Do you know why blackberries have thorns? Or what chickens actually talk about as they explore the bounty of the farmyard? Or how a little girl in India kept a forest from being torn down by developers? Antoinette Botsford, Orcas Island storyteller and Master Gardener, celebrates the joy of gardening nurtured by a childhood on her grandmother’s farm, daily at this year’s San Juan County Fair, August 14-17.
Botsford grew up in a family that values storytelling. “My mother told stories about the past, my father told stories about the future.” Her education includes a Ph.D. in Theatre from UCLA, a master’s in Folklore and Mythology and — the important part — “a whole ton of life experience.” She’s especially known for native North American tales (many learned from her Canadian-Metís relatives) as well as a growing Celtic collection she calls “The Forest of Broceliande.” A large part of her performance repertoire includes stories she weaves from fragments of family history and anecdotes, as well as stories she describes as “traditional and true” that she has adapted from world cultures.
Botsford toured for six months with Utah’s Grammy-winning Douglas Spotted Eagle in his stage show, “Voices of Native America,” and is a frequent performer and teacher at arts festivals including ten seasons with the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Jack Zimmerman, president of the Ojai Foundation, describes her as “…a gifted and profound teacher and storyteller who brings a heightened and complex understanding of myth to contemporary life.”
Botsford will perform on the Fair’s main stage every day at noon. Though some of the tales may be too complex for very young children, families and adults will delight in these journeys into nature. A great lunch break!
For a complete schedule of events, including Master Gardener demonstrations, visit sjcfair.org.
Visit Antoinette at Storybird.