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ART FIX: Exploring the inky depths of Jersey's legends

ART FIX: Exploring the inky depths of Jersey's legends

Friday 07 January 2022

ART FIX: Exploring the inky depths of Jersey's legends

Friday 07 January 2022


A local artist who finds her inspiration in the woodlands has taken a deep dive into Jersey's myths and legends.

Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic, creative and delicious content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.

Here's this week's offering...

The lino, the witch and the legends

 
 
 
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A post shared by Rae Le Main (@raelemain)

Local artist Rae Le Main's main source of inspiration is local woodlands. A former Highlands College student, she has been producing prints, sculptures and other items of fine art featuring local leaves, wood and mushrooms in recent years.

However, since October 2020, she has also been working on a series of lino prints inspired by local myths, which are now on display at Café Jac for the next three weeks. 

“This was a new challenge for me as these have been the most detailed designs that I have cut so far,” she explained.

“Following my research of reading into our local myths and legends, I selected four stories and created my interpretation to represent the story.” 

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Pictured: Rae has known about the story of the Black Dog of Bouley Bay since she was a child.

The Black Dog of Bouley Bay was an “obvious choice” for Rae, who said she has known about the story of huge black dog seen around roamed the cliff paths of Bouley Bay dragging its chain behind it since she was a child.

The artist also says she was “immediately drawn” to the legend of the the witches of Rocqueberg. 

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Pictured: "I instantly wanted to design this story with a feminist flare by making the witches the dominant characters,” Rae said about the witches of Rocqueberg.

“Knowing about and then reading into the witch trials in Jersey, and being aware of a flourishing pagan and wiccan community, I instantly wanted to design this story with a feminist flare by making the witches the dominant characters,” she said.

“The women who were burnt for witchcraft all over the world were women, who were seen as different, intelligent and independent, so I wanted to draw them to be powerful figures in the design.”

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Pictured: Rae noticed a lot of stories and myths featured fairies during her research. 

During her research, Rae noticed a lot of stories and myths featured fairies, so she felt one of her designs should reflect this.

“I came across La Lavoir des Dames and I liked that this specific story of fairies was around water,” she said. “It stood out for me, so I decided that this was the story I wanted to create a design for.”

The Lavoir des Dames is located is a large rock pool that can be found to the east of Sorel at the half tide point. Its name means ‘the bathing pool of the fairies’ but it is also known as the ‘Pits d’la Tueuthie’ which means ‘the well of the massacre.’ Legend says that men were turned blind if they saw the bathers.

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Pictured: The story of ‘The Dragon of St Lawrence’ tells "tales of betrayal, murder and justice of wrong doings" Rae said.

The final legend Rae decided to feature is that of ‘The Dragon of St Lawrence’. 

“Legend says that a terrible dragon once lived in St. Lawrence, killing people and burning houses all over the island,” she wrote in a post on Instagram. “The story tells tales of betrayal, murder and justice of wrong doings.”

“Whilst I was reading these stories, I did not know that we had one based around a dragon so I immediately wanted to do it,” she explained.

“I also liked that it included a well-known heritage site which meant I could be symbolic with the design.”

 

It's Panto season again!

Snow Queen JADC

Pictured: JADC originally planned to perform 'The Snow Queen' in January 2021.

After two years of waiting, Jersey Amateur Dramatic Club was thrilled to bring back traditional family fun to the stage of Jersey Arts Centre this week.

Originally planned for January 2021, 'The Snow Queen' pantomime premiered on Wednesday (5 January) with a reduced cast of 23 who will be taking to the stage for a series of performances with restricted capacity until 16 January.

This year’s original script was written by Alan Frayn and is based on the popular Hans Christian Anderson tale. The story centres on the struggle between good and evil, experienced by Gerda and her friend, Kai.

Snow Queen JADC Debbie Taylor

Pictured: Director Debbie Taylor stars as the Snow Queen.

“We are so happy to finally be bringing this Panto to the stage and look forward to providing fun and entertainment to young and old," Director and Chair of the JADC, Debbie Taylor, said.

For those who love the family fun of Pantomime, there’s plenty of traditional Panto elements including, “she’s behind you”, a community sing-song, and everyone’s favourite, the Pantomime Dame, this year played by Sean Jones in the character of Grannie Annie.

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CLICK TO LISTEN: An icy road to the stage...

Express spoke to Debbie for its latest podcastSubscribe to Bailiwick Podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer or Whooshkaa. 

 

Let’s shuffle!

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Pictured: Les Chaleurs will be meeting at Ebenezer Chapel Hall in Trinity tomorrow.

If learning traditional dances was among your New Year’s resolutions, Les Chaboleurs first meet-up of 2022 is taking place this Saturday (8 January) at 12:00 at Ebenezer Chapel Hall in Trinity. 

‘Les Chaboleurs’ are "the shufflers", the word derives from moving in "chabots", which is Jèrriais for clogs. 

In 2018, a group of people came together to have a go at traditional dances from Jersey, Guernsey, mainland Normandy, and Brittany – the sort of dances that are danced nowadays at fêtes and festivals and would have been danced in the past at countryside celebrations, at farms, and events such as black butter making.

“We had experienced joining in with Guernsey and mainland Norman dances at the annual Norman language festival, but had not been able to offer our own repertoire in the absence of a group that had in any meaningful way rehearsed,” the group said. 

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Pictured: The group welcomes anyone wishing to learn traditional dances.

“So, on the basis of written descriptions of dances in Jersey, some of which are variations on mainland dances, including one where the dancers limp for part of the dance holding one leg, which our mainland counterparts do not do, we started practising.”

“One may ask: what is the main difference between Norman and Breton dances? When it comes to round dances, the answer is, in principle, simple: Norman dances start by going to the right, whereas Breton dances start by going to the left,” they explained. “Much hilarity ensues in our sessions when some of us are unclear if we are performing Norman-style or Breton-style... but the fun is not in strict formation perfection, but in the enjoyment of the activity.”

After their meet-ups were cancelled during the pandemic, the shufflers will be starting from scratch this year and re-learning their repertoire. They are looking forward to newcomers joining them. 

“Les Chaboleurs are very much not a tight-knit professional troupe, but rather an open and inviting social meet-up where anyone who wants to come along and give the dances a go is welcome,” they said. 

“We do not perform in elaborate traditional costume - just a kerchief for those dancing the men's parts, and a gingham apron for the ladies, when the shaking of the apron is a part of the dance.”

 

Commemorating the Battle of Jersey 

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Pictured: The walk will start in front of St. Mary’s Parish Hall and end at the Royal Square in St. Helier.

This year’s Battle of Jersey commemorative walk will take place tomorrow (Saturday 8 January). 

Walkers are asked to gather in front of St. Mary’s Parish Hall at 08:45 to hear a talk on the battle and history of the Jersey Militia before setting off for the Royal Square at 09:00.

The walk, marking the French attempt to capture the island in January 1781, first took place following an initiative by Frank Falle and support from St. Helier’s Constable Simon Crowcroft. 

Both were keen to raise awareness of this important historic event, which culminated in a bloody battle and death of Major Francis Peirson in the Royal Square.  

After 10 years as the organiser Mr Falle has handed the reins to local historian, author and member of the Jersey Tourist Guides Association, Ian Ronayne. 

“Frank established the principle of starting from a different location each year, based mainly on muster points used by the Jersey Militia back in 1781,” Mr Ronayne said. 

“Given this year will mark something of a new start for the Battle of Jersey walk, we decided to commence near St. Mary’s Church, where men from the Militia’s 1st (North-West) Regiment would have gathered. 

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Pictured: The walk usually ends with a musketry display by the 1781 Jersey Militia in the Royal Square.

“I am looking forward to telling their story and that of all who took part in the battle, along with explaining the historic role and contribution of Jersey’s Militia.

“I am also hugely grateful to Frank – not only for asking me to take over leading the walks, which is a great honour, but also for his commitment to this cause over the years. Having regularly enjoyed Battle of Jersey walks in the past, it is important to me and I am sure many others that they continue for both historic and social purposes.”

There is no charge for joining, but walkers will be encouraged to donate to the Gurkha Welfare Trust, a charity strongly supported by Mr Falle. 

The route will follow public roads and designated pathways, and participants should be prepared to walk up and down hills on the way to town.

 

Roaring into the New Year

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Pictured: The first issue of 2022 marks the Year of the Tiger.

Jersey Post’s first stamp issue of 2022 celebrates the Year of the Tiger. Illustrated by Wang Huming, the Deputy Chief Designer of the Postage Stamp Printing Bureau of China Post, the issue includes a stamp and a miniature sheet.

In Chinese culture, tigers rule the mountains as the king of all animals and embody courage and strength. Tigers have prestige, are honourable and respected and people born in the year of Renyin tiger are born leaders, full of strength and confidence.

Wang Huming has created the designs for each of the issues in Jersey Post's Lunar New Year series and has been named as the most loved stamp designer by Chinese collectors in recent years.

The stamp depicts the Renyin tiger in gold metallic ink, symbolising courage and strength. With its head raised upwards, the tiger represents a leader full of power and confidence who protects the weak and is respected. 

The pattern on the head of the tiger is a Chinese word meaning 'the king', whilst in in the upper right corner is the Chinese character for ‘tiger’ in the style of calligraphy launched by the First Emperor of Qin around 222 BC. 

The Chinese seal which appears on the left of the illustration denotes renyin, Year of the Tiger.

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Pictured: In Chinese culture, tigers rule the mountains as the king of all animals and embody courage and strength. 

The miniature sheet features two tiger cubs playing with their mother, representing a guardian of children and babies, a protector. 

The border of the miniature sheet has a narrative in Chinese characters explaining some of the background of the Chinese zodiac followed by information regarding the Year of the Tiger.

The Year of the Tiger stamps are availbel to buy from all branches of Jersey Post, whilst philatelic stamp products such as Miniature Sheets, First Day Covers and Presentation Packs are available from the Broad Street and Rue Des Pres offices as well as online

 

Ferr-rocks

 Local artist Lishu Denton, who many will know for painting intricate scenes and portraits on stones, wood and glass, recently created a lovely keepsake for two pet ferrets. 

She painted a portrait of Ibis and Badger on rock for a customer as reminder of the “two lovely pets that are no longer with us”.

 

The Real Houseguys return!

 
 
 
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A post shared by John Liot (@johnliot)

With ‘The Real Housewives of Jersey’ returning to the screens late last year, John Liot and Ollie Watts brought back their podcast on the TV show, ‘The Real HouseGuys of Jersey’.

The pair started recording their recaps of the episodes in 2020, the morning after the morning after the first episode of the first season premiered on ITVBe and ITVHub.

“As Sun Tzu once said, ‘if there's gonna be trash TV, the least you deserve is a trash podcast to accompany it’," John said on Instagram.

Missed last week's Art Fix? Catch up HERE. 

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