Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Equinox with Alyson Hallett

A workshop with poet Alyson Hallett http://www.thestonelibrary.com on the spring equinox. Letting it sit for a while.

Equinox poem:

It is smelling the temperature
Pad steps pick up, pick round
inside an alcove

Spend it waiting for the one over there, 
Their appearance
Is sliding on a silver line

drawn like gravel on the long slab structure
while, all the while, 
it is simmering,

shimmering blades, lalala flapping their
tongues up there,
at each other

It is balance, it makes for sharp lines
Of clarity, that are so needed 
Right now

Condensing on plastic, jewels,
picked again and trash talks
Well, as one way of picking things up.

Diamonds suspended with white hot edges,
Make patterns,
You wish they weren’t there, 

flying fish,
Grown for me, 
laiden, curated,

A line in between that I needed,
finding it feel it is there 
Again and again, I suppose. 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Witches Front Room

Finding yourself in the witches front room, whilst carrying a conch shell oil lamp.

With a shell light. A shell lit.

Arriving in daylight. Treading some concrete blocks that are fused with rock. There are three little chairs that are cylindrical. Also concrete. The tops of the tubes are scarred. The table that the chairs are stuck around Is crumbled on top. All are rooted to the slabs in stasis.
Behind is a door, that has been made by the wind. It leads through to another room. The other room is obscured. Actually all that is visible where there should be a door is a little window of rock, very yellow from the facing sun.
Two gifts are cable tied onto rusty bannisters. The first gift, maybe it was once some rosemary, is tied in a wreath. Now it looks very dry, but squidgy. All browned, you can still feel the fronds squish, just from looking at it. The second gift is in a clear, plastic sandwich bag. It’s tied up and partially filled with water. Some old herbs and flowers stick out.

If it was night, and if there was an oil lamp, made from a giant conch shell, from Scotland, as that is where they use such an object. Big enough to hold some oil to light, with a brown string tied so that it can be held aloft. The flame and wick pronouncing forward. If that was when the witches living room was found, would the light squish in and show you the other room? Or would the light cleanse the space and ruin it completely?

Just like the lady who taps from one street light to another, swinging a shopping bag, a string of oil lamps creep up the path. Sliding in the front door and into all the corners of her house.
A dance begins. Eyes avert and search.

Eventually eyes close or lock and the scene around invokes you.

I am starting a new text and image piece, intertwined with my MA at Falmouth School of Art.  I want to share some of the images here. As time goes on, perhaps I will share more, and reflect on them somewhat. This may be helpful to see how all of this progresses over the next two years.

Jacobs Well- The Perfect Tree


I have just discovered that a church in Minneapolis made a MUSICAL version of The Perfect Tree. 

I have yet to contact them to tell them how great it is. 

But here it is:

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Earthly Survival

Friday, 14 July 2017


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Three stories about doors.

Please join me as I try and learn to write prose. And make some odd and bad writing choices. 

Doors no.1

Keys. Not really how it goes. 

At Blackwall Beach, security surveys the building every hour after 6. My key is lost, he is such a smiley nice guy. There used to be a subsidised canteen here. The ladies would mother him and he would buy £1 bacon sandwiches. They slipped him a extra few rashers.
The old owner had wild curly hair, and rode a quad bike around London. Quite short, he could prove himself to be a real Alan Sugar behind closed doors. 

I would just wait here in the communal space, without my key. It’s gorgeous. A seventh floor conservatory. Really crispy dry. Clouds overhead for when the real big decisions are being made. I got a missed call on my phone. But I called back to the wrong number. I accidentally called Lambeth Talking Therapies. It actually seemed a good way to call them in that moment and energy started ramping up. I let myself go and knew that just waiting here had been the right thing to do. 
I innately knew this. The feeling of intuitive magic crept over me. Smiling i had an awkward chat to rearrange a further phone consultation with the lady from LTT. As an afterthought I did apologise at the end for the strange beginning of the call.
‘We hear it all’, she sounded tired but good humoured. 
Couldn’t help myself but round it off like that, but i felt quite in control, which was cool. It felt OK. I guess it was this energy that was coming. 

The energy started as a moving to and fro. 
Earlier that morning I had made a decision to let all of the interactions I had that day unfold in their own time. Gently to look and speak to each person with appreciation. Not rushing the conversation to conclusion. Not making a joke out of everything. it’s only when i feel really insecure that I do that. Fall back to it. Laziness.

So, no key. Not that long after arriving, before waiting, I wandered. I found two people raising a wall covered in foliage.  A restful chat followed in which I gained a phone charger. This was cool. This led to the aforementioned call. Soon to be returned to. 

Prior to this, closer to the beginning, but after the morning, I arrived at the building. Signed in, talked about my lack of key, again (it was the sixth day of no key). I took the lift. Maybe it was even lift E, the favoured lift as it is made of glass. I attempted entry to the outer door with a woman. She was sat on the floor, stuck outside too. Asking to borrow my card she jimmied open the outer door effotrlessly. She was here to talk about moving into an empty studio space. 

I took a lift back down at this point, after holding the outer door open with a fire extinguisher. Now the security guard wasn’t sure how to help. Intermittently his mind searched, whilst chatting. This may be the point, or have been the point, where the energy ramped up. or maybe it was the jimmying of the lock, or the fire extinguisher. The guard sent me to the building manager. 

This was an odd little breather, a chance for everyone to look away. The building manager had a little look, non committal he provided an excellent platform for the security guard to bounce off. Understandably uninvested. He was chill. 

With nothing left to do at this moment and after this break, I went upstairs, to wait. For something. The first thing being the phone call. After the charger. Or, yes, after the charger. At this point I became aware in the moment of the magic happening. The air was all hovering and wobbling and humming. The air was also completely void of anything. Partly because of air conditioning. I had a look at the clouds overhead that helped people to fire other people in the past. 

So, I am halfway through the phone call with Lambeth Talking Therapies. I hear the door to my right open and close. I am pretty into the phone call and don’t see who comes in. A hand reaches out in front of me. Holding a key. 
‘What!?” I say with key eyes.
“Uh huh,” nods security guard. 
“Of course,” i think, Hang up.
Compose myself slightly, I mean, very slightly I am not very adept at composure. I know there is something really happening now though. So I ready myself. 
Security guard holds out a list to me. Small, hand written, with four colums: Room-Number-Room-Number. 

“I remembered that this very room you are trying to get into used to be a HR department. There were keys kept for it, it needed to be locked properly because of all of the personal information in there. When I check round the building, I remember seeing this cupboard in an empty office filled with all old keys. 
I thought, if I find out the number for your keys, from this..’, he motions with the list. He is so smiley and he gesticulates in a very likeable way. Like a stand up comedian from an indie radio show. Except, you can see his gesticulation. I don’t do him justice. 
‘…I could maybe find your keys. The keys were just all over the place, bunches all together in there.’ he washes his hand around low down to show that all the keys were in the bottom of the cupboard. I assumed they had fallen of hooks, or been thrown there whilst someone was looking for some other keys. 
‘But, I had a bit of a look. Found four keys! You have one of them, make it yours.’

BAAAMMMMMMM, clickety click. Our brains synced up. He tells stories in the way that my brain swallows them up whole. I have a key, cool! But this was a bit more. I think. If I were to use a thin metaphor here a key in a lock might work. Is that a metaphor?

He is the best, I’m thinking as he leave. 
‘My good deed for the day.’, as he closes the outer door behind him. Removing the fire extinguisher. 

I return the charger to the couple with the wall. I tell them, there is a cupboard in the building, with lots of keys, and a guy who may be able to help you find your key too! They are very vibey people and they take it in a relaxed way, they aren’t going to push it, i can tell. And plus, that energy has dissipated now. It rounded it all of nicely though, sharing it a bit further. Oh, then I clip the key onto my keyring. 

Doors no.2

Balls, light dances past. 
Old yellow bulbs, holding hands. 
Reflecting on the carriage windows.
Sky in deep blue, the lights now reflect off of her neat glasses. 
Hands folded in her lap,thick
straps of a waitrose bag
entangle there.
Deep comfort gives way to pure ecstatic wonder. 
Doors slide open, revealing
a mystical landscape.
A low wall, hedgerow and bushes, and a spot ilt platform.
Only sightly in relief
it could be flat.
Hedges make way for the little wall.
Three bricks high it is made to look like faux dry stone walling. 
she steps out of the doors under a glass box,
lit, the words say ‘way out’. 
Written in round leaden text.
Air raid siren script. 
She steps away, lightly.
She steps away, like a nymph lightly.
She steps onto a floating orb of light.
That was floating along side the train,
following us here.
The orb bobs as she tap, tap,
steps lightly from one orb onto another.
Waitrose bag swinging,
composure so light. 
She is a nymph, as she steps away, her mouth shut tight.
As a purse, into the night. 

Doors No.3


A crowd waits outside the glass doors. There is an ATM in there that will show me my bank balance etc. That is why I am here. Mostly the people waiting are probably 50 and above. My minds flits about a little bit, lightly fingering some clues. But it does feel a bit judgemental. Clues as to why they are waiting. Could be a late breakfast, a bargain, just eager to shop. They could just want to be first in line. 

I am standing apart from everyone else. Closer the the flow of pedestrian traffic that zig-zags on walkways over a busy road. Why am I standing over here? Maybe I think I am better than these eager hopeful people. I really anxious about my bank balance. Not having online banking is a chore. Really feeling like an asshole today. So, I do that ‘thing’. Take myself away to a magical view on things. Instantly I am cynical of it. Who am I to think I can be magical? That guy over there is thinking about his real magical breakfast. Dreaming about the steam going up his nose, and how he will glow like a candle after he has finished eating. 
I am really still as asshole. 

There is movement around the doors. Ladies in super neat uniforms. They fuss in a purposeful way. Set up a cordon, take it down again. Following a procedure not needed in this occasion. My belly jolts forwards. butterflies. Murmurs rise out of the small crowd. They shift a little closer. 

One door, the top is unlocked, then the next and the next. All the tops of the doors are unlocked. The potential for opening is getting a bit unbearable. So I look away, quite ashamed of myself. 

On swift movement, the doors are opened, the small crowd surges forward. I am following up the rear. But i walk way faster than everyone else. I can’t help this propulsion. It is a habit from wanting to be strong and safe. 
People turn off in all directions at the escalators. they go up and up to food, baby clothes, women;s casual, ‘younger’ women, means, home, stationary, books, children’s toys. There is another older mall connected to this department store by a method of half floors and escalators. It’s dizzying. An attempt to make sense of it is pointless, just let your brain glide. 

My destination is one of those half floors, below ground levee. You have to perform a sort of back and forth, and you slip through somewhere to some corner. I’m not worried about finding it. My brain holds the journey pretty well, lightly framing it. 
Pounding the marble I move down the first avenue between clothing concessions.

Every single brand has one or to women working the sales floor. Here it is, this was what all the waiting was for. Forget earlier cynicism and even my bank balance fades out. 

Every single one of these women lines the avenue. Pale, pretty adorned trees. Equidistant, opposite each other, going on and on. Every single of these women smiles at me as I approach and then bows low. A Mexican wave of bowing. All the way down this avenue, turn a corner, the same, after the first escalator, more bowing, back on myself down the tiny escalator. 

Leaving the procession I slip into the glass room with the ATM. I am totally glowing. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Coffee Shop

Three elderly people work here. Two ladies and one man. A lady with horn rimmed glasses and a yellow sweater greets me. She gets a regular to move seats and much fussing and laughing ensues. I do my best foreigner bit. I sit down.

I am sat at the bar, the row of seats around the counter where they make the food and coffee. It runs around in a half circle/square shape. I am sat on the shortest end with a view down the long counter, where a gentleman is working with the coffee and eggs. I'll get to that.

I am given a towel (paper, wrapped in plastic), iced water and am promptly asked to order from the breakfast service menu. I order the set with a hot drink (coffee), toast and a boiled egg. Sitting back on the chair that squeaks I get a feel of the sexy green crocodile skin upholstery. The chair swivels and is rooted to the spot.  The music that's playing is The Mamas and the Papas. One of my all time favourites. I wait to hear the track change in case it is the radio. Next is Chantilly Lace-Big Bopper. Early 60's stuff.

In front of me on the counter is a dark brown ashtray, I think it is plastic but it is that 50's stuff.. What is it called? To the left of that is a salt cellar with a dark brown faux wood top. The counter is dark brown wood. The walls are covered in dark brown bricks, faux bricks, I think. But they look stylish.

On the counter in front of the ashtray is a big golden, hand operated coffee grinder. It has a label that has a drawing of a beautiful woman with an afro. It looks well used and well cared for. Beyond this is the gentleman popping toast into one of those toaster ovens with a door, whilst handling boiled eggs and making coffee. The coffee is made in beautiful glass orbs. They are heated from below using a candle. A glass funnel is attached to the top. The coffee grinds go in, then boiling water. The gentleman stirs it deftly with a wooden handled brush. Steam is ballooning everywhere in the yellow light. It is cold out, about 12 degrees. The gold black coffee miraculously appears in the glass ball below.

The lighting is all warm and low. Yellow bulbs inside glass cases with leaded panes. Behind the counter are simple shelves holding cups. All the wood of the shelving is dark brown.

Coffee comes in a small white cup and saucer, with a nicely weighted silver spoon and a tiny, really tiny, steel jug of cream. Next a small wooden tray, with a piece of grease proof paper. On top there is one extra thick, extra buttery square of white toast, cut into two triangles. Next to that is a mint coloured plastic square, cut into two triangles by design. One half holds a white boiled egg, shell on. The other is an indented tray for the shell pieces.

I pick up the tiny jug of cream and drip it into my cup. I am totally delighted to see that the coffee doesn't turn immediately brown from black gold. There is a pause as the cream hits the bottom of the cup, then it reappears as white flourishing dots in the surface of the coffee, before I stir it in.

I enjoy my breakfast, although it shifts slightly once I reach the egg. I use the teaspoon to break into it, and a hacking and smoking gentleman comes and sits by me. The tension in the place raises a few degrees. I am not sure who he is, but the singles chatting on the other side of the bar stop and turn to their newspapers. The staff become uneasy.

He orders an iced coffee and the same set as me. When he reaches his egg he simply slams it down onto the counter, removes the shell in a couple of moves, and eats it very quickly.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Kirkus review of The Perfect Tree

How can I not put a post up especially for this? My first trade review and I am so so delighted! So so so so so SO delighted. 

Here is the link.. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/chloe-bonfield/the-perfect-tree/

Here are the words as from the link....

"In a natural-world version of Leo Tolstoy’s short story “The Three Questions,” a boy goes in search of the perfect tree to chop for firewood and finds much more.
Jack sets out in the early morning with his ax. But each tree is too wide or spooky or silly or even familiar. Just when he begins to lose heart, a woodpecker invites him to see its perfect tree—one filled with its bird friends. A squirrel’s perfect tree is an oak filled with acorns and berries for winter, and a spider’s is festooned with a bejeweled web. During the storm that suddenly strikes, Jack’s perfect tree is a sheltering willow, and he comes to the realization that “Every tree in the forest is perfect.” Leaving his ax behind, he heads home, the next day searching for the perfect tree “to climb…to draw…to love.” While Bonfield’s text is adequate, her artwork shines as something distinctive among picture books. A combination of three-dimensional pieces, digital and collaged elements, and found textures, the illustrations are a moody, atmospheric mix of shadows and light. Many times Jack and the animals are seen in black profile against a natural backdrop, perspectives changing to show close-ups and others putting Jack and the animals in correct proportion to the forest around them.
A gorgeous reminder that the natural world is perfect and worthy of notice. (Picture book. 4-8)"

Monday, 5 October 2015


I somehow went straight through summer without a blog post. Although a sign of good work being done, I think it's time to put something on here. 

Many of the projects I have been working on are about to go out into the world. This is very daunting, and very exciting. We will see how the world likes them. 
Im busy writing a blog post for my agents detailing my process for my picture book 'The Perfect Tree'. I am also starting work making some special things to go with it in the lead up to sale date. Which I believe is the 5th January 2016. 

Meanwhile I have got to work on some lovely book projects and get on with a second book. Which is proving to be finickity and fiddly as I try my hand at more writing. Although at the moment it is looking like it may be a wordless book, this seems to require writing a lot more words than a.. well a worded book. 

I'll have a stop frame animated music video to show off in a few days. I worked with my ladies Cardboard Cameras to direct this one. And it has been a mega undertaking. I sure learnt a lot. Including the fact that I may be a little too mumbly to really direct. Maybe next time I'll get a directors chair, hat and megaphone to whisper into.

Other things include some really amazing workshops, including a totally mad one working with about 150 secondary school kids to create a giant working 3D zoetrope.  Photographs and films to follow soon. And also a wonderful Super Hero Shaman workshop at Bellenden Primary School in Peckham. Which was just brilliant. Incredible bunch there. 

Friday, 31 October 2014