Winter Solstice 2020

Just wanted to pause, reflect and give thanks for 2020. We’ve all experienced loss, whether that be loved ones to Covid, employment worries, hardships or a sense of isolation. 

I can say without a shadow of a doubt, I’ve learnt more about myself this year than any other year I’ve been alive. 

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Creative output in terms of live performance has been scarce this year. Whilst rites and private rituals have taken place in outdoor scapes, the main focus has been on processing the last 3 years of notes, scribblings, references and emotions which now forms a workable manuscript. Part of my process is dipping into this body of work and finding resonances which connect to the present moment; which gestate and usually build into larger pieces, whether that be visual or coded poetics, stories or abstracts.

One such experiment took it’s starting point at the end of a Chinese brush with a drop of sumi ink, back in July.

I’m thankful to The Ascender magazine which published these calligraphic plays in their Winter edition, which popped through the post last week!

Looking forward to journeying into 2021. A calligraphy exhibition deadline will keep me focused for the first part of the year, as too my ongoing dialogues & collaborations with Lizzey Joy Ross, Martin Christie & Eileen Alanna.

Gratitude also to Tom Wood for the 12m square Raj Blend garden, Carl Mills for creating my new website at the start of this year and to John Robertson-Dwyer/Josh Dwyer and the artists in residence at Vortex Gallery for creating a safe and enjoyable work space.

I’ll sign off by wishing you all a Happy & Healthy Winter Solstice!

Claire, Kobi & Silver (X)

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Extracts from one of my favourite Persian poets, Hafez (1315-1390) for Winter Solstice (2020)

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favour: hold us upside down and shakes all the nonsense out.

The sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” 

Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky.

I wish I could show you when you are in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty? 

It felt the encouragement of Light against its being; otherwise we all remain too frightened.

Do you know how beautiful you are?

I think not, my dear.

For as you talk of God,

I see great parades with wildly colorful bands

streaming from your mind and heart,

carrying wonderful and secret messages

to every corner of this world.

I see saints bowing in the mountains

hundreds of miles away

to the wonder of sounds

that break into light

from your most common words.

Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut you more deep. 

Let it ferment and season you as few humans and even divine ingredients can. 

Something missing in my heart tonight has made my eyes so soft, my voice so tender…

There are different wells within your heart. 

Some fill with each good rain, Others are far too deep for that.

I caught the happy virus last night, when I was out singing beneath the stars. 

It is remarkably contagious – So kiss me.

For Beltane

i

A warm welcome to the first bluelead blog. I hope you and your loved ones continue to be safe and well during the ongoing lockdown.

This safe space has been created within the new blueleadprojects.com website yet operates as a WordPress site nestled within, which will enable me to talk about process and inspirations when making cross-form art projects and the ability to upload-musings-as-I-create. The website has been seven months in creation and huge thanks go to Carl Mills for the creation, coding and design.

Just like an illuminated manuscript that may never be completed in the monks lifetime, so I pose the question, when is a website, a collection of fragments of 20 years of work, ready to show? Indeed, what is a work? 

I look to Matthew Goulish who describes work as ‘an object which is infinite and singular. By infinite, I mean that the singularity of the work, which allows us in fact to refer to it as work, is itself comprised of infinite events.’

Work can be life. A website as an organism constituting an event.

When will the website be ready to show?

If it breathes it lives. Let it live now and grow.

ii

Lockdown feels like a critical time in human evolution with vital new fragments of emergent ‘truth’ we can empathically sense. Like the whole planet is shifting and striving to find a path through the pandemic, towards an even more vital sense of meaningful whole, into which our new found fragments may fit.

In-between home fooling my eight and thirteen year old whilst attempting to work from home, there’s been some fragmented reading time. A return to books previously read including Ervin Laszlo’s Science and the Akashic Field, Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving, John Langdon’s Wordplay and a plethora of poetry including Coleman Barks’ translation of Rumi, The Glance

These conglomerates of cloth and paper and ink and leather and glue and thread hold a key to the new poetic characters that lockdown has gently allowed the time for me to start writing. I’m excited and thankful to have the space and time to allow these to grow and to present in this new digital homestead.

iii

Part of the process of going through archives, is finding those things that you’d forgotten you once did whilst hopefully finding the things you set out to find. I had experience with both whilst sending the content to the developer. 

At 22 I found myself working as a 2nd AD in the film industry, mainly in London. Music videos, feature films, BBC promos and ‘early’ video games. Here’s some embarrassing shots of me and David Williams, before he became David Walliams on the Ubisoft Dreamcast game Deepfighter. 

To cut a long story short, it was a week long shoot at Haliford Studios, Shepperton in Dec ’99. We’d auditioned the actors at my friends house in Shepherds Bush and from the moment I met David he was utterly despondent and for want of a better character, Mr Grumpy! The only time he smiled was the last day of filming when wet suits (aka space suits) were taken off for the last time and we all said Goodbye. I was delighted to see him SO happy a few years later when I turned on the telly and saw him doing what he LOVED in Little Britain. Every time I see him on the screen or I pick up one of his books from my daughters bedside, I smile.

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For me it has been a colour; Blue

that’s what I love

I’ve always been writing for you

that is what has been true.

Stay safe x

Claire

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