Monday, 6 March 2017

Dear, Deer. A campaign for the imagination

If I had to choose one word to describe my work, what I do and and the 'theme' it would be TRANSFORMATION.

For a long while as an artist,creator and writer I had been floundering to find a description for the collective of creative ways in which I work and how to present it. 

I had a clear visual in my head but the trick was how to present that as an actual working 'thing', so this blog is my attempt at it!
Angharad Barlow
The Hollow Thread Bone
I am currently exploring and expanding on creative ways of working with children. Discovering how to equip our children with some of the self development/healing tools that seem to have become bred out of our society and lost from school rooms. It is these tools that adults seek out in later life as 'therapy' in a desperate attempt to 'put them selves back together' or cope with the stresses of life.
As an antidote to modern separatist culture, it seem necessary to better prepare our children in the hopes they avoid growing into adults who feel disconnected and alone, overwhelmed and unable to cope.

This is my campaign for 'Imagination', the champion of the soul ! 

There are hundreds of research papers out there that show nature and creativity are the best healers for mental and physical health. It saddens me deeply that we no longer value it as an essential part of our person, just a novelty aspect to be indulged as young children before we are severed from it. 

Without imagination, creativity and play we loose our ability to easily access the subconscious, our dreaming, other realms of consciousness as well as the chance to become our own therapists and healers with the ability to accessing locked away emotions, trapped trauma, compartmentalised psyches but most importantly our capacity to access JOY and fun, being in the moment and a healthy dose of mischief.

One of the things that I am exploring is the benefits 'unseen companions'. Now, in our culture we have denigrated them to 'imaginary friends', but in others they are known as animal spirits, guides, allies, angels, totems. 

Essentially these are all ways of accessing deeper knowledge, wisdom and lessons in order to become the fullest, happiest, fulfilled, 'Divine' version of oneself.

We can find many interesting variants and versions of them in ancient and modern life. I am always particularly fascinated by Philip Pullmans interpretation in The Golden Compass, shown here in this clip, Defining Daemon's.


As part of my work I am teaming up with the lovely photographer Annie Renwick, who is developing a body of work called 'Capturing Magic', exploring the essence of childhood.
Take a look at her work here. Annie's Photography


                            The Deer Project

The first and loudest observation is that things/tasks that adults require a great deal of time to (re) learn a child can do in a matter of minutes!!! I have a very special little helper of nearly 6, who is teaching me much, has a vivid imagination and huge capacity for 'other' but already struggles with societal conventions and expectations to emotionally cope and conform.

For the first shoot, Annie wanted a mask made from local and natural materials. These felt offcuts and wool are from an award winning local felt maker and friend Yuli Somme at Bellacouche felt workshop. She makes extraordinarily beautiful felt shrouds and coffins as well as quirky tea cosies, craft kits and containers.
Masks are powerful tools of transformation for children and adults alike and one of our most ancient practices.
The Making of the Deer Mask 

To follow this project sign up to the blog......
Finished shoot photographs to come soon.........

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