Stories and storytelling

The following article appeared in the Tivyside Advertiser on 4th February. As too often seems to happen no-one to whom it really mattered actually saw it, which is sad. It happens all the time and sometimes makes us journalists wonder why we bother if the people we think will appreciate the publicity are not aware they are getting some. Reading a local paper is a prerequisite to understanding one’s own community since no-one can ever be a part of the life of the town without knowing at least a little about the local politics, education, and entertainments!

Storytelling Week

For seven days from Saturday February 1-8, storytellers around the UK will be telling tall tales and spreading the word that storytelling is not only alive and well, but kicking its way back into the mainstream. All of this is to celebrate Storytelling Week and in St Dogmaels at the Coach House, storyteller and former teacher, Beth Guiver will be showing why the form is growing in popularity especially for children.

‘Hearing a story from a real person, is so much more exciting and involving,than watching it on the tv,’ she says.

Having spent the past year telling stories at local carnivals and fairs, and venues like Jigso, and the Wildlife Centre, Beth knows well what children like.

‘I will be telling my Animal Wonder stories,’ she says. ‘Children love them. The characters fascinate them and make them laugh, like the frog who drinks all the water in the world, and the very clever monkey who outwits a dangerous, though charming, crocodile!’

Adults are of course welcome to sit in with their children, and it is not unusual for them to enjoy the storytelling as much as their youngsters do. Beth Guiver’s Storytelling event is on Saturday February 8, in the Coach House Museum/Cafe, St Dogmaels at 2.30pm and entry is free.

Birds and books at the Riverside Cafe


An exhibition currently showing at the Riverside Cafe in Newcastle Emlyn, brings together two gifted artists working in different disciplines, and each producing genuinely original work with distinctive style.

Eve O’Neill, a sculptor who uses a mix of materials to create her uniquely exquisite small birds, is known to many, as the birds once seen are never forgotten. They exert a powerful appeal, perhaps because they are, in plumage and shape, so like their live counterparts but they have the additional thrill of being available to touch and enjoy at close quarters. Eve has extended her work into creating larger pieces, and currently in the cafe are examples of the direction her work is taking with a delightful top hat with birds perched on it, titled A Charm of Goldfinches and an exquisite replica of  a powdered wig in 18th century style titled Madam de Pompadour’s Bird Song. ‘This is the beginning,’ Eve says, pointing out a trio of chicks in the wig, with beaks wide, singing or begging for food. ‘The next ones will have sound and lighting.’.  These beautiful creations  capture the excesses which were practised by those who wore them at the time, carrying as they do everything from birds and floral displays, to costly jewelled embellishment and trailing ringlets.

Maya Mitten whose work is hanging simultaneously, creates in collage. She breathes new life into books and prints, to bring them to a new and different incarnation as objects of art which require a second look. She conducts surgical operations on the books, carefully cutting out their middles and inserting images and glazing them. Like all her collage the images inserted range from curious to beautiful. The largest on display in the cafe is ‘The Kingdom of Mittendom’ a fantastic free-ranging landscape, with a nostalgic appeal. The Lost Circus and A Dream I Had,  turn landscapes into new stories, with characters that beg to be in a weird or wonderful narrative.

The show has been a great success and has certainly captured the attention of many of the customers who dine at the cafe and will continue to be there for the next fortnight. The two artists plan to show again this year from 18th May, for a week at the Corn Exchange Gallery in Cardigan’s Guildhall.