Sunday, 29 November 2015

Mystery and mulled wine storytelling

Mystery And Mulled Wine

An evening of sinister stories and marvellous tales

with Helen Appleton and Gordon MacLellan

Sunday 20th December 2015


From cheerful trolls to deep winter cold, from the downright silliness of a Trickster tale to the rich images of an old English adventure, join Helen and Gordon for an atmospheric evening to get your Midwinter off to a warming start

Tickets: £7.50 (with a free glass of mulled wine)
Further refreshments available

This is a storytelling session for an adult audience which doesn’t mean we’ll do particularly racy or outrageous stories but themes and images may not suit a younger audience. There is a storytelling session for families on December 13th!

Book a ticket
Phone 01298 937375
or call in to book. Card payments can be taken over the phone.

Green Man Gallery
Hardwick Hall, 
Hardwick Square South
Buxton, SK17 6PY

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Lights a'growin', owls a'watchin'

Lights a'growin', owls a'watchin'
lanterns with Project eARTh in New Mills

After the damp delights of the Buxton Winter celebration (see It's a Horse!, finale pics to follow very shortly), the New Mills Project eARTh group are making their own set of lanterns for a twilight installation on the Hadfield Lantern Parade

Designs and ideas moved around - I was in favour of a completely inappropriate fleet of pirate ships for no reason other than i really like making lantern-ships. Common sense prevailed, however, and we are making a night sky to light the Parade on its way.

"Common sense" didn't necessarily last very long when the Archangel Gabriel put in an appearance alongside a rather large comet and a cheerfully round owl....
careful constructions
delightfully messy
a planet taking shape

and here is that watchful owl....

Sunday, 22 November 2015

December excitements!

Events for the edge of winter


December 2015


Winter comes rolling in with our first snow here in Buxton and as the hills are beautifully white and the trees black as old bones, here at Creeping Toad we are gearing up for some lovely December excitements!

I will post each event separately as details are finalised
can we tempt you to a pop-up tree?

3 events are planned
Sunday 13th December, 
 at the Green Man Gallery
Hardwick Square South, Buxton, SK17 6PY

a) 10.30 – 12: Wintry Landscapes – details below

b) late afternoon: we’re planning some drop-in story sessions – details to follow

 Wednesday 23rd December 
at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
Terrace Rd, Buxton, SK17 6DA
The Last of the Wonders: an event marking the closure (for refurbishment) of the delicious Wonders of the Peak exhibition in the museum. Details will follow but activities will include storytelling to suit the different rooms of the exhibition and the chance to draw your own postcards of favourite pieces of the display – the Bear? The bones? The mermaid? The Blue John window? And to leave us postcard messages of what you like best – or least – of the display

Sunday 20th December , at the Green Man Gallery
Hardwick Square South, Buxton

Mystery and Mulled Wine 7pm – 9 (ish)
An evening of stories for grown-ups. Set your midwinter season off to a chilly start with stories out of the cold northern lands, tales of bold pipers and foolish folk: a chuckle, a twist and a scent of the unknown blown through on a cold wind….
full details will follow with a skull, a snowflake and a falling pine cone...

Wintry Landscapes, more information

Sunday 13th December
Time: 10.30 – 12.00

at the Green Man Gallery
Hardwick Square South, Buxton, SK17 6PY

Add an individual touch to your festive decorations!
Join Gordon from Creeping Toad for a session building some exquisite Midwinter creations

We might
  • capture a scatter of presents, or leaves, feathers and colours, or even a tiny castle on a bottle lantern
  • play with card and colour, pictures and trees building a pop-up world 
  • ...of snowmen and frozen pools
  • ...of lost castles among dark mountains
  • ...of reindoor flying through a starry sky…or we might
  • get carried away with a display lantern of trees and palaces, rivers and bridges and children ice-skating into an adventure

During the session, we will make
  • a bottle lantern
  • at least one small pop-up card
  • a larger pop-up landscape
  • maybe a round display lantern

This will be a deliciously messy, delightfully creative session, giving you the chance to learn quick techniques and go away with your own wintry landscapes and the skills to make more

Cost: £6.00 for each participating person - helpful extra hands aren't charged for
Places are limited, you need to book a ticket
Activities suitable for 5 years and over, 7s and under need to bring their own grow-up with them
Materials provided (but if you’d like to bring a washed, empty plastic bottle that could add to the mix (500 ml - 2l are best))

To Book:
phone the Gallery on 01298 937375, email or call in to book. Card payments can be taken over the phone.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

A present of old stones?

Planning for Wintry presents?
Old stones and ancient bones
Gordon MacLellan
ISBN 978-1-291-46593

Looking for something a little bit different for a present? Christmas soon, and Yule and Mother’s Night and Saturnalia, if you’re of a Classical inclination…Why not indulge yourself and a friend with a copy of my book Old stones and ancient bones: poems from the hollow hills ?

Don’t like poetry? Try again! With poems from the dark, peopled gloom of Neolithic tombs on orkney to the windswept moors of Derbyshire, an excitement of skulls and the beauty of stillness before winter arrives, Old stones might just offer you something different.. And if you really don't like it, why not give the book to someone you dislike as much as the poetry?

You can order from Amazon or direct from me at £5.00 a copy (includes UK P&P) and while stocks last, with Old Stones, get a free copy of “River and Sea” a little book featuring two of my stories (you only get the latter if you order from me)

To order:
Email me Creeping Toad
Payment: by cheque, BACS or Paypal (to

and to whet your appetite, here is a poem from Old stones.

Anticipation, 2
Autumn waits,
Falling into gold, and yellow, and russet,
As mist gathers,
Wool unraveled through the trees.
In the hollow dales,
The lake anticipates winter,
And the rune-cracked ice.
But for now,
Its dark, cold reflective depth
Is divination enough

autumn rosehip

It's a horse!

It’s a horse!
Lantern making for a wintry evening
It was going to be a person, a Guardian, or maybe a Herald for the Peak District with lantern-skin clothes of printed images of the Peaks. It became a deer, instead. Then a unicorn. Now, at the end, it’s a horse. 
it all begins to feel almost surgical

Over the last few weeks, working with members of the Buxton Project eARTh team we have had a cheerful time experimenting with lantern techniques and letting ideas evolve gradually and watching what emerges.

This sort of time is a luxury. Often lantern workshops are hectic public events with lots of people and a whirlwind of glue and tissue and dripping.

waiting for eyes

We’re almost done. There are a few birds still taking shape, and some small characters lurking around, but, come Friday and the Buxton Winter Celebration and all will be glowing!
big birds, small birds, and at least one fish