Tag Archive: community projects


JAPANESE INSPIRED WISHING TREE

Nomadic Village 2012

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Nomadic Village

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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…

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 “PREOCCUPIED with PLACENTAS”

My Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta

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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 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

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SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE – (Project 1 of 3)

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.

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Shamanic Roadkill Cape

Shamanic Roadkill Cape

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TB – “TOTAL BOLLOCKS”

ROADKILL BADGER TALISMAN 

(Supporting the Anti Badger-Cull Campaign)

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 'TOTAL BOLLOCKS' - ROADKILL BADGER TALISMAN - ANTI BADGER-CULL CAMPAIGN

TB –  ‘TOTAL BOLLOCKS’ – ROADKILL BADGER TALISMAN – ANTI BADGER-CULL CAMPAIGN

Made from recycled materials and a roadkill badger.

(Completed 2009)

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“When the badger comes into our lives it is time to get busy with projects, speak up and ask for help if we need it in our lives. The badger is also a sign that it is time for us come out of hiding – it’s time for us to let the world know we are here, and we mean business!”

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TB

(Total Bollocks)

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My rant on The Plan to cull all the badgers – to be continued….

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My feelings have been expressed in my upcoming badger taxidermy art projects entitled:

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*  TB – Total Bollocks!!!

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'TOTAL BOLLOCKS' - ROADKILL BADGER TALISMAN - ANTI BADGER-CULL CAMPAIGN

(2009)

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*  How to Really Bag a Badger!

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How to really bag a badger.

(2009 – present)

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&

*  A Better Solution Please

(2009- present)

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This post is incomplete as yet, I will finish the wordy bit and re-post when I have the spare time.

 

PLACENTA SKIN BABY BOOTIES

My Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta

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Placenta Skin Baby Booties

PLACENTA SKIN BOOTIES – Made from recycled mixed media, LED’s and the placenta I birthed last year, eventually defrosted and made into placenta rawhide.

The process was started at NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012, and completed upon request for the filming for Beyond Productions and the Discovery Channel – EXTREME WORLDS.

 ………………..O………………..

 THE MAKING OF…

Placenta preparation with Maz, Nomadic Village 2012

Last year I participated in an Artists’ Residency program called the Nomadic Village 2012, brainchild of Captain Klaus Maehring of Austria, and sponsored by ISIS Arts.

One of my artistic endeavours whilst there, was to defrost my frozen placenta (actually, it’s Max’s placenta) and create as many beautiful things from it as possible – before I ate it!!  lol.  Even before I became pregnant, I knew that I would do something special with it.  I have ended up doing many wonderful things with it!

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”PREOCCUPIED with PLACENTAS”

My Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta

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PLACENTA ART & COOKERY

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  A series of experiments completed during my artists’ residency at the NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012

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To see these click the link below…

NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012 – Project 2 of 3 – PLACENTA PABULUM – ART, COOKERY & CANNIBALISM

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………………..O………………..

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Before any plans could be made, as to what to make with my very special leather, I had to make it.  The entire experience was intense and incredibly interesting on so many different levels!

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Placenta Rawhide

Scraping the amniotic sac in prearation to make rawhide, Nomadic Village 2012

Scraping the amniotic sac in preparation to make rawhide, Nomadic Village 2012

I scraped the sac that Max grew in.  I had a couple of shamanic drum hoops with me.  I figured that a bag containing a baby for nine months, kicking away had to be pretty big and strong!  I just hoped it could be stretched to cover a hoop!

The skin was beautiful and heavily veined near the umbilical cord.  I could not separate it in one large unbroken piece so ended up with three medium-sized bits.  It was a shame, but it really was quite difficult to work with.  The skin wasn’t a single thickness either – it seemed to be made up of two layers.  It reminded me of the construction of ply wood.

I separated the skin further into three smaller pieces of practically transparent skin, like cling-film.  I cured all the bits and turned them into rawhide – because it was in pieces I had to rethink my idea of a placenta skin drum.

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ROUND PATCH OF PLACENTA IN THE WINDOW WITH OLIVE PLACENTA PATCHY IN THE SKYTRANSPARENT SKIN

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I decided to make a pair of baby booties!  (I did try to crochet a pair, honest, lol,  but the pattern flummoxed me!).

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Sewing the booties      fitting LED's      Placenta booties lit in the jar

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Youtube clip – PLACENTA ART – PLACENTA SKIN BABY BOOTIES – Sewing and Lighting – Part 1

Click Here

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In the end, I actually I had enough to make another pair… and I wrote about them in a separate blog…

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PLACENTA SKIN FLASHING  ‘FUNKY-BABY’ DISCO BOOTIES

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PLACENTA 'FUNKY-BABY' DISCO BOOTIES (green and red)           PLACENTA 'FUNKY-BABY' DISCO BOOTIES           PLACENTA 'FUNKY-BABY' DISCO BOOTIES (red and red)

Click here to see a video clip of them in action – Hilarious!

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 …………………. O ………………..

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 Some of my other projects created at Nomadic Village 2012 – SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE   &   JAPANESE INSPIRED WISHING TREE

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PLACENTA SKIN FLASHING ‘FUNKY-BABY’ DISCO BOOTIES

My Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta

 DISCO BOOTIES FINISHED NOT LIT

PLACENTA SKIN BOOTIES – Made from recycled mixed media, a piece of Max’s swaddling cloth, flashing LED’s and the placenta I birthed last year, eventually defrosted and made into placenta rawhide.

These booties are rather special as they were made from the parts of the amniotic sac that were almost transparent and incredibly thin.  When dry, they were more delicate than tissue paper – impossible to sew… so I backed them onto bits of Max’s now redundant, but still sentimental, swaddling cloth.   Although they looked great when finished, you couldn’t really tell that they were made from placenta skin, so I funked them up a bit with flashing LED’s…

Click here to see these fabulous booties in action via Youtube!  Hilarious!!  I am so pleased with them…

 

PLACENTA 'FUNKY-BABY' DISCO BOOTIES (green and red)           PLACENTA 'FUNKY-BABY' DISCO BOOTIES           PLACENTA 'FUNKY-BABY' DISCO BOOTIES (red and red)

The process was started at NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012, and completed upon request for the filming for Beyond Productions and the Discovery Channel – EXTREME WORLDS.

 ………………..O………………..

 THE MAKING OF…

Placenta preparation with Maz, Nomadic Village 2012

Last year I participated in an Artists’ Residency program called the Nomadic Village 2012, brainchild of Captain Klaus Maehring of Austria, and sponsored by ISIS Arts.

One of my artistic endeavours whilst there, was to defrost my frozen placenta (actually, it’s Max’s placenta) and create as may beautiful things from it as possible – before I ate it!!  lol.  Even before I became pregnant, I knew that I would do something special with it.  I have ended up doing many wonderful things with it!

 

I did the following things on a large roll of wallpaper liner…

  1. Placenta Printing
  2. Painted Sheela-Na-Gig images with placenta blood and black food colouring
  3. Sheela-Na-Gig Lino Prints
  4. Cured the Amniotic Sac that contained Max and stretched the skin
  5. Made the artistic piece, “A Womb With A View”
  6. Cooked the rest and shared the meal with my partner and four adventurous others!
  7. Had a lively discussion about eating placenta and cannibalism
  8. Retained the rest of the skin to make other things at a later date

 

“Be careful!  I know you taste delicious!”

PLACENTA ART & COOKERY

       

  A series of experiments completed during my artists’ residency at the NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012

To see these click the link below…

NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012 – Project 2 of 3 – PLACENTA PABULUM – ART, COOKERY & CANNIBALISM

 ………………..O………………..

 

Before any plans could be made, as to what to make with my very special leather, I had to make it.  The entire experience was intense and incredibly interesting on so many different levels!

 

Placenta Rawhide

Scraping the amniotic sac in prearation to make rawhide, Nomadic Village 2012

Scraping the amniotic sac in preparation to make rawhide, Nomadic Village 2012

I scraped the sac that Max grew in.  I had a couple of shamanic drum hoops with me.  I figured that a bag containing a baby for nine months, kicking away had to be pretty big and strong!  I just hoped it could be stretched to cover a hoop!

The skin was beautiful and heavily veined near the umbilical cord.  I could not separate it in one large unbroken piece so ended up with three medium-sized bits.  It was a shame, but it really was quite difficult to work with.  The skin wasn’t a single thickness either – it seemed to be made up of two layers.  It reminded me of the construction of ply wood.

I separated the skin further into three smaller pieces of practically transparent skin, like cling-film.  I cured all the bits and turned them into rawhide – because it was in pieces I had to rethink my idea of a placenta skin drum.

 

ROUND PATCH OF PLACENTA IN THE WINDOW WITH OLIVE PLACENTA PATCHY IN THE SKYTRANSPARENT SKIN

 

 

 

 

I decided to make a pair of baby booties!  (I did try to crotchet a pair, honest, lol, but the pattern flummoxed me!).

 ………………..O………………..

I made another pair, much more translucent and larger then the ‘Funky Disco’ ones …  I have written about them in a separate blog…

PLACENTA SKIN BABY BOOTIES!

 

Placenta Skin Baby Booties

PLACENTA ART – PLACENTA SKIN BABY BOOTIES – My Experimental Adventures Making Beautiful Things from Placenta

Youtube clip – PLACENTA ART – PLACENTA SKIN BABY BOOTIES – Sewing and Lighting – Part 1

 Click Here 

 …………………. O ………………..

 Some of my other projects created at Nomadic Village 2012 – SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE   &   JAPANESE INSPIRED WISHING TREE

“BEYOND BELIEF”

Scottish Foraging Adventures and Roadkill Collaborations for Beyond Productions and the Discovery Channel – EXTREME WORLDS

Beyond Productions logoThe Australian based company ‘Beyond’ has made many popular TV shows and documentaries.  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’.

Discovery Channel logoThe 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.

They wanted to explore the phenomenon of eating roadkill and certain attitudes towards the self sustainability aspects of being nomadic.  There are many symbolic, cultural, moral and ethical meanings and values of eating & recycling ‘accidental meat’, as opposed to the ‘factory farmed’ kind.

A band of talented individuals then got together to make a program….  To read the whole blog click here!

Special Thanks

 “THE ROADKILL COLLABORATORS”

or, maybe preferably

“THE ACCIDENTAL MEAT COLLECTIVE”

 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, is nomadic and her home is on wheels.  She practices ‘simple living’.

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

https://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/

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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.

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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.

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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.

http://www.indiegogo.com/one-year-total-wild-food
http://www.wildmanwildfood.co.uk/index.html
http://wildmanwildfood.blogspot.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/fergustheforage
https://www.facebook.com/fergus.drennan

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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 Artists.ltd.

http://www.artists.ltd.uk/content.asp?id=4&doc=5

http://www.artists.ltd.uk/content.asp?id=11&doc=17

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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.

@: jonathan.m.mcgee@btinternet.com

www.jonathanmmcgee.com

www.shootingphotography.co.uk

facebook: jonathan m mcgee photography

facebook: shooting photography and countryside pursuits

T: 07805575547

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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.

kathryn.libby@live.co.uk

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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.

www.lindaking.org.uk

www.celebratewomen.org.uk

lindaking3@btinternet.com

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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!

http://www.wildshamanicdrums.blogspot.co.uk/

https://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/tufty-tastic-sausage-making-lessons-from-the-roadkill-sausage-queen/

mothermalarky@hotmail.co.uk

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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.

http://suburbanbushwacker.blogspot.co.uk/

suburbanbushwacker@gmail.com

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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!

www.serenahodgson.com

serena@serenahodgson.com

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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!”

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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!

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  Hope you enjoy the show!!  

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“BEYOND BELIEF”

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.                           

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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

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“THE ROADKILL COLLABORATORS”

or, maybe preferably

“THE ACCIDENTAL MEAT COLLECTIVE”

 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”.

https://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/

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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.

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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.

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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.

http://www.indiegogo.com/one-year-total-wild-food
http://www.wildmanwildfood.co.uk/index.html
http://wildmanwildfood.blogspot.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/fergustheforage
https://www.facebook.com/fergus.drennan

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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 Artists.ltd.

http://www.artists.ltd.uk/content.asp?id=4&doc=5

http://www.artists.ltd.uk/content.asp?id=11&doc=17

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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.

@: jonathan.m.mcgee@btinternet.com

www.jonathanmmcgee.com

www.shootingphotography.co.uk

facebook: jonathan m mcgee photography

facebook: shooting photography and countryside pursuits

T: 07805575547

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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.

kathryn.libby@live.co.uk

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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.

www.lindaking.org.uk

www.celebratewomen.org.uk

lindaking3@btinternet.com

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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!

http://www.wildshamanicdrums.blogspot.co.uk/

https://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/tufty-tastic-sausage-making-lessons-from-the-roadkill-sausage-queen/

mothermalarky@hotmail.co.uk

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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.

http://suburbanbushwacker.blogspot.co.uk/

suburbanbushwacker@gmail.com

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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!

www.serenahodgson.com

serena@serenahodgson.com

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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!”

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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!
 

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 …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!!  

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“Be careful!  I know you taste delicious!”

PLACENTA ART & COOKERY

       

  A series of experiments completed during my artist’s residency at the NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012

During my time at the Nomadic Village 2012 I just happened to have a 13 week old placenta sat in the freezer.  An odd thing to have in the freezer?  Maybe – if you weren’t me, I guess.  Even before I became pregnant, I knew that I would do something special with it.  I wanted to create as many beautiful things from it as possible – before I ate it.

Eating placenta was something I found to be incredibly natural.  It is called Placentophagy and most mammals do it – are we really that different? Even herbivores eat theirs!  Apparently camels are the exception to the rule – perhaps they don’t like theirs covered in sand.

From a cruelty-free, veggie perspective – it’s the only piece of meat (save eating a surgically chopped-off bit) whose owner didn’t have to die first for it to be eaten!

The way we treat the placenta in the West is to incinerate it (and hospital maternity units don’t offer mothers the option to keep it), but there are other cultures in which it has a special place in rituals following a birth. It is common to use them in symbolic burials and tree planting.

The Chinese use it in traditional medicine and it’s growing in popularity to have it dried and encapsulated.  ‘Potential’ benefits of eating your placenta are:

  • Warding off postpartum depression.
  • Improving breast milk supply
  • Stimulating involution of the uterus
  • Increasing energy and even preventing aging
  • Postpartum hemorrhage

I could blab on and on about what I have read and learned about placentas, but I reckon I’ll save that for another blog!

I was too preoccupied after the birth to dig out and defrost my carefully stored placenta and cook it.  As I briefly mentioned, you can hire someone to dry it out and reform it into easy-to-swallow capsules, but I wanted to do more with it than that, so I left it there, among the bags of liquidized kale, yellow-label Tesco bargains and Suma nuts and seeds.

The opportunity arose when I was chosen to participate as a resident artist in the Nomadic Village project – ahhhh, enforced creativity time… I would never have prioritized this idea otherwise.

 

mobile exhibition space      

 

On one of those amazing hot sunny days, under our snow-cam, lean-to in the shade of our motor home I prepped a workspace for my, now defrosted, placenta.  Fellow nomadic sound artist Marek Gabrsych, recorded and documented the entire process from printing to fine-dining.

 

I did the following things on a large roll of wallpaper liner…

  1. Placenta Printing
  2. Painted Sheela-Na-Gig images with placenta blood and black food colouring
  3. Lino Prints
  4. Cured the Amniotic Sac that contained Max and stretched the skin
  5. Made the artistic piece, “A Womb With A View”
  6. Cooked the rest and shared the meal with my partner and four adventurous others!
  7. Had a lively discussion about eating placenta and cannibalism
  8. Retained the rest of the skin to make other things at a later date – including a pair of baby booties! I tried to crotchet a pair, but the pattern flummoxed me!

1.  Placenta Prints

Printing onto wallpaper lining using the blood in the amniotic sac. Nomadic Village 2012

 Without really doing much with the organ, I blotted it using the wallpaper liner spread before me.  I repeated the process, experimenting with positioning.  It was an amazing thing to play with.  The veins running through the skin made patterns like a road map, palm print and tree roots.  The flesh inside the bag was just like a sponge, in texture and function… it just kept on blotting!!

2.  Sheela-Na-Gig

Painting Sheela-Na-Gig using blood mixed with black food colouring. Nomadic Village 2012.

The bowl within which the placenta had been defrosting was full of blood!  I experimented by painting with this blood and then mixing it with black food colouring – it applied like ink!  I repeatedly painted a stylized self portrait based on a Sheela-Na-Gig – an ancient and archetypal pre-Christian image of fertility.  I had a picture of this on the wall near my birthing pool to assist me through the first and second stages of labour.  It reminded me that women have been doing this for millennia and it ‘does stretch that much’!

Black/White  Earth  Air  Fire  Water

 Self portrait of the archetypal image of Sheela-Na-Gig in B/W, Earth, Air, Fire & Water.

3.  Lino Prints

Block printing using a lino tile and placenta blood. Nomadic Village 2012.

I then made some block prints using a lino tile I had cut just days before the birth.  The image was that of the Sheela-Na-Gig image that helped me through labour.  I made pencil rubbings of the tile and created thank-you cards for my ‘Blessingway Sisters’ who had nurtured me beautifully.

4.  Placenta Rawhide

Scraping the amniotic sac in prearation to make rawhide, Nomadic Village 2012

I skinned the placenta to remove the bag Max grew in.  I had a couple of shamanic drum hoops with me.  I figured that a bag containing a baby for nine months, kicking away had to be pretty strong!  I just hoped it could be stretched to cover a hoop!  Failing that, I could make a shamanic baby’s rattle!  And I could attach the rattlesnake’s tail I had brought back from the States during last year’s ‘Burning Man’ trip.

The skin was beautiful and heavily veined near the umbilical cord.  I could not seperate it in one large unbroken piece so ended up with three medium sized bits.  The skin wasn’t a single thickness either – it seemed to be made up of two layers.  It reminded me of the construction of ply-wood.  I separated the skin further into three smaller pieces of practically transparent skin, like cling-film.  I cured all the bits in salt, stretched them on the wallpaper and turned them into rawhide – because it was in pieces I had to rethink my idea of a placenta skin drum or baby’s rattle.

The umbilical cord had gone pink in colour, as opposed to the beautiful white colour with a royal blue vein spiraling around it.  An umbilical cord has two arteries and a vein, known as a three vessel cord.  We would have liked to have had it cryogenically stored for possible future stem cell use… but it just didn’t happen.

I still have some of the cord in the freezer, part of it I will bury under a tree…but the rest?  Suggestions anybody?

5.  A Womb with a View

Using whatever bits I could find in the van, I made a light box, backlit with the LED innards of my broken head torch, a  plastic version of a 12-week-old fetus that was given to me last year, tissue-paper and a placenta skin window.  I named it,  “A Womb with a View”.  I have a little skin left so I am going to also make a pair of booties to hang like fluffy dice, lol.

         

Recycled mixed media and placenta skin  (Nomadic Village UK 2012)

6.  Placenta Bourguignon

    Placenta cookery, dining in the communal kitchen, Nomadic Village 2012  

We did get around to eating it eventually that day.  In fact… four adventurous others tried it too… it was delicious!  We first tried a small piece lightly fried in olive oil just to see how it tasted before the addition of onions, garlic, mushrooms, and a dash of tomato paste, red wine and seasoning.  It was really tastey! I thought it tasted like lamb with the texture of heart, another thought it tasted more akin to beefy liver.  Asked what the umbilical cord tasted like and ‘parilla’ was the answer – ‘intestine’ to the uninitiated, lol.

It was amusing to see the looks on the faces of those who had tried it in a moment of curious spontaneity, after they had had a while to mentally process the occasion.  They would give me a skewed look of “Did I really just eat that?” or “OMG!!  That fell out of your vagina!” lol. One of the funniest comments was when Austrian Captain Klaus tried some – he said

“It iz very nice in zee mouth, but very weird in zee head”. 

The moment of ‘fine dining’ was recorded as a live performance, albeit quite private in one corner of the kitchen tent.  The table was decorated with beautiful orchids (unbeknown to everyone, they had decorated the lid of a coffin recently and we wanted to recycle them).

Later we had a discussion on cannibalism.

7.  Cordon bleu or Cannibalism?

Now then, I keep saying ‘my’ placenta, but in actual fact, it isn’t mine, it is Max’s!  It carries his genome.  So… despite me growing it, and giving birth to it, it belonged to Max.  This meant that eating it was actually a form of ‘cannibalism’!  This sparked a couple of interesting conversations on the subject which will have to be saved for a different blog.  In the meantime, here is someone elses blog that pretty much covers it…

Eating Placentas: Cannibalism, Recycling, or Health Food?

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

Great!!  I get to tackle ‘another’ taboo!  I also get to playfully threaten Max later on with…

“Be careful!  I know you taste delicious!”

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COMING UP!!    – Placenta skin Booties!  WATCH THIS SPACE!!

Look out for blogs on my other projects created at Nomadic Village– SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE   &   JAPANESE INSPIRED WISHING TREE

SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE

 SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE - Made from recycled materials feathers from the capes of seven golden roadkill pheasants - 2 years in the making, completed at NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012, modelled beautifully by Visual & Shamanic Artist KATIE SURRIDGE of London.

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SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE – Made from recycled materials and bronze tipit feathers from the capes of seven Common Ring-necked roadkill Pheasants – 2 years in the making, completed at NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012, modelled beautifully by Visual and Shamanic Artist KATIE SURRIDGE of London.

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

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This project began in 2010 following a one month expedition into the Amazon rainforest.

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     Whilst studying anthropology and teaching art workshops in the villages I was greatly inspired by their animistic art forms, especially the shamanic feather work of certain tribes of the Upper Rio Negro region.  I found their love and understanding of the harsh reality of nature very moving.

I was impressed by their sustainable collection techniques.  Instead of killing the birds required for each piece (a technique employed by most societies) these people, deeply in touch with their environment, simply trapped them, plucked a few choice plumes, then released them – enabling the feathers to grow back (and in the process making them harder to catch next time!!).

I wanted to create something similar and sustainable, using feathers from the male pheasant found in the UK. – So I used roadkill (no surprise there then, lol).

Pheasants make excellent animal totems for many reasons.  Their essence stimulates sexuality, encourages creativity, and enhances energy.  Only certain plumes – tipits- picked from the chest area, of seven pheasants in total, were used in the creation of this cape.

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

Thank you Katie for being my model, I knew you would look beautiful together.

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In 2015 this Shamanic Roadkill Cape ventured into another realm of“Animality”

by artist and photographer Casey Orr

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“WOMEN, ANIMALS, INSTINCT”

 

Tribal Ali by Casey Orr for The Animal Library poster“The Animal Library – Women, Animals and Instinct” examines how Nature and Culture intertwine and explores the different relationships women have with animals; the cultural understanding of the language of women, the histories of women and nature, and our relationship to animals and our animal selves through photographs and reproductions of the books and library artefacts.

I was photographed along with 10 other women who embody what she hopes to explore and communicate – an understanding of culture as not separate from nature but that the two are intertwined; both integral to a definition what it is to be human.

This photographic exhibition in two parts. The first series explores the different relationships women have with animals. These are large-scale portraits that range from women who align themselves with animals and their inherent powers through the wearing of fur, animal print and leather to women who, through animal husbandry and farm work, have a daily commitment to animals.

The second part of the exhibition is in response to the library collections. This series of large-scale photographs examines our cultural understanding of the language of women, the histories of women and nature, and our relationship to animals and our animal selves through photographs and reproductions of the books and library artefacts.

So, if you want to explore woman’s wild and feral nature, the connection we feel to our culture, Nature, each other and more, pop in and have a look!

1st December – 9th January 2016 – “THE ANIMAL LIBRARY- WOMEN, ANIMALS, INSTINCT” – The venue is in Leeds City Central Library, in the City Centre.

There is a special talk by the artist on the 8th of December, 5.30pm – 6.30pm. The admission is free but you need to register your name for a ticket. Places for the talk are limited. I’ll definitely be going

www.caseyorr.com

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Look out for blogs on my other projects created at Nomadic Village – PLACENTA ART  &  JAPANESE WISHING TREE

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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…

http://www.isisarts.org.uk/page/alison+brierley+

http://nomadic.cd/index.html

 

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


 

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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