Daphne, Teddy and The Red Shoes

Just recently I met a wonderful women at a friend’s 50th. Her name is Daphne and she is a Jungian analyst. She is now 82 and originally worked as an art teacher but after a major life crisis went into analysis and eventually trained as a therapist herself. She then worked as an art therapist and still considers this her great love.

 

Daphne had made for Fran’s fiftieth a beautiful ‘life’ folder. She had decorated it with an extraordinary collage of the most beautiful images; the images were all relevant to Fran’s life and personality. I was struck how these seemingly disconnected pictures came together to make such a perfect whole; of how our lives are just such a coming together of fragments, the joins seamlessly sealed together by meaning and memory. I was incredibly moved by this wonderful gift, made with such love and care. Daphne is an extraordinary lady.

 

Daphne and I talked about our experiences of keeping a dream journal. I shared with her my discovery that in keeping a dream journal over a long period of time, individual dreams appear only to be one stage in an ongoing dialogue; the more we engage, the dialogue widens out to include a series of dreams, all connected like chapters in a book, over time revealing more of the story. As an artist, Daphne told me that she recorded her dreams not in writing but in images. She would condense the themes of the dream into a sketch, each subsequent dream sketch allowing the growing sequence of images to tell a wider story. She drew me a demonstration and it immediately brought to mind the story boards that are used in film making. These are constructed like the pictures from a comic book, frame by frame, each shot carefully planned, separate until laid out in sequence upon the page, the story unfolding visually.

 

Many years ago when Laurie was researching his PhD, he was lucky enough to have several interviews with the art director Edward Carrick. Teddy Carrick – the grandson of the actress Ellen Terry – was a wonderful artist and a man of great soul. He had been the supervising Art Director at Pinewood Studios, also a writer and critic. He lent Laurie the storyboards of the Powell and Pressburger film The Red Shoes. Having once been a little girl who had dreamed of being a ballet dancer – gazing longingly at Moira Shearer while she danced herself to death in her red ballet shoes – to actually hold the original storyboards of this film was quite a moment for me. There were the images I knew well, sketched out frame by frame just like Daphne’s dreams.

 

Fran is currently making a quilt to honour her father who recently died. She is collecting cloth from things connected to him, clothes and items that were his or had meaning for him. She is painstakingly stitching together her own storyboard in fabric. I find it incredible moving that it is a quilt –something that Fran can wrap around her, a layer of warmth and comfort; a beautiful way to remember and connect to her father.

 

There is something that draws me in this placing together of seemingly disparate images, events, objects or people; in their coming together is the discovery of deeper meaning. Our lives are storyboards. The juxtaposition of each moment can change the feeling, the tone, the narrative thread; our lives are a montage, a complex and rich layering of experience and feeling placed frame by frame, image by image. Daphne’s beautiful collage was so moving because it articulated a life lived, connections made, the love we feel and the people we meet, encapsulated in the immediacy of the image. Those images – like the countless moments that follow one after the other – find poignant meaning in their relationship to each other. So often the joins can not be seen, so expertly do we align them, and yet they are felt when we gently move a finger across the surface of our lives.

Advertisements

1 Comment

  1. Dai Williams said,

    January 1, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    I’m conducting research on Moira Shearer.
    Do you know how I could discover the fate of Teddy Carrick’s storyboards for the Red Shoes?
    Thank you
    Dai Williams


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: