We’re into the summer storytelling dip: I’ll be doing more Storytelling later in the year but for a couple of weeks I’m concentrating on other projects and applying for further training in different areas, because generous as you are on Storytelling evenings, we can’t live off them, alas.

One of the other projects was ‘networking’: I’ve been told several times I should ‘network’ more with artists, meaning I should go to places where artists lurk and introduce myself. This is a great plan if you can do it. I’m far too introverted to try that sort of thing.

Fortunately, an alternative came up last week, when the town needed a stage for a festival, and the team building it were down one artist due to illness. Getting to know people while building stuff is far easier than talking to complete strangers, so I joined the team on day 2 and by the evening we’d done this:

img_5744Which involved cutting and fitting hundreds of upright pieces of wood:


This is what happens when you ask artists to make a stage: they get all excited about making a piece of sculpture, beautiful on its own without a performance happening on it. Of course in practice that meant every upright was a different size.

A Proper Carpenter would have spent a day working out the radius of all the curves and then the exact sizes of the uprights to fit. We bent the curvy bits until they looked about right and measured from there to the ground and cut the wood to suit.

It turns out that this works just as well, although we did have to stamp on some plywood sheets until they stayed put, and screw them down quickly before they sprung up again.

IMG_5763This was a joint project between artists from here and from our partner town in the Ukraine, so everything had to be discussed and in both languages. As an added advantage I can now ask for several tools in Ukrainian, and you never know whan that may come in handy.

We made it in time for the big festival on Sunday, and as an added bonus it hasn’t fallen down yet…

Blech_orchestraThree days later, I’ve made several new friends, been given a book on art and education which will come in very handy, and in lieu of payment, I’m getting my very own woodcarving course from one of the artists I on the project.

That’s the ort of networking I can work with…

Personal Story: Music Lessons

This is the first in an occasional series of personal stories that I’ll be posting here. There are a lot of storytellers out there who specialise in personal stories, and it is an area I’m interested in looking at. I’ll put up stories here that I think may interest people. Let me know what you think…

I avoided music lessons as much as I could, I suspect the music teachers were quite glad about this. There were a few unavoidable times in School, of course, including one memorable term where they tried to make us think Mozart was cool by making us sing drippy songs to the sound of a harpsichord. I disliked Mozart for years… Continue reading

Storytelling and Barbecues…

On Saturday I had the last of the two storytelling evenings for “The (nearly) complete history of the Industrial Revolution”. Unfortunately (for me) it was a Saturday evening with perfect barbecue weather and most people very sensibly decided to go and enjoy themselves outside. Still, I had a few people there and they were most appreciative. I will hopefully be able to post videos and photos soon, as kind people made both for me.

So… thoughts on how this went. It was a deliberate change from the last evening which was based on folk tales: it took a lot longer to prepare, and while I enjoyed doing this, I think that both me and the audiences enjoyed the folk tales more.

In the other hand, I felt that the mix of prepared drawings and drawing as I spoke drawing as I spoke worked pretty well. Most feedback on that was positive as well…

One thing I noticed is that there wasn’t such a clear beginning and end to the stories as there would have been to a set of folk tales and this meant the audiences didn’t have a handle to tell where they were. I also felt that I couldn’t relax like I did with the fictional folk stories. I think that may have been because they were ‘true’ stories, so I felt I couldn’t exaggerate or increase things for comic effect. Certainly in the second evening I was more relaxed when I was speaking about the final inventor, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose stories were probably the funniest and most outrageous.

At the moment, I think I think I’ll keep the set in my story folder but probably concentrate more on folk tales and traditional stories in future. What do you think? Please let me know either in the comments or the contact form, in English or in German…

I also think that next summer the storytelling should be with a barbecue…

Scribble pictures

Ind.Rev.jpgPresentation number one for ‘The (nearly) complete history of the Industrial Revolution‘ came and went on Saturday. As you can see, there were pictures. I have enough to think about without a computer deciding not to work, so I don’t trust technology more complex than a big piece of paper and a pen.

Besides, the fun of Storytelling is that it is live and small scale. The sketches get us past the potentially boring technical bits so we can have more time for the fun stuff.

One piece of feedback is that the sketches could be more cartoonish, so we can get away from the feeling of ‘lecture’, which I can understand. I set up a cartoony style with the dates (which I prepared beforehand) so I’ll think about that more for next time.

There will be another presentation this weekend, Saturday the 11th of July, same place and on a donation basis.