I was invited by Nakano Knives to be one of their ambassadors in a fruit carving challenge they have set online. For my entry, I decided to create a Fruity Duo version of George and I, made from strawberries and apples. If you think my creation is cute, you can vote for my fruit art by clicking HERE:
The first prize is a trip to Japan! If I won it would be a fantastic honeymoon for George and I! (Dreaming Big)
If it made you look at your fruit bowl with excitement, then you can enter your own fruit cutting creation for a chance to win prizes too.
On a more musical note …
This week I had the pleasure of working in a rehearsal room with a group of engaged and excitable artists again. I was invited by Improbable to take part in a research and development (R&D) week, where I had the opportunity to work with familiar faces and make some new connections. On the first day I found it quite hard to hold back my enthusiasm, but as the days progressed, being indoors with others and creating music started to feel more natural again.
I felt very safe all week. Before attending the rehearsal space, we had to provide negative results from a COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test. I was able to attend a free drop-in centre at London Bridge Train Station. The process here was very well organised. I could book a slot in advance via their website or simply turn up on the day. The Staff were friendly, and the testing stations were immediately cleaned between each examination.
The group of collaborators included a cellist, stage manager, percussionist, sound designer, costume designer, baritone, set designer, director, composer, soprano, producer, and pianist. The research was facilitated by Open Space Technology. A process focused on improvisation, which allows groups of people from as few as 5 to 2500+ to work together and discuss issues or a creative idea. I found that this working style allowed and encouraged me to be a proactive listener, creative thinker, musician, actress, mask-maker, dreamer, analyst, and critic. This meant that the discoveries were both theoretical and practical. During the week we found answers by participating in discussions, performances, improvisations, art workshops and experimenting with sound and video recording.
To encourage the environment of Open Space, the group follow a set of four principles and one Law.
- Whenever it starts is the right time.
- Whoever comes are the right people.
- Whatever happens is the only thing that can happen.
- When it is over it is over
- The Law of two feet
(Any time you feel that you are not learning and not contributing, you can use your two feet to go somewhere else).
The idea of these principles is to make people feel safe about sharing their ideas. They encourage multiple voices to enter discussions rather than one or two people dominating them. Participants are given the confidence to take part.
At the start of each session the group would sit in a circle and pass around a “talking stick”. Due to the themes of Covid, the talking stick was replaced with a bottle of hand sanitizer, the talker would dispense some into their hand and then say how they felt that morning or ideas that had come to them in between the working days.
At the end of each day we would repeat this exercises and share our thoughts and conclusions of the day.
At the start of the week our host, Phelim, suggested that we write on paper a question or topic that we would like to consider during the week. You could propose anything. Once you have written it, you would write your name in the corner, announce your idea out loud and then stick it on the wall with masking tape. From this harvesting of ideas, we worked out our over-arching intention for the week and stimulus for creative ideas and tasks.
Say YES, and …
When we worked on tasks and actions inspired by the questions stuck on the wall. I found it helpful to approach suggestions similarly to an improviser developing a story. Rather than discounting an idea or call to action, we would try it out in the space and then review what was successful and what could be improved. From these experiences, even if they were unsuccessful, new ideas would emerge and the best solutions began to present themselves.
I found the process really stimulating and an enjoyable experience. It has made me hungry and positive for future collaborations and performances. But right now, I hope we can continue to improve the pandemic situation so that not only performers can come together but families too. I cannot wait to see mine again.
Lateral flow tests are now available for free to everyone in England, regardless of whether you have Covid symptoms or not. These tests are very quick, and you can receive your results in 30 minutes. If you are not able to visit a rapid lateral flow test centre and live in England, you can order a free pack via this link: Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)