Siôl Fagu


An exploration of the Motherline in storytelling performance

Siôl Fagu: Yard story

Siôl Fagu: Suogan (audio)

Siôl Fagu – The girl who leapt from the shawl (audio)

In October I will be speaking about aspects of this ongoing exploration as part of PERFORMANCE AND THE MATERNAL a series of  online forums that consider how maternal performance helps us to understand the lived condition of motherhood.

6th October -3rd November. Registration for these events is free.

ENGAGE…conversations conceived across performance studies and the maternal

An exploration of the traditional siôl fagu (nursing shawl) as a vehicle for powerful maternal narratives. Before the flint knap and the fire stick was the baby sling, in plant fibre or pelt, rewoven again and again, decaying and leaving little trace. But the child carried within is the holder of memories and imprints that connect past and future. Like matryoshka dolls, a woman pregnant with a daughter carries embryonic grandchildren; memory stretches backwards on a cellular level and forwards into the journeys we will need to take in the world. The siôl fagu, passed on through the generations, is like an earthly outer weave of this process, a first tender and robust sheath in and beyond our biological mothering. It is the enveloping, sheathing garment of motherline. In the close-held bundle we negotiate the border of safety and jeopardy; our journeying begins on the hip, in the sweat smell, pulse, soothe-song and suck-song. Cyn bratiaith daw sioliaith. Our vital vocabularies are intimately set in motion, the roots of our languages, our stories that speak of our individuality and bind us to our human belonging and our Earth. In considering the siôl fagu we find reference points for a precious knowing, and how it may be explored and honoured.


In April 2020 I am offering a Siôl Fagu performative talk as part of the programme at the Storytelling and the Maternal Symposium, George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling,

September 2019  In collaboration with Cath Little as part of the CHWEDL series of events in support of Gwobr Esyllt fund there will be a day event at The Atrium Cardiff where we will explore  aspects ofthe Siôl Fagu work, including ideas of inherited ancestry and ‘chosen’ ancestry. The siôl fagu, the traditional welsh nursing shawl, is the object/vehicle I  am using  to delve into an investigation of circles of inclusivity; what binds us, what carries us forward, and what we nurture and carry. Who our family is.  Who our heroines, our inspirations and our guiding lights are. The siôl fagu passed on through the generations binds body to body, intention to intention. It is the enveloping, sheathing garment of motherline.

1st HARVEST: SHAWLS AND HALLOWS The Atrium, CARDIFF  7/9/19   10am-4.30pm  Tickets available here