Rima Staines is an artist using paint, wood, word, music, animation, clock-making, puppetry and story to attempt to build a gate through the hedge that grows along the boundary between this world and that. Her gate-building has been a lifelong pursuit, and she hopes to have perhaps propped aside even one spiked loop of bramble (leaving a chink just big enough for a mud-kneeling, trusting eye to glimpse the beauty there beyond), before she goes through herself.
Rima was born in London in 1979 to a family of artists and has always been stubborn about living the things that make her heart sing. She travelled for a year and a day in a hand-built wooden house on wheels to a village on the edge of Dartmoor where she now lives in an old cottage on top of a hill with her beloved, Tom Hirons.
Rima’s inspirations are too innumerable to name, but a selection from the bottomless list might include the world and language of folktale; the faces of the people who pass her on the street; the folk music and art of Old Europe and beyond; peasant and nomadic living; magics of every feather; wilderness and plant-lore; the margins of thought, experience, community and spirituality; and the beauty in otherness.
Rima’s involvement with the Dark Mountain Project began with her being asked to paint the cover of Dark Mountain Book Two, for which she created in oils on a piece of wood found in a skip, a kind of Slavic Pied Piper, leading a motley band of folk toward the mountain.
At the Uncivilisation festivals, she illustrated Tom Hirons’s storytelling around the fire with her accordion, and made otherworldly effigies to sit in the trees and walk out from under the hill.
Crumbs fall from Rima’s threadbare coat pockets as she travels, and can be found collected here, where you may join the caravan. Otherwise you may wander through the rooms of her Hermitage, buy from her emporium, or peer, bewildered, at her timepieces.