Friday, November 28, 2014

Parent Child Mother Goose Program

I've just emerged back into the light after spending two days in an amazing workshop. A good percentage of my storytelling work is with the very young and their carers and I have been wanting to do the Parent Child Mother Goose training for years but the planets have never aligned. Now I have my certificate and I can report that the workshop was immaculately structured, the facilitators (Jacquie and Marilyn) are both extraordinary holders of rhymes, chants and folk tale; I was in the company of two brilliant folk anthologists who use, teach, collect and develop diamonds. The principals behind Mother Goose will inform a chunk of my practice and give depth to the part of my program that was in need of rethinking. And the participants! What a joy to spend time with these energised, thoughful and motivated people. I'm happy!

The Mother Goose 'style' avoids props - the stories and rhymes are all held in the air. As I move from place to place, I don't have the chance to develop relationships and routine like the MG program and I find some props useful, but much of what I have learned during the workshop will deepen and enrich my program - especially the work with 0 - 1 year olds. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Mighty Conqueror: Phar Lap the wonder horse 2014

Its been a sad racing season with two horses dying after the running of the Melbourne Cup. Many Australians can trace their attachment to horses and to racing through the generations. Every small country town it seems, once boasted a track. The story of Phar Lap has a hold over many in a way that is difficult for those out side to grasp. Something to do with the Irish in us, the period of time between WW1 and WW2, a depression and a flu epidemic... Into this despair came a beautiful animal with an exceptional nature, a strapper, a jockey and a trainer -  all of enormous talent.




I was in the Melbourne Museum yesterday and visited the evocative and melancholy space where Phar Lap's hide is exhibited along with some artefacts and a film that tells it all.

Top to bottom: Harry Telford (trainer), Jim Pike (jockey), (Tommy Woodcock (strapper and trainer), Phar Lap (or 'Bob' as Tommy called him).



And if you didn't know already, I've written  a book about Phar Lap. You can hear me reading it HERE.

I too am saddened by our continued exploitation of animals. The past is a strange place and its hard for people to let go of the racing legacy when there is so much money involved. One day we'll grow up ...?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Storytelling workshop: Adolescents to Adults 4 December 2014

Folks are always asking me about storytelling workshops. This one will be excellent and its FREE as part of the Words on the Winds project at The Library at the Dock. Click on the poster to enlarge and read the details. You can read more about Storytelling Australia Victoria HERE subscribe to their Facebook and follow their Blog.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Storytelling spaces



I'm starting a collection of photos of interesting storytelling spaces. 

On Monday as the sun went down, the fire was lit and I told stories to children who sat around the flames on rubber tyres arranged in tiers. Lots of 'joining in' stories: Abi Yo Yo, Phar Lap, Ned Kelly, Little Rooster. A mix of classic Australian, American and Turkish tales. One day I will work out how to publish my Australian Tellable Tales so other storytellers can include them in their repertoire, an ebook project perhaps? I need help!  No pics of the kids, so you will just have to take my words for it. This space is in Anglesea at a place called Burnside.


And this space is in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical  Gardens in Pete's Patch. It will be a few years before it reaches maturity but the structure is beautiful: espaliered apples and pears will soften the wall, and look at the magnificent wooden bench. Maybe one day I will be invited to tell stories here - in spring!

Photos from Clunes Booktown for Kids 2014

What a wonderful festival this is. Working alongside an awesome team of authors and illustrators not to mention the Clunes Booktown committee, volunteers and towns people that work above and beyond the call of duty to make it happen. My thanks to them all.

The weather was a challenge but we coped. Friday was melting hot and on Saturday the temperature plummeted. One fashion crisis after another!




The little town of Clunes sits snug along Creswick Creek, its gold mining past palpable;  mullock heaps,  poppet heads and copses of elms and poplars tell the tale of the environmental disaster that came with the gold rush. The town  was neglected for many years and perhaps that's why so much of the architecture is still in tact.

Evocative, poignant, and enigmatic are words I would use to describe Clunes.
pics north to south: The sign arriving from Melbourne, the Town Hall with festive bunting, ready for book signing!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Clunes Booktown for Kids 31 Oct- 1 November 2014


I'm very excited to be part of the team heading off to the Inaugural Clunes Booktown for Kids. The theme: A time before Vegemite.

This little gold mining town has a new life as a place famous for its bookshops and festivals. In April 2012 Clunes gained international Organisation of Booktowns membership becoming the 15th international booktown and the only booktown in the southern hemisphere.

Booktown for Kids covers two days - a schools day and a family day. There are workshops, readings, a Children's Village of Lost Trades and more ...

I'll be there with my books Phar lap the wonder horse and Lyrebird! A true story and on both days I'll be running storytelling workshops and shows: telling stories the old-fashioned way.

Check out the website to see the full program HERE

Love the poster!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Ways of Winged Ones and Women

Thanks to Melbourne City Council Grants, The Dock Library and Storytelling Australia Victoria for supporting a new idea and collaboration.

These are stories inspired by the migratory shore birds who travel the East Asian Australasian Flyway and migratory women from our past.

Thanks to Anne E Stewart for curating the series, Teena Hartnett for being an awesome story collaborator, John Kean for painting the birds for me and my beautiful friend, Christine, who took a few photos.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Moorabool Literacy Trail, Bacchus Marsh 2014

Had a wonderful day in Bacchus Marsh taking stories to the streets for the Moorabool Literacy Trail. The main street of Bacchus Marsh was lined jugglers, fire eaters, a dog circus but most significantly the trail was peppered with storytellers and readers. The trail has been going for some years and has been honoured with awards. Yesterday over 1300 people enjoyed the entertainment; this is an event where the whole town is invited to participate in the celebration of literacy. 


In their own words: 'The Literacy Trail invites primary and preschool children across the Shire to participate in a number of fun activities designed to promote their love of reading, writing and counting.
The Literacy Trail is brought to the streets of Moorabool thanks to the State Government’s Best Start Program. It brings together local business, emergency services, health and welfare organisations, community groups and local government, as well as schools, kindergartens, childcare centres and playgroups.'

NB Bridge for the Billy Goats created by the Men's Shed. Life is so much better since men's Sheds!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Ways of Winged Ones and Women 18 September 2014

My friend Teen Hartnett and I are working on the an idea for the Words on the Wind project curated by Anne E Stewart for Storytelling Australia Victoria. I have been enjoying building a small set from bamboo tripods and suspending papier mache, life-sized migratory shore birds from a pole slung across the top.



The Ways of Winged Ones and Women, a weave of folktale, myth and history. Created with the environment of the Docklands especially in mind, this tale contemplates the nomadic and migratory movements of women and birds. Through the air and across oceans, these precarious journeys create webs of deep connection. For millennia, the migratory birds of our wetlands have journeyed annually to the arctic tundra and back again following the East Asian Australasian Flyway. Without instinct or wings but with beating hearts, thousands of women crossed oceans, disembarking in the burgeoning colony to begin new lives, for better or for worse. 

Jackie Kerin and Teena Hartnett are two women whose passion for history and folk tale is contagious. Insatiably curious and delightfully mischievous, time spent with these two is never dull.

Thursday 18th September
Theatre Doors open 5.30pm for 6pm start
Where: The Library at The Dock
107 Victoria Harbour Promenade
Docklands Vic 3008
Getting there:
Tram from City: 31, 48 , 11 (stop D18).
Short walk from Southern Cross Station


Eastern Curlew beautifully painted by John Kean. Not normally sighted in suburban back yards!


The Sydney International Storytelling Conference 2014

I for one, am very grateful that the Australian Storytelling Guild NSW host a storytelling conference every second year. We are so spread out across this vast continent; the conference provides a great focus for us to gather, make new friends and strengthen old alliances not only across Australia but around the world. I think video skills are improving!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Congratulations Claire Saxby: ‘Emu’ hits the shelves


Friend Claire Saxby has launched Emu (illustrator Graham Byrne, publisher, Walker Books Australia).  The shelf I have dedicated to my picture book collection, is starting to bow – thanks Claire! My favourite is always the one I'm using at the moment. This week I have been up to my kneecaps with very young people so There was and Old Sailor has been getting a big work out.

Claire has been steadily adding to the list of beautifully illustrated nonfiction titles available for older children.  With Kangaroo and now Emu, the marriage of her rich text with Graham Byrne’s illustrations is evocative of arid Australia and the monumental animals that the stride and leap through the bush.

Emu was launched at my local independent bookshop Book and Paper on National Independent Bookshop Day. The window is wonderful celebration of Claire Saxby’s achievement in the world of Children’s books.

Kangaroo has been listed as an Eve Pownell Notable Book 2014. I wouldn't be surprised to see Emu listed in 2015

Read more about Claire HERE

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