A Natural Part of the Journey

Last week I visited 2 naturist clubs in the heart of the rich south of this land. One was a site visit for Sex Maniacs’ Ball, and then a few of us went to a sexual energy channelling workshop at another club down the road. It was all in the spirit of the Ball, because amongst other naturist activities will be an energy healing workshop and we were being briefed in how to help facilitate. No private parts are touched, but the power of the sexually focussed reiki can be such that participants are brought to orgasm. Personally I experienced a very pleasant euphoria, but I guess it all depends on who you are with. Both clubs had a very open, sexy vibe, most fitting for the mission.

Last month I was invited to model at Naturist Foundation, also in Kent, which is a more regular naturist resort. They have a life drawing group amongst other art clubs, and the organiser knew me from a class in Sidcup where I model. He picked me up at Orpington station and drove us to the club. As soon as he parked inside the grounds, he stripped off to acclimatise; I didn’t feel quite ready. It was a fairly mild day, and once we had been to the cafe and had a coffee and sandwich, said hello to quite a few people, I felt adjusted. I shed all other items, and just draped a shawl over my shoulders whilst being given a tour. It is quite a large space, with woodland and different camping and games areas. Children and teenagers were present though not nude like the older folks. I posed outdoors for the second time this year, and enjoyed it more than the first for the liberation of artists also naked. It was a special occasion as normally they take turns to draw each other. Nudity no problem, they some of them struggle with finding interesting poses. I said next time I’d give them a lesson, maybe get some group poses going on. After the session I swum in the warm pool. I don’t remember swimming nude in such relaxed setting before.

Posing in a garden in South East London, a warm evening and a red shawl. Pastel by Arnie

Posing in a garden in South East London, a warm evening and a red shawl. Pastel by Arnie

Scenery at Naturist Foundation where I posed outdoors

Scenery at Naturist Foundation where I posed outdoors

perching

perching

the red shawl (from my Grand Father) is popular this Summer

the red shawl (from my Grand Father) is popular this Summer

In Scotland we exalted in student digs, right in the middle of Edinburgh. Noisy, cheap, no frills but what we needed. A bust tyre on our journey down slowed our progress to Glasgow the next day, but we got to All The Young Nudes just in time. We had trouble finding the venue once we had parked and found the street. We asked an Italian for directions and she told us “It is down a very nasty alley”. Every corner led to a nasty alley and on we shrugged till we reached the last corner. A sign on the main road told us to go round the back. Right at the back and down into the depths of some cave of a club, nothing much to look at, but that seemed to be the way with Glasgow. Inside they were waiting, keeping the artists out till the last minute, and what a queue there must have been, of artists who kept arriving through the first half and packing out this cellar of nooks and pillars, levels and pathways, no obvious centre to work with. We divided up our group of models or else not all artists would get a look. They drunk and music played, we fitted poses into spaces right in front of artists’ noses, making much of all our Scottish collaborators being professionals too. I could see why; if I was new to life modelling I would probably feel daunted by this intense and in yer face set up.

Thelma I believe

Thelma I believe

a Scottish model

a Scottish model

linking up

linking up

IMAG1171

IMAG1170

IMAG1169

IMAG1166

Next night in Edinburgh was at the opposite end of the scale, in a well-to-do part of town (or is it all like that?) in a well kept church hall, attached to the church. A handful of artists drew intently, a more measured affair but the artwork was really special. We had a couple of new models and one pro joining us; I stayed out to direct this time.

Scottish Witches

Scottish Witches

Friends

Friends

IMAG1215

IMAG1212

IMAG1196

This was a mini-Pieta pose for 15 minutes!

IMAG1193

Loads more beautiful art work from this session here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.607794702576542.1073741837.320375434651805&type=1&l=f30476d02a

There was a hiccup with our final gig north of the border – the venue were unprepared for us, the room double booked, and though we still managed some nice poses together in a different space, we realised this place was not on the case (though some very lovely people did come to our rescue). We are still seeking a resolution here in terms of our next step on the Scottish mission. Overall we made some brilliant connections and can’t wait to get back, in the best possible fashion.

We all loved being on the road too, even Little Chef, takes me right back! That chance to share a bit more of our lives together, get to know each other in closer quarters and have an adventure.

With this baby, Baby Spirited Bodies, well technically a toddler now, like many Mums I make friends on the path. Friends who might not take the plunge if they didn’t know me, if we didn’t become close. Makes it accessible, less scary to be able to talk about it and feel safe with someone who knows. I’ve never been less lonely and it’s a good feeling, but I am getting familiar with some friends passing through for that part of the journey. It’s just so intense for a while, and sometimes the flame goes right out, suddenly because invariably emotions come up, and maybe a clash. I cannot hold their hand all the time, and bam they feel rejected! Onwards. Hopefully I’ll learn to smooth that phase more delicately. I am not a counsillor but I could be a better friend. Fortunately other friends that I have usually known longer, get involved and the effect is just uplifting, because of where they are at in their own journey, and how established our bond already is. Modelling with Spirited Bodies brings us closer, and I am beginning to see that some who needs must part from my company a while, do return when ready, for a new lease of friendship, with a stronger bond.

So lately I’ve been to several naturist places, and while I think these people have the right idea, not only do I not live near enough to one to consider joining, but also, it’s like they are in a timewarp somewhere between the ’70s and ’80s. Of course it’s not about appearances and that’s the point, but at least it’s about having people your own age you share cultural identity with. My own cultural identity may be quite comfortable in the ’80s and ’90s, but most naturists are older. I think it is becoming cool again though. Groups I am part of on Facebook testify to this trend, and the desire to shift the naturist way more into the modern day is a popular conversation topic; how to attract more women, and how to attract more young folks. The growing popularity of nudist events outside of naturist clubs also indicates a change; it may be young people are more inclined to undress socially within a more familiar setting, be it urban such as at this evening’s private view of an exhibition at Guerilla Galleries in Holloway (Daniel Libeskind Space) to be part of an installation (I am involved with several friends, see https://www.eventbrite.com/event/6785468519 for details), or outdoor such as tomorrow’s Streak for Tigers at London Zoo (http://www.zsl.org/support-us/challenge-events/streak-for-tigers-thursday-15-august,2096,AR.html) which is a fundraiser to help save the Sumatran Tiger, or further in nature for a mass skinny-dip!

Last Monday Thelma and I went to The Outsiders Trust Jamboree, which is a light-hearted daytripping prequel to The Sex Maniacs Ball. With children present it was all very tame, but we got to talk a little to the party about what we do with Spirited Bodies, and how that may relate to people gaining sexual self confidence. A gentleman after described how with his unusual condition he is used to being prodded mercilessly by doctors to the point that he is unfussed about his body, but feels it has lost its specialness, just a curiosity and problem to be solved by the medical profession. My Mum is familiar with that too; paralysed from the neck down she relies on others for every bodily function, dignity plays little part, or rather dignity may be redefined according to necessity. The idea of being regarded for art is exceptional, appealing, and I found that with The Outsiders themselves I felt drawn to create a life modelling event just for them. The Ball will likely be a jolly rollicking affair, less time for quiet drawing even if tantric reiki is happening. I would prefer to give my baby the true attention it deserves, although a little taster might spread the message.

At The Mall Galleries last Wednesday, it was a special day for Mum.

water colour by Graham Wood

water colour by Graham Wood

drawing by Margaret

drawing by Margaret

There are more pictures of Mum from this event but they have not been shared yet. There are also many pictures of all the other models of course too; see our Facebook page for them. I just wanted to emphasize Mum as it is harder for her to make herself known, being paralysed and less able to attract artists with dazzling moves. I look forward to events which bring disabled/differently abled people modelling to the fore. It is on the agenda.

Advertisements

Appreciating Life Art when you are Undressed

This evening was a little chilly in the Daniel Libeskind Space on Holloway Road, but at least we could move as we perused some outstanding art works of the figurative variety. It was a ‘Clothing Optional’ event and most of the guests obliged as did some though not all of the artists. It was the first time this group known as Guerilla Galleries had put on such an event and no doubt it will be a learning curve. I know myself how tricky photography can be with a group of nude people – how do you take shots that everyone feels good about for one thing? Someone’s bum is bound to look too big and other parts sag ungainly and no matter how much you tell them it doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t wash. Photography is so easy today and potentially in the hands of a ludicrous number of creeps. The organisers received several complaints from those unkeen to be snapped willy nilly, myself being one of them. I don’t have a problem appearing nude on the internet. That however is different to being shot at quite surreptitiously when one is unaware. This is called rude, and technology is in the hands of plenty people who need to be taught manners! I am feeling a little matronly all of a sudden and feel quite sure that if such an event is repeated, hosts would do well to employ the presence of a few dominatrixes with the task of dealing with the too happy snappers.

I would like to show you images of art work from the event, however I will have to wait for them to be sent to me by organisers. I was really enjoying catching up with Spirited Bodies friends from several of our events and workshops as well as meeting new SBs to be, and the presence of unwanted camera work did put me off using my own even for innocent use. Plus there was after all a house photographer with far better equipment than I, so hopefully images will be shared and made public in due course.

I did download these from Facebook from 2 particularly Spirited artists’ Facebook pages – Pilar Camino Alcon has a lovely website too, and Eliza Freespirit was having lots of plasticeine fun.

By Pilar Camino Alcon

By Pilar Camino Alcon

Colourful little people by Eliza Freespirit as exhibited in the 100% Nude exhibition

Colourful little people by Eliza Freespirit as exhibited in the 100% Nude exhibition

Little Spirited figures larging it by Faerie light

Little Spirited figures larging it by Faerie light

704120_290462767742160_533286697_o

Going underground

Going underground

Very joyful overall so despite the technical drawback I hope they/we continue with events like these, and just keep learning. It was of course indicative of the overall picture in our society of too many creeps outnumbering comfortable and happy women. There was a gender bias in this scenario unsurprisingly, which is reflected too in the number of applications we receive from men, and women. We may alter our tactic to counter this, and be forced to make men jump through more hoops in order to have the privilege of spending time in the nude company of some of our female Spirited Bodies. I think some of the more body anxious women out there might feel safer and more relaxed to know that our event caters to them so impeccably. That men have shown their dedication to our cause and proven their worth and integrity. That men must compete for the honour of gracing the picture they complete. I think about the feminist fetish club, Pedestal (my description) and how the women who run that keep House slaves to see to female guests’ needs and desires. That those men profess a deep love for the Feminine, that they indeed worship Women as Goddesses. That has a pleasant ring to it. I will keep going back to the Women!

To Feel Human with You

Being with people naked with all different bodies, still and silent is liberating. Our bodies are ok, there is beauty in each, from the essence being allowed to be. Open and free allows, encourages each to flourish. That is a gift, that is magic, to share that is bliss.

To witness the unlocking of pain, but simply all I see is beauty. Individual expression, sometimes connection, the love of friends, couples, and the inclusion of all. The connections of the more confident and brave, the shapes of different bodies, sometimes balancing, sometimes relaxing, sometimes wanting to be looked at or not; to have all the variety is the magic of life.

At the begining of the morning session when I got on the platform, I found myself close to my friend Sylvie

As I was posing on the stage with everyone I noticed this wonderful feeling and it didn’t matter if we were being drawn or not, that was incidental. It was just being with everyone that mattered, and knowing we were all ok. I guess the artists do help though! That way you have a reason to stay still which helps. And impressions beyond photographs.

Thanks to all the models, and the artists at Spirited Bodies at the Drawing Theatre in Battersea Arts Centre last Saturday 20th October. Thanks also to Lucy, Steve and Denise for photographing art work. There is much more of it to be seen on our Facebook page; it may take a while to upload it all on here, so in the mean time: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.484653994890614.107239.320375434651805&type=1

Summer Solstice with Neo Naturists!

Thanks to my friend Peter I got a last minute ticket to be with the Neo Naturists yesterday when they were at Hayward Gallery doing body painting.

a few people drew on paper

most of us got straight to work painting each other… on each other, as well as clothes

I said I wanted a baby elephant inside my belly

This experience is almost beyond words. The power of touching strangers with a paint brush and exercising expressive motion is very liberating. It ought to be compulsory. To see others’ bodies as normal and then make art with them breaks down barriers. Love love love. How much closer we may all be if we did more of this with each other freely.

I am quite a tactile person and enjoy the touch of the brush

The Neo Naturists are Christine Binnie (originally a life model), her sister Jennifer and their friend Wilma Johnson (all 3 are artists). Their practice blurs the roles of artist, model, tutor & canvas as ideally everyone models, paints, is painted and may instruct. After a long day in the studio we tumbled down to the Thames for the brave ones to strip on the beach, and we danced around a fire for a Solstice ritual. A most healthy act of nudity!

The Neo Naturists began in 1981, they came from a new romantic background where one took hours to get ready. They wanted to channel this obsession with painting the self into an art practice with greater freedom of expression. They performed in body paint in the London club scene. Similar to my previous post about feminists, these women then had a break partly due to the advent of children. The sisters reformed during the Noughties a couple times, and now for the first time the 3 of them are back!

http://www.neonaturists.org.uk/

http://www.englandgallery.com/EXHIB_Neo_Nats.htm

http://www.wilmaweb.com/neonaturists.html

http://www.theblitzkids.com/site_archive/the_blitz_kids/neonaturistpics.html