Being Human Bells
We help people share more love, respect, kindness, laughter and appreciation.
Maybe even you?
The Message Eggs encourage us to share love, respect and laughter by taking a little more time to share our best words, thoughts and feelings.
Naturally, what people say about us effects how we feel, how we think, how we act. When they reflect back the best in us, it literally changes the way we see the world. Neuroscience now proves this.
We do this with our commissioned gift experiences, outreach projects and spontaneously when we feel the need!
Since it all began as an experimental art project in 2010…
…we’ve helped over 1000 people solve the age old problem of how to give a meaningful gift.
We’ve seen folk laugh, cry, reminisce and most of all – create positive resonance – like human bells.
Special occasions are unique moment in life when we have the chance to nurture each other. From the words we share in cards and on social media to the gifts we give, there is great potential here.
Jenny Davy, the mother of Message Eggs founder Libby Davy, died in the early days, which had a huge impact on Libby’s desire to make something beautiful hatch from her loss.
“I want to help make it normal for people to reflect back the best they see in each other.
“Eulogies are great, but might be too late.”
“I’ve seen the impact love and appreciation – openly expressed – can have over lifetimes and generations. It effects our health and wellbeing in ways we are only beginning to understand.
“Life milestones give us a nudge to seize the day.”
Libby was married to the talented Graeme Sutherland, who came in to help build Message Eggs online as the global community for love and social change it is gently becoming.
They both share a passion for the positive potential of people and art, and have brought an inspiring team of people together to get cracking.
“We want to keep growing organically through people valuing what we do and sharing it. Infact, the feedback has been so good, we’ve had to water it down to sound believable. We just want to keep doing what we are doing, and listening to what people want, to make it better.
In some ways, they’ve developed an intimate, personal experience. There’s also a collective sense of celebrating life, and each other.
“Everyone has the right to creative expression, to make meaning, to be loved. We wear our idealism on our sleeves, but have learnt to be extremely practical to make things happen.”
And what could be more significant as a form of creative expression, than taking a few moments to express how we appreciate another human being we care about. We are all capable, and now help is at hand.
Message Eggs exists to tangibly increase self esteem and positivity resonance – one relationship, one life event at a time. We work within close kin networks, cradle to grave, to reduce social isolation. Our service will increasingly be made accessible to vulnerable people at all stages of life through outreach projects and our By Donation offer. We’ve developed a disruptive, mainstream offer that can scale rapidly to enable this.
Our Advisory Team guides what we do and ensures we are able to deliver lasting change to individuals, communities and generations. Our offer is global but our main focus is the United Kingdom at present.
In 2016 we aim to further our formal partnerships with experts in:
- social impact research
- major illness and palliative care (patient and carer support)
We’re based in Brighton, England and have another studio in Sydney, Australia. Our customers, recipients and participants are all over the world. We’ve been part of the social enterprise movement since 1996 and are members of Social Enterprise UK. See more in Benefits.
Think “dandelion” and blow. Think “egg” and see the vast potential when we work together to share love.
Creator, Founder, Facilitator
Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts etc
Libby created Message Eggs from a background in social enterprise and participatory arts. She is a passionate learner and has previous lives in communications, activism, business and education. The main threads seem to be: 1. the importance of cradle-to-grave expression, creativity and learning 2. facilitating dialogue for individual well-being and social change.
Libby is a mother and has an ongoing multi-arts practice.
Linkedin / public speaker / writer / commentator / guest blogger.
Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts etc
Gra has mature experience in helping online ideas grow in healthy ways. He’s worked everywhere from Australasia to Silicon Valley and Europe. Gra is like a Swiss army knife: systems engineer, scrum/agile leader, tech lead, architect and technology futurist.
Gra is also a father and writer. He and Libby have somehow been married for nearly 20 years.
Diana joined us in 2015 after moving from Barcelona, where she managed an international art gallery for many years. She works closely with customers, recipients and our makers, guiding them through the Message Eggs process and making sure everything runs smoothly.
Outside of Message Eggs, Diana works as a freelance project manager for cultural and artistic projects.
Lead Maker UK
Emm is a wife and mama; a creator and events manager. She has a passion for art and all things creative, combined with a meticulous attention to detail. Bookbinding and lampshade making, when time allows, are favourite hobbies. Her dream is to have a garden studio to house all her crafting items, and to create beautiful things.
Having known Libby & Gra for several years Emm is honoured to be a part of the Message Eggs journey.
Lead Maker Australia
The multi-talented Linda Brammer is our lead Maker and Artisan in Australia. Linda has been with us from early days and was friends with Libby at high school.
She has been incredibly loyal and patient with us as we’ve been through the R&D stage getting ready to grow. So glad you answered our Facebook call out for an Oz Maker Linda.
Graphic & Web Designer
Irene Soler is our wonderful Designer and Developer, and created the website you are looking at now with us. She brings creative spirit and permaculture methodology into the design process, making her the perfect addition to the Message Eggs team.
We love her to bits, and thank Ellen de Vries so much for the introduction.
You can find her here.
Ethical Business, Coach, Psychotherapy Advisor
Lasy co-founded Conscious Business people and is a key part of our development. She has helped enterprises of all sizes flourish and contribute in positive ways. As a holistic business coach, Lasy supports us to find our own solutions to grow. As a psychotherapist, she advises us on practices and principles that give depth, safety and substance. She has a background in finance, which keeps us healthy too.
We met Lasy when she commissioned Message Eggs for her dear friend Vanessa’s 50th.
We are pleased to have attracted such a talented group of people to support the development of Message Eggs. Big, big thanks. Click on names find out more.
Creativity / Arts Management
Mentoring & Social Impact
Social Work, Elderly Care
Online Retail Marketing
Ellen de Vries
Legal & Enterprise
Art for Social Change & Wellbeing
Dr Gillie Bolton
Healing & Reflective Writing
Mindfulness & Creativity
Mindful Social Enterprise
Jesse Black Mooney
Curation / Arts Management
Client Advocacy / Major Illness
Finance & Accounting
Creativity / Engagement
Mindfulness & Mentoring
Keep me posted.
We have recently created or been part of the following:
Global Love Cafes
NOW Live Events
Joined Jana and an amazing lineup, including Oliver Burkeman and Psychologies Magazine, in the NOW Tent at Wilderness Festival to share mindfulness, creativity and love. We have an ongoing relationship and commitment to exploring our practice together. She’s very dear.
Improbable Theatre has a participatory playground called “The Still“. Libby Davy was invited by Phelim McDermott, Lee Simpson and Matilda Leyser onstage at the Camden People’s Theatre to improvise a show together about Love Cafes and Message Eggs. After a brief conversation defining some topics we might explore, or not, we went on stage and it begun. Libby invited everyone to talk to their neighbours about who they love and how they show them. A certain furry Love Tiger called Roary Claude and some touchable bubbles somehow arrived too.
“Our intention is to focus on what’s really happening in the moment – our shows are live events encouraging conversation between us and our audience.”
“Who Do You Love?”
Message Eggs has been working with filmmaker Paul Saunders on a participatory short film, interviewing people in the North Laines of Brighton and New England House about love. This will be released online summer 2015. There are many more film projects in the pipeline thanks to the in-house talents of Beth Walker (interactive film) and our new friend Gavin Alexander.
Crowd Sourcing Wisdom
We invited 400 people attending the Playful Conference in Conway Hall London to tell us what play meant to them. Social media prior to event inspired participation. Attendee’s contributions were mixed with thought leaders, and crafted into an individual Wisdom Egg for each participant to crack and ponder. This was a previous incarnation of Message Eggs before we decided to concentrate on our current offer.
Cancer & Major Illness
We have been profoundly impacted by the potential of arts at the end of life. While on placement as an artist-in-residence at a hospice, Libby helped a 49 year-old-mother/daughter/grandmother record audio files for everyone in her family before she died, telling them how proud she was of them, and how loved they were – completing her emotional work in this life.
This was part of a programme originally set up by Rosetta Life. She has been mentored by Dr Gillie Bolton, had training from Living Well, Dying Well and been sponsored by St Christopher’s Hospice, founders of the hospice movement, to attend their international symposium “The arts in a time of crisis: living and dying creatively in a changing world.” This forms part of a growing body of research and practice into arts and major illness.
Dr Bolton said “The Message Eggs project has great arts and health potential value for the client group identified; its particular strength lies in the way it supports the creation of both writing (which is abstract) and a tactile pleasing physical object, using these to develop significant communication with loved ones. Libby has a depth of experience and skill both to offer and develop it.”
We have also helped support many friends and family during major illness and towards the end of life, seeing again and again what an impact our last expressions and exchanges can be, whatever form they take. We have the opportunity to complete our life’s work, right up until our last breathe. We believe everyone wants to love fully and be loved in return – and that this may be the central purpose of life. For most people, perhaps all? Discuss!
Message Eggs and spin off projects will develop further within this space in 2015/2106. Please get in touch if you would like to partner or support in any way.
Goldsmiths MFA Utopia Forum – on positivity resonance and emotional contagion.
Women in Technology Forum – Brighton University. Spoke on emotional contagion and Message Eggs.
Fabrica Gallery – Co-hosted a public forum on resonance and participatory art.
Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce – Spoke on authentic blogging and social media.
Keep in touch
“The tremendous recent interest in engaged, caring public art demands a context in art history and present criticism” – Suzanne Lacy, ‘Mapping the Terrain: new genre public art’.
Message Eggs comes from the worlds of:
- participatory or community art
- social sculpture
- dialogic or relational art
- new genre public art
- conceptual art
- arts & wellbeing
- Buddhist art
- durational art.
Inspiration come from many places, including artists, theorists and collectives as diverse as Suzi Gablik (first and forever), Suzanne Lacy, Grant Kester, Yoko Ono*, Cildo Meireles, Sophie Calle, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Jeremy Deller, Lewis Hyde, Now Live Events and People United.
(* Yoko received Message Eggs in homage at the opening of her first UK show in decades. Case Study here.)
After an extended pilgrimage to Japan – seeing the dedication to craft and apprenticeship being passed down through generations – Message Eggs became something of a durational piece of work. There is a lifetime commitment here and a spiritual practice beneath it all. Even the awesome Marina Abramović has given much air to Message Eggs.
Message Eggs founder Libby Davy, now a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, first began this project during Art Foundation at City College in Brighton. Her practice as a participatory artist has evolved over many years and led to post-graduate studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. There she gained confidence in the potential of the artist as “catalyst, shaman, activist, healer”.
The last Tate Triennale looked closely at the relational aesthetic as seen by the French curator Nicholas Bourriaud. He defining it as: “A set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.
“He saw artists as facilitators rather than makers and regarded art as information exchanged between the artist and the viewers.
“The artist, in this sense, gives audiences access to power and the means to change the world.”
At last, we point away from post-modernity to something new growing up from under the pavement. Not the beach but, the cosmos? Here comes everyone, everything.
Hence the work started by Duchamp, continued by the Situationalists, Fluxus and Alan Kaprow has been brought online through James Suroweki, David Gauntlett and Richard Sennett. Our hope is to see The Compassionate Revolution create ripples that become waves. We don’t need to create artificial barriers between art / life / the market place. It has always been this way. There need by no barriers, only semi-permeable membranes and Bamboo for Pandas (coming soon).
While the spectacle of the object is still a profound place of participation and meaning making and certainly commodification, new ways that connect with the ancients are emerging.
As the project developed, the honesty of the marketplace become the most appealing site for this very human exchange. Joining the AHRC-funded Fusebox24 programme helped launch the idea of a strong social enterprise to fund the initial body of work. There are now plans to partner with the Arts Council of England and other grant making organisations for further outreach projects that recontextualise early stage questions like:
- “What is the potential for an art practice like this to act as a creative intervention in people’s lives? How can we measure that impact without pinning down the butterfly?”
- “Can a sense of impermanence help us consider more carefully the chooses we make today? What does a eulogy sound like for the living?”
We have already completed a large amount of research and practice to lay the groundwork for this. More about this on our Projects page.
Everyone involved on the team has their own arts practices in film, painting, craft, sculpture, participatory, poetry and community arts in addition to their work with Message Eggs. We create work-life balance to ensure we are all nourished, engaged breathing new life back in from our other work.
We welcome hearing from artists, curators, researchers, writers, partners, advisors, interns and others wanting to explore these questions together in a range of contexts.