan – The Roadkill Chef, Wild Man & Wild Food Experimentalist and Inspiration Engineer

Sten - The Suburban BushwackerFergus Drennan is a broadcaster, writer and educator on the delights of food foraged from the wild.

Best-known for his BBC programme “The Roadkill Chef”, Fergus runs courses for schools and clients on foraging and preparing wild food.

An enthusiastic and experienced forager, working with wild plants as a gateway for exploring issues connected with sustainability, ecology, mental and physical health, spirituality, creativity and life purpose. He is an evangelist for the promotion of wild foods, with the ability to connect you directly with nature – and help provide a rooted sense of place and belonging.

Fergus, on the 1st of May, will be embarking on an incredible journey – to spend an entire year in the UK living 100% entirely on foods foraged himself!  His supporting website will be a resource packed full of free information on Wild Food, what you can do with it, and free videos regardless of whether or not you wish to donate, but please support and sponsor him.  This is knowledge we need to preserve and re-learn.


Fraser Simpson – The Happy Haptic – Bone Carver, Wild Food Forager & Chef 


fraser Simpson - The Happy HapticFraser is enthralled with the haptic .  Taking what is intrinsically a valueless, readily available material, bone, he sculpts beautiful objects using a few basic hand tools most of which are to be found in “granddad’s shed”.

He draws his inspiration from a broad range of interests but his main influences are anthropological, symbolic and the mathematical structures of nature.  His work is inspired by the many anonymous artists working in bone since, archaeologists maintain, art began, including:

The Original Cave Man, Many Tribal artisans around the world, Scrimshanders, French Prisoners of War, Netsuke Makers.

Fraser is currently working on building interest in bone carving through a series of workshops, exhibitions and lectures.  He is also making the first tentative steps in collating a book on the subject matter.

Fraser’s art harks back to a life more simple when time itself seemed slower and more readily available. A time that can be recreated, he has found, through the practice of bone carving.  He is currently working on a project using the bones from the Ox Roast in Windsor which was held to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

He is also a director of


Jonathan McGee – Professional Photographer


Jonathan Mcgee - Professional PhotographerJonathan is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire and was invited along to join the Roadkill Group to document the process and provide coverage for Beyond.  Jonathan has a good working knowledge of the environment and foraging having grown up in the countryside.  He has a passion for cooking and helped the team prepare and assemble the great feast that marked the end of this gathering.

Jonathan is very skilled and extremely passionate about his photography and this comes across in his work.  He has a talent for connecting to his subject and is able to provide unseen coverage in an artistic and documentary style regardless of subject matter.  He was great to watch at work, so energetic and enthusiastic, his process was unobtrusive but still very exciting to be part of.  He is passionate about his art and it shows in the images he captures.


facebook: jonathan m mcgee photography

facebook: shooting photography and countryside pursuits

T: 07805575547



Kathryn Libby – Natural Therapist & Shamanic Facilitator

Kathryn Libby – Natural Therapist & Shamanic Facilitator Kathryn is a professional Natural Therapist who is additionally well practiced in creating and running Sweat Lodges.  She also runs workshops in drum making using ancient and traditional methods.

It was when she moved to Northumberland in 2002 that she first encountered usable roadkill initially just picking recently dead pheasants from the road and taking them home to prepare for dinner. A few years later, having hit a deer by accident, she then had to have it dispatched due to the injuries it sustained. She took it home, gutted it in the bath and, due to a lack of space had the local butcher cut it up.  All the meat was used and the hide was used to re-cover her djembe.

Never wanting to be wasteful, she enjoys creating beautiful objects from what nature puts her way.  She also enjoys the health benefits of natural food such as roadkill compared to factory style farmed meat.  A strong and amazing woman, passionate about being respectful of all living things.



Linda king – Mother, lover, daughter, sister, healer, friend, facilitator and member of the Human Race.


Linda king – Mother, lover, daughter, sister, healer, friend, facilitator,

“These different aspects of who I am and what I can offer and share in the world continue to rebalance and integrate as I flow through and live my Life …. I enjoy making things happen particularly in collaboration with others”. 

Linda draws from her rich and varied background as an artist and therapist having trained in deep tissue bodywork, humanistic psychology, counseling and art therapy alongside a life-long interest in natural medicines and the healing arts.

She is constantly exploring different ways of working with energy whether that be through hands-on healing work, the visual arts or exploring Labyrinths, Land Energies and the Elements to promote curiosity, peace and personal transformation.

Her artwork is an emotional and intuitive enquiry – drawing from, and fulfilling, a deep answering and longing – which provides a map of her psyche.  At those times when she gets the image just right, something deeply satisfying happens – a bit more of her fits into place.

As intuitive healer, she offers individual sessions of intuitive massage and bodywork to help maintain balance and well-being, allowing greater energetic flow within all our systems and promoting greater self understanding.

A dear friend and sensual wild woman – I can vouch for her ‘magic’ hands!!  lol.


Mother Malarky – Shamanic Taxidermist, Drum Maker  and Forager

Mother Malarky - Shamanic Taxidermist, Drum Maker and ForagerAfter 30 years as a “veggie”, Mother Malarky decided to change and live according to her beliefs.  She became committed to using whatever the Universe puts in her path.

Her respect for living animals means only killing to eat, not for sport, and respect for a dead animal means utilising every bit of it, and doing so with gratitude.  She has a strong sense of community and skill sharing.

She is experienced in the entire process of butchering, skinning, cooking & eating roadkill.  She has an immense knowledge of flavours and recipes.  A Wild and Witchy Woman!  ‘Magic’ happens in her kitchen!


Sten  – The Suburban Bushwacker: Hunter, Forager and Adventurer

Sten - The Suburban Bushwacker.A tubby suburban dad (his words, lol) watching hunting and adventure shows on TV and wondering “Could I do that?”… 

… Well, YES! He can!

Well known for his TV appearance with Paul Merton, amongst others.  A prolific blogger and adventurer.  He chronicles his life whilst learning how to Forage, Hunt and Fish for food that has…

“lived a life I would wish for myself – Wild and Free!”

His blog is the story of the journey between fat-dad to bushwhacker-dude, how and why he collects kit, learns skills and gets inspired by adventure storytelling.  When suburban life doesn’t get in the way, he has a few adventures of his own.


Serena Hodgson – Willow and Craft Worker and Living Historian

Serena Hodgson – Willow and Craft Worker and Living Historian

Serena is a passionate environmentalist, educator and historian who achieved a Certificate in Permaculture in 2006 and graduated from the Open University in 2008 with a BSc(Hons) Environmental Studies.

After many years working as a psychiatric nurse and primary school teacher she decided to follow her heart and start a business working with willow, recycled materials and as a living historian.

Serena is a multi-skilled crafts-woman and an amazing cook.  Thank you for showing me how to drop spindle and use a peg loom…. and for the cakes!!  Nom! Nom! Nom!


Tina Langshaw – Creator of Beautiful Things

Tina Langshaw - Creator of Beautiful ThingsTina is an amazingly warm, creative and generous woman.  A natural healer and nurturer, she is knowledgable in alternative therapies and traditions.

She’s an experienced performer and organiser of large events and arts and crafts workshops.  She also enjoys foraging, preserving, and making her own household products and cosmetics.  She is deeply connected with nature and the art of recycling.

Tina is an amazing cook and inspirational cake maker.  She is a dear friend and a privilege to know.

A quiet and private person who shows her ‘cheeky’ side in small groups.

“Loves hugs, wine and cake!”


Simon Wray – 3D Digital Artist

Simon Wray - 3D Digital ArtistSimon Wray graduated from Cumbria Institute of the Arts in 2005 and has worked as a 3D Digital Artist since that time.
Concentrating in the fields of animation, visual effects and motion graphics, he uses cutting edge technologies to bring ideas to life.  Simon has a strong admiration for nature and the environment and enjoys spending time in the countryside, particularly in his native Yorkshire Dales and further afield in Scotland. As a keen photographer he enjoys spending time outdoors photographing all types of animals, insects, plants and fungi. Through his nature photography Simon unites his digital skills with his interest in animals and their habitats.
Simon is open-minded when it comes to food and is always keen to try new things: “Eating animals that have been accidentally killed makes rational sense to me. In life they live a happier, healthier existence than the vast majority of animals reared for food today. They are often organic, not to mention free. We are making use of animals that would otherwise be left to decay, while reducing our reliance on big supermarket chains, not to mention our carbon footprint”.
In his spare time Simon enjoys mounting biking across challenging terrains and is currently planning a coast to coast ride for later in the year. As a seasoned cyclist he is rarely phased by a snowy cycle to work on a cold winter’s morning!


 …and last but not least – our beautiful baby boy – who is an absolute joy!  We have been truly blessed by a child who is soooo happy to be born.  He lights up our life!  We knew it would be good, but we never realised just how intensely wonderful and amazing being a parent can be.

“Thank you Mooster”!

 Maximus Vladimir Speer - The Mooster!

Well, that’s it for now!   –  Hope you enjoy the show!!  



The Nomadic Village UK 2012, Wolsingham, County Durham, UK

Monday 21st May – Sunday 3rd June 2012

Public Opening: Friday 1st June 15:00 – 21:00

In just a few days we will be heading up the A1 to participate in this event… lets see what I can conjure up with a placenta, some twigs and a bunch of dead pheasants, lol….

“Alison Brierley works with organic materials in an often shamanic nature, recycling wildlife and dead animals such as road kill in an attempt to use everything, she dislikes waste. Brierley harnesses these methods to honour birth, life, sex, death and renewal, her practice also involves wild foraging, creating a deep connection with the environment by surviving from the land. Themes in Brierley’s work stem from nature as well as anthropological and ethnological studies of tribal cultures, these are informed by her extensive travelling. Brierley often works with schools and the wider community on projects, working alongside others to push boundaries and challenge perconceptions.

During the Nomadic Village Brierley will recycle wildlife, especially road kill to create useful, everyday objects, encouraging interaction, participation, education and activism. Exploring ideas of survival and self-sufficiently, especially in a nomadic context.
Inspired by recent journies to Japan, Brierley will focus on the idea of ‘Wishing Trees’ to create a structure that will be ceremonially destroyed at the end of the Village.
Brierley will attend the Village with her camper van ‘Olive’, her partner and her newly born baby.”

I will be inviting the local Primary school children to help create the Japanese style Wishing Tree.

View the links below to the most recent info on the web…


From 21 May to 3 June 2012, County Durham will house a village within a town, when a ‘Nomadic Village’ of over 30 international artists makes its temporary home in Wolsingham. The artists will live and work in camper vans, caravans, marquees, a converted police bus and even an adapted milk float based at the Desmesne Mill Picnic Area in Wolsingham. The 10-day project will provide space for professional artists working in a variety of mediums to live and work, engage and interact with the local community and produce work that responds to the location and situation. At the end of the Village, on Friday 1 June, there will be a public exhibition, and during the Village there will be open afternoons for the local residents to visit the artists at work.

The artists come from as far away as Australia and as near as Tow Law, and the work will vary from photography, film and digital media to 3-dimensional sculptural pieces. Participating artsits have been selected based on the quality of their work as well as their commitment to gaining inspiration from their temporary location and their artistic practice of working as nomadic artists. As well as being able to take advantage of the open afternoons and to chat to the artists and visit the focal point and the village ‘mayor’ – artist Klaus Mähring – many residents will be involved in the artists’ work more directly: artists will be visited by and will visit pupils from Wolsingham School and Community College; a group of photographers based in Tow Law are going to be working with the local community during the time that the Nomadic Village is in Wolsingham to gather stories, images and anecdotes about other ‘visitors’; and other collaborations and interactions are being worked out at the moment.

The project is being brought together by ISIS Arts, in collaboration with Durham County Council and Wolsingham Parish Council. The Village is the brainchild of Klaus Mähring: a photographer who uses an old-fashioned plate camera to create stunning visual impressions of the landscape, he lives for six months of the year in his converted police bus, travelling for inspiration. Two years ago, he invited artists to camp with him in Bulgaria, and the resulting Nomadic Village was such a success that Mähring was keen to create another one with more structure and facilitation for interaction with the local community.

The Nomadic Village will create a unique working environment for artists, who will be able to draw inspiration from each other and from living with like-minded creative people, as well as from the beautiful location. It also gives the residents of Wolsingham, a rural location, an extraordinary opportunity to interact first-hand with artists and their practice, as well as enjoy the exhibition of the resulting artworks. This exhibition will then tour to Vienna and other parts of Austria, with further tours in discussion, taking the inspiration of Wolsingham to other communities internationally.

Nomadic Village Artists




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.


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.







My normal ‘bread & butter’ work takes the form of community art projects and school commissions.  This does not normally involve the taxidermy side of things.  I use my wide and varied range of skills to facilitate art installations for schools that involve the school children and sometimes also the wider community. I have a talent for most aspects of hands-on creation. I think fast and on my feet! 

I do not create solo exhibitions, as I prefer collaborative projects.  I enjoy being part of the growth process you get when you pool the energies of groups of people.  I love to observe transformations in levels of awareness — be that creative; spiritual; mental; emotional or physical.  I ‘push’ people to go beyond the boundaries they set themselves and that includes me too!

I love dressing up and exploring alter egos, especially with friends.  Festivals, camps and just travelling in general are a great opportunity to go ‘wild’ and experiment with being someone else for a while — great if you are at a time in your life when you need to reinvent yourself!  Every year, if I’m around, I make/put on a costume and perform with my buddies at Artists Ltd.  We are an artists’ collective and enjoy working in a range of different mediums, from bone carving to theatre, painting to music — join up and be part of it, there is FREE gallery space waiting for you!

All the school got involved

Click the image above to view a slide show of photos from commissioned projects that I’ve carried out with schools and communities (more recent images and press clippings pending upload).

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