Losing my marbles (and finding them) on the Mother Island

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Sunday the 20th March 2016 was the first day of Spring, and for the second time, artist Femke van Gent initiated a motely gathering of artists on Church Island, Menai Bridge. What better way to see the first day of spring than through a marble? So, I formulated a plan to share the marble experience with others, and to make myself the centre of a marble vortex.

I used the starter kit for a “drift” as discovered on mythogeography.com as a guideline for my guidebook to “Drifting with Marbles” ( if you don’t know about Mythogeography and the art of Walking Sideways, it’s a wonderful way of experiencing any environment, not just the beautiful setting of Church Island)

11th hour preparations for the Marble drift.

We met in the illustrious surrounding of the car park behind the Jade Garden restaurant. A Duck (Andrew Agace), a Marble-Lady, the Marmaladies, wildlife expert John Bratton, and the Spirit of Spring herself, Femke van Gent, amonst others. I handed out some ‘Drifting with Marbles’ books, and pouches of marbles, then we all headed of into the woods. Some chose to join John on a nature walk, some followed the duck, many chose to explore in their own way. The sun was shining, the woods were full of walkers and families. It felt like spring.

I spent my day drifting through the woods with my marbles. When I met someone, I would invite them to run a marble through my costume…..this was mainly met by confusion….

“ Hi, would you like to put some marbles in my teapot?”

“What?”

“Go on, just put some marbles in there and see what happens….”

“Erm….ok….I haven’t got any money…”

“That’s ok, its free”

“Oooh, that’s really cool. Where do the marbles go? Why are you doing this?”

“It’s the first day of Spring”

“Oh…OK. Thanks”

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I spent the majority of the afternoon as a solo marblist, exploring the woods with my marbles. I found lots of fallen trees that made great runs, and so many holes and crevices to measure with marbles. Floating through the sun splattered woods there was the magical tones of flute music, tempting me deeper and deeper in.

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As I drifted, I came across beautiful interventions created by Syn (Rachel Rosen, Teri RH and Holly Evans)   A space to relax and let beautiful sounds wash over you…..a place to sit and view the world through free hanging, gently moving frames; a new vista every second, and a beautiful glade to smell, feel and absorb the day through all the senses. I eventually found the source of the beautiful melodies…Hilary Davies and her magic flute at the highest point of the landscape.

From this location, the only way was down, and gravity pulled us all gently down to the tiny church of Llandysilio, where we were treated to some of the story of the area, and its patron saint Tsilio from Gareth Hughes, church warden. The tiny church was full, and to close the proceeding on Church Island, the Marmaladies Katherine Betteridge and Sioned Eleri Roberts,  performed an innovative and powerful piece, using Violin, Clarinet and mp3s sent out previously to participant’s phones. Marbles don’t like being left out, so in a silent moment, a few escaped and bounced and clattered across the stone floor.

The drift continued across the bridge to TOGYG for the sharing of food and drink and music made from vegetables, courtesy of the ever resourceful Marmaladies.

It felt like a good and proper  way to welcome the new season.

Additional photo’s by Femke van Gent and Katherine Betteridge.