Ellie and Myth do The Passion – in Port Talbot

My sister, Ellie Williams, has gotten involved with another fantastic project, this time in Port Talbot in Wales. Once again she’s working with her flatmate, Myrddin Wannell, and the international theatre company Wildworks, this time for the National Theatre for Wales. Driven by the actor Michael Sheen, The Passion is a piece of community theatre taking place over three days (22-24 April). Read more about it below!


The Enchanted Palace wins Guardian plaudits… Go Ellie! #wildworks

My Paloma-fabulous sister Ellie texted to let me know that The Enchanted Palace project with Wildworks that she and Myth have been working on has attracted a rave review in the Guardian. Ellie has devoted much of her effort to the creation of The Room of Royal Secrets, telling the disturbing story of Peter the Wild Boy.

Found in the forests of Hanover, near Hamelin (the town at the centre of the Pied Piper legend), Peter was brought to London by King George I, who was also Duke of Hanover. Achieving celebrity status in an era without X-Factor, Twitter and Facebook, Peter’s life inspired Daniel Dafoe to write a book about him Mere Nature Delineated: Or a Body Without a Soul with the following subtitle:

“Being observations on the young forester lately brought to Town from Germany. With suitable applications. Also, a brief dissertation upon the usefulness and necessity of fools, whether political or natural.”

However, Roger Moorehouse, in an extensive article on Peter’s life, reminds us that the notion of fame as fleeting and cruel isn’t confined to this era of d-list stars and throwaway magazines:

“Peter quickly became a celebrity. On one level, tales of his antics busied the London gazettes. Jonathan Swift, whose fictional ‘Yahoos’ Peter appeared to personify, noted sourly that “there is scarcely talk of anything else”… But Peter could not to live up to the popular interest invested in him and a fickle public quickly abandoned him in favour of the next unfortunate.”

In the peculiar way of things related to that other world of monarchs and royal households, Peter, now living an anonymous life away from the city, remained looked after. As Moorehouse writes: “His keep was paid by the Crown for nearly 60 years, through three reigns, and, when he died, a brass tablet was erected to his memory at royal expense.”

Ellie has essentially been creating a den, the sort of place Peter might have lived in and sought comfort in when retreating from a world of courtesans and pages, princes and princesses:

Writing in Friday’s Guardian, Amy Stone is well aware of the long-standing tensions between fashion and art, yet is bold in her assessment of the success of The Enchanted Palace:

“The show also (whisper it) makes for fantastic art: ghostly, ethereal and layered with subtext. These are museum pieces created for an exhibition true to the conviction that high fashion and high drama go hand in hand. Curators should take note: no more dutiful dusting down of designer archives, please. Fashion’s very essence is living, breathing and moving – something its art shows should cotton on to.”

The Guardian also wrote about The Enchanted Palace on 25 March, after the press preview, describing what visitors to the rooms will encounter and how they can interact with this immense creation of Wildworks and co.

I can’t wait to go.

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Super Ellie Sis gets the blogging bug

It would seem that my super-talented arty sis has caught the blogging bug. She is just starting out and has decided to share her thoughts as she works on The Enchanted Palace (and using WordPress just like her older bro).

Take a look and give her some encouragement!


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Wildworks transform Kensington Palace: Sis and Myth cast their enchanting magic #wildworks

Kensington Palace is being transformed

In association with WILDWORKS (including Ellie and Myth!), featuring Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and Echo Morgan

You may recall I wrote previously about my super-talented arty sis Ellie, and her mad creative genius house mate Myriddin Elliot Drualus Wannell (Myth), and their involvement in a project to transform Kensington Palace. Well, the pair of them are are hard at work at Kensington Palace as part of Bill Mitchell’s Wildworks team and, from what I’ve heard, loving the chance to work in a historic building that is steeped in intrigue and that has so many dark stories to tell.

The Enchanted Palace will run alongside a programme of major renovations that will commence in June and run until 2012. These works will see new public gardens created, as well as the introduction of new education and community facilities. The Kensington Palace redevelopment is a £12 million pound project that hasn’t been entirely without controversy (planners rejected the original proposals for the new entrance). If you are interested in the scheme, there is more information over at Museum Insider.

However, whatever the ins and outs of the wider development, The Enchanted Palace will open on 26 March 2010 and is already capturing imaginations across creative disciplines.

The fashion world has been particularly excited by the involvement of designers like Vivienne Westwood (and Ellie and Myth!), and a quick Google will show that Ftape, the online fashion resource, is just one of a large number of fashion sites with a piece about it on its site. Superbreak’s blogger Sarah is recommending The Enchanted Palace on her pages and exemplifies how travel and tourist companies have picked up on the fact that The Enchanted Palace will offer a unique experience to visitors to the capital.

Perhaps the best description is to be found on the pages of Kensington Palace itself:

From 26 March 2010, Kensington Palace will become The Enchanted Palace in a unique multisensory exhibition combining fashion, performance, and dazzling spectacle to reveal Kensington’s magnificent State Apartments in a magical new light.

In the sumptuous State Apartments, leading fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and illustrator/set designer Echo Morgan will each create spectacular installations in collaboration with WILDWORKS, taking inspiration from Kensington Palace and the princesses who once lived there – Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana. These extraordinary contemporary designs will be displayed alongside historic items from the Royal Collection and Kensington Palace’s Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, together with two dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret.

The complex and mysterious world of the royal court will be opened up through spectacular installations, interactive theatre, intimate storytelling, soundscapes, haunting film projections, and a series of intriguing clues hidden throughout the historic rooms, revealing tales of love and hate, surprise and sadness, secrets and jealousy.

Each room will have a powerful story to tell about Kensington Palace’s former royal residents and the life of the court – a world within a world, with its own time and rituals.”

For more information, please take a look at Kensington Palace – and consider treating yourself to a completely different sort of experience…

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Reasons why my sister is an ultra-cool and talented artist #fb

My sis

So Ellie tends to hide her light under a bushel. However, we who know realise that she is an ultra-cool and talented artist whose work is fresh and exciting. I know you think I might say that, as she is my sister, but siblings are not always the kindest critics. I don’t have a good record to be honest. I was apparently interrupted by the neighbour attempting to place my brother (equally talented and ultra-cool) on the bonfire.

This was a long time ago.

Not recently. Anyway…

Most of her stuff is not online at the moment as she is still reworking her online gallery. However, I have decided to embarrass her on my blog by showing the world (well, those who read this) how talented she is.

One of her early commissions was to work on The Compton Skyline Project in Brighton. It was a fantastic and ambitious piece of community art, installed on the roofs of houses and engaging local people in its conceptualisation and production. As well as painting, she is a dab-hand at sculpting and installations, working with both the Eden Project and Truro’s City of Lights Festival and Parade.

Ellie's installation of “Angel Gabriel” in Truro Cathedral, City of Lights 2007 - unattributed

Some parts of the country truly understand the arts and our broad impact on our quality of life. Ellie has worked with Arts for Health Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly where she and her friend Tom put on a workshop for disabled children to explore their creativity (take a look at page 12).

She has also been a part of the creative team at Wildworks, the Cornish theatre company with a reputation for challenging and innovative theatre. Wildworks specialises in working with the landscape and reworking mythical stories in a way that makes them relevant to the here and now. Recently, Wildworks put on the sensational show The Beautiful Journey. Have a look at the reviews. It’s a tremendous vote of confidence in her talents for her to be credited as a member of the team alongside her great friend, collaborator and house-mate, the equally talented and ultra-cool Myriddin Wannell (more on him another time!).

To give you a better idea of what fuels her creative imagination, probably best to read about Ellie in her own words:

“I was born in Essex and studied Art and Design at Wimbledon School of Art and followed this with a degree at Falmouth College of Arts where I gained a BA Hons in Fine Art.

Having grown up overlooking the Thames Estuary and it’s industrial and post-industrial landscape – oil refineries, anonymous edifices, scrub land and muddy-brown waters – it is of no surprise that when I moved to the other end of the country I landed at the heart of Cornwall’s contemporary mining landscape. Currently, I’m fascinated by these industrial yet ghostly and sombre places.

Most of my work is predominantly within the realms of drawing and painting, where I’m driven equally by the exploration of materials and the language of mark-making.”

Derelict tower at Coal House Fort, part of the landscape that inspired Ellie's early work

In 2008 a series of Ellie’s work on the china clay pits around Truro and St Austell was displayed on the King Harry Ferry, Feock, at the height of the holiday season (August) in an exhibition entitled Embark 2008. The online journal for Cornish artists, artcornwall.org has one of the pictures she exhibited online.

So what is she doing today?

She just emailed me with details of her latest project. She is working on The Enchanted Palace, with the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Echo Morgan – very, very exciting for a young artist!

If anyone wants to see what else she has been up to, have a look at her CV. If you want to acquire a piece of her work or are interested in engaging her talents, drop me a line and I will put you in touch if you can’t track her down on the web!

Good luck Ellie – you’re  totally great.

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