Is it really that time again? As we gallop headlong into the festive madness – with the spectre of a new Marvel-style villain by the name of Omicron gathering force – we escape to the realms of fire and water for solace, stories and inspiration.
Following sparks from the Firelight flames and oceanic currents from At First Light, Issue Seven sees us journey deeper into the black history of our islands with folk songwriter Angeline Morrison; swim against the tide of romantic ocean imagery in literature; forge enlightenment from hot metal with Sky Arts’ Landmark finalist Steve Anwar; discover how water makes us human with anthropologist Dr. Luci Attala; and dive through the shallows with botanical illustrator Sarah Jane Humphrey to take a closer look at the wonders of seaweed.
Be prepared for near-death experiences, nutritious cow poo and dancing yourself out of a rut along the way…
So step aside into the quiet, stoke the fire, pour yourself a glass and tuck into this latest serving of Strike-flavoured fortification.
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Adventure, escape, solace, the unknown. For centuries writers have captured the water that covers two thirds of the world’s surface in a certain way. And as readers we have revelled in it. But in the age of the climate crisis, is the time for romanticising the ocean long gone?
Folk musician Angeline Morrison is getting ready to record a new body of British folk song: a powerful and evocative telling of black British history. The project and its title take some of their inspiration from two events in 1903, revealing aspects of our history that have long hidden in plain sight.
Fresh from a winning streak on Sky Arts’ compelling public art contest, Landmark, and with a commission from Yorkshire Sculpture Park under his belt, you’d be forgiven for thinking Sheffield artist Steve Anwar has been making sculptures all his life. Just two years since he focused his attention on the art form, he sheds light on the ideas and forces that have helped forge his work…
What helps you create? Whether it’s writing, drawing, shooting or even whittling, for so many of us, music makes the world go round. In fact, we couldn’t imagine working without it. Fascinated by how other creative souls get stuff done, we decided to unpick this causal connection by speaking to different creators about their practice, process and how music fuels their fire.
Falmouth-based botanical illustrator – and this issue’s cover artist – Sarah Jane Humphrey’s exquisitely detailed drawings capture the magic that happens when natural science and artistic inspiration meet. When a mesmerising encounter with an “underwater garden” of illuminated seaweed coincided with a lockdown gift of uninterrupted studio time, she embarked on an unexpected voyage of personal and professional discovery…
For too long we have focused on what we can do with water, how we can use it, profit from it, control it. We spoke to anthropologist Dr Luci Attala about caring for water and relinquishing our imagined control…
As icy mornings bring shivers, frosted windows and a longing for blanket warmth, it’s hard to believe that just two months ago we were racing into the Atlantic for a dawn dip.
Since then, we’ve been thinking about the role of the ocean in fiction, inspired by our At First Light talk on the sea and creativity. For author and At First Light speaker Tom Vowler, the sea represents a character, an atmosphere, a role that provides more than place, which interacts with the psychology of the characters: "More and more, my characters came to depend on the sea, or sought solace in the sea."
So we asked our League of Strangers for some recommendations…add these titles to your list for a dose of sea salt-infused reading.
Looking backwards, looking forwards... We just can't help ourselves at this time of year can we? Well, the seeds for Issue Eight (out in March 2022) have already been well and truly sown, with a behemoth feature I've been working on to explore our broken food and farming systems, and meeting some of the inspiring folk who are working tirelessly to grow better, fairer, cleaner, healthier, climate-fixing ways of feeding ourselves. Here's a little taster to whet your appetite... and, more importantly, we'd love to hear from any of you who'd like to contribute to/ have ideas for our upcoming ROOTS issue.