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fifth exhibition:
Otherworldly Tales

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Part of Scotland's year of stories event, Otherworldly Tales was the fifth Animus ~
Art for the World Soul
exhibition, in which Catkin Van Hoppe, Fergus Hall,
Julie MacLeod and myself (Shen) offered an Exhibition of paintings,
glass, porcelain and poetry created with gratitude for the quiet
wisdom and wonder of the Otherworld.

A spell-laden collection of Wonderworkings
building a bridge to magic, which ran throughout
August 2022 at the Hub in Eskdalemuir.

Catkin & I also opened their Otherworldly studios
on every second Saturday during the exhibition.

The action all took place in this quiet little valley:

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It included a new painting by Fergus Hall, Avilion.

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…as well as collaborations with poet Julie MacLeod, Fergus's long-time partner.

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Julie also published a limited edition book of her poems, Spirit Pathways.

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Catkin van Hoppe exhibited a collection of Forest Lullabies.

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Badger Light

In her own words, her work embodies…

…a revolution of quiet in a noisy world, a celebration
of gentleness and wonder. This a slow growing collection
of painted lullabies to remind us of the magic we are.

For magic is the Truth that lies beneath all things.

In this collection of forest lullabies I have painted
images to share a felt sense of peace and quiet magic.

The glint in the eye, the dawn mist, the connection
between humans and animals, between earth and heaven,
between the imaginal and the perceived real.

A connection that exists beyond, and beneath our thoughts.

These are the moments in my life where joy and love erupts spontaneously,
where we know that our connection to other creatures is deep, pure and profound.

A recognition that dissolves the surface of feathers and fur, leaf and skin
that reveals a wholeness in a way that words cannot possibly express.

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The Blackbird King

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Majestic Toad

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I (Shen) offered a series of illuminated, interactive 'spirit tents'.

The first contained dozens of jewel-like fused glass stones.
I suggested visitors take one while thinking of something
'that blocks or hinders you from the rich and joyful
dance with spiritual depth that is your birthright'.

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some of the just-fired offering stones.

The second spirit tent contained a collection of
dreaming porcelain heads, birds and angels.

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Some star-seeded paper was provided, with a suggestion
to wrap it around your stone with your 'Otherworldly
yearnings' written on it, and to plant it.

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A particularly lovely part of the exhibition for me was hearing back
from visitors to the exhibition who planted their seeded stones and so
began creating their own stories rooted in the wider world ~ like valley
resident Millie, who found the perfect wishing stone fairy nest:

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I also included fused and painted glass illustrations
for my children's book, Goodnight Cosmos…

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…as well as cast glass illustrations for Yeats's poem,
The Song of Wandering Aengus…

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…and some thoughts about answering the call of the Otherworld.

The word ‘Otherworld’ seems to call us to a different time and place to the one
we find ourselves in now. Throughout time people have felt a great longing
for times and places that are elsewhere ~ particularly ones not of this earth.

But this very moment and this very place are the most potent latch and key
to the Otherworld, which is woven through the fabric of the world we see.
As it says in The Gospel of Thomas, the Kingdom of the Father
is spread over the earth but people do not see it.

We can’t storm the gates of the Otherworld. But we can become more present
to that which reveals the cracks through which we can slip into that magical
realm of the spirit that we were all born from and will die into one day.

the liminal moments of dusk and dawn
the mystery of a night lit only by moon, stars and flame
the strange, rich world of dreams and imagination
the moment when an end becomes a beginning
the wisdom of solitude, silence and stillness
the call of music, song, soul-full art
and Otherworldly tales.

The exhibition was well received, with comments including

"Beautiful expositions! Giving rise to dreams…"

"So wonderful; so needed."

"Made v. emotional. Thank you."

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fourth show:
Shambhala at

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third show:
Alban Arthan

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second show:
Harvest Moon

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first show:
Cherish the Extraordinary Crystallizing Summer

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© shen chökyi 2013