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Dec 02 2016

An epiphany is cause of much upset when you don’t have one.
And when you do have one it seems as though there would be no time to realise you were having one, in order to do something about it.
I recall in my youth, the days when there was talk of this sudden “big bang” and all would be revealed. I have been thinking about this a lot these past few weeks, while not able to stop working. In fact, I think about this quite regularly, and not only these past few weeks.

Every little action has chipped in a little something. The “Big Bang” has been gradual and steady. At least for me it has. I have watched, cleaned, asked, cleaned some more, asked some more, watched, done a little, and now, after 15 years, it is all falling into place.

2016 has been a funny year. I had a calling to touch base. And followed it. I think I still need to do more dancing, but on my list I have ticked off a whole load of blocks. I think the bit I like the most about this year is wearing what I make. Or wearing what someone else makes.. or should I say .. perform…

Tony never really quite knows what to think when I turn round (after having asked him to make a strucure for a “big, strong man”) and tell him I wore it myself… There is big, there is average, and then there are the likes of me (and Andrianna and Rachel) who are definitely on the smaller side of the spectrum.

It has been of huge benefit to wear two backpacks with different extensions (a tree and a puppet) I have learnt a lot about movement and my role as a performer as well as a maker.

So here is my lightbulb moment. It came about in a funny old way… Emily asked me up to work on some Peacocks. When I arrived, I got a little nervous. I didn’t quite know where to start, because they had been started, but there was no connection to the body. At which point I decided to step back and think a little. I knew I had to face some dormant skills I have always preferred to pass on to more expert hands. I was also on the clock: to make two tails, cover them, make their heads, and necks… quite a lot. Apparently the Peacocks had a history. It seems as though they had been cause of much head scratching along the way, and now it was my turn.


One of those days, Emily and I were probably spending far too much time ordering some nut or random bit of fabric and we decided to offload our frustrations to the land of “wouldn’t it be nice if…”

I digressed into an alternate reality- where I would sculpt things and people would ask me to sculpt things… I pondered out loud: “I love sculpting and I should really get it together to do a little bit more.. I would like to do more jobs that I love- no one “knows” me as a sculptor “
I think I have sculpted about ten things since I was 16. Included in this list are the medieval helmets for the National Theatre, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Everytime I get round to it I wonder why I leave it so long. The hours disappear. I am completely engrossed in sanding, shaping, poking, scraping, pressing. I forget the world exists. And I am completely at peace. I do note these feelings with my work in general, but there is a different pleasure in sculpting, that I don’t find in cloth. And then, it is sculpting people I have a feeling for. I have no interest in sculpting an animal, for example.

Can you believe that that one statement which came out completely black and white, was reciprocated with .. “as a matter of fact we need three female puppets made for our Light Festival.”

I was very lucky to make the Lovely Constance Whitstanley going through her industrial phase. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. It is a very peaceful feeling. The only way I can describe it is- I was before a ball of tangled string and now the string is untangled and re-rolled into a ball.

What I think from this is that the more I tie up the loose ends, tick off the boxes, and deal with all those tasks I have left suspended, the easier it is to move on, and make space to discover who this new me is.

It is always at these moments that I think of who was responsible for the turning on of the lights. And sure enough I can nominate quite a few people. But really, it is the work of many hands that have come through me. I am very grateful for lightbulbs, for all you lovely people who have extended your hands to me. Thank you dearly. Regardless of what time it is and how many days it was since we last spoke, you are all in my thoughts, collectively and individually.

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