Friday, 25 November 2016

Look! - Fabula at Hove Museum

Our Fabula exhibition at Hove Museum starts soon...Three rooms of Fabula Collective art work and work from our guest artist Joe Evans: including 3D installations, 2D illustration, Puppets, Books, Model making and films. Inspired by fairytales, theatre, Brighton and Hove's history of filmmaking, memories, the concept of inside and out and more. All are welcome, come along and enjoy the show. Open to the public from 2nd December, admission is free. 

*update! - exhibition has been extended to the 9th May*!

Alongside the exhibition there is an exciting programme of events....

We hope to see you at the museum!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Into The Woods...It's Time For A Story...

The forest - a place for transformation. What lies in the shadows?

Wild woods and lands are the threshold places where stories can come alive. Are the trees friendly and will they protect us? What happens if we stray from the path? And when we are in the woods what creatures will know we are there? Whose eyes are looking, watching, (waiting), peering though the woody darkness? 

The big bad wolf in a land that never was in a time that could never be

Beautiful objects and images made using a natural colour palette are put together in our collaborative piece - The Story Cabinet. Here, old and new stories will join and overlap providing a feast for the eyes in three wooden cabinets.  An alternative term for 'fairy tale' is 'wonder tale' from the German Wunderm√§rchen and these cabinets are just bursting with 'small wonders' to bring you the magic of far away realms full of mystery, morals and magical characters.

Let us take you back to a time when humans and animals could talk to each other. Come, peep through a window - a portal to another place - and Join with the story. Those who live there can't see that a giant lurks nearby....

A great while ago, when the world was full of wonders....

Art Nouveau window frames a story
...there was a little window at the back of a house from which a splendid garden could be seen. Full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs, it was however, surrounded by a high wall. No one dared to go into it because it belonged to a wicked enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded throughout the land. 

The couple there had no children and were very poor. All they had was a cow. One day he gave her a bunch of keys that would open any door except one door she must not go in and the key to that door was magical. At last he dropped off to sleep. When he woke up, the room looked so changed. The sun was shining into part of it, and yet all the rest was quite dark and shady. 

Who lives here? - a place of safety or imprisonment?
The tower had neither stairs nor door, but near the top was a little window. A white bird always came to her there and every time the bird threw down to her whatever she had wished for. In the morning she was asked how she had slept. "Oh, very badly!" she said. "I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It's horrible!" 

The wicked thought grows all the time like a poisonous plant and slowly kills the good thoughts. A wicked feeling was growing in the stepmother's heart, and she determined to send the children to the witch. She threw one of the shirts over each of them and when the shirts touched their bodies they were transformed into swans, and they flew away over the woods.

Time -  past, present and future.
The next morning she went out and gathered asters and began to sew. She could not speak with anyone and she was warned that she had to return before midnight when the spells would be broken. 

And the pea? The pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it. 

There, that is a true story.

(But only one of many that could be told).

The Story Cabinet will be exhibited at Hove Museum from December 3rd until April 2017 as part of Fabula Collectives forthcoming exhibition "Many Ways to Tell A Story". 

Come and visit and see if you can find the pea in the museum!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Hurray - New Picture Books Are Coming!

What has Fabula member Emmi Smid been up to? - well, she has been drawing, painting and writing and is developing not just one, but two new picture books! The first of these is a picture book that explores issues around encouraging positive body image. 

The book is called 'Minnie and Max are OK!'and it is written by Nicky
Hutchinson and Chris Calland who are specialist advisers on children's behaviour and mental health.

Introducing Minnie and Max

Without giving too much away, the story is about a little girl who's not too sure about her appearance and her loyal dog Max suffers from similar insecurities. Luckily they have an awesome grandmother and lovely friends who show them that they are totally OK! 

Children are bombarded with "perfect" role models from a very young age and so a story like this is very much needed. It is it is a very heartwarming, recognisable and endearing story and Emmi says she is very excited to be illustrating it.

Emmi strongly believes that picture books are the perfect vehicle to introduce young children to difficult, profound topics, without them feeling like they are being lectured to. Her debut picture bookLuna's Red Hat, published by Jessica Kingley Publishing, tackles the stigma of suicide and has received excellent reviews. Sensitively written and beautifully illustrated by Emmi it is designed to be read with children aged 6+ to help them cope with difficult feelings arising from bereavement by suicide. It also includes a guide for parents and professionals by grief expert, Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers.

Introducing Luna

Another one to watch out for from Emmi is a picture book that she is currently developing with the working title of Cardboard Box Village. This is a story about gender roles and diversity. Emmi says she was inspired to write it by a friend who is currently questioning their gender and potentially transitioning. In this forthcoming book Emmi aims to show how the fear of anyone who is 'different' can restrict us from working and living together and seeking strength in our differences. She has started noticing all the small ways in which we box ourselves and each other into our established gender roles. What we would achieve, Emmi wonders,  if we could let go of not only gender, but also skin colour, religion and background? 

Emmi has an illustration style that would bring many different kinds of stories to life but currently she is focusing on designing picture books that address social taboos and highlight current global topics. But can we discuss anything and everything in picture books? - this is a central concern of Emmi's work and one that she has taken part in debate about. In asking herself this she questions her own practice and ensures that her work will remain useful for it's intended young audience. 

Cardboard Box Village, follows on from Luna's Red Hat as another big and important topic that Emmi is taking on. We're confident that her new book will have the same lightness and sensitivity apparent in Luna's Red Hat and we look forward to seeing it when it's finished. Unfortunately there are no sketches to show you yet as all the illustrations are still in Emmi's head! Watch this space!

Both Minnie and Max are OK! and Cardboard Box Village will be published in 2017 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and both books will have a guide for parents at the back.

Luna's Red Hat is out on the shelves in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and can be ordered online through the publishers or at www.waterstones.comYou will also be able to see it exhibited at Hove Museum from December 3rd until April 2017 as part of Fabula Collectives show - "Many Ways To Tell A Story". 

For more information about Emmi Smid's work please go to the Fabula Collective website and follow links.