Monday, May 11, 2009

Storytelling, Graphics and an Audio Story

I am posting early this week. I am going to North Carolina for a couple of weeks to play with friends, wiggle my toes in beach sand, gather shells, eat shrimp, drink daiquiri at sunset, go fabric shopping and enjoy some of that lovely warm weather that May brings to the Carolinas. My computer and cell phone will be staying at home! But I promise, I'll think of ya'all as I lie on the beach soaking up the sun!

In the meantime... here's a few words about storytelling before I tell (and show) you what I have been up to with my "storytelling" pals over the past couple of months...

Storytelling Isn't Just for Little Kids

It still amazes me that so many people think that storytelling is just for kids... something that you do with them before they go to sleep at night, something that happens at school that they tell you about or an event you take your kids to at the library each month!

Many folks haven't really given much thought to the fact that we are surrounded in story. We hear and tell stories everywhere! At home over the dinner table, at family reunions, at church every Sunday, in the hallways at work, at gatherings with our friends... oh I could go on and on. We are all storytellers whether we realize it or not.

Some of us take storytelling to the next level and attend courses, read "how to" books about how to develop and learn a story, or listen and watch how professional storytellers tell to pick up ideas and tips to improve our narrative when telling to groups at work or at play.

Then there are those of us who go on to do a "Masters" or "PhD" in storytelling by attending everything we possibly can that relates to learning the "art of storytelling". Storytelling courses, university programs, specialty master workshops at conferences that can help us to become proficient in the use of story for our work (executives, marketing professionals, human resource professionals, workshop leaders, public speakers, counsellors, coaches, therapists, etc.) or to become professional storytellers with a specialty in the area of story that most appeals to us (telling to children, young adults, adults; working with folk tales, humour, healing, training or personal story to name but a few) and then find "gigs" in the schools, with corporations, festivals, conventions, conferences, etc.. to support our "habit" (giggle) either part time or as our main source of income.

Do you remember before the advent of television, listening to story hours on the radio and exercising your imagination? Do you long for that kind of experience again? Do you enjoy listening to Garrison Keillor? What about the "Rest of the Story" stories of Paul Harvey? What about Stuart McLean?

If this type of story for adults appeals to you, then you would enjoy going to local or regional adult storytelling performances, story festivals, storytelling guilds that hold monthly get togethers (if you are lucky enough to have one in your town/city) or even conferences like the the Storytellers of Canada, the NSA (National Storytelling Association) in Jonesboro, Tenn. and the NSN (National Storytelling Network) in the U. S.

There are storytelling associations all over the world... in the British Isles, Sweden, Germany, Australia, and Indonesia are just a few of the many who hold festivals and conferences. Want to learn more? British Storyteller Tim Shepard has a Storytelling FAQ that although not updated in some time is a tremendous resource.

What I've Been Up To...

As some of you know, I am the Publicity Chairperson for the 2009 Storytellers of Canada Conference which is being held in Victoria this summer. Since the end of February, I have been putting together the marketing plan for across Canada and the U.S. and executing it through emails. Thank heavens I have two wonderful people from our local guild who will be in charge of doing all the local publicity when the time comes.

In addition to that BIG job, I am also the graphics person (ah... something I love to do!) and writer of "marketing material". It has been my job to come up with a number of graphics to go along with the emails and other publicity *stuff* I have been jotting down. Two of the articles I wrote will be published in the June edition of the Storytellers of Canada magazine. Each month I have had to come up with ideas for the Storytellers of Canada monthly e-newsletter in addition to "Come to our Conference" emails that quiver with all wonderful, exciting things you will do, see and experience (chuckle) in Victoria. Quite the challenge to say the least!

I am pretty chuffed with myself right now. The marketing plan I put together along with the graphics and emails I have written are working beautifully. Like most art organizations, we rely on grants and this year, because of the economic downtown, our grants were cut. We really need to watch our pennies. So far, the only expenditures we have incurred in getting the word out are for the printing of glossy postcards, posters, bookmarks and tickets. I have taken advantage of every "free" way or idea I could think of to market the conference.

Well boy did I get some exciting news at the end of last week. Right now, with still nearly two months to go, our master storytelling workshop is sold out and the conference (with its four other workshops and a ghost story panel) are three quarters full. We are headed towards a sell out and one of the largest conferences we have ever had in its 17 year history. I did a cartwheel (in my mind of course) when I heard that. I am still bouncing around like a woman possessed (in my mind too... my back is still giving me some grief). How exciting is that???

I must say that I am particularly proud of the posters and bookmarks I created for the two public storytelling performances that will be held during the conference. What a thrill it is to see your work spread all over town! "My" bookmarks are in the bookstores where the performance tickets are being sold to the public and in the Victoria and surrounding area libraries. "My " posters will shortly be sprinkled in every nook and cranny we can find in Victoria that will allow us to post them.

Last week I came up with the idea of putting the posters up on the Victoria Storytellers Guild website along with a "sample storytelling performance" audio file. This will allow folks in and outside of Victoria who hear about the performances and want to find out more, to hop on over to the website for more information and hear a "story performance" right on the website!

If you'd like to see the posters I made and hear an unforgettable, true "Vancouver Island" audio story by Nanaimo, B.C. storyteller Margaret Murphy, just click here to go to the VSG site. Scroll down the page until you see "Upcoming Special Events". There are two story performances, "Island Tales by Island Tellers" and "Tales at Eventide". Click on the link "Details and ticket info" to get to the posters. Margaret's story is a clickable mp3 audio file near the bottom of the page. I'd love to hear your comments about the posters and the story, so please come back to this post and leave a comment for me!

See you in a couple of weeks... and keep your fingers crossed that we reach a sell out. What a wonderful thank you "gift" to give to the handful of volunteers who have worked so hard over the past two years to make this conference happen!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gone Digital...

Here's my small offering to the world of art for this week!

I was recently invited to a baby shower for a neighbour. Here's the cute little card I made to go with the gift! I was pleased as punch when she and the other women at the baby shower ooh'd and aah'ed over such a sweet little card personalized with her name.
It went together quickly as I did it all digitally, printed it out on glossy paper, added two little buttons on each end of the ribbon below the fence (it's pink grosgrain ... even if it does look white in the photo) and taped it to a watercolour weight card from Strathmore.

This second digital piece is one I made for a "quote swap" in my art techniques group. Even after doing 32 - 5"x5" cards, I liked it so much, I had a T-shirt made for hubby with this graphic printed on it as a fun little surprise gift! He loved it... and all of the folks in his office agreed that this was definitely HIM (he loves coffee!) when he wore it to work on Jean's Day!

I seem to get on card "kicks" every now and again and really enjoy it... especially when ideas just pop into my head!
Have a great week.