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Spirit of the Hedgerow

Sarah Hartnett & Lucy Stein




In 2021 we received a bursary from The Box Museum in Plymouth for our pilgrimage along the Mary leyline. The support allowed us to work together in Cornwall over the month of June to develop a shadow puppet theatre with the artist Jonathan Hayter. At the core of our pilgrimage is interdisciplinary collaboration, so we were delighted to learn a new set of skills in the magical moorland setting of Bosulval Studios, and channel some of our cognitive discoveries from our journeying along the Mary line into tangible works of art. We were excited that the concept of the Jungian shadow could be given material form through the construction of our shadow puppets and as Penwith was in full sensual bloom, we took inspiration from the colours and scents of the hedgerow, titling our piece, ‘Spirit of the Hedgerow’.



Lucy’s shadow puppet was a Persephone character based on a young sex worker she had seen and admired on the side of the road in Spain in 2011. The young woman had been wearing a short yellow and black striped dress so she named her “wasp girl”. This ambivalent heroine has appeared regularly in her work ever since.

Sarah’s shadow puppet took the shape of a secretary bird, a bird of prey native to sub-Saharan Africa that stamps on venomous snakes killing them within a second of it’s powerful kick. It’s march during the shadow puppet performance signified the need to hold one’s psychic ground as we journey through the inner and outer world of symbol and transformation. His kicks deliver a psychic stab where needed, rupturing the serpentine energy of the leyline, reminding us to step back and be present. The sperm and the egg sat in his womb, representing dormant fertile energy. In the dream world, the symbol of the secretary bird tells us to maintain a deep connection with those we love.

We performed our puppet show live on a glorious night in late June at our friend the artist Zoe Williams’ open studio event at Anchor Studios in Newlyn. Zoe played the shruti box whilst Lucy, Sarah and Jonathan controlled the puppets and read small excerpts from Cornish folktales. Penny Florence, who voiced the minotaur, read a haunting extract from Sarah Kane’s ‘4:48 psychosis’, whilst projections danced on the backdrop, depicting life and death in technicolor fragrant abundance. We gathered sunlight, love and strength for the next season of journeying during the winter solstice at Avebury.



6.9.22 - First published in The Enquiring Eye #6 Autumn 2021