As sleet mingles with snow, we find ourselves in a new national lockdown. To protect ourselves, to protect each other, we want to do the right thing. We stay at home once more, create our own rituals in the lull between storms.
lighting candles on your beach and mine we close our eyes open them in unison and feel the love arrive
Tina is inviting us to share examples of how we channelled our creative energies these past few months as the pandemic restricted our movements.
The theme that pops up on both my blogs throughout this period is one of creative collaboration and community.
Sadly, within the first week of lockdown, fellow poet Stuart Quine lost his life to Covid-19. I love his poems, especially his monoku (a haiku written in one line) and even though I did not know him personally I felt compelled to create a tribute post, pairing three of his poems with images I had taken the previous day: A Tribute to Stuart Quine (1962-2020).
An estranged family member was alerted to my post by a friend and contacted me. She did not know Stuart had passed away and was not aware of his beautiful poetry either. I was able to provide her with links to poetry journals his work is featured in as well as the publisher of his full-length collections.
The Tanka Society of America invited poets to create a taiga (a photograph, caligraphy or artwork paired with a tanka poem) in celebration of their 20th anniversary and Zen Meditation was one of twenty-one featured. All contributions were later combined with music into a short video:
We sadly lost Susan Hey (1979-2020), a much-loved local art teacher and member of our community when we were still in part-lockdown and funerals were private with restricted numbers. The small procession travelled through our town and gave the rest of us an opportunity to say goodbye. I wrote and posted Final Journey, a tribute poem to Susan. One of her art students later posted a video of herself singing a beautiful tribute song and others created pieces of rainbow art which they left by the family’s front door. Together we wanted to let the family know that they were not alone and the comments and private messages received in return were truly heart-warming.
Julie Williams, a Highland art student, invited local people to send her photographs of the word hope created out of items found in their homes or on their daily walks for her HOPE Art Project. The idea was that every participant created, through their own artistic expression, a historical record of their hope during the current Covid-19 crisis. You can read more about this project and my contribution in Walking with Hope.
Inspired by a number of collaborative art projects and videos I became curious about producing videos too.
Starting with a story board I gathered images and poems before combining them into haiga (a haiku paired with an image) and taiga (a tanka paired with an image) in Photoshop.
Once the five-mile travel restrictions were lifted, I took the camera to record a number of short video clips that would fit within the story. Then came the search for background music that suited the rhythm of movement in the video clips before weaving everything together in iMovie. The project was completed by reviewing and fine-tuning it with the loving and patient assistance of my husband.
The two videos we made are in the sidebar of the blog and if you haven’t seen them yet, you can view them here too:
Most of our regular readers will be familiar with these projects and it was an interesting exercise to bring them all together and reflect on these special collaborations a little longer.
May you all stay safe and well,
with love from Xenia xxx
Photographs and videos by Xenia Tran, mandala art by Mike Booth.