Mary loves to tell traditional myths and legends from home and abroad to people of all ages and abilities. Stories of wonder, creation, romance, history and the natural and supernatural world, tales of the fairy realm, selkies, giants, and ghosts; the funny and the gruesome! Of particular interest are the tales of the Scottish Borders where she lives, and she enjoys making links to the occasion, season or location. Mary’s telling style is warm, inclusive and fun. She includes riddles and tunes, ballads and songs as appropriate. Supporting creative art and writing sessions can be tailored to combine with storytelling visits.
Inspired from childhood by nightly Irish fairy stories from her father, and by her mother’s music, Mary, her brother and sisters are all storytellers, musicians and artists, so naturally she believes nurturing the creative spirit is essential. For Mary there is real magic in conjuring up a fleeting, captivating atmosphere where a story can live vividly for teller and listener, a place of connectedness, a 'well of being'.
Mary also tells as ’Mistress Quill’. Dressed in historically accurate medieval costume, ‘Mistress Quill’ enthrals with stories of ’The Invaders and The Invaded’- tales drawn from Roman, Anglo Saxon, Norse, Viking, Celtic and early Christian traditions, from largely pre-literate times at the roots of our own rich and varied culture. Created with support from Enterprise Music Scotland in 2012, a visit by ‘Mistress Quill’ primarily targets schools audiences P4-S2, and aims to provide a tactile, atmospheric experience, contributing to the framework for learning as detailed in the aspirations of the Curriculum for Excellence. Period recorder music and curious objects enrich a visit, and an optional art session is offered using handmade quill pens.
Mary is well established in the Borders as a storyteller and artist, has been a practicing visual and creative artist for over thirty years, and is an experienced workshop leader. She has worked with groups and individuals from nursery to university level, the very elderly, those with special needs and mental health issues. Mary has worked for Schools, Libraries, Museums and Galleries, organisations including Historic Scotland, R.N.I.B, and Borders Forest Trust. She has told at Historic Houses including Traquair House, Bowhill House and Duns Castle, at The Scottish Storytelling Festival, Aberdeen Storytelling Festival, Borders Book Festival. Extended projects include Victoria Park Centre for adults with learning disabilities (2009-11), ‘Artful-Space for Stories’-mental health and well- being project (2007) and ‘Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Awards’ (2010+12).
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