Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Book of the moment

The Lie of the Land
an under-the-field-guide to the British Isles
Ian Vince
ISBN: 978-0-330-53539-7

“The premise of this book is based in part on the idea the underlying geology of these islands is reflected in the landscape” - Chapter 13, The Fiery Ring of Wales
I enjoyed this book. It was a cheerful excursion into the stones beneath our feet and how they were formed and how that geology then informs the earth we walk on
It blends solid geology with intriguing anecdotal snippets and personal experiences.  The characters involved in the history of geology kept that interesting -  squabbles between Victorian geologists and the problems of a woman proving so good at finding fossils were entertaining. Vince’s own excursions in pursuit of geological adventures are invitations for you to head off into the wild yourself - or even just down the road and over the bridge to look in the local stream for evidence of ancient local history 
Given the timescales of the processes involved and the breadth of evolutionary and tectonic activity, chapters do, at times, feel that they are skating across the surface of a whole heaving, lightly crusted lava-flow. But that is to be expected with 300 or so pages to cover a few billion years of activity
I enjoyed this book: it takes great huge sweeps of time and slow complex processes and shakes them down into accessible pebbles. Polished stones to keep on a “useful treasures” shelf and get out to read again before you go adventuring yourself

And if we're talking about books, don't forget to visit the book page of the Creeping Toad website!


Working with young people, and very young children in particular, teachers, group leaders and other artists often shout about the value of working on large things. While I don’t dispute the excitement of big things and the value of changing scale and perspective, I find that little things have their own special delight and fascination
pirates set sail: A Tiny Treasure Island workshop for Buxton Opera House

life on board ship is fraught with dangers.....

I think children (and adults, if I do a miniature books, tiny stories or very small treasures workshop) love the intimacy and secrecy of the small. Small activities can call just as much intensity and creativity as something huge and sprawling. It might be less cooperative and communal (but then there is still a sharing of ideas and helpful fingers to hold a fiddly box or fix the undergarments of an awkward pirate.....)
a pirate in her treasure box, with flags

pirates - about 12cm tall.....

And Tiny! activities can give you Tiny! celebrations - so this year the Stone and Water team are back in Buxton Festival Fringe doing some Tiny! workshops with very small faeries, goblins and trolls. After Tiny! PIrates (2011) and Tiny! Lanterns (2010), who knows what delights, or horrors, some Tiny! Faerie Tales might bring!
small stories - a watchful wolf

small stories - a boy with a cardboard shield and a wooden sword sets off to find a troll
Illustrations here are from workshops for Buxton Opera House's Easter programme and from story-making workshops with Reception classes at Milton Hall Primary School, Westcliffe-on-Sea

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Ancient images

an ancient fish nestles into an ancient coral
After weeks of activity, our first "Ancient Installation" has taken root. There have been bits and pieces posted over the last few days and here are some photos

It has been a lovely project so far - next wave of workshops start in May - with lots of laughter and a sense of uninhibited adventurous creativity that can be rare in adult sessions

 plankton from the seas above a limey reef
a selection of jellyfish

a close up view of a well-grown reef with an early ammonoid lurking
rare, dangerous and possibly provocative: a strawberry blob
something coiled and wriggly emerges from among the shells and stones....

animating an Ancient Landscape

a strange broken moment recording life in a pretended Carboniferous Reef, 360 million years ago.....

Monday, 2 April 2012

Creative Connections course

 I thought this might excite a few folk out there. SpeyGrian work in beautiful places with lovely ideas...give yourself a creative treat....

creative connections course
SpeyGrian Educational Trust
4 - 11th August 2012, Isle of Eigg

An exciting opportunity for personal and professional development set in the spectacular natural environment of the Island of Eigg

In 2012, the SpeyGrian Educational Trust, supported by Eco-Schools is offering an exciting course aimed at those who seek to develop their understanding of the natural world. Teachers, artists, writers, lecturers, NGO staff and ecologists are among those who have found Creative Connections a valuable Continuing Professional Development opportunity.

The course will run from 4th - 11th August 2012 and will cost £425

Course Aims:
·      discover creative and innovative approaches to recording a learner's journey both for personal and professional use

·      get inspiration and ideas from sharing walks, workshops and other activities with people froma wide variety of backgrounds

·      provide the opportunity for personal reflection and skill development in  beautiful setting, clarifying ideas and the nature and purpose of learning and teaching

·      encourage wider social and professional connections across disciplines

For more details about the course, contact www.spanglefish.com/speygriancreativeconnections

For more information on SpeyGrian themselves, visit www.speygrian.org.uk
I wish I was there right now!