The Story of the Tayberry Tales Symbol

stoneI was asked to design a logo, or symbol,  for the Tayberry Storytelling Project. I am a professional Storyteller and have recently been developing a Sensory Story Box in memory of Loretto Lambe who set up PAMIS and for whom Storytelling and stories were at the heart of her charity for people with PMLD. Already Tayberry had developed a creative partnership with PAMIS, developing the skills of sensory storytelling with three Tayberry apprentice storytellers, and was moving onto the next phase of it’s development.

So we began by thinking what the Logo needed to carry within it as a symbol of this unique Storytelling Project. The heart of it should be about the journey that all involved would take, using Stories and Storytelling as a means of exploring humans connection and as a tool in expressing their uniqueness.  Also we hoped the symbol would inspire people as they developed skills to become a Sensory Storyteller.

“Stories give life to the project…where the voice of the Storyteller through song, story, music can be heard…..where people are given the opportunity to explore the extraordinary, the magical and connect with one another….. ” Lorna Strachan.

In essence Tayberry Tales is about gathering communities; finding your own unique voice and sharing it; and connecting to a rich Scottish Oral tradition that connects us to the past, present and future generations. It’s also about creativity, nurturing, love, happiness and celebrating life.

Through it Scotland’s rich mythological and legendary landscape can be explored..digging into the past to find tales and songs that were shared around the fire when the darkness of winter fell for whoever cared to have an ear to listen.

The logo
I felt must also connect to life’s cycle, seasons, the physical landscape, earth, sun, moon and stars. The ancient Tree of Life symbol, it’s roots in the earth and branches reaching skywards, is a very important and potent symbol for me, so I began to search for images that might inspire my own symbol creation.  To the Picts of course I looked and the Celtic symbolism of our ancestors who carved story symbols into their stones….

groam-houseSo with all this in mind I searched for a symbol stone that said all the above…and came across one in Groam house on the Black Isle. There was the Tree of Life but I also saw a human reaching upto the sky celebrating and with arms outstretched sharing…a Sound….a Story..a Song…this gift of life. The symbol also for me represented something that was rooted, strong, and had great potential. And as I began to draw I thought of my own journey as a Storyteller, a Singer, a Creator and Spinner of Yarns and wove this story into the ancient carved symbol.

tayberryI was reminded also of this saying : ” Thought has a shape, shape has a sound, sound has a word and word has power” and also from our Scottish Travellers Tradition that “.… a story is shared eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart.” That’s where the spiral became an important part of the design-  a powerful Celtic symbol that represents the going within and the journey out wards. So I felt as I breathed life into this symbol that a spiral should represent the journey the Storyteller has taking the story into their heart, and how that story is given life through the voice from the heart within. I also used the symbol of the triple spiral which represents growth, transition and renewal of life and the magic of the number three!

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The journey so far took me to weaving a story gifted to me by a fellow Storyteller into my creation. It’s called ‘Truth and Story’ and shares the tale of why Story? Here is the Story:

Long long ago, before your Mother was born, before your Great great Grandfather was born, in a little town near you, it was Spring. The sun had come back and at the Market there was a great gathering of men, women chatting, children playing after the long hard winter, when suddenly from the direction of the water a man came. A tall man with hair that fell like fresh spring leaves over his shoulders, skin slightly green coloured, his eyes shining with light …. BUT …. He was completely naked! Everyone ran for cover into their homes screaming, putting hands over their children’s eyes “Don’t look at him. He’s a rude naked man.”And the young man stood there in the deserted market Square, his head hanging down, and walked alone towards the deep ancient endless forest.

Some weeks later, again it was a holiday and the warming sun shone down on the Market Square.  Again people were out talking, walking, playing, but now, from the direction of the water walked a woman. She was dressed in a wonderful cloak – and it was woven with the colours of night and day, sun and moon, fire and rushing water and turning planets.The market place fell silent and they drew to her, sat at her feet, listened to her stories .. every word. And when she came to go they clutched at her crying “Please don’t go!”.

But she shook them loose and as she left it was as if a great deep sigh rose from the Market place. And she walked into the deep ancient endless forest and there the naked green man was waiting for her and there were tears in his eyes.

“Tell me ” he said “ Why is it they listen to you…hang on every word..and ME .. well they wont even look at me!”

“Well” she said “My name is Story. Wherever I go people listen to me. Sometimes I talk a load of nonsense, 10 miles high and still they listen! Whats your name?”

“My name is Truth…”

And the woman laughed, and taking off her generous cloak ripped it in two halves and said “ My friend from now on you will go covered in Story, and you will see people will listen to you, for you know, no one wants to see the naked truth!”

But to make this a symbol that could be reproduced meant I had to simplify more and more from my initial creations, weaving into that the spirit of all that had been woven in so far!

And herTayberry Tales Logoe is the last drawing and the symbol I created that I feel truly represents all that Tayberry Tales and Storytelling is about….and of course the colour has to be the colour of Tay Berries from trees that have their roots in the earth, their branches reaching skywards and provide all with nourishing food. This journey seeking a Logo for Tayberry Tales was one that in it’s creation was deeply connected to my own journey as a Storyteller. The symbol that emerged is one that I hope expresses the integrity and authenticity of this project. I hope it serves the project well and will be carried by all as a symbol of inspiration for all involved.

Claire Hewitt

Stories to facilitate training nurses

The last few weeks have been fantastic watching Caroline Hill telling the story of her daughter, Gillian’s hospital stay.  The story was a part of a simulated nurse training programme at the University  of Dundee and the transformative power of Gillian’s story contributed greatly to the learning of participating students.

Gillian's story

Gillian’s story

Caroline and a group of trainee nurses

Caroline and a group of trainee nurses

Connor thinking out of the box!

Connor and Rachel’s placement sadly came to an end and Connor popped into PAMIS to demonstrate his placement record which he’d cleverly prepared as a multi-sensory story!

A page from Connor's placement record

A page from Connor’s placement record

Connor's story

Connor’s story

The PAMIS Yurt and Education students

The spotlight has been on PMLD over the last week and the student year is coming to a close so it seems like an appropriate time to update you all on the story activity of the past few weeks. We have seen stories completed, new stories begun and storytelling shared in our PAMIS yurt. It has been a time of planning, remembering , creating and sharing stories. It has also  been a time to celebrate the power of personal stories and their ability to raise awareness, bring people together and influence change.  Here are a few updates on what’s been happening.

The outside and inside of the PAMIS Yurt

The outside and inside of the PAMIS Yurt

Rachel and Connor, two teaching students on placement with PAMIS finalised the hydrotherapy story that they were working on for a group of children at the Grange primary school in Monifieth.

Rachel & Connor's Hydrotherapy story

Rachel & Connor’s Hydrotherapy story

Students in schools

At PAMIS we love students and we are pleased to say that we have a six week programme starting soon where Social Work, Occupational Therapy and Teaching students will work together to develop and deliver multi-sensory storytelling in The Grange primary school in Monifieth. Again thanks to Angus Education we hope this will be the first of many such programmes which will be mutually beneficial to the school and to the students. Many thanks to everyone involved for making this happen.  If this is something anyone else is interested in please get in touch.
Watch out for our storytelling YURT!!!! Coming soon.