We have wandered roads together
played and learned and found each other
hand in hand the journey winds
through the back roads of memory
through the pathways of new learning
up the stairs where magic beckons
into caverns dark
and to the morning.
Waking we have joined the circle
glowing dawn forever holds us.
Anita Marie Moscoso and Heather Blakey, each of whom have established themselves at Bancroft Manor, have been working collaboratively and spending some time Dansing with the Macabre. If you visit the site you will find that it is full of interesting stimuli and has lots of prompts that folk can work on in their journals.
When she is not off ‘Dansing with the Macabre’ or running a creative Lived Life Narrative course in Castlemaine, Heather Blakey is working in her apartment at the Manor, wandering down memory lane, remembering the times she travelled with a host of Soul Food patrons. She is busily putting together a retrospective of the decade when she created and managed the Soul Food Cafe.
Suzanne, who revels being in nature and had recently made Descansos, inspired by all the talk about visiting cemeteries “had the compelling urge to stop and take photos of stone angels“.
There are diverse spaces available at Bancroft and you certainly do not have to confine yourself to the Manor House. She hasn’t revealed her location yet but I assume that Raven’s Apothecary is located deep within the woods that are a part of the estate.
If you established yourself in space at on the estate what would it be like? What projects might you be inspired to undertake? Check out the Artist Loft in the Soul Food Cafe to see just what an interesting group of creatives found their way into the site.
Are you brave enough to go into the woods at Bancroft Manor and meet with some of the darker residents who talented artists such as Brian Froud so imaginatively capture.
Perhaps you will join in and Danse with Macabre and use information you glean to write a dark dark fairy story.
All associated Bancroft Manor sites are free of pop-ups and advertising. Perhaps you will join, help to promote this creative collective and help us keep the sites free of corporate advertising. Or maybe you would like to extend the reach of your creative endeavours, whatever they may be, and, upon subscribing, secure a link featuring an image of your work. For details about joining check out the FAQ page.
Back in 2014 Thalia found the key that enabled her to enter Riversleigh, a virtual retreat former members of the Soul Food Cafe remember affectionately. This key opened the door to a healing haven where she worked for an extended period. Spend some time meditating, allow yourself to go through a portal and who knows, you may just find the key to Bancroft Manor, the newest of Soul Food’s retreats. It is possible that like Thalia you will establish a soulful healing haven.
A Key to Riversleigh
It was one of those lovely winter days when I was lying on a branch of a tree, content to have shifted into a small female human and be hidden – or so I thought. Suddenly the raven flapped down beside me and squawked. I took it to mean “hello” so I responded appropriately. She muttered as she reached under her wing and pulled out a small key on a string with her beak.
Extending it forward towards me, she nodded and murmured. I tentively reached out and she nodded in response. A key! Whatever for? As if she could hear my thoughts, she replied, “It is the key you will need as you travel in a variety of ways and many places. Use it wisely!”
I was already in this realm of Riversleigh, so it wasn’t for me to get in. Where might I need this? Always more questions than answers. As I mulled this over, the raven flapped her wings and took off for places beyond my sight, so she didn’t want me to shift into a raven and join her. I clutched the key in my palm as I fastened the string around my wrist for safekeeping. Settling back down to once again to resume my time of being small and hidden, I pondered the nature of things appearing when you least expect. What was next?
Cartoon by Jonny Sun
Being open and vulnerable with your loneliness, sadness and fear can help you find comfort and feel less alone, says writer and artist Jonny Sun. In an honest talk filled with his signature illustrations, Sun shares how telling stories about feeling like an outsider helped him tap into an unexpected community and find a tiny sliver of light in the darkness.
Being persistent and consistently trying to reach out and be heard can be hard to sustain. Listen to Jonny Sun and you will appreciate how, as a creative who spends a lot of time alone, you may benefit from joining and actively engaging, connecting with others in the Bancroft Collective.
Bancroft Manor is a tiny sanctuary where people can connect and prove that we are not necessarily as alone as we may think we are.
Check the FAQ and consider whether it is worth investing in a project designed to bring like-minded people together.
It’s a dream of many writers: to spend time at a quiet colony or residency where they can focus on their work. But all too often the only writers’ residencies we hear about are prestigious and only accept a tiny percentage of applicants who are charged to even apply.
It is true that there are lots of other wonderful writers residencies to choose from, many of which are less competitive, so you’re more likely to get accepted.
Alternatively, you might consider taking advantage of my offer to provide a ‘room of your own’ and mentorship in the heart of Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. Castlemaine is a town nestled in a region well known for its artistic vibe. My aim is to provide short term residency and to make available a supportive environment which provides writers or artists with space in which to develop their ideas.
Members of the Bancroft Collective and those who were active at Soul Food are eligible for residency. Other applicants will be asked to take the time to communicate and check conditions, expectations and availability. They will also be asked to
- provide a short biography which provides some background of their creative endeavours
- present a short project description, describing what they intend to do during the residency, and why
- a statement outlining the benefit of the residency to either their professional development or the successful realisation of a project (or both).
There is a standard accommodation fee of $50 per person per night, with a minimum stay of 4 nights or $200 for a seven-night stay.
Residents at Bancroft Manor obviously have active imaginations or they would never have signed up and taken up residence in this virtual Manor. Some of them, like members of the Writing for Wellness course in Castlemaine, will be working with effective techniques to make the most of what Jung coined ‘Active Imagination’.
Inspired by the work of this miniaturist, the work involved in creating the worlds most expensive dolls house and the TV series, the Miniaturist, I am giving some thought to how I might attract a Miniaturist to join us at Bancroft Manor. I love the idea of a shadowy figure leaving mysterious little bundles of careful crafted minatures on my doorstep.
Meanwhile, the old gardener’s cottage at Bancroft Manor has been calling me and, with the view of restoring it, I am moving from the Manor into this much loved old residence.
I am looking forward to refurbishing this space as a place to spend time enjoying the birdsong, savouring the cheerful song of the creek as it rambles over weathered granite boulders and to scattering fresh seeds in the old wild garden that surrounds the house.
There is plenty of space on the estate! Perhaps you will come, share your special creative perspective and help breathe life into the place.