About Hedgespoken

Welcome fellow wayfarers and seekers of starlit wonder!

You may know us from Rima’s artwork or her blog or Tom’s writing or storytelling or perhaps you’ve stumbled across us for the first time. With your help, we turned a 1960’s Bedford RL lorry into a travelling off-grid theatre and home…

If this were a story, it’d begin something like this:

Once upon a time, there was an artist, a storyteller and a 1960’s Bedford RL lorry… They lived in troubled times – sometimes it seemed like the magic had all run out of the world and all that was left was trouble and distraction. So they decided to make something amazing, a device for spreading beauty and imagination, a spectacular creation to reignite the old enchantments hiding at the edges of things, and bring wonder back into the greying world. And so, they created HEDGESPOKEN… A vehicle for the imagination!

So… what is Hedgespoken?

It’s a travelling theatre…

With its drop-down stage, fancy awning and proscenium arch, Hedgespoken will serve as a stage wherever it goes. Whether it’s Tom and Rima telling tales and making mischief with handmade puppet shows, or it’s other actors, musicians or sword-swallowers using the stage-space as part of the Hedgespoken travelling show, our aim is to spread a little old magic by doing what we love. Hedgespoken has the wherewithal to act as a mini-theatre, a cabaret stage or acoustic music venue, anywhere. Perhaps your village green, or that disused urban space, wayside or park – Hedgespoken arrives, makes magic, plants seeds of imagination, and then leaves, in the tradition of wandering bards, travelling storytellers and itinerant puppet theatres and circuses that are so much part of our heritage.

 

 

An off-grid home…

Hedgespoken is also our home. We don’t need much, but we wanted to make a small but beautiful house. We wanted to create something that’s from a dream, from one of our dreams. If you’ve ever been inside a proper old showman’s wagon, or a well-kept vardo, you’ll have some idea – the kind of place you go into and it takes your breath away. We wanted this to be something that people look at in 50 years time and go, ‘Wow – they really made that well! Isn’t it beautiful!’

Work began on the design and building in 2014 as our crowdfunder ended, and as of April 2016 we have been living in this beautiful truck home. Leo Singleton – artisan engineer, chief architect and creator of Hedgespoken, and treasured genius – spent a year and a half making our dream into a reality; he has created an astounding and unique home, which is so much more than the sum of its parts. The artfully welded structure, clad in locally grown western red cedar is insulated with thermafleece wool insulation, with handmade windows and doors and mind-bogglingly clever winch systems to lower and raise the pop up bedroom roof section and stage. Out the back is a solar array-cum-canopy to make our back porch. Inside, the beautiful carpentry was done by more local craftsmen – Sam Dooley and Kit Goudge. Kel Odgers-Brown of The Way Out West made our stunning canvas canopy as well as the pop-up canvas, and Seth Kirton of Steward Community Woodland installed our 12v power system and lighting.The truck itself is painted in Crimson Lake and Classic Green heritage vehicle enamel from Craftmaster Paints.

The whole body of the theatre/house is designed to lift off the RL chassis, in case the truck is ever not fit for the job any more.

As for the fuel, the truck currently has a petrol engine and has been semi-converted to run on LPG. We plan in the long term to adapt its fuel usage to run completely on a more sustainable source such as recycled veg oil; this will involve replacing the petrol engine with a diesel one.

During the year of the build, our son was born, and so we moved in to our travelling home in April 2016 with a child of just over a year old (who has his own little room in the truck with a round porthole window and shelves for his toys) and a great winding road and new life as a family ahead of us.

 

 

A dream and a promise…

More than anything, though, Hedgespoken is our dream – we’ve thought long and hard about how best we want to live our lives, how to do what we love doing in a way that serves our communities and fulfils our dreams of living close to the land in a creative, sustainable way. Hedgespoken is our best shot, our way of taking our skills and our love of story, of art and magic, and living in a way that means we’re using all of that, all the time. And, it’s our promise, to ourselves and to our children, that we will refuse to live half-lives. Hedgespoken is a gamble – to live on the road is to embrace uncertainty and certain kinds of insecurity, after all – but it’s a gamble that we have to take, because we dreamed this in the week that we first met and we knew then that we had to find a way to make it real. With your help, we’re getting there, in Hedgespoken style, living lives that are full, not empty, nor half-lived or hollow – with your help, we’re already creating something beautiful, allowing something of the magical world to be born.

 

 

Throw a coin in our travelling circus hat…

We are now finding our way living on the road with a young child and unexpected mechanical dfficulties, learning the ways of this particular truck and making a living as we go by the sales of our arts at fairs and festivals and online. If you would like to support our wheel-turning and help keep us on the road, you can donate here or buy our wares from the Hedgespoken Press shop.
We are very excited about the possibilities of a project like this being funded by the people to whom it will mean the most – a true grass-roots hedgerow of pledgers!


What went before…

We both have experience of living semi-outdoor lives, and longed for a return to an existence that is more rooted amongst trees and dew and blackbird song. Rima has lived in converted Bedfords twice before in her life – once as a baby and small child when her parents travelled with her over four years in their old Bedford CF to the foothills of the Alps, and again a few years ago when she co-converted a Bedford TK horsebox (featured in Shelter Publications’ Tiny Homes – Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn) and lived and travelled in that, selling her art along the way.

 

Why this matters…

Hedgespoken is our attempt to try and live our dream right here and now in this life, fully and heartily and with all the colours available to us. It matters because of the flame that burns in all of us to really live our dreams, despite all those voices – inside and outside – telling us that that’s not possible. It matters because by sharing soul-nourishing arts with others in this way, we are re-weaving a tribe of those who yearn for this old magic that feels at once delightfully strange and very familiar. It matters because sitting under the stars by firelight together is a fundamentally old and human thing to do, and because when we sit there in the woodsmoke and owlsong and crackle of darkness, we Remember…

 

 

With your help, we’ll take old stories and new stories alike out on the road and weave a trail of that Remembering all across this green island and beyond. Who knows what might happen next?

hedgespoken-gallery-12

8 thoughts on “About Hedgespoken

  1. Loving your idea. I have no cash as Atos et al have seen to that but perhaps you could use a basket full of wools and pieces of materials to decorate scenery or make new puppets etc. Pots pans cutlery cup plates are always available. I am part of an green project that promotes recycling. Karen Berger started Waste not Want not (WnWn) a few years ago and we have a monthly event in Honiton where people bring unwanted goods and take away a new treasure. You would be amazed at some of the things we have donated so please don’t hesitate to ask. We have prevented tons of stuff going to landfill as well as creating a community event. I can’t promise we will have what you need but I am willing to help if I can.

    1. Helen, we’ll be visiting you for sure – thank you! Materials are always good – we used a load to make ‘feral bunting’ for the Uncivilisation festival a few years ago ;)

  2. 1st of November is the next one and its at the Community church hall at the bottom of Honiton High street, we have cake and coffee too! Karen and I look forward to meeting you soon. Kind regards WnWn.

  3. Hi, I’ve just discovered your pages. I think the whole idea is brave and very romantic and I wish you the very best of luck. This has to work. There are going to be days when the dream begins to cloud over. When the reality seems an impossibility. But I’ve a good feeling about you two. Keep going with it. Let me know when you reach Bristol..

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