I think this was the 4th year of being in the Kidzone so we were pretty organised and able to deal with being inundated with children wanting to be creative.
The aim of the exercise is to encourage enjoyment so that the end result is a high vibrating canvas.
Dayzii and Milo were art students at The Oracle for many years and it has been wonderful to see them evolve with their art and as beautiful people. Having their help at the festival has been such fun and vitally important to the process.
Each year I try to have a different spin on things. We'd already done oil painting and blending, acrylics, gouache splattering and woollen textures so in 2018 I decided it was time for a collage.
A wonderful thing happens when I've been working along side students for many years - it's as if we all read each other and fall into an easy pattern of being with one another. We all seem to understand the end goal and the process without it being massively discussed.
The first thing that happens is we pitch our tent, and we were so lucky to have the riverside spot yet again. We settle ourselves in and explore the festival before having a relatively early night so that we were ready for the hecticity of our start on Friday afternoon.
One thing that you couldn't fail to notice was how all three of us had grown in confidence and now so enjoy being expressive without feeling the need to hide ourselves in any way for fear of upsetting someone else.
It's been a long journey and we have helped each other - as sensitive people - to live comfortably in a world that can be challenging for us.
The tent was ransacked!
It was filled on the one side with bags and bags of collage fabrics, big pots of glue, brushes, sequins, glitter, ribbons, scissors, cushions, blankets and bunting - everything we needed to set up our area, and the remaining space was taken up by my and Dayzii's wardrobe with just 2 narrow slots for us to sleep in.
Luckily Milo pitched a separate tent next door and got much needed tent - pitching practice.😂😂😂
Amidst the fun and we pulled it out the bag and were set up and ready to go bang on time.
The wonderful thing was that without discussing it, we all realised that we were putting on a performance that wasn't just about the collage.
There was a real sense of theatre as if we were setting the stage for something really important.
I guess it's because we were all spiritually directed.
In one sense we were providing a really fun platform for kids to let rip and have a lot of fun in the Kidzone, and in another, we were imparting something really important.
A major Key to Life is self love and self expression. We have come to earth to be ourselves and share our gifts - it would be in the ego not to. Yet society has us conform until we lose our voices and forget our individuality. We must share what we are even as others believe we are in our ego.
Isn't it strange how the ego works?
After quickly setting up our area I gave a twenty minute guided meditation to prepare us as a unified body.
It just flowed out and as I recall, we connected to the earth beneath us, the tree that hung over us and felt ourselves cocooned within it's presence.
Whenever I do guided meditations they are delivered by spirit and I usually have very little recollection of them. It is as if I am transported some place else and I take people there with me.
We came back as light as air and ready to draw young people in, so that they could feel this energy and learn the pathway of it.
As always at festivals, we are mobbed by people of all ages.
Because we were doing collage, the whole creative space looked chaotic, but the atmosphere was completely serene.
So often, people will come and join us in complete silence - all working alongside each other. All in a state of complete satisfaction and enjoyment.
First of all a base layer goes on that is mainly in white fabrics - to bulk up the canvas and give it more body and an interesting surface to work on. Vast amounts of glue are used so that when the collage dries, the shapes in the fabrics hold.
At this stage some are put off as it looks to an untrained eye that we have no idea what we are doing and that we are idiots! One woman actually told us we were - which could have been quite upsetting had we not found it so funny.
The energy went in waves - crazy and frenetic - and then smooth. It's wonderful and completely exhausting at the same time.
We may look chilled out - and we are - but at the same time, the three of us are Holding Energy in our area under the tree, so that all who enter can take a piece of it and know it whenever they come across this energy again.
It is spiritual energy, the energy of our home and many are unfamiliar with it. For some it makes them feel vulnerable and uneasy, but for others - especially the younger ones - they can't get enough of it.
They will stay with us for hours - understanding on a level that they are needed to help us hold the energy.
It is a truly magical experience.
The more the collage came together, the more feverish everyone became. We had to turn children away because there just wasn't room - especially when the ribbons and then the GLITTER and sequins came out.
Throughout my teaching, glitter has always been a great favourite. I always save it till last as otherwise it gets covered up. And I am the glitter monitor - It's really important that I make this known or the whole canvas could get out of control and end up completely blue or gold with the exuberant enthusiasm.
Several years ago, I had a student that almost popped when I told her I was in charge of the glitter pot.
'When I grow up, I want to be a glitter monitor!' she shrieked.
The final two hours of the collage that we tackled on the Sunday, was pure glitter work, and working in minute pieces of fabric down to a square cm.
A collage is like painting with fabric - getting all the differing tones of colour and textures so that they flow with one another.
What I love is the embellishments and the quirky little areas created by individuals that all come together as one expressive piece.
The intricate details that all weave into one another. The hours of dedication to complete the final piece. The looks of joy on all the children faces.
With a collage there is so much energy embedded.
The materials may have traveled with me 40 years. There are buttons that belonged to a boyfriend's granny, a shoe of mine that came from a vintage shop. Parts of mood boards from fashion student days, an old skirt that I bought in Goa in 2002, leaves from the tree we were sitting under and an old cardigan that a school friend gave me that her mum had re knitted.
The stories interwoven can never be known and yet they are there - as energy.
Then there are the beautiful dancing energies of all that have chosen, laid down, arranged and perfected a part of it.
The energies of the environment and the tree and the sky and lastly the energy of the viewers as they walk by.
This canvas is available for charity auction if anyone would like to make contact with me.