Busy, busy being creative..!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Portland in Pictures

Feels like I only just scratched the surface of Portland when we visited last weekend (no pun intended, what with all the quarrying that took place here!) It was so much bigger than I expected. 

On the Friday when we arrived the rain was hitting hard and the wind was up. The weather report had promised sunshine on Saturday so keeping that positive thought in mind we arrived at the Portland Bird Observatory where we were spending the weekend with a feeling of excitement. (I think me more than Mr CA as he was still a bit poorly from having the flu. I thought a bit of fresh air & adventuring would do him good though...;-)

I'm still crafting my copy about this island experience and will write about the different discoveries and inspirations of this island (there are quite a few!), so whilst I'm finishing that, I thought I'd share some photos from the 'Isle of Slingers'...

Pulpit Rock

Walking around the coastal path. Breathtaking views (around the edges, all built up in the middle it seems) plus lots of kestrel sightings.

Quarry markings. I didn't manage to find Wren's hourglass this time..

St George's Reforne. A fascinating church - I could see this being a great film set!

See. It is an Island!
The Olympic Rings and view of Chesil Beach behind.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Making Things Smaller (And More Do-Able)

Tout Quarry Sculpture Park & Nature Reserve, Isle of Portland

Last weekend I visited my first Island as a part of my UK islands Project. Hurrah! I’ll be writing about that adventure in another post, as this post is about the fact that I’ve realised I need to make this project even smaller in order to keep it fun, creative and do-able!

Let me explain.

I love research. I love finding out quirky and interesting facts but I also get stuck and can spend hours and hours in the research stage and then not long enough in the creating stage (are you like this?) I jotted in my notebook today that 'I'm spending more time planning and researching the islands I’m visiting than I’ll actually get to spend on them!' Which is kind of inevitable really. Thing is this leads to frustration on my part and wishes of ‘I wish I could live on each island for a month’ which as I’ve said before isn't feasible this year.

So what do I do?

Well, I’ve been thinking about that this weekend and having one Island visit under my belt and knowing that I’m only really able to scratch the surface with these snapshot visits I’m going to pare down my research to match (this will be a challenge!!) That’s the bit I’m making smaller. Otherwise I run the risk of having mountains of research but not really creating anything myself, which wasn't the plan. Now that I’ve noticed this and decided what to do I feel much calmer and more focused again. *Phew*

How about you?

Do you need to take some time out and reassess where you are at the moment? Is everything feeling too big and needs some thought about how you can make it smaller – and more do-able?
Let me know if I can help
Happy 'making things smaller and more do-able-ing'!


Monday, 23 January 2017

Off to the Isle of Slingers with ya...

This week I’ll be visiting my first Island as part of my UK Islands Project.

My destination? The Isle of Portland

I am excited

I am a bit nervous

I am nervously excited

Are you the same when you are about to embark on something new?

The Isle of Portland is a 'tied' island. It is connected to the mainland by a thin stretch of beach and since 1839, a road. During fierce weather it can still become completely cut-off. I've chosen this island as my interest was piqued after reading about it in 'England My Adventure' by Ethel Mannin (published 1972). A book I’d picked up at the second-hand emporium Bookbarn as I was intrigued by the title. Well, it had the word Adventure in it...

In addition to the chapter in Mannin’s book, I’ve discovered some interesting facts about the Isle so far:
  1. Thomas Hardy’s book The Well Beloved is set on Portland. Although he calls it the 'Isle of Slingers' (hence the title of this post)
  2. There used to be 100 quarries on Portland, now there are three
  3. Portland stone was loved by sculptors Henry Moore & Barbara Hepworth
  4. A seamonster once washed up on chesil beach. Turned out it was a camel…?!
  5. Marie Stopes – the pioneer of family planning - loved Portland and used to live in the lighthouse. Stopes was also friends with Thomas Hardy (see how I’ve linked that fact with the first one? Nice.)
That’s just a tiny snap shot of what I’ve discovered so far…I haven’t even mentioned the Olympics or Broadchurch yet…..or the fact that Portland stone can be found in buildings as far away as New York - it’s used in the UN building. Or that saying the word ‘Rabbit’ on Portland is considered massively bad luck. There's an Aardman 'Fact or Fiction' with regards to their film The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit and Portland that I'm waiting to hear back on from their head archivist... Will let you know...

Seems that there is a lot for me to explore and discover on The Isle of Portland!

If you’d like to be a part of my UK Islands Project, one way is to sponsor a unique art postcard, or if you’d like to support it/me in some other way – drop me a line!

Question for you: Where is your nearest island? Have you ever been there?

Here’s to Creative Island Adventures!


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Following the Crumbs of Curiosity

What dream, goals and adventures are you thinking about?

If you’ve seen my previous blog post and follow me on facebook or twitter no doubt you’ll have already seen my plans to visit one UK Island a month. My own Creative Adventure for 2017. 

How do you find your own adventures? I follow the Crumbs of Curiosity.

This is how I pretty much find my Creative Adventures (or they find me)! It all starts with a crumb...

Eh? You may ask – what are the Crumbs of Curiosity?

Well, they are those little hints that spark in your brain or create an inner feeling of excitement when you notice them. Let me give you an example (yes it is islands related)

Looking at a map of the UK I noticed an Island near Canterbury. Hmmm I thought – what’s this? Sheppey it said on the map. The Isle of Sheppey…A fission of interest stirred in my gut.

That was crumb no 1

So what do I do next? I follow the crumbs – on to google

I discover it’s known as ‘Kent’s Treasure Island’

My interest increases

I discover that the ‘painter of light’ Tuner used to go there and some of his sketchbooks of the Island and paintings are in The Tate

I discover a ‘Creativity on the Isle of Sheppey Map’ and order it

I discover the marshy landscape inspired Dickens in his book Great Expectations - which happens to be my favourite Dickens story.

I discover (after posting on FB about Sheppey) that someone I went to school with lived there for 16 years and it’s an island full of history, also one that’s rather run down (apparently)

I also discovered it’s not what I’d consider the usual perception of what an Island is (mine is wild and rather romantic!) it’s gritty and if you were born on Sheppey you are known as a ‘swampy’ (which is an accolade).

I discovered I wanted to add it to my list of Islands to visit in 2017. It didn’t feature before.

I followed each crumb of curiosity and uncovered a whole treasure chest of discoveries, links to old friends and new and a plan to visit The Isle of Sheppey via The Tate.

If I’d just shrugged my shoulders and discounted this Island because you can actually get a train there (Is this the only UK Island you can reach by train?) I’d have missed out.

So if you don’t have any adventures yet planned for 2017 – why not play the Follow the Crumbs of Curiosity game and see where it leads you? Be curious.

I’d love to hear from you if you do and what evolves! Of course if I can help you at all with your own Creative Adventures do get in touch.

Love & Creative Adventures


Thursday, 22 December 2016

Fancy a postcard from a Creative Island Adventure?

Postcards from my Brecons 2 Morwenstow Creative Adventure in 2015

One UK Island a Month in 2017 – A Creative Island Adventure

I’m starting my UK Islands Project in January and as part of this I’ll be creating unique art postcards inspired by each Island I visit. If you're thinking - ooh I'd like to be a part of this some how, here's one way to be involved - you can receive your very own unique 'Art Postcard from an Island Pilgrim' if you'd like to!

I’ll be searching out Island Magic and exploring how these islands have inspired various creatives - from literature, music, art to the characters that live on the Islands today. You can read about the full adventure here.

A lot of the islands that I’ll be visiting have their own postage stamps which I think adds an extra element to each art postcard. You’ll be getting something completely unique created by me and posted directly to you.

There is no limit to how many you can have by the way – if you’d like the full set of 12 – go for it! If you do choose to go for the full set, any additional Islands that I visit I’ll automatically send you postcards as a thank you. (Reckon the full set would look pretty cool if all put together and framed at the end!)

You can be a 'Postcard from an Island Pilgrim' sponsor for the princely sum of £13. This includes postage (worldwide) and paypal fees. 

Each postcard will be completely unique and will capture the spirit of the Island I’m on at that moment.

Choose YOUR Island!
You can either choose which Island you’d like to receive a postcard from (please specify in the text box) or can leave it up to me to decide. If for any reason (e.g the weather) I'm unable to visit a particular island in the month I’m due to go, I’ll send your card as soon as I’m able to visit and stay on your chosen Island! Do check back for updates as I fill in the TBC gaps.

Islands booked so far:

January - Isle of Portland - Tick!
February - Isle of Sheppey (via the Tate)
March - St. Agnes 
April - Lundy
May - Skomer
June - TBC
July - Skokholm and Caldey
August - Bardsey
September - Looe
October - Jersey
November –Brownsea aka Red Squirrel Island
December – TBC

Postcard from an Island Pilgrim
Please specify which Island

Please make sure you specify which Island you’d like to receive your special postcard from. If the box is left blank I’ll send you one at random.

You can choose to have the Artwork sent to yourself or a friend anywhere in the world – please be clear in the notes section and please make sure I have the complete address. 

The postcards are made of strong watercolour card and the materials used could vary from watercolour, pencil, ink to pen. Your postcard will be sent as a Postcard so it will be franked by the post office and will go on its own journey to reach you. The image shown at the top is an example of the postcards I created on my B2M adventure in 2015 to give you an inkling of what kind of thing might end up in your letterbox! 

As with my B2M trip this is a self-funded expedition. As well as running creative courses, coaching and creating artwork I work part-time for the charity Creativity Works. I am being supported by Great Art who are supplying my arts materials and Pulsin who will be supplying me with their healthy treats! In fact I was pretty much ‘Powered by Pulsin’ for the first few days of my trip last year as I’d misjudged the food options available on route i.e none! So their bars kept me going!!

Very happy to talk to you if you have any questions!

Toot Toot!

Morwhenna (aka The Creative Adventurer)

Twitter: @morwhenna

p.s if you'd like to be involved some other way, have some ideas about which islands I really must visit, or live on one of the islands I'll be visiting - drop me a line! I'd love to hear from you. 

Friday, 4 November 2016

UK Islands Project - Making Progress

'Hanmers' on Lundy Island. Copyright MGW Sept 2016


As you may already know my next Creative Adventure is all about islands, specifically islands around the UK, you know - those lumps of land you see off the coast as you shielded your eyes from the sun, but rarely actually go and explore? This has been true for me anyway. From 2017 this is set to change as I embark on an adventure to visit at least one island a month for the year. More if I can manage it, totally depends on time and funds to do so. 

I actually have a list of 60 Islands at the moment but am fully aware there are in fact 267 inhabited Islands and over 2,000 uninhabited islands or just bits of rock around our shores. I worked out the other day that if I stick to one Island a month and just visit all 267 inhabited Islands I'll be 64 by the time I complete this project. Heck I thought, 64! After an initial freak out I went back to my list of 60 and thought - so what if it takes me that long? And made my goal achievable by deciding to make a start with one Island a month. 

I want to explore each Island and get to know its character as well as the people that live and work there. I want to discover how the island has inspired artists, writers, musicians..and then I will create something myself in response to that Island.  

So far I've booked six islands to stay on. Hurrah!!

These are: Lundy (yes this will be my third visit!), Skomer, Skokholm, Bardsey, Looe & Jersey. 

Ideally I want to stay at least one night on each Island I visit as I don't think you can really get a sense of its character and the people that live there in just a day visit. This, however, might involve camping. This is not so good as after my experience in the peak district earlier this year I had to admit to the fact that I'm not a camper anymore (unless I have a cosy bed to sleep in). This pained me to admit. So I'll either need to harden up or look at sleeping in a hammock. This could be tricky as a lot of these islands appear to be treeless. Hmmm. 

I'm keen to run a Creative Adventure on at least one Island I visit next year (like Lundy 2015) so if there are any you'd particularly like to join me on, or would in fact like to partner with me to run such an adventure - let me know. I'd love to hear from you. I'm keen to encourage others to join me and be a part of this great expedition around our shores to these miniature lands to uncover their treasures!

I'll also be offering my unique postcards again as part of this adventure so look out for details about that if you liked them from my B2M adventure last year. ;-)

Bye for now & Happy Adventuring!


ps - Have you got an adventure you long to go on and need some encouragement? drop me a line and lets see how I can help you. x Think BIG - Start Small x

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Grinning Man

Poster from Bristol Old Vic

I love going to the theatre and when my friend Bod suggested a night out I was very keen. The options were to see Giselle (ballet) or The Grinning Man which was billed as 'A Macabre New Musical' I opted for The Grinning Man.

What we didn't appreciated when we booked the tickets was that we would be attending a World Premiere.

Seated and awaiting the curtains to open, a tall man came out and introduced himself as Tom Morris (War Horse), the Artistic Director. He thanked us all for attending this very special evening (at this point Bod & I looked at each other in excitement), then went on to introduce the theatre photographer who was poised to take the very first photographs of the show, and to talk a little about the production before he dipped back behind the curtain and the musical began...

From the very opening bar of music we were captivated as the bizarre story unfolded before us. At certain points we were so blown away by what was happening on stage that we were mesmerized. It really plays to all the senses. 

It's dark, funny and freaky. I loved it. 

The story is inspired by 'The Man Who Laughs' by Victor Hugo - A story I wasn't familiar with until seeing this play. I also discovered that Victor Hugo wrote this book while living in exile on Guernsey. 

This excited me, as you may know about my next project which is all about Islands around the UK. The character 'Grinpayne', who was portrayed by Conrad Veidt in the 1928 silent film, is believed to be the inspiration for Batman's Nemesis - The Joker. Something I'd commented on during the play as it had occurred to me that there was a likeness between the characters. Looking at this old poster from the film you can see why. Scary!

Promotional poster from the 1928 film

If you love theatre or even if you aren't sure if you do, but would like to try something different, I'd really recommend going to see this. It's on until 13 November 2016 at Bristol Old Vic.

Even though you can watch the 1928 film on YouTube, I'd still say Go see The Grinning Man Musical!