Today I had the pleasure of watching some events and attending others, there was an internet connection issue (despite Mr. G installing Boosters – we think it has to do with Lockdown and every house using the internet)! So I am playing catch up a little.
I started with this event
PAINTING THE LOST WORDS
Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
Join the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning artist as she paints images from the contemporary classic The Lost Words, her collaboration with Robert Macfarlane from her studio in Pembrokeshire.
Haymakers may also have attended the sublime Spell Songs concert at Hay last May and you can revisit her wonderful conversation with the poet, Mererid Hopwood at the Winter Weekend on Hay Player.
The painting she creates, a gilt hare, will be auctioned at the end of the week for the Hay Festival Foundation.
Jackie Morris grew up in the Vale of Evesham, dreaming of becoming an artist and living by the sea. She studied at Hereford College of Arts and at Bath Academy, and went on to illustrate for the New Statesman, Independent and Guardian among many other publications. As a children’s author and artist, she has created over forty books, including beloved classics such as Song of the Golden Hare, Tell Me A Dragon, East of the Sun, West of the Moon and The Wild Swans. She collaborated with Ted Hughes, and her books have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Jackie now lives in a cottage on the cliffs of Pembrokeshire, which she shares with a small pride of cats and various other gentle creatures.
It is a great book and I am delighted to hear that every school in Scotland has a copy and there is a campaign to get it into every school in the country and it should be!
When these words disappeared I thought of using it as a basis and then discovered these two were already on it! Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.
This event was a gorgeous experience. It was magic to watch Jackie create a new painting and also talking to us all in chat. Hay Festival have shared some photos publicly on Twitter so I have posted them here.
Music was playing and the whole session became meditative – some people were very emotional.
The most wonderful generosity is Jackie is letting Hay keep the painting for an auction and there is a hope so limited prints will be available too – keep your eye on the website for details.
Peter: Jackie is very kindly – astonishingly, spectacularly kindly – donating the finished painting to the festival. It will be auctioned to raise money for more digital Hay, and we will be producing limited edition prints and posters over the summer. Sign up to our newsletter for further news.
Jackie answered our questions throughout as well as a proper Q&A at the end.
Yes, there is a stuffed hare on my desk. It was roadkill. Very sad. I have far too many stuffed creatures in my house. They pose beautifully but all contain sad and tragic tales.
and later she pointed out…
And a badger skull.
She explained why she uses salt.
Salt. Breaks the surface tension of the water, spreads the pigment.
It was relaxing watching her painting and talking about her work.
Jackie hopes that the new generation will have the courage to express themselves, to
see what’s precious, realise that what they have to say is relevant. Trust that their voice is important.
I used moongold for this one. Seemed only right.
There’s no rules. I go over and over in layers, sometimes dry, sometimes wet. Two glasses of water, one to wash brush, one for clean water to mix with paint.
Some of the comments were also amazing so I am sharing a couple of these too.
Hello, I love your art and books. I am a primary school art teacher in central London. My year 5 class connect with your work and nature every year.At that age they often feel as if they are at the edge of a wood and are emerging into something less familiar and exciting. They connect to the feeling of change and loss. We share Artful Reading together. I read, usually your books and they listen,draw and dream. Thank you. – Arabella Davies
Thank goodness for Jackie Morris, her hares and moons and skies! — Caroline Slough
It was magic in action! Alchemy.
Jackie’s Q&A answers were fantastic and her list of independent bookshops was UK wide and seemed almost infinite! Amazing.
Feel blessed that I got there in real time to be a part of it!
I watched this event – which I knew some of the science/technology has shaped culture, I knew about our ancestors sleep patterns. And how fireflies communicate. It was interesting to hear about Ramirez’s research. The talk is humorous and light. She is an engaging speaker. It was great to hear about the Greenwich Time Lady and the fact that her family sold time for 100 years! And the artificial light phenomena and the retina – who knew!
I liked hearing about how and why the approach to writing changed for her.
THE ALCHEMY OF US: HOW HUMANS AND MATTER TRANSFORMED ONE ANOTHER
Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
In the bestselling tradition of Stuff Matters and The Disappearing Spoon: a clever and engaging look at materials, the innovations they made possible, and how these technologies changed us. In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions-clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips-and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; how the necessary brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway’s writing style; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid’s cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa. These fascinating and inspiring stories offer new perspectives on our relationships with technologies. Ramirez shows not only how materials were shaped by inventors but also how those materials shaped culture, chronicling each invention and its consequences-intended and unintended.
Ainissa Ramirez is a materials scientist and sought-after public speaker and science communicator. A Brown and Stanford graduate, she has worked as a research scientist at Bell Labs and held academic positions at Yale University and MIT. She has written for Time, Scientific American, the American Scientist, and Forbes, and makes regular appearances on PBS’s SciTech Now.
I enjoyed watching Roddy Doyle talk, although it was hard to hear about pubs – hadn’t missed that particularly until now. Hearing about the new book was exciting.
‘One of the best ways to tell a story is to get the characters talking.’
Roddy Doyle talks to Peter Florence
FICTIONS: LOVE – A PREVIEW
Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
A festival special preview of the new novel published later this year by the Booker-winning author of Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha, and the Barrytown Trilogy.
One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant.
Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be. Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them. Their first buoyant forays into adulthood, the pubs, the parties, broken hearts and bungled affairs, as well as the memories of what eventually drove them apart.
As the two friends try to reconcile their versions of the past over the course of one night, Love offers up a delightfully comic, yet moving portrait of the many forms love can take throughout our lives.
Finally I caught up with Carlo Rovelli. Another amazing talk – interesting. I hate that word in reviewing but it really was. His analogies of time and how it works. A great bit of programming between the science events.
‘We grow old together… we think this is structure of time itself. It isn’t…’
If physics had been this compelling at school… I may have kept up with the science club! He really does make difficult principles so clear and accessible, I filled myself with Rovelli’s knowledge.
‘The events of the world do not form an orderly queue, like the English – they crowd around chaotically like the Italians.’
Without heat we wouldn’t have a concept of time. MIND blown!
And then to learn this is a man who fell into learning physics! Curiosity and not wanting a boring life. These are the things that spurred him to learn all this.
THE ORDER OF TIME
Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
The superstar physicist thinks about the nature of time and our emotions. He reflects upon his native Italy’s response to the coronavirus; and on what we really fear – the fact we may all die.
Rovelli is a theoretical physicist who has made significant contributions to the physics of space and time. He has worked in Italy and the US, and is currently directing the quantum gravity research group of the Centre de physique théorique in Marseille, France. His books Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Reality Is Not What It Seems, and The Order of Time are international bestsellers which have been translated into forty-one languages. Chaired by John Mitchinson.