Since my earliest days I’ve had a vocation for the arts. I believe passionately in their importance; through the arts I believe we learn to experience and enjoy what is best in the world.
For a long while drawing and painting were very close to my heart and my work in this medium has been celebratory, nearly always based on the Mediterranean or Mexico.
The playing of music has been a perennial passion, especially the traditional music associated with circle dancing and ceilidhs and French traditional dancing.
Writing is the area in which I have won most success, my best known works being ‘Cathy Come Home’ and ‘Edna, the Inebriate Woman’.
In all of these I have tended to celebrate or identify with the less privileged members of society, and in one or two works believe I was able to cause actual change in the way society treats its less fortunate members.
The Gypsy and Traveller archetypes have always been important to me – and the people themselves, especially the New Travellers, I cherish for embracing important values otherwise rather lacking in our society.
Looking back now I find that a lot of my earlier work had a degree of ego trip about it. I am now much more interested in art as a communal activity to which end I am involved as a teacher in various summer holistic educational camps and am also involved in the more community based activities of communal videos and audio cassettes and CDs involving music and reminiscence, and holistic educational and artistic events, which cater for from 6 to 60 people here at Hatfield Court for residential study weekends. Sometimes we also have public concerts and dances, often involving circle dance and traditional French dancing.
I became disenchanted with the media – it seems to me that they are nearly always the enemies of promise, and that good things get transmitted despite rather than because of the powers that be. And disenchanted with that world in which you never get to see your audience.
So there is as much pleasure or even more pleasure in playing for a roomful of ten or a hundred people than in writing a play which is seen by ten or twenty million.
My most recent works have been collaborative, a 75 minute video film intended for the Romany Gypsy public featuring Romany songs and music, an audio cassette and CD featuring my memories of Herefordshire fifty years ago, using the reminiscences of local people, and a film for MIND, the mental health charity, which draws on the artwork and reminiscences of one mental health survivor in particular and others in general.
Jeremy Sandford FanClub Archives
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