Sunday, 20 July 2014

Make your own ancient rockpool

Make your own prehistoric rockpool

We have used this easy technique many times.We designed it for public events where we would have to make a lot of rockpools with visitors in a short space of time but it is very versatile and you could adapt to suit your situation. While this was set up as an Ancient Landscape event you could of course make a modern rockpool, or perhaps a pond!

I produce a blog for the project Ancient Landscapes. That project is winding down now (or at least its tide has gone out for a bit - it might come in again!) but we are still posting actvities for people to make a mess with on their own. We have just posted this one. 

This activity guide uses the materials we used with notes about why we chose this or that

You will need
  • a dish - we used waxed card pie dishes (buy in packs from discount stores and supermarkets). Most of our dishes were white but the occasional blakc ones that we found worked well, too!
  • acrylic paint - to paint on the waxed card - we use large bottles but you could get some small tubes, or try mixing some poster or redimix paint with PVA glue and see if that works
  • paint brushes or sponges
  • Plastic plate to squirt the paint onto (easy to clean)
  • small sheets of card
  • coloured pens or pencils
  • sharp scissors
  • a small stapler (the smaller the better)
  • PVA glue
  • scraps of stuff: sponge, wool, carrier bag, felt, glitter, sand.....


Thinking about fossils
some of our inspirations
Our aim was to make a rockpool that you might have found if you could have gone walking along a Carboniferous seashore 300 million years ago. You might want to find pictures of some of the animals of the time to help you. Or maybe you have some fossils to look at? Or some plastic ancient sea creatures? Could you visit your local museum and do some drawings...Perhaps if you printed out this page and waved it at them, they would set up an event for all you ancient rockpoolers?



Prepare the pool
Cover your work surface with a sheet of paper - acrylic paint can be hard to clean off. Cover yourself as well if you are a messy worker. You might want an old shirt rather than another sheet of paper

Select your rockpool colours: blue, green turquoise and raw ochre are often good. Smear them round the inside of your pool (paintbrush or painting sponge). You do not need to be too precise here. It is  background and more a sense of sand, rock and water that is needed rather than detailed painting

Set of one side to dry

Prepare the wildlife
Ok. Now it’s up to you......

In this pool we have:

  • drawings or a trilobite and an ammonite (should we have coloured these in?)
  • drawing of a horseshoe crab that has been cut, folded and stapled to give it a more 3-D effect
  • drawing of a coral
  • fragments of one of my painting sponges have given us some rock
  • green wool and a shredded green carrier bag have give us some seaweed
  • Fingertip coral: this is another technique - we’ll post a “How-to” guide to that in a week or so




Fitting the wildlife
You could glue everything straight onto the dish, or make little brackets to lift things up off the floor and wall a little

Brackets might be small bits of foam or thin strips of card either folded or zig-zagged into a spring

Carefully glue them in place.  A matchstick can be helpful in applying glue

Let it all dry, sit back and admire. Then go and tell someone about the day you found a trilobite.....or take and print a photo and send it as a psotcard to someone else?

Or send us that photo and we’ll have a gallery of rockpools!

a delightful belemnite pool
rockpool in a mixing bowl

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Myths, legends and mazes: workshops in Derbyshire



Myths, Legends And Mazes
workshops in Derbyshire libraries
Derbyshire stories and monstrous tales; make a puppet and use it - or them - to  weave new stories of your own. 
secret woods and forgotten pools,
who knows where our local stories are lurking?

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge has “mythical mazes” for it’s theme...an invitation to go wandering down the corridors of our imaginations and to get lost in the knotted remains of furniture or in the dust under the bed...or perhaps to stray into the gardens where stone lions where coral hats, plastic bag dragons go flapping past and boggarts leer at us from the shadows....

The Summer Reading Challenge is an annual initiative inspiring young people to read 6 books during their summer holidays. At the end, they receive a medal and certificate. It is run through libraries in conjunction with the Reading Agency. Find out more here 


One of last year's
spooky houses
Last year's theme was Creepy House with readers earning some spooky smelly stickers during the weeks of the Challenge, (the strange scent of the garlic sticker lingers with me to this day). I was leading workshops in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City libraries creating the creepy houses we would like to visit. Who knows what will appear in this summer's sessions?

This summer I am doing workshops in both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire libraries. Follow this link for Notts venues and dates. I am also part of a team leading workshops across Derbyshire. There are three of us: Maria Whatton, Debi Hedderwick and myself and while all three of us are doing individual workshops, there will be four days where we will work together in a library creating a performance story that will be told, danced, plunged through or whatever at the end of the workshop.
There is a blog for this project: Derbyshire myths and legends where details of other workshops can be found. My dates follow
who is hiding behind the reflection
in a mirror pool?

My sessions
Come along and listen to Derbyshire stories; make a puppet and use it - or them - to  weave new stories of your own. 

doorways to marvels
Suitable for 8– 12 years 
Booking essential 
Workshops
are free
are aimed at 8 - 12 year olds and spaces are limited os places need booking. 
will either be morning or afternoon: there will be another workshop in a nearby library in the other half of the day

Contact your local library to book a place and to check times

http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/find_your_local_library/default.asp

Date (August)
Library
Time
Saturday 2nd
Eckington
10am - 12noon

Staveley
1.30 - 3.30 pm
Saturday 9th
Killamarsh
10am - 12noon

Dronfield
1.30 - 3.30 pm
Monday 11th
Brimington
10am - 12noon

Whitwell
2 - 4pm
Saturday 16th
Old Whittington
10am - 12noon

Wingerworth
1.30 - 3.30 pm
Monday 18th 
New Mills
10am - 12noon

Gamesley
2 - 4pm
Tuesday 19th
Chapel-en-le-Frith
10am - 12noon

Hadfield
2 - 4pm
Thursday 21st
Hayfield
10am - 12noon

Whaley Bridge
2 - 4pm
Thursday 28th
Creswell
10am - 12noon

Clowne
2 - 4pm



 



Joint event days

Date
Library
Time
Tuesday 29th July
Glossop 
10 - 4pm
Wednesday 30th July
Ashbourne
10 - 4pm
Tuesday 5th August
Long Eaton
10 - 4pm
Monday 1st September
Chesterfield
10 - 4pm
Derbyshire's stories run back
through hundreds of years
Images in this post include one (the last) from Buxton Museum's digital collection, why not visit their website and take a look? Here!


The return of Tiny! things


TINY! WILDNESS
Sunday 13th July 2014
Pavilion Gardens, Buxton


princesses ready for adventures
Nothing in the Tiny! world is very big. We aim to make things no bigger than a child’s hand (dragons tend to be a bit of an exception) and we laugh, and play and draw and invent stories and send people away brandishing dragons, and princesses and cats, and bats and characters from Minecraft.....

The Tiny! workshops are a Stone and Water contribution to Buxton Festival Fringe’s “for families” section. (Stone and Water are a lively community group for whom I do a lot of project management). 

Tiny! events are free, open to anyone (you don’t need to bring a family, just to remember that we’re all part of one) and rather silly. Our artists don’t get paid for these sessions - they are part of what we give back to this town that joins in with our knitting of ancient landscapes, our exploring with stories and, a while ago, now went parading In Pursuit of Love and Passion

small bird = lots of concentration
This was our fifth Tiny! day and despite a damp start, one of the nicest with some 60 people joining us through the day.

Festival Fringe review, Sunday 13th July 2014
Today I tore myself away from the armada of orange that was Fringe Sunday, and crossed the river from the bandstand in the Pavilion Gardens to find the stone & water crew with their latest Tiny! workshop.
As last year's 'For Families' award winners, the imaginative Tiny! workshops have been Fringe staples for the past five years, so I knew I was in for a treat. It was lovely to see them back again with yet more creative ideas to enthrall and inspire all ages.
Perched like pixies or goblins beneath a tree with boxes of material, paper and pens, stone & water invited children to unleash their inner artist and create an array of colourful paper finger puppets. The children didn't disappoint, coming up with a host of tiny characters including princesses, dragons, bats, pterodactyls, butterflies, robots and more, and that was just during the hour I spent there.
I visited the workshop with my two small cousins. One very patiently worked hard concentrating quietly on a carefully coloured bird while her older sister prolifically produced a whole cast of finger characters ready to be brought to life against the sets provided. A cottage, castle, tower and forest became the backdrop to complicated epic tales of battles, dragons, weddings and captured princesses performed by the children and their new creations.
The artists were on hand with practical and artistic help, whilst never patronising the young artists they were working with. The workshop proved totally absorbing, especially for the very young who seemed entranced at the fantasy world they were creating, and very proud of their finger puppets.
Gordon (aka Toad) said "we're not trying to do anything big or complicated", but the (tiny) event captured children and parents alike, proving that things don't need to be big to be important, and that simple is often best. The playful workshop was a perfect time out from summer madness and rushing around, providing a much needed quiet break in the shade, with an added touch of magic and mystery.
Annie Osborne
dragons are great, but...
...do tend to get stuck in doorways!


Lowry in a carnival?


The end of term approaches but, 
LSLowry in a carnival?

At Whitefield Infant School and Nursery unit, this end of term approached with extra weight as this July sees the move from the buildings the school has been in for 110 years to a shiny new building just over the canal. So our end of term Carnival included such excitements as a procession to the new school, a new school song, a performing canal (or maybe a canal performance) and puppets inspired by the art of L S Lowry.

To mark the years of school life, the Year 2 pupils and I called out of the memory of the buildings, the voices of Mr Eckroyd: who gave the land and raised the money for the school to be built, of Miss Preston (our sort-of first teacher) and of Oliver (our sort-of first boy through the gates). We drew on Lowry’s work for inspiration as we made three tall puppets, each one decorated with children’s own favourite moments from Lowry paintings. 

The sun shone (just as well as there is nowhere indoors where we could all fit) so we filled the playground and sang, and danced, rippled a canal and paraded giant puppets and all got very emotional....



My name is Mr Eckroyd,
I’m the owner of the Mill,
I helped to build this school,
And I’m pleased it is here still.

100 years of learning,
Something new every day.
Teachers once were very strict,
But now they let you play.

100 years of teaching,
In this place on Howard St,
But now you’re moving school,
To wonderful Every Street

We say goodbye to Year 2s,
They’re moving school as well.
Lomeshaye Juniors is ready,
New teachers and a new school bell!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Nottinghamshire libraries: summer activities


Mythical Mazes 
in Nottinghamshire Libraries

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge has “mythical mazes” for it’s theme...an invitation to go wandering down the corridors of our imaginations and to get lost in the knotted remains of furniture or in the dust under the bed...or perhaps to stray into the gardens where stone lions where coral hats, plastic bag dragons go flapping past and boggarts leer at us from the shadows....

look out to the green world
beyond the maze
The Summer Reading Challenge is an annual initiative inspiring young people to read 6 books during their summer holidays. At the end, they receive a medal and certificate. It is run through libraries in conjunction with the Reading Agency. 

Add a creepy house
from a 2013 workshop
Last year's theme was Creepy House with readers earning some spooky smelly stickers during the weeks of the Challenge, (the strange scent of the garlic sticker lingers with me to this day). I was leading workshops in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City libraries creating the creepy houses we would like to visit. Who knows what will appear in this summer's sessions?

This year, i am doing workshops in some of the Nottinghamshire LIbraries (Derbyshire sessions will follow in another blog). In the Nottinghamshire sessions, I’ll tell a maze-tale or two, or we'll set off into labyrinths of adventure. Then we will make our own pop-up mazes, adding our own stories and maybe making mythical monster to hide in your maze or, or  magical doorway to trick you in (or let you out), or maybe some fabulous treasure (or just ice-cream) that is hidden deep in the cold heart of it all....  

a door waiting for a key,
who knows what waits behind it? 
Nottinghamshire Dates
Link for Notts libraries in general.

Thursday 31st July: Newark Library, www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/librariesevents
Thursday 14th August: Stapleford Library, www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/librariesevents

At each library there will be 2 workshops: 10.30 - 12.30 and 1.30 - 3.30 (the afternoon will be the same session as the morning)

all sessions: 
  • are free
  • do not need booking - visitors are welcome to just drop in - but leave at least 45 minutes to have time to make something
  • are aimed at children of 5 - 11 years of age - check library details for who can be left and what ages need an attendant adult
  • materials are provided
  • tall hairy, toady storyteller comes with the whole package
a cheerful boggart ready to join in