Talking Creativity with Iona Singleton
Hey Iona! You’re the founder of Within Without, a publication series featuring creative people’s opinions and perspectives. How did it first come to be? Do you come from a creative background yourself?
I work in the music world, touring with the group, King Crimson. I’m also a writer, ayurvedic practitioner, herbalist, and yoga teacher. Within Without is a creative piece, an annual publication, and a home for creatives, a community.
The idea for the first volume found me in a dream. Last year, I lost a very close friend, Bill Rieflin, also a world-class musician, to cancer. He was a huge inspiration and constantly encouraged me to delve deeper. The first volume follows his journey over the last four years of his life through our personal correspondences. It also explores the theme ‘a space for change’ through various art forms and artists’ interpretations.
The project is a continuation of what I’ve always done, and yet it’s sparked a new love for what I do. There’s a thread that runs through it all, I call it creative presence but that can be replaced by any word that holds that feeling tone for you.
The first volume of Within Without is due out this March. It details the journey of musician Bill Rieflin, who has toured with a multitude of bands including R.E.M and King Crimson. What can the reader expect from this issue? What sort of insight does Bill offer?
What comes from the book – or what came generally from Bill – is love. Bill was on very casual terms with convention, and always found new ways of approaching things. His writings mix the mundane, the whimsical, and the existential.
For those unfamiliar with Bill’s musical heritage – he was one of the most important Seattle musicians of the last three decades. He drummed with Revolting Cocks, Ministry, and KMFDM before in 2003, he was invited to take the vacant drum stool with REM. Although he never became a formal member of the group, they announced that he would fill the role indefinitely, and he continued until the band dissolved in 2011 – playing keyboards, guitar and bouzouki as well as drums. Bill then joined the reformed King Crimson in 2014. But aside from all of that, he was an incredibly interested and interesting man.
This book is a personal window into his life over four years as he battled a nine-year fight with cancer. It speaks of something that we will all experience, just under different timelines, and circumstances. The combination of Bill’s words blended with pieces of art was created purposefully to encapsulate something so human, perhaps the fallibility of humans versus the ineffable truths that creative works can offer, it shows the cracks in our humanity, and from those cracks, new understandings are made possible. It’s an invitation to journey into the unknown.
The tagline for your project is “Helping us find the health, harmony, and balance we need to fulfil our creative potential”. Could you tell me the story behind this? What does this phrase mean to you?
This really speaks of creative presence, a concept we explore in our community offering, where we enter into a 12-month journey and explore different ways of approaching creativity. We learn to create from the inside out. Within Without combines my various practices in Art, Ayurveda, Herbalism, and Yoga, bringing in a holistic approach. To see life as one of process rather than persistent progress. It’s largely about finding our inner balance so that we release old notions of creativity as a form of commodity, but engage with our inner artist and create a life, in harmony with the outside world.
What would you like to offer up as your WFTP hidden gem?
Sergio Lerrain’s Valparaiso. There’s something I can’t explain that’s translated in the pages of this book. He was an artist that wanted to change the world but also wanted to live like a hermit. There’s something so personal in his work that I can relate to beyond understanding. It’s beautiful!
And the spoken words of Rohan Ayinde, I can’t think how I first came across him, but his poetry is mesmerising – it’s deep and melodic but always uplifting. @rohanayinde
Cheers Iona, it’s been great to hear about Within Without. Please give us your links and social media channels so we can follow what you do!
Volume I is available for pre-order and will be released March 13th, along with our community offerings, which can be found online at withinwithout.co.uk, and I am on Instagram as @withinwithout_ Thanks for having me Alex, looking forward to connecting with more of your work!
Interview by Alex Wilson