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Thursday, 18 October 2012

The masks for my panto, The Rainbow Bird,  are finally finished and varnished and now it's time to give them to the actors so that they have plenty of time to get used to their avian personas.

The characters are, from left to right, Storm Bird (villainous through and through), Queen Crow (not as villainous as Storm Bird but definitely has her moments ... her favourite phrase is 'Peck their eyes out!'), King Swan (well-intentioned but basically a bit of a bumbling idiot) and Rainbow Bird (all-round good guy and pretty free with her crocks o' gold too).

I'll miss having them hanging about the place ... but it's definitely time for them to fly the nest!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Ronnie Heeps - Studio Visit

Adam and I went to visit our friend Ronnie Heeps' studio last week as part of the Open Studios at the Wasps Factory in Hanson Street, Dennistoun.

Here's Ronnie with Adam, standing in front of one of Ronnie's 'Kaleidoscope' paintings.

You can see the whole series of 'Kaleidoscope' paintings by clicking here.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Castle Hamster Mk 2 is launched!

Last week, in between panto rehearsals, costume-making, violin-playing and novel-writing I finally finished off Castle Hamster Mk 2 - the new-improved castle that FITS INTO A SUITCASE - yay!!! because I was invited to give a talk to the two Primary 7's of Kingsland Primary in Peebles.

Kingsland is a brand-new, state-of-the-art school and is absolutely beautiful, and the children were wonderful. The castle went down pretty well (even though this young man seems a bit baffled by it!) and I was pleased with its improved visibility and the fact that the hamsters have more space to manoeuvre. There were several comic moments!

Now it's back to the desk and the music stand, with The Faraway standing at 35000 words ... and two scales (D major and Bflat major) needing a LOT of attention! Though I have to say that, amazingly, having loathed scales all my life, I don't mind them on the violin.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Rainbow Bird

With the very sad demise of my publisher Frances Lincoln's children's fiction list, things have been a bit depressing. However, enter The Rainbow Bird stage left!

Set in the magical Land of the Birds, interspersed with the Lochwinnoch RSPB,  this will be my third play - and second Panto - (oh yes it will!) for the wonderful Calder Drama Group, and it will have an even larger cast than before.

Not all the parts are decided yet, so there may still be some changes but at the moment the photo below shows most of the characters I'm going to be working with.

Making the mini-sets is really helpful for the writing process as well as highlighting costume issues .. like the need for BIRD MASKS. And, as promised to ex-Kelpie Allan, whose heavyweight plaster Kelpie mask cut off his breathing and circulation last year, this time round there will be absolutely, positively NO PLASTER OF PARIS!!!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Castle Hamster Mk 2 is painted!

Today the first coat of pink paint went on, and I was helped by Moira and Helen. Here Helen's little Theo applies his very first brushstroke, making him the youngest castle-painter in Scotland ...

... or do you know different?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Castle Hamster Mk 2 is built!

At least 3 layers of paper mache (or more ... it felt like more) and the castle is ready for painting and decorating later this week.

I must say it will be nice to clear all the paste and newspapers away and get the table back.

SOMEONE is going to miss the raw materials though ...

... The Woozle!

There's nothing warmer and more comfortable as far as HE's concerned. Plus you get to do the crossword.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Stunning Estonian cats!

A few weeks ago I met Katrin Eagle at the Lochwinnoch Arts Festival, and fell in love with her work. 

Katrin is a Scottish based artist of Estonian origin, and her work covers a broad range of media and subject matter. 

Currently she's working  in wool felt, often using her paintings of Scottish landscape as an inspiration for pictures. 

The cat picture I bought is one of a range of cats based on Estonian embroidery designs, and now I've framed it and hung it below my New Mexican 'sea-urchin/coconut-shell' masks.

I bought the masks ten years ago in Santa Fe and the friend I was with pointed out that I could hardly have chosen a more fragile souvenir. I went home with a suitcase packed full of bubble-wrap, and was amazed that all the masks arrived intact.

I think Katrin's cat looks really good with my masks, and I'm VERY impressed - and tempted by - her website!