I interviewed author and children’s books illustrator Nicola Kent, who was highly commended in the Macmillan Prize in 2016 and won the Independent Booksellers’ Best New Illustrator Award in 2019.
Nicola says about herself: “I live in London with my partner, two children and a cat called Firelight. When I’m not working, I love to read, look after my garden, play cards and go adventuring in my camper van.”
Leslie: How did your interest in writing and drawing begin, grow and develop?
Nicola: I’ve been drawing and making up stories all my life. I have a little book made with my mum when I was five, and another book of my poems made when I was about 8. And I loved books – I still have loads from my childhood. I was a bit put off by art at school because it was so focussed on still life which I found uninspiring. I am and always have been interested in the ordinary – streetscapes, kitchen cupboards – and I found more classic subjects a bit of a turn off. But when I did my first degree in English and Art, specialising in graphic design, I knew quickly that I wanted to find a career in which I could work with a combination of words and pictures. Continue reading DRAWING AND MAKING UP CHILDREN’S BOOKS→
I’m sitting in the front row of Questors Theatre wearing red leggings and a couple of shorty vests covered by a slip. The slip is shiny and black; it shows my shoulders and arms – which at 70 I usually cover up – while enclosing me in a smooth, cool sheath. It’s simple, cut straight above my chest and knees, and made for theatre.
So, what am I doing here?
It’s a ‘summerslam’ event, with eleven contestants about to take the stage and present their two-minute monologues about diversity and inclusion. We’re sitting in order of appearance, like prize-day pupils. I’m third, much the oldest, with no experience of delivering lines, and wishing I’d ducked out. Continue reading ACTING UP by Leslie Tate→
In Part Two of her interview about cancer, Canadian blogger, bi-linguist and teacher Michelle Payette-Dauost talks about the restrictions of her treatment and how she has learned to handle her fears of death. Michelle also writes about love and the personal connections that have built up through speaking openly about her condition.
In Part One of her interview, Canadian blogger, bi-linguist and teacher Michelle Payette-Daoust bares her soul as a cancer patient. Michelle talks about how she closed her eyes to the symptoms until the condition forced itself on her, and how it has changed her life. The photos in the piece show Michelle’s family and the progress of her condition.
Leslie: How did your cancer first present itself and what were the early stages like?
Michelle: I suppose I may as well get right into the nitty-gritty in order to leave it behind as quickly as possible. My cancer narrative is one of self-neglect. My body had been sending me all kinds of suspicious signals for several years, and I ignored them. Continue reading THE THINGS THAT FETTER ME→
Raine: I have been working with a mentor, James Simpson, who suggested that I write about my Romany roots. I spent some time sitting quietly, thinking about my family, the strong women, like my mother and my granny. I visualised a woman, a nomad. She was walking along the road. She seemed at one with nature, bending to pick flowers, drinking spring water. With my eyes closed I watched her as she kept on walking and I saw her body begin to age. Continue reading REDISCOVERING MY ROMANY ROOTS – RAINE GEOGHEGAN→
I interviewed artist Su Blackwell, who creates her delicate, intricate dreamscapes out of paper.
Su says of her artwork, “I often work within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore. I began making a series of book-sculptures, cutting-out images from old books to create three-dimensional dioramas, and displaying them inside wooden boxes… For the cut-out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder.” Continue reading SU BLACKWELL’S PAPER ART AND BOOK SCULPTURES→
Interview with musician and sound healer Clare Hedin who uses energy awareness, connection and deep listening to explore the nature of being. Clare performs and speaks at conferences, events and symposiums, and teaches Creativity & Innovation at San Francisco State University, and in online workshops. Continue reading THE ART AND SCIENCE OF SOUND HEALING→
I interviewed Sussi Louise Smith who describes herself as a, ‘Danish artist & poet living in Ilkley, UK, painting life in colourful naivism’. Sussi talked about how she creates her art and what she draws from Danish ideas such as Livsmalerier and Hygge. She also talks about Danish artists, world artists, and compares Denmark to England.
Leslie: Tell us about your art and livsmalerier.
Sussi: Livsmalerier is a combination of two Danish words meaning Life and Paintings. I chose to put the two together, firstly because if we run out of words in Danish we just make new ones up by combining other ones, and secondly because that is what I do. Continue reading NAIVE ART, HYGGE & GIRAFFES→