Showing posts with label Annabel Graham. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Annabel Graham. Show all posts

Friday, July 31, 2015

Welly-moot #4.4 Mid-Year Christmas

On Sunday the 26th of July, the Welly-moot was held at the home of myself & Alex. I didn't mention this at the moot, but it was our 30th Tolkien get-together! Rather than a "proper" Tolkien-related theme, it was more of a purely social gathering this time, for existing members to get together and enjoy spending a very pleasant afternoon in each other's company.

Not much to report really; the food was excellent - thank you everyone for your contributions - and the conversation flowed well. A very special thank you to Cathy from Canada (not present at the moot, unfortunately) for providing the most excellent Maple flavoured coffee - I'd been saving it for a special occasion. :)

We all had an opportunity to meet with some of the regular members' less regular partners, which was really nice. I also had a chance to show off some of the more precious things in my collection, which seemed to be enjoyed by the group.

No real news to report this month. I'm still in talks with the relevant people about our special upcoming event (!), and I'm hoping to finally be able to go public on that soon. Keep watching this space!

One item - you may have noticed that the official Welly-moot pins, designed by our own member Annabel, are no longer available in Silver, just in the Bronze. If you don't have yours yet, order one soon! They look fantastic. To place an order, just click the "Add to Cart" button on the right hand side of the site.

For the people who had contacted me wanting to join this meeting but where not yet members - the next Welly-moot will be held as a normal meeting, with new members accepted again. Details are on our Calendar page.

I think the last meeting of this year, in November, will be a special one - it will mark the 5th anniversary of the existence of the group. Might have to have some prizedraws for that one!

Also: I'm taking suggestions for our September Welly-moot theme! Email/facebook message me!

  - Jack

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Roundup of Live Hobbit Event's news items

What a great day it was here in Wellington. Peter Jackson's Live Fan Event went off without a hitch, and as far as I could tell it all went according to everybody's plans.

We watched the latest Trailer, a brand new Hobbit Production Diary (number 12 already!), extended scenes from the first Hobbit movie, the new credits song for the second movie, and then, somewhat unexpectedly, a full 20 minutes of preview scenes from The Hobbit 2: Desolation Of Smaug.

On top of that, there was a lively back'n'forth live question and answer session between Wellington, London, New York, and Los Angeles, involving Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Andy Serkis, Luke Evans, Jed Brophy, and Sir Peter Jackson himself.

The press was involved as well - apart from the organisers' camera crew, I also saw New Zealand's TVOne and TV3 crews, as well as radio stations ZM-FM and NewsTalkZB.

Rather than collecting absolutely every last mention of the Event, I've decided to focus on just news items that feature Welly-moot members, so we can all enjoy our 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame. If I've missed anything, please let me know!

2013-11-04, 10:47 - Hobbit fans to get glimpse of new film - Alex, Jack, Annabel, Sophy, Lucy
2013-11-04, 18:35 - The Hobbit DOS - Live Stream Fans Gear Up - Alex, Jack, Annabel, Sophy, Lucy

2103-11-05, 06:41 - Intrigue surrounds 'Hobbit' Q&A session - Jack (article only)
2013-11-05, 08:08 - Thousands tune in to Hobbit fan event - (starts at 0:27) - Annabel, Sophie, Lucy
2013-11-05, 11:58 - Hobbit livestream event kicks off - Wayne, Annabel, Sophy, Lucy, Shirley, Hermes. Annabel, Sophy, & Lucy are also in the article
2013-11-05, 16:08 - PHOTOS: The Hobbit: worldwide fan event - Annabel, Sophie, Lucy, Wayne, Shirley, Hermes, Viv,
2013-11-05, 18:43 - Tens of thousands of Hobbit fans turn out for live webcast - Martyn, Alex (both briefly!), Jack, Annabel, Sophie, Lucy

And of course the Event itself, now available on Youtube if you missed it the first time around. I got to ask my question in front of rather too many people. :)

If I've missed any videos, let me know.

 - Jack

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Welly-moot goes to the Weta Cave's 5th birthday party

The Weta Cave celebrated its 5th birthday this week - they first opened their doors to the public at 11:00am, on the 6th of June, 2008. As it happened, Alex and I were the first two through the doors on the day (ok, she was first, but I was holding the doors open for her).

Daniel Reeve
We weren't as quick off the mark today, five years (and two days) later. We arrived at the Weta Cave just around 1:30pm, halfway through an enormous queue for Weta's calligrapher/cartographer Daniel Reeve, who was selling his new Hobbit Birthday Party Invitations, and handwriting people's names onto them with his calligraphy skills. I had brought my map of The Shire (after taking it off my wall), and he signed it for me. Oddly, since his work covers a lot of my mancave's wall, I didn't have his autograph yet!

Mark Hadlow (aka Dori, and Bert)
While we were waiting, we spotted Dwarf actor Mark Hadlow elsewhere in the mass of people, and Chief Wizard Richard Taylor as well.

Alex with Jed Brophy (aka Nori) and an enormous smile on her face
The call went up that there was another Dwarf on the premises, and sure enough, Jed Brophy had arrived also.


Alex, still smiling, with Tania Rodger
After Daniel Reeve graciously signed my (his?) map, we went outside, and met up with Tania Rodger, Weta Workshop manager (and partner of Richard Taylor).

Various other people, including Warren Beatton and Dave Tremont came by to join in the celebrations, cake was eaten, and balloons added to the happy occasion.

Mad scientist and Welly-mooter, Warren.
Richard Taylor with Alex, and her autographed Hobbit book

Dave Tremont, Doctor Who fan #1, and creator of the miniature Barad-Dur

One interesting tale came to hand - in the morning a very special guest had been introduced to the crowds - Hermes the Blue Tongue Skink.

I was initially unclear about why he'd been invited (apart from being pretty awesome), but his handler/owner, Shirley Jones, mentioned offhand that he had been a digital model for Smaug when Guillermo Del Toro was still directing. I couldn't draw her out on more detail, so I'm not sure if Smaug still looks like Hermes, or how much, but that was an interesting snippet of information!?!

 I'm pretty sure this will be discussed at the next meeting - quite a few Welly-mooters had made their way to the event as well. I saw Annabel, Warren, Erin, Cinnamon, Elliot, and Ryan and Hawk. Did I miss anyone?

As an unrelated side-note, Alex and I are on our way to Japan next week, we'll be back for the next meeting (July 14th). Hope to see you all there! I'll be available via email sporadically if anyone needs me (but please don't need me).

  - Jack

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Welly-moot goes to Armageddon!

Armageddon is in full swing.

That sounded wrong. I don't mean the end of the world is nigh - Armageddon is Wellington's annual fantasy convention. This year, it was held at the Westpac Stadium (where some of the Lord Of The Rings' sound effects were recorded, back in 1999).

I'd spoken about the event to Annabel Graham, the jeweller who has created our gorgeous badges for us (see right-hand side-bar, here on our blog). Annabel had offered a bit of wall space from her Whovian Jewellery stand for our banner, and I had two days off between LOTR-touring to help her out a bit, so I decided to take her up on her offer.

The event started today (Saturday), so on Friday we came to set up the stand.

The Welly-moot banner was still on bamboo sticks from the last event, which I thought might help hold it up, but in the morning it had fallen over. Luckily I'd brought some tacks in with me, which solved the problem completely.

Pic: At 8:30am, the queues had already started; the show wouldn't open until 10:00am!

I spent a fun (if tiring) Saturday with Annabel, discussing rather a lot of Doctor Who with rather a lot of Doctor Who fans.

I didn't take photos of all the Doctor Who fans, but here's a few special visitors for the Welly-moot. Pay special attention to the last two photos! :)

Pic: Welly-mooters Erin & Erika were the first to say hello, and promptly bought their Welly-moot badges

Pic: Welly-mooter Wayne soon appeared as well, in appropriate attire.

Pic: Welly-mooter Cinnamon came to say Hello as well. Apparently Ash was there as well but I arrived too late with my camera.

Pic: Oh, and did I mention Radagast the Brown? Radagast the Brown also came by.

Pic : Although what possible appeal a Doctor Who Jewellery store would hold for Sylvester McCoy is beyond me. ;)

All in all, a fun day, and we got to meet some awesome people. Apart from the obvious, we also ran into "our" Riventroll sculptor Kim Beaton who was doing live sculpting demonstrations with the newly named concrete "Pal Tiya", and Weta effects wizard Gino Acevedo. If you are in Wellington for the next two days, make your way to the Westpac Stadium - over the next few days there will be a lot more Hobbit actors around!

  - Jack

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Welly-moot Pins

The Welly-moot badge is available!

As you can see to the right of this (and every) post, we now have the Welly-moot pins available for sale, directly through this blog (if you're reading this through Facebook, Google+, RSS, or any other way, and you don't see the links, please come to the blog itself on

pic: This is the bronze pin.

The standard Bronze pin is 25mm wide, and will set you back $22 (including p/p), or if you want it in Sterling Silver, that's $52 (including p/p).

If you're ordering from overseas, add an extra $8.50 for international shipping, by adding the shipping amount to your shopping cart.

All amounts are in New Zealand Dollars, and will be converted automatically by your bank (though they may charge you a small fee, I guess). Let me know if there's any problems!

The payments go directly to the artist Annabel Graham (who designed it for us), with a small amount coming back to the group as well, to (not actually) cover our expenses.

If you're not yet a member of our little group, you can still buy the badge - we think it's too cool not to share!

So wear your Welly-moot pin with pride! I expect to see a few at the next meeting!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Welly-moot 2.2 (April 28th, 2013) - Dual Themes

We had our second meeting this year, on Sunday, 28th of April. All the regular members attended: Jack, Alex, Kris, Martin, Ash, Cinnamon, Ben, Iain, Ryan and Jennifer with Hawk, Annabel, Kumi, and one new visitor; Kate from Germany.

We started with Jack opening the moot. He mentioned two projects; Mt Tolkien (the renaming of the mountain in South Island) and Riventroll (a statue in Rivendell (Kaitoke Regional Park)). Unfortunately the naming of Mt Tolkien was not successful at this time. However, we will continue to try to rename a New Zealand feature officially – we might be able to do some local renaming (perhaps formalise Rivendell). We will keep everyone informed. Regarding the Troll statue, we have applied for the Art Grant from Creative Wellington NZ for Riventroll’s funding. We are still waiting for the contract from them in the end of May. Fingers crossed!

Some updates from the members; Cinnamon showed us the photo of herself with a large group of the Hobbit’s cast, including Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), from this year’s Supanova in Brisbane, Australia.

Welly-moot member and jeweller Annabel has finished creating a gorgeous badge for our group. The introductory price for members at the meeting was $16, and it will shortly be available on our website for $20 (not including P&P). An announcement for that will be made soon.

Another great piece of news is that local LOTR touring company Wellington Rover Tours has granted us a special discount of 50% off for Lord of the Ring Full-day Tours for Welly-moot members. At this stage the discount will go all winter, so book in over the next few months. Send Jack a message and he can arrange the tour at the special price.

So, come and join our Welly-moot meetings, and enjoy this VERY special deal! Ben will be the first of our members to enjoy this, as he's booked in later this week. Hopefully we can get him to write a quick update about it afterwards.

Some other news:

Kate mentioned that a German Sword Trainer is coming to Auckland in May. She suggested if we have enough people we can have the workshop in Wellington as well. However it was too short notice and we didn’t have enough time or resources to prepare for this. Hopefully in the future we may have another opportunity like this.

The Themes:

Finally, it was time for our discussions. The main topics were “What is your favourite part in Hobbit book?” and “Tolkien’s other tales and short stories”. To allow for a more active discussion, we divided the groups into two smaller circles and we had exciting, and fun discussions, with appropriately high geek-levels.

Theme 1 – What is your favourite part in The Hobbit?

A lot of people liked the moment where the Dwarves come Bilbo’s place, because it is so funny. Alex likes Gandalf and Bilbo’s first encounter – Gandalf said “What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that…..”. It is a very “unexpected” reply, and from this conversation onwards, unexpected incidents happen continuously to Bilbo, which is one of the main elements.

Part of the group - Martyn on the left, Cinamon and Ash at the top. (that's Kate's arm to the right, and Kris's head at the bottom)

Kris read the part of the book with her nice low tone to make people concentrate even harder. Even young Hawk was completely drawn in...

Theme 2 -Tolkien’s other tales and short stories

In addition to his mythopoeic compositions, Tolkien enjoyed inventing fantasy stories to entertain his children. (Wikipedia) – Alex did her home work
  • The Father Christmas Letters - annual christmas letters from Father Christmas for his children
  • Mr. Bliss
  • Roverandom
  • Smith of Wootton Major ( Roverandom and Smith of Wootton Major, like The Hobbit, borrowed ideas from his legendarium)
  • Leaf by Niggle (part of Tree and Leaf)
  • On Fairy-Stories (part of Tree and Leaf)
  • The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
  • Farmer Giles of Ham
Kris recommends “Roverandom”; it is easy, shorter, and fun. We agreed that the stories have fairytales, giants, wizards, dog which talks, magic, etc, and it is not only children but adults can enjoy these stories. Other opinions are that adults tend to analyse the stories but children don’t and they just accept them and enjoy them. Why shall we not enjoy them rather than analysing or criticising? Overall it was fun discussion and we will do it again.

Ben, Ryan and Jack debated whether the shorter stories could be interpreted as being fairytales told within Middle-earth by its own denizens – potentially a post “war-of-the-Ring” Middle-earth, long after the elves are all but forgotten. Certainly Roverandom and Smith of Wootton Major could be read as such, while Leaf By Niggle is more of a “meta” work, a story that perhaps describes how the other stories came about.

Ben on the left, then Ryan & Hawk, Jenifer, Annabel, and Jack at the bottom (wearing the Finnish Tolkien Society's t-shirt)

An interesting point arose when sympathy was expressed for both Tolkien as well as for Peter Jackson, who have both described originally as creating their works for themselves, but have later also both said that the can’t read/watch them again (references?). Iain suggested that this echoed Frodo’s predicament in saving the shire, but finding himself unable to stay there afterwards. Interesting.

Welly-moot this year

We are based in Wellington NZ and so, will most likely have great opportunities to get involved locally especially next a couple of years because of the Hobbit 2 & 3.

  • Welly-moot will be actively looking to join any event and hopefully won’t miss any opportunities! Because of that, we want to organise Welly-moot parties in December 2013 and 2014.
  • Movie marathon – LOTR 1, 2, 3 and Hobbit 1 at Embassy Theatre before Hobbit 2 would be great idea. Jack will look into this in before the next meeting.
  • We will invite people from in film industry in Wellington to our meetings.
As Jack was too busy talking to others, the meeting was closed by Kris and Alex. The next meeting will be on Sunday 14 July 2:00pm. We usually have meeting every two months, however this June, Jack and Alex are going to Japan, where they might be able to visit Tolkien Society in Japan! Expect a report if this ends up happening!

We will keep everyone informed on this website when any activities we will do. All posts here are automatically placed on our Facebook page as well as on our Twitter account.

  - Alex

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Welly-moot 2.2 (April 28, 2013) - Dual Themes!

Due to the increased size in the group, this month we're going to try discussing two separate themes. The size of the group and the venue means it's becoming harder to hear everyone properly. To adjust, we're splitting the group into two separate themes, and you can pick (and switch!) at any stage of the meeting.

Theme 1) Your favourite part of The Hobbit
Theme 2) Tolkien's other tales

For theme 1, bring along your copy of The Hobbit book, and feel free to read a small section of it to the group, and explain why you enjoyed that part more than others.

For theme 2, we will talk about some of Tolkien's other tales, not set in Middle-earth. Farmer Giles, Roverandom, Leaf by Niggle, or any of the others - what makes them special? Do they relate to Middle-earth at all? Do they share common themes? Let's talk!

Also, we hope to have Annabel Graham with us again. Annabel is a jeweller who creates beautiful pieces for Doctor Who fans the world over, and she's hand-crafted a bronze badge for us. She showed us a sample at the last moot, which was adored by all.

The Welly-moot badge - get one now!

As promised, we've managed to keep the price very low compared to her usual pieces - it will be less than $20 (a final price will be set before the meeting).

So please, bring a $20 note, and wear the Welly-moot logo with pride.

We'll see you next week - bring friends, family, or perfect strangers! And please, spread this announcement on your facebook pages, twitter account, work noticeboards, etc.

  - Jack