Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘John Knapp-Fisher’

Storytelling Starters ~ Seeing: a tribute to John Knapp-Fisher

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Early last Saturday morning, a very old friend of mine passed away – the artist, John Knapp-Fisher. John lived in the North Pembrokeshire village of Croesgoch. He had his gallery and studio there, all part of his home, and I knew him for almost 50 years.

Knowing John and seeing his work over time has given me a lot to think about. Principally he made me think about seeing. John was primarily a landscape artist. His painting and drawing drew attention to the world as he saw it and felt it. In the strong way they did that, they became a means for other people to see it too.

e 26 old GoodwickOne afternoon a few years ago, John and I drove together to Goodwick to look at where the 19th century Welsh storyteller, Shemi Wâd, had lived. The street has long gone. But John and I had studied a photograph of it – it’s the photo I’m including here – and for an hour or two we walked around, looking at where that street had been from every conceivable angle. I noticed what exact attention John paid to the details of seeing, the lie of the land, the different perspectives.

I didn’t know it at the time but the painting that emerged not very long later must already have been starting to live in John’s mind. It was a painting of Shemi and his street, a kind of view into an imagined past and also a recognition of how the past lives on.

I cherish the memory of that afternoon, as of so many other times with John. It made me think about how visualisation may work for an artist – different in some ways than for a storyteller but in some central ways the same. It strengthened my awareness of the powerful links between memory and imagination and that both are part of seeing. It also made me realise more fully than ever before how consistently John worked, his mind in a constant engagement with the world around him, its colours and shapes, how it changes and how it stays the same. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ An Easter Find

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

I was scratching my head about this week’s blog. A piece of synchronicity gave me the answer.

An Easter Find

Layers of story

On one side of the synchronicity – synchronicities always have at least two sides! – is my native Pembrokeshire where I’m spending Easter. Once again, I’m reminded how the place is layered with stories like the geological strata of the land itself. One layer is the magical legends of the saints. There are memories of them everywhere especially in the names of places and the many little old churches. The stories of the saints themselves are an extraordinary combination of fact, medieval myth and spiritual inspiration.

The London Welsh Chorale

On the other side of the synchronicity is the London Welsh Chorale which is the choir I sing with in London. We’re currently learning an oratorio by the great Welsh composer, William Mathias. It’s an infrequently sung piece called St Teilo which we’ll be singing in our summer concert in St Giles, Cripplegate, in the Barbican, on Saturday 10 July.

Its subject, Teilo, was reputedly one of the two holy monks who accompanied David (subsequently Patron Saint of Wales) on the journey he is described as having made to the Holy Land to Jerusalem.

Well, a couple of days ago, I was looking through a beautiful booklet about Pembrokeshire churches, published in 1989, in which the paintings were made by my friend, John Knapp-Fisher.

As I perused this booklet, I suddenly made the connection. Of course! There’s a little church in this northern part of the county that is actually dedicated to St Teilo.

It’s in a notoriously hard-to-find village by the name of Llandeloy.


The church

So I went to look for the church again. (more…)