Silence is Golden; & Edinburgh Calling

Towards the end of July Spirited Bodies will be visiting Edinburgh to spread our message of nude liberation! We will be sowing seeds; giving workshops and presentations, networking and leafleting. In September when we return there will be a ripe harvest, sprouted and succulent, poised for artful appreciation.

A big event is scheduled for Saturday September 21st in The Arts Complex – a former office block taken over as artists’ studios and hub where substantial gallery space will afford a perfect venue for one of our larger events. As well as locating artists of the figure drawing variety, we will be scouting for models, of all shapes and sizes, colours and persuasions. This is not paid modelling work, but will be a chance to see if life modelling may be for you, and perhaps to free yourself of body image issues or be a step on that path. It is an opportunity to be part of a unique work of art that is as much about energetic connections made between models (and artists) in the space as it is the drawings created. Participants (and there have been over 150 in 2 and a half years) frequently report a natural high lasting several days following the event, and for some the timing is instrumental to their life changing direction for the best. See our Feedback page for a variety of testimonies.

We want to offer our usual workshops in advance of the big event, including women only if there is demand. If you want to host a workshop (usually for up to 15 people including about 10 people modelling and 5 drawing) please get in touch; we aim to be in Edinburgh from 22nd – 26th July or perhaps a bit longer and again from 17th – 22nd September. In any case we should have some workshops at The Arts Complex and another artist has already shown interest in holding one at her studio. We will also do a presentation hosted by The Ragged University in July where we will explain ourselves with visuals including ourselves modelling; expect to be entertained! If you want to host a presentation or talk, do get in touch.

During our Edinburgh trips we intend to bring life drawing to older people by offering free life drawing sessions in old people’s homes. If you are associated with a home and would like to introduce us we would be honoured, otherwise we will be cold calling. To be clear; we will not be asking older people to undress, but to draw if they want. Alternatively we can give them a dynamic interactive talk if that’s more appealing. We’ve done presentations in some fancy places so do ask for references! We are about spreading the word to as many people as we can; unfortunately some people are unlikely to make it to us, so we’re going to them.

To make all this happen we are on the brink of applying for some funding but would likely appreciate any available help. We are still consolidating which resources are available to us, and if you have anything to offer, be it time, a car, a spare couch, theatre lights, good photographing skills or inside knowledge on where to find our models… Please get in touch. In Edinburgh we largely start from scratch so this whole episode will mark a big milestone in our development. It’s an exciting time to join us and we will have lots of fun.

At the same time that Spirited Bodies is preparing for its first venture out of London, we are welcoming two new co-conspirators! They have been Spirited Bodies themselves of course, and bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise which we are only too ready to absorb. They will be introduced properly in the next blog post, but let’s just say if up until now Spirited Bodies has been run by one younger skinny woman and one plus-size middle-aged woman – both white and well spoken, that configuration is about to change substantially. Our average age is getting older, our dress size is increased, our skin tone darkened and our origin begins to feel more global. We are however still all female, and driven to find more women to join us as Spirited Bodies. Men we are not short of, but for women we continue to show that what we do is powerful and inspiring, and it can be for them too.

I had the pleasure of modelling with another model this week and what a confident young woman. Lydia is a burlesque performer whom I hope to see on stage sometime soon.

Lydia and I were painted gold and decked in bling
Lydia and I were painted gold and decked in bling

On Tuesday we modelled for London Drawing at The Goldsmiths’ Centre in Clerkenwell where they have an exhibition called ‘Rocks’ – ‘Exploring the natural world through jewellery and silversmithing’. The image on the poster is of gold surrounding some rock and from there we took our inspiration to be gold. My new blue hair looked silver next to the shiny gold! Artists were encouraged to draw us in charcoal or pencil and add sequins, glitter and sparkly cut up paper to create part drawings and part collages.

Posing while the artists got ready
Posing while the artists got ready

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The following photographs were taken by Anne Noble-Partridge of London Drawing.

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Spirited Bodies on World Naked Bike Ride!

I am going to combine 2 of my passions in a few weeks! Cycling and nudism, plus some body paint thrown in!! Praying for more of the recent weather for Saturday June 8th (date of London WNBR)

Looking to amass a posse of body painted female Spirited Bodies in particular; we’ll arrange a meeting place to get painted up and hit the road together. Naturally we would love our male friends to join us too but women tend to be shyer so the call is first to them, so they know a safe and friendly space awaits.

Some of our women friends who do not actually want to ride will help with the painting and join in the picnic. If you want to join us in any capacity, get in touch. I think the ride starts at 2:45 – 3pm, depending on where you start (there are a few designated starting points) and finishes by 5:30pm.

Being painted can be a way to be in disguise if you do not want to be recognised. Equally you could wear a mask; and full nudity is not a requirement, this is simply a clothing optional event. Being in various states of undress is totally cool. I will probably wear some shoes for protection but I think that will be all. I may look to adding an extra layer of comfort to my slightly torn bike seat however, unless I choose to rollerblade! Skate boarders also welcome, in fact the event aims to be as inclusive as possible in various ways – what WNBR is about

WNBR organisers make it clear that it is only ok to be nude once the ride has officially started (due to reasons of dealing with authorities), but obviously we need to factor in painting time and arrange a space for this. It is also important to be able to carry your clothing with you whilst cycling.

There are many guidelines for the ride on sites like http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/ and http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/uk/ plus similar groups on Facebook.

You do not need to sign up, you may simply turn up. This is a political protest about pollution, and human dependence on non-renewable energy resources, as well as a way for cyclists to create a sense of solidarity, reminding other vehicle drivers of their presence. Then there is the nudity about reclaiming the body, celebrating the body together, outdoors in our public streets of cities around the world.

I avoided the ride in years past thinking of the pests, but recently have been connected with naturists, especially naturist women. I realise the importance of my role as a woman who is comfortable with my nudity and happy to be identified. There will never be more women enjoying their bodies more if women like me don’t make a point of showing off about it! We can work towards normalising our status and getting equal female representation in all the best possible places.

Pictures show a harmonious male and female model combination; they are from a life class Lucy and Santosh recently paired up at, The Prince Regent pub in Herne Hill on a Wednesday evening run by Lisa Brown.

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Rolling & Screaming All Over Your Body

Thanks to Gujon who sent me these images of paintings he created on 2 sensational models

I met Gujon when he came to model for Spirited Bodies at The Drawing Theatre in February – I look forward to him joining us again soon

Familiar Edvard Munch beautifully modelled by Pip

Tongue on torso