Photos credit Sally Tripptree
My first introduction to shamanic practice was through my dreams, around 35 years ago. I experienced ‘big’ dreams which seemed to be transpersonal and were highly instructive to me. When I moved to Cornwall 22 years ago I sought a shamanic trainer: Chris Luttichau, of Northern Drum. I worked with Chris for some years, learning so much from him, and after a while I worked alongside him as a healer-practitioner. I also devised my own way of working with the ‘hollow bone’ by employing my drawing and writing skills alongside the shamanic reality which opened for me.
Here are some notes about my ‘hollow bone’ drawing process:
Becoming the hollow bone is a shamanic term which describes the process whereby the practitioner applies her focus to becoming a vessel or channel for images and messages to come through. The ego and personality are respectfully asked to stand aside.
I’ve learned to work with my intention to go into numinous and hidden areas.
I use my left hand, closed eyes, and rapid drum beat to explore the pathways of images’ arrival in my awareness. I do not ‘hunt’ them, but rather invite them to arrive.
With co-creators I ‘ride’ on my drum (also known as the shaman’s horse) to invite their inner lives to come forward as the drawn mark.
Co-creators sit near me, after they have told me the aspects of their lives which they require help with. This could be bringing understanding to a traumatic event, or to be released from such an event; bringing comprehension and forgiveness to a parent or partner, or help with de-coding a dream or memory.
After a short period of intense ‘tuning-in’ with my drum (and usually, shamanic journeying), I make a drawing/monotype or watercolour and /or notes which I then speak about, and I give this drawing to the person I’ve been working with.
Duration: Each session takes approx. 45 minutes.
On ‘becoming the hollow bone’….
“Kate Walters’ fascinating new departure, which she brilliantly calls “becoming the hollow bone”, takes audience participation to a new level. Showcased in the summer in Hoxton, and most recently at the Espacio in London, participants are brought into the making of the work. The artist sits with her subject in the gallery (or indeed, anywhere) and “channels” them to create a unique monotype, which the person can take away with them. This is much deeper than setting work up to which people can respond in various ways. Yet – and this is the real master stroke – though the “audience” is brought right into the making of the work, the artist remains in the key rôle. This is no dilution of the artist, but rather a true sharing of her talent. Gallery, visitor, artist, artwork: they are all changed. I felt privileged and moved to witness it.”
Professor Penny Florence
I’ve performed my ceremonial ‘hollow bone’ work in many places, here is a selection:
At The Ghost Tide exhibition, in London; Glasgow School of Art, Jam on the Marsh Music Festival (three times); The Big Art Herstory Project in London, and with Marc Almond to create all the original drawings for his album Velvet Trail.
Shamanic and Creative Courses will be held this Summer at the School of Art and Wellbeing near Honiton.
The School of Art and Wellbeing is found on a hill overlooking Honiton and Dartmoor to the west. It is a profoundly beautiful place, with polytunnels for painting, a Mongolian yurt for shamanic journeying, shepherd’s huts for sleeping in, and extensive beautiful and productive gardens. This is a place of great natural harmony, light and power; it is perfect for my creative shamanic courses!
August 1 @ 11:00 am – August 3 @ 5:00 pm
Working with the inner Fire of Nature as our inspiration
Painting and drawing – with writing/notes where prescient/if wished – inspired by time spent outside with the natural world. We’ll consider the cycles of life in nature, and pay attention to the symbolism of plants, flowers, animals, birds and elements of the natural world. This course will involve a step-by-step introduction to shamanic processes, including gazing deeply into the patterns/matrix of nature.
This three-day course will take you back to basics and guide you through various techniques developed to improve your sensitivity and expressive range with your drawing and/or writing. We’ll work with music, the breath, the body, poetry; – responding to rhythm, timbre, emotional colour; you’ll have access to a range of mediums and exciting starting points to open up ways of responding. We’ll consider how other artists employ a love for nature in their practice. This will be a reflective, immersive course where you will learn about many techniques for respectfully approaching and learning from nature. The price of the course is £350. This course is fully booked.
August 30 @ 11:00 am – September 2 @ 5:00 pm
Connecting with the Ancestors
Ancestors can be our blood relatives, or they may be soul-kin. We might also feel we have connections with/are held by animal, plant or place spirits.
In this workshop we will work with reverence, love and care to approach those who came before us. We will think about the nature of time, of cycles, of a returning from exile for the soul. We’ll think about the nature of connection, and how it comes to show itself to us.
We’ll work with dreams, shamanic journeying, drawing, writing, responding to music. Many ways into the numinous will be explored in this 4-day course, gently, step by step.
This path can lead to profound inner change, acceptance, joy, and peace.
The price for 4 days is £475
No previous experience is necessary. This course was fully booked.
October 25 @ 11:00 am – October 27 @ 5:00 pm
Making your Mark: drawing on, and being inspired by, inner impulses of your body.
Painting, writing and drawing on bodily impulses, including memory, fantasy and longing.
This course will involve working with breath, music, sound, colour, mark-making, and poetry as some of our starting points.
Most humans draw as their first, primary means to record their experiences, ideas and feelings about being in the world. Artists use many forms of drawing/note-making to explore, set down and refine sensations, observations, and ideas about their work and their surroundings. Having confidence in one’s ability to draw/work with words is invaluable.
This three-day course will take you back to basics and guide you through various techniques developed to improve your sensitivity and expressive range with your drawing and/or writing.
We’ll work with music, the breath, the body, poetry; – responding to rhythm, timbre, emotional colour; you’ll have access to a range of mediums, surfaces, and exciting starting points to show you what can be possible with drawing/writing. This will be a reflective, immersive course where you will learn about many techniques as well as a wide range of thinking about practice – from Eastern traditions to Sufi, Aboriginal, first Nations’ people’s thoughts and European perspectives.
The price of the course is £350. This course is fully booked.
Isle of Iona. My regular course at The Green Shed (formerly the award-winning Iona Hostel) has one place available.
Please message me for more details for next year and beyond. The work we do is deeply immersive and transformative. This year it’ll run from October 5th – 12th.
Here is some feedback from recent and current participants:
Having Kate as a mentor has allowed a fundamental shift in my wellbeing as an artist and how I view both myself and my creative path. Whether on a workshop in Iona or on a one to one in person or by Zoom, I always feel held, always feel listened to and have always been guided gently to the point I am meant to be at. Its always about the art… but yet its not. Thats what I love and appreciate.
Today I pay tribute to the mesmerising work and soul of artist Kate Walters. I met Kate a few years ago when she led a painting workshop I attended at the Newlyn School of Art and I fell in love with her work and her fascinating approach to her art. For me, Kate epitomises the fearlessness of a warrior goddess, she is bold and brave, warm and generous hearted. This, and much more, is represented in her work, which calls you to step you into a deeper relationship with yourself and the world around you. In some ways she may well be ahead of her time, but I think she is one of the most exciting artists to be creating out of Cornwall right now. Kate is a true inspiration and it is an honour to be featuring her work on my new website. Thank you dear Kate.
Dr Alice Laskey
If you are looking for authentic ways to consider and develop your art practice, I highly recommend anyone who is thinking about taking up the opportunity to work alongside Kate. Her workshops will enable you to tap in unknown energies , if you allow yourself , and your work will take on a different life and a new journey will begin. Kate is kind, respectful and her workshops are well planned and considered. Kate provides you with access to a wide range of relevant reading and resources that can support you in th development of your thoughts and ideas. Kate is generous of self and always willing to offer you extra space and time to consider you work … I would recommend any workshop she facilities , she welcomes all levels of practice and mediums, the experience will be life changing.
I cannot wait to attend her new workshops in Devon and meeting likeminded artists , as Kate is excited to begin her new journey, I am also excited to be part of her new experience and will be attending with and an open heart and high energy curiosity.
‘Kate is the most grounded and challenging mentor I’ve had in my life, her powerful reflections always bear some heavy fruit.’
Artist and Director of Studio Kind
‘Kate has been the most influential tutor on my work and development as an artist; and though I can count the time we spent together in hours, her guidance, ideas and sensibility continue to guide me today. That this is happening two years on from when we reviewed my work I think is remarkable, and a testament to the quality of her teaching.
She does not instruct you, although she can (her knowledge of art history and thought, materials, processes and techniques is hugely impressive and she is more than happy to share it to resolve technical problems). Rather I found her to be the best kind of tutor : I think the Japanese word is sensei – a master practitioner who encourages through insight and example, and who, from an authentic connection with what she does and the limitless natural and spiritual world around her, helps you understand and find your own voice.’
Abstract Intuitive Artist
If you want to access those spiritual places, thought processes and energies that are so vital to setting free the creative process then sign up for a course with Kate Walters .
Over the last two years I have been privileged to have her as mentor and experience with her shamanic guidance the unique island of Iona, which was thrilling .
She is gifted with steely resilience to plough her own artistic furrow and inspires you to free yourself of the inhibitions that hold you back. I am very lucky to have found her.
Kate creates the most inspiring and magical space in her workshops. Her approach is holistic and goes far beyond simply teaching a well-rehearsed technique. She is attentive to everyone’s particular circumstances and is incredibly perceptive and gentle. I’ve attended many of her workshops and each time I leave with a renewed sense of wonder and creative enrichment.
Professor, Digital Games
Editor, Games and Culture http://gac.sagepub.com
I just want to thankyou for the amazing time I had with you in Newlyn. I’m not sure exactly what happened but I feel like I’ve been gently nudged back into the groove that I’m supposed to be in.. It was a lovely group of women and the landscape was astounding. I think I said at the time that it was really interesting to be earth focused as usually for me (and almost everyone else) Cornwall is all about the sea. I felt very earthed and connected and profoundly aware of all the people who have lived and worked and worshipped and danced there before us.
You are such an inspirational woman and artist, so powerful and authentic that you elevated the whole experience to way beyond just learning to monoprint.
On my journey home I decided to try for the MA (something I’ve pondered for a while but previously lacked the confidence to act on) and it was entirely due to being with you and the others. I had a taste of how it would feel to push boundaries and deepen my quest to unleash my true voice which is something I ordinarily have neither the time nor the head space nor the fearlessness to contemplate .
I do my very best to run all workshops in a Covid-safe way, with much of the work outdoors; if indoors masks will be worn, good ventilation employed, and every care taken. We will be unable to share art materials, sadly. For everybody’s safety I prefer it if participants have been vaccinated, but I cannot insist on this.