01 October 2012

Lighting Fall Fires

This fall Small Pond has been positively abuzz with activity. I've been working like mad on my project Puppets Without Borders… and then there was Stickfest… but oh no, that is not all! A few weeks ago we hosted the Experimental Lantern Laboratory, which was the first creative step in what will become the inaugural Firelight Lantern Festival in the works for April 2013. We brought together artists and community members in a free-form workshop, where they could play around with the materials and make anything they wanted.

Many worked in pairs; everything is more fun with a friend.

In the month prior to the festival, these creative souls will be our workshop leaders, going out into the community, hosting 20 workshops around Prince Edward County. They’ll be working with people of all ages to create lanterns which everyone will bring to the festival and carry in the procession. Other lanterns will be made to hang in shop windows on Main Street Picton.

We call ourselves The Department of Illumination. Our goal is to bring our community together and light up the night with creativity. If this initial workshop is anything to go by, I think that we’re in for an amazingly fun time.

Back row, L to R: Norman Markland, Nella Casson, Krista Dalby, Shelby Larner, Susanne Larner, Liz Zylstra.

Front row, L to R: Mile Murtanovski, Chrissy Poitras, Kyle Topping
This past weekend we hosted a writer’s retreat let by Chris Kay Fraser of Firefly Creative Writing, called “Spark Your Creative Fires for Fall.” With eight participants, including myself, it was a weekend filled with not just words on the page, but also with great kindness – both to each other, and to our creative selves.

Chris led us through a series of writing exercises and prompts designed to get our engines running.

There were two periods of completely silent writing time, where we were encouraged to not even make eye contact with one another, and were free to work on whatever we liked.

I love having a house full of writers. People moving about in silence, respecting the tranquility of others and finding space for their own thoughts. The constant flow of caffeinated beverages, keeping those big, beautiful ideas silently blooming in every corner of the house, the yard, the grounds. What I will remember most was on the second night, when the silence was broken, and people shared the stories and poems they'd written. It was very moving to listen to all of these incredible, vivid, inner worlds bursting out into the world for the first time. We discussed how we could tell when a piece of writing was “good,” and one of the writers said, “I know a piece of writing is good when it makes me want to cry.” I sense that I wasn't the only one who had a lump in their throat that night.

On our last morning together, and as our last act as a group, we each wrote on a rock a few words that were meaningful to us.

We walked out to the woods, relishing these last moments as our time together drew to a close. We placed our rocks in the forest, amongst the other art on the artists’ trail.

Then Chris gave us one last gift, reading us a poem, stoking the fires within us with one last breath of wisdom and beauty.

Chris reads us one last poem
Although autumn is often thought of as a time of endings, this year the fall seems rich with new beginnings; small, precious fires that will keep us warm all winter long.

No comments:

Post a Comment