Thursday, 16 October 2014


ONCE UPON A TIME, there was an artist, a storyteller and a 1960's Bedford RL lorry... They lived in troubled times – sometimes it seemed like the magic had all run out of the world and all that was left was distraction and strife. So they decided to make something amazing, a device for spreading beauty and kindling imaginations, a spectacular creation to reignite the old enchantments hiding at the edges of things, and bring wonder back into the greying world. And so, they created HEDGESPOKEN... A vehicle for the imagination!

Yes, friends and fellow travellers near and far and in-between, it's true! We are taking to the road again in our beautiful Bedford RL truck, but this time, it will not just be a home on wheels, it will also be a travelling wonder-wagon, a purveyor of tales and uncanny beauty, of hedge-theatre and woodsmoked enchantments! 
As you will remember, we bought this beautiful Bedford a couple of years ago now, but the seed of Hedgespoken has been germinating since the very first time Tom and I met and conjured the idea of it into being. Now, its time has come. The hedges are calling to us louder than ever before, and we long for a life more filled with blackbird song and morning dew and starlit story. 

Our dream is to build a home on the back of this truck that will also be an off-grid travelling theatre. It will boast a fold-down stage on the side (which can double as a porch on which we can sit and drink our morning cups of tea). This will be a performance space for all sorts of our own and others' puppety-theatrical-storytelling unfurlings - we will travel with it to waysides and village greens, to disused urban spaces and wild misted hillsides. And there we will endeavour to call in once again the magic that hides at the edges of things and to reawaken a circus in people's hearts.

This is the truck we fell in love with two years ago - a 1960s ex-military auxiliary fire service truck. Four wheel drive, with only 7000 miles on the clock, oak-backed, and in immaculate condition! 

It's the kind of truck that people stop and smile at as it goes by, and I'm sure you'll agree that it smiles back most fetchingly!
The dreaming has been taking place in our hearts and sketchbooks for months and months now...

And with the turning of the year into Autumn, this dream is becoming more tangible...

In order to make Hedgespoken manifest, we are calling on people - on all of you - to join us on this adventure, to play a part in our wonder-story and help us to make this dream a reality. We cannot do it alone, and so in return for some truly delicious perks, you can support the Hedgespoken Crowdfunding Campaign and help to make sure we get this show on the road!

At the top of this post, you'll have seen the fantastic little film that we made with the help of our amazing creative community and filmmaker extraordinaire Annabel Allison of Wax Films.  

Annabel briefs the vagabonds. Photo by Steve Earp
Lily on horseback. Photo by Steve Earp
Virginia as The Moon. Photo by Ruth Olley
The circus assembles. Photo by Steve Earp
Angharad dresses Lily's hair; Maddy and Virginia look on. Photo by Rachel Basham
Following Joanna the deer. Photo by Lunar Hine
Jason attempts to move the truck. Photo by Ruth Olley
Lovely Lily. Photo by Rachel Basham
Tom tells tales. Photo by Steve Earp

A few weeks ago we put out a call for folks to come in their vagabond-circus finery, to gather under the trees to make our film. And they did us proud! 

Lily on horseback. Photo by Terri Windling
Rima plays squeezebox in the driving seat. Photo by Lunar Hine
Owl Maddy. Photo by Steve Earp
Emma puts on her circus paint. Photo by Suzi Crockford
Rachel and Sharif enjoying after-filming food & fire. Photo by Lunar Hine

They came bedecked in feather and mask and antler, they came in their patchwork coats and on horseback, in moons and owls and top hats and wings, with ouds and drums and puppets, and they danced for the camera and afterwards we ate food around the fire. Annabel directed us with expertise and humour and what you see above is the result of many hours of her hard work and our vision. I do hope you enjoy it. 

Annabel at work. Photo by Lunar Hine
Young'uns conspire. Photo by Rachel Basham
The Moon & family. Owen, Virginia and Marja. Photo by Steve Earp
Danielle and steed. Photo by Steve Earp
Vagabond accessories. Photo by Lunar Hine
Tom tells more tales. Photo by Ruth Olley
Virginia's amazing Moon. Photo by Steve Earp
Emma. Photo by Steve Earp
Campfire pancakes. Photo by Ruth Olley

We found it very nerve-wracking speaking to camera, and I don't think I'll be taking up a career as a TV presenter any time soon, but nevertheless I think it really works, we're delighted with the result and I hope you'll be inspired and enchanted in turns, and feel compelled by our wonky magic to share this film and the campaign far and wide!

Lily, Pete and Ava prepare for filming. Photo by Steve Earp
Eric hula-hoops. Photo by Steve Earp
The dance begins. Photo by Steve Earp
Lily. Photo by Steve Earp
Circus! Photo by Steve Earp
Emma and Ruth at the fire. Photo by Terri Windling
Joanna the Deer. Photo by Terri Windling
Ruth and Jason and everyone else looking amazing. Photo by Terri Windling
Tools of the trade. Photo by Terri Windling
Musicians play. Joanna the Deer dances. Photo by Terri Windling
Vagabonds discuss (Sharif, Tom & Howard). Photo by Terri Windling
Ashley teaches Fynn some magic. Photo by Terri Windling
The lunching circus is serenaded by Elizabeth-Jane's beautiful harp playing.
Photo by Terri Windling
Lily on horseback. Photo by Steve Earp

Tom & Rima with Hedgespoken plans.
Photo by Miriam Boy
You can read more about the project and our plans at the Crowdfunding page as well as choose from an array of fabulous perks ranging from heartfelt and handwritten thank you cards, to Hermitage 2015 calendars, to books of Tom's incredible poetry, to drawing lessons with me, or storytelling workshops with Tom, to print bundles and original artworks and Once Upon O'Clocks painted by me, to a golden ticket to our first ever secret performance in the woods, to Hedgemother or Hedgefather status as patron of Hedgespoken with a lifetime ticket to every show we do and your name carved into the stage! We will also be keeping a Hedgespoken blog as the campaign progresses talking about all the artisans who will be involved in the building of this wonder-wagon, and our ideas and inspirations, as well as ways you can support us if you have no pennies

More than anything, though, Hedgespoken is our dream – we’ve thought long and hard about how best we want to live our lives, how to do what we love doing in a way that serves our communities and fulfils our dreams of living close to the land in a creative, sustainable way. Hedgespoken is our best shot, our way of taking our skills and our love of story, of art and magic, and living in a way that means we’re using all of that, all the time. And, it’s our promise, to ourselves and to our children, that we will refuse to live half-lives. Hedgespoken is a gamble – to live on the road is to embrace uncertainty and certain kinds of insecurity, after all – but it’s a gamble that we have to take, because we dreamed this in the week that we first met and we knew then that we had to find a way to make it real. With your help, we’re getting there, in Hedgespoken style, living lives that are full, not empty, nor half-lived or hollow – with your help, we’re already creating something beautiful, allowing something of the magical world to be born.

Thank you!


Charlotte said...

Love and admiration to you both. Will aim to throw into the hat when I can.
Then will send a wish up the chimney that your path crosses with me and mine one day.

Crystaldreamweddings said...

I can't wait to see your Bedford up and running, best of luck and hopefully you'll be coming to place near us very soon. Exceptional photos, you are all a group of people of wonder and enchantment x

Heather said...

I do hope you can make your dream come true. It is a wonderful idea and just what our troubled times need.

Danielle Barlow said...

Lovely, lovely pics of such a good day. So glad we could help your marvellous cause xx

Priya Sebastian said...

You and Tom are absolutely, utterly incredible. The people in the pictures are magical.
I am in awe.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful, wonderful dream to manifest. I wish you both every success and may you bring forth your dreams and in doing so please come to our little St. Just in West Penwith, Cornwall next year as we have loads of alternative folks who would love to see your show and meet you both. With blessings. Rosie

Anonymous said...

Goodness I feel boring! What amazing costumes - Virginia as the moon looks incredible. Such lovely lovely pictures. I must share them. Thank you.

Rima Staines said...

Thank you all so much - it means a lot that you are as excited by this as we are :)

Mokihana Calizar said...

Congratulations Tom and Rima and all the elves and magical beings and generous folk! I see you have reached your $25,000 goal. Hurray, hurray. To see the collective spirit rise to meet the challenge to keep Magic and Heart alive, on wheels, that is good to spread far and wide.
Many claps and rattle and drums to you!!