Tuesday, 28 August 2018

A box of memories and leftovers

Treasures and Boxes

 a cupboard full of wonders

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

there was a lot of debris
As part of the BM125 activities, on Sunday 26th, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery hosted a Cabinets of Curiosity workshop. The current exhibition in Gallery 2 is Collectors and Curiosities, looking back at some of the  exhibits from the Museum's early days that are not often displayed today. Leather bottles and beautiful paintings stand next to a few Victorian marvels – butterfly cabinets and massed birds that were good for getting us all talking about what we valued and what was appropriate to collects (sibling’s skeletons, as you will see, are clearly exempt, as are large mammals - if perhaps tricky to accommodate).

Some 90 people joined us to make their own, small, portable cabinets – instructions for making your own will follow shortly!

For now, let’s celebrate the richness of a rainy Sunday in the summer with people’s memories full of holiday treasures to value…

We asked “What are your treasures? What will you keep in your Cabinet of Curiosity?” …shaken, sieved and stirred, the answers follow…. Try reading it aloud

Shells and gems and dried cicadas,
Stick insects if they ever stayed still long enough,
Or maybe just sticks.

Leaves and sticks and stones,
And rocks,
And sticks again sometimes.

Rocks and feathers,
And fossils.
And sea glass from a wide, windy beach.

Cows, obviously,
And horses, maybe.
Pottery, Lego, coins,
Shells again,
Holiday treasures,
With sand from sunny places.

Cars and squishies and rubbers,
Because a special collection needs a special box.

And cryestels
And sharks teeth and other bones.
I collect shark’s teeth you see.
I have a lot of them.

There will be feathers and bones,
In my cupboard,
And my brother's bones
And my sister's skull.
I have fossils from Robin Hood’s Bay,
And Lyme Regis where I found an ammonite,
Lots of tiny ammonites,
And one big one that will be too big for this.

This Cabinet will be full of memories.
This Cabinet will be full of leftovers.
This Cabinet will be a Museum for Bears,
This Cabinet will hold Treasures and Taonga*.
This Cabinet will hold inspiration for my own creativity

There will be more BM125 events coming up and work from our group of new artists to explore as well, so keep an eye on the Museum facebook page , the Creeping Toad fb page, this blog and the Museum blog

*Taonga: a Maori word for a treasure: "an object or natural resource that is highly prized"

With many thanks to all our Cabinet-makers - we hope your cabinets fill with treasures and curiosities and feed conversations, imaginations and wild speculations - and apologies for not managing to display ALL the Cabinets here!

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Summer stories at Carsington

Summer stories

Tales of wild creatures and adventurous children!

ready for stories

Wednesday 29th August

Carsington Water, Derbyshire

the smallest thought can become a story
There are adventures everywhere and stories waiting to be told, or tales waiting to be heard. In the wind whispering through the leaves, in the shadows under the bench, in the sudden splash of something in a pond.

I will be at CArsington Water on Wednesday 29th for a day of tales of brave hedgehogs and naughty rabbits, fierce mice and reckless beetles. We will tell a tale or two and then create our own, making brand new stories for ourselves out of leaves and weather and whatever we find

There will be short sessions through the day, so come along and join in, listen, laugh and create your own tales of excitement, adventure or maybe terror

When: Wednesday 29th August
Where: Carsington Water, Ashbourne: DE6 1ST
Times: there will be sessions running 10am – 12noon, 1pm – 3pm: any one session of stories and making things up lasting about 45 minutes – but feel free to drop in and drop out as you will!
The activity is free but there is a fee for car parking
Materials provided
Meeting point: outdoor classroom area
Booking: none needed

This will be an event for the Derwent Stories project  run by Stone and Water and like all these events, Summer Stories is open to anyone who wants to join in but activities are structured around families with children with additional needs

Contact for more info: fb: Stone and Water
Email: stoneandwater@btinternet.com

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Lollipop Stew

The stolen lollipop stew

and other misdaventures

Summer Reading Challenge in Leicestershire Libraries

we started with drawings
would you trust this travel agent?
My workshops for Leicestershire Libraries Summer Reading Challenge continued into more libraries and even stranger stories….(wander perilously here to encoutner earlier adventures) I don’t think activities need any more description than the following moments of words and pictures (the two do not necessarily coincide!)

“Let me sell you a holiday”,
Said the 20 fingered travel agent,
“A flying carpet, Granny,
For you and your cat and the book mouse
And Gogo the dog” and in the desert
A grumpy camel
Pursued by velociraptors on another holiday from long ago.

the Joker looking for a new naughty crew

The lollipop stew was stolen,
But the thief was chased down the street,
By a hungry giraffe
And an out of control sheep
And a desparate sheep-girl.
The stew slopped out of its bowl and everyone , even the cheetah, was sticky
Until Maggie, our Mum,
Came up with her elephant and showered everyone clean.

competition for places on The Joker's crew
The stomping monster stomped,
A stomping dance,
She stomped, he stomped, we all stomped together,
Stomping down the street,
Stomping through the forest,
Through the jungle,
Over the grass,
Up the mountain,
Stomping, stomping, stomping all the way….

These are the stories we were never told,
These are the books we’ve never read,
These are the adventures we’re waiting to have.

a mermaid, there was one who sneakily gave people seaweed wigs

Scribblemonsters and
Lily the Slug Girl and 
Mr Mischiloos (and the witch with the green hair) and his cousin
Mistroo the Magician.
A volcano erupts cold pumpkin soup.
And a giant snail with giant slime.
There are snakes.

a mischievous girl
There was a purple mouse in a
Purple house at the top of a
Purple tree with a lot of
Purple bees making
Purple honey

In an ordinary house on an ordinary street lived an
Extraordinary girl with an orange dog with a red tummy

the velociraptors got a bad holiday deal as well
 The King’s orange cat likes licking
Armour and icing sugar
And the kings legs and just about anything

a cat and her book-mouse
With many thanks to all the artists, puppeteers, storytellers and staff of 
Shepshed, Glenfield, Blaby, Lutterworth and Earl Shilton libraries
Thanks for all your enthusiasm, drawings, makings and wild imaginings 
and my apologies for not managing to post pictures of
everyone's puppets or pieces from all the stories!

Friday, 17 August 2018

A collection of curiosities - event

Treasures and boxes
what do you keep?
Sunday 26th August, 2018
Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
 12 - 4

Are you a treasure hunter?
a fossil finder? 

beach comber?  
gem forager?
leaf hoarder?
pebble picker?

From old bones to fossils, careful drawing to wonderful sculpture, take some inspiration from Buxton Museum and Art Gallery’s Collectors and Curiosities exhibition and make your own Cabinet of Curiosity.  Small boxes will turn into portable museums where you can display your own treasures or that might send you out exploring the Peaks to find some new ones

An event to coincide with BM125, Buxton Museum’s 125th birthday celebrations
a box of small wonders

  • Free
  • Materials provided
  • No booking needed
  • Allow an hour for the activity
  • Buxton Museum, Terrace Rd, Buxton, SK17 6DA
  • 01629 533540

or do you collect the ephemeral?

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

a snake in sunglasses, SRC 2018

Mischief Makers

workshops in Leicestershire libraries, 2018

Who would you make?

What mischief would you brew?

What terrible tale would you tell?

Would it be true?

he went looking for ice cream and lollies
This year, as part of the Summer Reading Challenge,  I am doing a series of puppet and story workshops for Leicestershire Libraries. The following moments of naughtiness and trouble have grown out of visits to the first 3 of the libraries….see the foot of this post for the next sessions…

Who have we been making?
There are lots of ideas in our witch’s cauldron of mischief and a list of naughtinesses that sounds like a spell for delightful trouble….





Slapping the custard in someone’s face.

the soldier who tried to help

Juice that isn’t,

And knotted shoelaces

Salt in the sugarbowl,

A snake in sunglasses.

We’ll glue you to a table

Balance an apple on your head

Tape you to a wall

Put a spider in your bed!

Worms in the spaghetti,

Beetles on the pizza,

Crickets in the peanuts,

Watch your dinner slime away.

look out! Here comes Godzilla!

In our library, you might find

A cockroach in a book or

Books tied together or

A jack-in-a-book exploding while

A boy hides behind the shelves.

There might be

Slugs in a soap dish,

Tadpoles in the soup,

Jelly in your pockets,

And slime in your shoes.

Tripping up children

As they run down the street,

From the dinosaur costume,

With its sharp, plastic teeth.

on our street....

On our street

There is a tree that drops sausages on your head,

A greedy ladybird stealing ladybird spots,

To stick on your face.

There is a girl who steals toys,

And a boy drinking juice as he speeds by on  a skateboard.

On our street

There is horse poo just where you wouldn’t expect it

And a king setting out to trick everyone.

And her?

O, her!

She steals the presents,

And eats the cake,

Throws the pies and

Releases the snake.
don't trust that lovely smile!

Our next sessions are:
Thursday 9th August: 
  • Shepshed Library 10.3 0 – 12,
  • Ashby Library, 2 – 3.30
Friday 10th August: 
  • Glenfield Library, 10.30 – 12
  • Blaby, 2 – 3.30
Monday 13th
  • Lutterworth Library 10.30 – 12
  • Earl Shilton, 2 – 3.30
Contact libraries for more details and bookings

With many thanks to the puppeteers, storytellers, staff, parents 
and mischief-makers of  Broughton Astley, 
Birstall and Syston libraries
Dennis, the mini-menace

Sunday, 5 August 2018

A library in a field

Make your own Haymeadow Book

This idea can lend itself to all sorts of situations – you could put together a little book-building kit and make books about different places or different occasions

On our National Meadows Day event, we invited people to gather their own experiences, reflections and knowledge about the meadows they were visiting into little books….These are concertina books which essentially fit one long folded strip of paper into a cover. Once you are used to doing these, you could experiment – stick books together by the cover to make thicker volumes, have sections that fold out in different directions….

1. Finished books
You will need:
  • 1 piece of thin cardboard (about 15cm x 10.5cm)
  • scissors
  • glue or a gluestick
  • paper for the bookblock (see below)
  • pencils, wax crayons, coloured pencils, scrap paper…

2. card cover and tearing paper for book block

Make your bookblock: this is the set of pages that make the body of the book. You might use a long strip of paper (A2 cut into quarters lengthwise works well) or take a sheet of A4 (standard printer size) and cut or tear it in half lengthways. Overlap the ends by about 1cm and stick them together

Write a poem for a page?
Falling sky splinters
Into scabious and cornflower blue,
While tormentil nestles in the grass,
Droplets of sunshine on the green

3. First folding should give you this
Concertina: fold your strip of paper in half and then in half again. Unfold it: this should give you 8 sections of about the same size (Picture 3). Use those folds as guides to now fold the paper into a zig-zag pattern (Picture 4)

4. Concertina fold

Try an acrostic perhaps? 
M - many harvest mice hiding
I  - in the long grass, swaying,
C - curl up in careful nests
E - every night in safety.

5. You might write, draw or print on pages

Now you are ready to make your book! It is easier to work on the book before you fit it into the cover. Work on one side of your paper. On your pages you might:
add a patch of scrap paper and draw on that

6. Add a patch perhaps or a rubbing?

make a pocket
do a rubbing
add a map
make a pop-up
think of something else….

7. Make a pocket?

8. Add a map?
When it is done, decide if you are having
a) a book that unfolds completely – stick one end page into the cover (picture 9). You could now work on the back side of your pages
9. Stick one end of the finished block into the cover

b) a book that is fixed at both ends. If you are going for this, you might need to refold your concertina so it looks like picture 10.
10. Both ends ready to be glued in

Cover: fold the card in half. Decorate the cover. Glue in the book block….Title? Author?

11.Would a feather to fit into your book?

Please, send us a picture of your finished book! creepingtoad@btinternet.com