Sunday 10 December 2023

Grinning gargoyles


When a Gargoyle Grins.....

Stone faces watch, stone eyes stare and wide smiles leer as a gargoyle spouts rainwater onto unwary heads. Look around. Look up. There are carvings everywhere. Watching. We have been celebrating that watchfulness and the wonderful variety of characters that have been built into, onto and over our buildings


Part of the Heritage Action Zone’s Our Street Project, our Grotesques and Gargoyles project is a joint adventure between the Babbling Vagabonds Storytelling Theatre Company and Creeping Toad. And we’ve been having lots of fun…..


A gargoyle is a decorated waterspout that projects from a roof and carries rainwater away from the walls of a building, protecting it from damage, whilst a grotesque is a decorative carving that has no functional architectural purpose. 

Gloucestershire Archives


We have shaped small faces out of clay and folded card into gargoyles.

We worked through clay and plastercloth and wild inspiration to make collections of fabulous faces


We even slowed down, stepped aside from the messy bits and spent an informative evening with Terry Newholm and the Buxton Civic Association as Terry discussed the magic and mystery of our stone neighbours (you can buy Terry's book and explore the older grotesques of our town for yourself from The Pump Room, the Visitor Centre at Buxton Country Park and all good [and some bad and other just downright deplorable] booksellers in town)


Most recently there have been more faces large and small at the Green Man Gallery 


There is another round of Grotesque Making at the Gallery in January: details in the link below. Places are limited and we need people to commit to attend both evening sessions: one to make and t’other to decorate

Third Grotesques


Look out for the Grotesques, Gargoyles and Goodness-Knows-Whats appearing at the Our Street finale in later February!


For now, let’s celebrate our Gargoyles, Grotesques and the creativity of our participants!


With many thanks to our friends who have offered spaces, hospitality, warmth and brews for chilly gargoyles, lonely grotesques and even hard-working participants

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Watchful gargoyles!


a new generation of Gargoyles are brewing in the hidden corners of Buxton.....

here are a selection of faces from our recent Grotesques and Gargoyles event a

with many thanks to our friends at The Pump Room for this day of delightful eyeballs and laughing faces!

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Extra Gargoyle Events, Buxton

Extra Gargoyles!
Events on 1st November 

and 9th December 

It's always good to have an extra Gargoyle or two around the place!
As part of our ongoing Gargoyles and Grotesques project with Buxton Our Street,  we're putting on two additional events

Follow this link to find out about the other Gargoyle events this autumn and winter


Date: Wednesday 1st October

Venue: The Pump Room, The Crescent, Buxton, SK17 6BH

Times: 10.30 -15:00


Peering down from rooftops, hanging off the gutters, dribbling on passersby, playing with pigeons…there are Gargoyles on lots of the old buildings in Buxton


Artists from Creeping Toad and Stone and Water will be helping visitors make their own little gargoyles to take home. Our gargoyles might have wings, long tails, big claws, wobbly tongues. 

They might be friendly, or fierce. 

They might be beautiful or ugly. 

They might be dark or bright, glittery or fluffy. 

They might be all sorts of things, but they will definitely be wonderful!


This workshop is free and materials are provided


No booking needed, just drop by and join in: it probably takes about 30 – 45 minutes to make your gargoyle


Many thanks to our friends The Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust andThe Green Man Gallery for their support in this project


Saturday 9th December

The Green Man Gallery, Hardwick Studios, Hardwick Square S, Buxton, SK17 6PY

Times: 11am - 3pm

A smiling face on the wall? A face in the window to spy passersby? Or maybe a mysterious face to watch your festive celebrations from the shadows under the Tree? A last-minute gift for a forgotten friend?

Drop in and join the Gargoyle artists to make faces inspired by the carvings on Buxton buildings. Card, foam, colour and glue will combine to give us beautiful (and maybe not-so-beautiful!) faces to decorate homes with

This is a free event, and materials are provided

No booking or tickets needed

Just drop by and join in!

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Books, postcards and the Creativity Conference

Animals, stories, tree people and books

Autumn blows in with storm winds and rain - at least here in the hills of Britain’s peak District

A special welcome to the blog to participants at the Creativity Conference:

….we delve into the fundamental principles and methodologies behind creative thinking. Our approach empowers attendees to nurture and expand their creative endeavors, whatever they may be.

I am there among a treasure hoard of speakers. If you follow the link above, you can still register and join in on some of this year’s sessions - and you can access the library of this year’s discussions that you might have missed!

Baba Yaga (here by Bilibin)
flies in for a visit

I join the Conference as a storyteller talking about finding stories and relaxing into the inspiration the world around us offer…I’m also (hopefully) having fun talking about conversations with fairytale characters, stepping past the hype and the stereotypes and reaching for the story of the character themself

Out of those sessions, I hope people might be interested in my current publications

I have several books in print just now

Sacred Animals: reconnecting with the natural world

Gordon MacLellan

ISBN 978-1-915580-07-8

Green Magic Publishing,

For more details of Sacred Animals, visit this post

Old Stone and Ancient Bones: new poems from the hollow hills

Gordon MacLellan

ISBN 978-1-291-46593-8

I am also included in Homecoming 1: new animist writing published by Aurochs Underground Press (order from Aurochs)

And then there are our lovely Tree People postcards! see pics at end of post!

REST OF WORLD: try your local bookshops or an online bookseller (avoids the international postage!) but come back to me if there are problems!

Sacred Animals: 1 copy, £15:00 includes postage

Sacred Animals + 2 Creeping Toad postcards:
£16:00, includes postage

Old Stones: £5.00 a copy(includes postage)

Postcards: £0.50 each when included with other orders or 8 postcards for £5.00 (includes postage)



FACEBOOK: Gordon MacLellan or Creeping Toad

DETAIL: your name, address, email and how many copies



BACS: I can email details

CHEQUES: to Creeping Toad, 51-d West, Rd, Buxton, SK17 6HQ

BULK ORDERS through your own book distributors

INTERNATIONAL ORDERS: contact me directly or go a local bookseller

PUBLISHER: Green Magic Publishing website

Hawthorn Man (L) and Tall Tree (R)