some thumbnails of my illustrations

some thumbnails of my illustrations
Please click on the links below to view my portfolio ........ Images copyright of Carrie Osborne

Saturday, 1 September 2012

A magical night of myth, story and song - with Robin Williamson at Castell Henllys...

It is time to start getting to grips with my next story, one that has been a green, earthen, woodsmoke wreathing glimmer in my mind all year. One part of it, both words and illustrations I have been saving until after I had taken in one particular experience.
Last weekend the opportunity finally came about to do what I have hoped to get around to for a good couple of years - to go and see Robin Williamson perform his entrancing bardic storytellling in the Iron Age Roundhouse at Castell Henllys, amid the fire's glow and the dark smoky rafters.

It was a soft Welsh summer evening, with torches lining the wooded path to the Roundhouses on the hilltop...

I didn't take pictures - it just felt wrong to bring electronic beeps and LCD screens into the hushed darkened space. This was the only one taken in a moment at the very end after the spell was broken...

My hope was to absorb the sounds and atmosphere during the telling and to gather imagery for an illustration. It was quite special, no more than two dozen people sitting quietly around the worn wooden benches in two circles about the hearth, not even whispering, but waiting till all were gathered in from the twilight, eyes adjusting to the darkness within...
Despite the distraction of a wriggly five year old fidgetting beside me I was quickly drawn in by Robin's marvellous voice and the magic of his harp music. By the end he had everyone joining in with phrases of the stories and singing verses along with him and back and forth to him. Wonderful!

I wanted to come away with more than the images in my memory, and I was sitting in the perfect place at the back wall to compose an illustration, so in the gloom I managed a few blindly scrawled sketches by the dim glow of a candle.... I couldn't actually see my page or what I had drawn...!

Later while the images were still strong in my memory I worked one of these up to better capture the amazing atmospheric lighting and the perspective within the roundhouse for future reference...

Sorry about the murky photos...!

I cannot show you any of his stories from that night, but here is a clip from youtube of Robin storytelling at another time and place...

I have some more things to share from our weekend in Wales but I think I will let this post remain alone in the Iron Age. Hope you enjoyed it, I only wish I could have transported you there to hear and see it all with your own eyes, ears and hearts...


  1. Oh, I would dearly love to go to Castell Henllys, even without the stories. There's a story I have that belongs in Castell Henllys which, if I can get it on its legs and make it walk, I'll send you a taste of.

    1. Its a wonderful place, we've been there several times and I never tire of it... the story sounds intriguing, hope it finds its feet! :)

  2. Oh Carrie, you have no idea how insanely jealous I am! I discovered Robin at age 16 when I happened to hear "Five Denials on Merlin's Grave" on the radio during a folk music program. It changed my life. I was lucky enough to catch him in concert when I was in the UK in 1990, so I experienced his marvelous music and storytelling first hand, but to see him in an environment like Castell Henllys would be like a dream come true! I hope one day to get to the UK and see him there. He is THE bard for me! And I can't wait to see what wonders he inspires in your work! xxx

    1. I was thinking of you, knowing how much you love him and wishing you could have been there too...
      He usually goes to Castell Henllys every August if you're ever planning a trip over... certainly was a spellbinding venue for it, especially with the drum rising like a heartbeat into the dark reeds of the roof! Ooh I think I might use that line!!


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