wild garden

Virginia Woolf was a writer for whom true, productive solitude - the room of one's own - was hard to come by.

Virginia Woolf

Riversleigh Manor - A Room of Your Own

Riversleigh is an idyllic manor run by Lady Sibyl Riversleigh. Riversleigh has come to provide a soulful retreat for artists and writers from around the world. It is located quite near the Murmuring Woods and the Faraway Tree and residents often take a break from their work to visit one of the lands above the tree.

Lady Sibyl Riversleigh is the youngest daughter of Lord Riversleigh. Her mother died at the time of her birth and Lord Riversleigh sent her to boarding school in Cyberia when she was only five. Lady Riversleigh was educated in fine arts at the Cyberian Mouseion and is an accomplished actress.

Lord Riversleigh never approved of Sibyl’s career or her determination to remain single and he disowned her when she went on the stage at a theatre in Cyberia.

Upon the death of her father and brother Charles, Sibyl inherited the family Manor house. Since returning to Riversleigh Sibyl has opened the house to artists, writers, musicians and travelling itinerants. She may seem young but she is multi-skilled and rules the estate with all the authority of her father.

When Sibyl enters a room her presence fills any void. She is a true patron of the arts and a muse to many who live in this old house. It is her intention to run a gallery and showcase the work of residents. She is also a dab hand at organising events and controls most of the daily routine in the Manor. Ebony Wilder, the housekeeper who also worked for her mother, is a true ally and together they make a formidable team.

Riversleigh is a rambling, spacious, double storey manor house with attics, outbuilding and an expansive wild garden. It offers rooms with a view to artists and writers who are interested in settling in Lemuria and working to populate this old realm. The Riversleigh Set is a group of artists and writers who live, beyond the portal of Soul Food, within the world of Lemuria.

Take the time today to establish your space at Riversleigh.

To do this apply and join the Riversleigh Manor group at Soul Food. Contact heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm and have yourself added to the Manor House.

Rooms of Their Own

Murmuring Woods

Imogen Crest wanders barefoot within the Murmuring Woods. It has come to be a room of her own and a room Riversleigh residents love to visit.

Austin

Slip in and check out a neat room at Riversleigh called 'i should be writing now'.

Schuylines

Schuylines has been created as a room of Schuys own during this Advent period.

Join The Soul Food Order

A couple of years ago I stood outside the Lemurian Abbey trying to pluck up courage to ask to be allowed in. I had peeked in and seen a number of writers and artists at work and thought that I would like to join their community. I finally plucked up the courage to enter and was asked about my choice of name.

Arriving at the Abbey I had felt like a pilgrim arriving at his final destination but I did not see myself as a pilgrim. I travel a lot both for my work and for pleasure and all writers and artists travel to different places in their imaginations. Since joining the Soul Food Café I have journeyed as an artist and writer as well. Thus was born my name and it sits very comfortably with me.

The Lemurian Abbey, which lies beyond the Glastonbury Tor, is strictly restricted to members of the Order of Soul Food, to those votaries who have committed themselves to Making Art A Daily Practice and to building The Lemurian Abbey Community.

In an interview with Sarah Boland, creator of Pop Fiction, Heather Blakey talked about the birth of the Lemurian Abbey.

"Monastic buildings are full of fine arts and craft, which reveal the benefits of developing a rich interior life. When I read this question I thought of St Theresa's interior castle, a metaphor that spoke to me for years.

Thoughts rock climb up from the valleys within my brain and I imagine a virtual monastery, like the Monastery at Iona off the coast of Scotland. Such a monastery would be filled with tiny, Spartan cells where votaries of the muse could come, retreat behind walls and observe time differently.

In this Monastery, time would not be measured with clocks and monastic writers would be free to wander through the cloisters and walled gardens in a meditative state, capturing metaphors in their writing nets.

As I write I can hear the melodious sound of Gregorian chanting drifting through the grounds and I can see myself walking, dressed in my blue robe, down a long hall, listening for reflection and introspection, peeking within the cells. I see myself watching votaries using fountain pens, dancing with words; dancing the flamboyant tango, a gentle waltz, see memoirs rising from the folds of chiffon ball gowns.

Seriously Chris, the primary function of Soul Food is to provide people with prompts and suggestions that will enable them to make writing a daily practice. To practice is to establish a habitual action. It refers to 'repeated exercise in an art' with the view to 'improve skill'. Brenda Ueland wrote that, "when we commit ourselves to writing for some part of each day we are happier, more enlightened, alive, light hearted and generous to everyone else. Even our health improves."

Establishing a daily practice facilitates introspection and growth. It is enough that I provide the tools to achieve this. There are no overt religious or ecclesiastic overtones at Soul Food and I have no desire to move towards providing secular coaching or counselling.

But who knows, I might just set up that virtual monastery as a brand new feature. Do you think I would have applications for residency?"

The new, refurbished Abbey is within walking distance of Riversleigh, on the other side of the Murmuring Woods. If you would enjoy working in this cloistered environment please send an email to heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm.

 

Day 14

What really appeals about Web 2.0 are the increasingly sophisticated and attractive methods of sharing ones artwork .It provides people with the possibility to create a website for themselves with no financial outlay and which, with a little care and attention, they can make interesting and attractive.

Inside an Artist's Studio
Meet Blogmeisterin Carol Abel

 Carol Abel

1.Tell us about how you came to name yourself Traveller and why you feel that blogs have become so indispensable to you and fellow travellers. Share some of your favourite destinations.

A couple of years ago I stood outside the Lemurian Abbey trying to pluck up courage to ask to be allowed in. I had peeked in and seen a number of writers and artists at work and thought that I would like to join their community. I finally plucked up the courage to enter and was asked about my choice of name.

Arriving at the Abbey I had felt like a pilgrim arriving at his final destination but I did not see myself as a pilgrim. I travel a lot both for my work and for pleasure and all writers and artists travel to different places in their imaginations. Since joining the Soul Food Café I have journeyed as an artist and writer as well. Thus was born my name and it sits very comfortably with me.

Joining the Enchanteur on our first journey to the Sybil’s grotto was my first experience of blogging. Each of us was required to set up our own blog but we all inter-acted and posted our contributions through the main team blog. In this way each could read the others’ posts and comment on them. The comment tool allowed the reader to make a comment on pieces and was a visible way for each of us to start to recognize the different ‘voices’ within the group. With Wordpress, whenever someone comments on a post, the author receives an e-mail informing them of the comment. The author can then choose to reply to the comment publicly by means of another comment at the end of the post or by communicating directly with the writer of the comment. In this way you start to see which posts/authors resonate with you and friendships form as you inevitably feel drawn to some people’s work more than others. Whilst these friendships are ‘virtual’ we have discovered a common bond which goes beyond the bounds of the internet and we can provide help/support/comfort to those within the group who may need it almost 24 hours round the clock. As we are based all around the world someone is nearly awake when you most need a friendly ‘face’.

As we gained experience using Wordpress many of us set up new blogs, not just one but, in some cases, several. Some of my favourites are the Temple of Solace and the Digital Atelier. My mouth waters when I visit Arte Culinaria, I love the photos posted by Imogen the Hermitess of Riversleigh and Anita’s tales fascinate me. I only wish I had more time to visit them more often.

2. Learning about Web 2.0 is like going on some wild roller coaster ride. What have been the really exhilarating moments? When have you got most excited aboutwhat is being offered today?

I am fascinated by digital art and photography. What really appeals about Web 2.0 are the increasingly sophisticated and attractive methods of sharing ones artwork. This has only  come about with the advent of online photo or image hosting websites. WP allows its blog owners to customize their blogs in many ways from creating customized headers to inserting photos in the side bars and in the posts themselves. It is now also possible to include slide shows and animated photo montages too. It provides people with the possibility to create a website for themselves with no financial outlay and which, with a little care and attention, they can make interesting and attractive.

Gizmos

Picture Trail provides so many options for Blogmeisters/Blogmeisterins who are wanting to add a bit of variety to their pages and attract readers with bright flashing things.

3. Tell us about you work space and where it all happens. What things in your modern toolbox have become indispensable?

My workspace has unfortunately become cluttered over time as it houses my piano, a wall full of books ranging from reference to very diverse tastes in literature, a sewing machine, boxes and drawers full of ephemera, fabric scraps, inks, decorative papers and images culled from magazines. My actual workspace is very small – about one foot square on top of my desk. For large or complex projects I usually move to the kitchen or dining table.

I would not be without my computer, scanner/ photocopier/printer and digital camera and a variety of notebooks.

4. How has being in an artistic, online community accelerated your creative processes and impacted on the way you work? To what extent have you gained confidence and reinvented yourself over your time online?

Belonging to an online artistic community has encouraged me to post my writing and artwork. Judging by people's comments they seem like to likewhat I produce. When we started the Enchanteur adventure, if someone had asked me what I did in my spare time I would probably have replied that I enjoyed creative writing and creative artwork. Now when people ask me I say that I am an artist. I would never have had the self-confidence to say this without all the support and encouragement I have had from our group. It is also important to respond to creative challenges - even better if the prompt or subject is provided. In responding to challenges you may find yourself working in unfamiliar territory which is good in itself as it stimulates the brain.

5. Apart from being a traveller in cyber space you travel more than anyone I know Carol. Tell us about a place of the heart and share some of your favourite photographs of that place?

I have indeed travelled widely. However, my place of the heart is a small village on the coast of North Devon in South West England. I first went there as a child, aged 11. Over the passing years as a family we went there every year for a week around Easter. Even though my sister, brother and self  left home some 30 years ago, my parents continue to go there every year. I went back again in April 2004, after an absence of many years. What memories they stirred: of woodland walks with the first bluebells carpeting the woodland floor, apple blossom in its first pink blush, collecting sea glass on the pebbly beach, walks down sheltered gorges with streams burbling and smells or warm gorse flowers carried in the air.  The statue of the madonna is hidden in a corner of the garden of the cottage where we always stay. These are some of the photos I took.

2004042706_Heddons mouth 

2004043006_heather 

2004050208_bluebells 

 2004042503_statue

art courtesy of Carol Abel