The past weekend will remain memorable for two momentous reasons. I will always remember that when the UK decided to leave the EU I was in Germany giving my first overseas workshop.
I can honestly say that it is quite difficult to convey my disappointment at leaving the EU. Although my political stance has always dressed to the right I voted to remain as I was thinking about the impact of leaving for the future generations, namely my children. It was a sad day but I have optimism in my heart and the room I was given at Hotel zum Zauberkabinett in Bad Heilbrunn echoed my positivity.
All of the rooms at the hotel were themed on tarot cards from the major arcana and I had been given The Sun. This card symbolises finding sense behind chaos, attaining a new levels of insight, having an intellectual breakthrough and getting to the heart of the matter. Ultimately all the things I hope to do in the coming months and years in the shadow of Brexit. But most of all the card represents the most positive oracle in the tarot deck and I took this as a good omen of the times ahead.
After a delayed flight due the closure of Belgian airspace, Alex Roemer, long time friend and proprietor of Hotel zum Zauberkabinett took me for a much welcomed beer and Bavarian meal in the scorching sun. Many ideas were hatched and secrets exchanged before we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the forthcoming weekend. This was to be my first Mummified Fairy Workshop for a foreign audience.
The motley crew of attendees started to arrive on Friday afternoon. A teacher, a larper, two magicians and Switzerland's top Jack Jersey impersonator (yes, I wondered who he was also!) arrived for what sounded like the start of a bad joke. After a wonderful meal on the terrace set in the wooded hills I started with an introduction and my lecture on the mummified fairy hoax.
Saturday started bright and breezy with an early breakfast and straight to the studio. Being creative can be surprisingly tiring if you're not used to it so I decided to crack on early to maximise my time with the group. I was told that everyone had some form of artistic ability and we made a great start.
The schedule roughly followed the DVD workshop I had produced a few years earlier with the help of Kickstarter and a few hundred loyal backers. The obvious benefit of this more personal workshop was the one-to-one tuition and the fact you didn't have to watch my hands for 3 hours, unlike the DVD. As all of the group had some form of interest in magic it's not surprising that by early afternoon the fairies had ended up with magnets implanted into their rib cages. The table was alive with jumping and spinning reanimated fairy corpses. After nearly seven hours of melting, painting and sticking we placed the fairies in the drying room and retired for a rest before the evening activities. Felix thrashed me thrice at Carcassonne so I decided to head to my room and drown my sorrows in even more post referendum pessimism.
Most Saturday nights Alex hosts a dinner and evening of magical entertainment. This has been running for 19 years and many of his 50000 plus audience members keep returning for more. The dinner takes place in his impressive magic room crammed with strange artefacts, antique illusions and a mirror where you may see the grim reaper materialise during the evening. Although the whole performance was in German I understood what was happening and after a few beers it didn't really matter anyway!
Sunday morning was spent adding the finishing touches to our desiccated monsters. Hair, wings and eyes added 'life' to the dead fairies and just before lunch we arranged our creations for their first group photo. The artistic talents of the group really shone through and Andreas created possibly the deadest looking dead fairy I had ever seen. The group exhibited excellent effort all round and I'm hoping that everyone who attended had a rewarding and memorable experience.
For an experimental first the workshop was a great success and everyone walked away with something horrific to perplex their family and friends. Due to the success, on the way to the airport Alex and I started our plans for another possible workshop in 2017 so if you're interested in taking part please e-mail me for details.
Thanks once again to Alex for being such an accommodating host and of course a personal thank you goes to Felix, Roman, Manuela, Andreas and Stefan for attending the weekend course.