In the September edition of our series of artist demonstrations of delicious natural art materials, we focussed on understanding and using ancient drawing materials – rocks, minerals, clays, charcoal and ink!
Fine Artist Andrew Field and myself shared an exciting Wallace Seymour Fine Art workshop, demonstrating how to draw and paint using these historic tools and sharing stories and histories of how the old masters used them in their work. We were joined by special guest artist Hannah Ivory Baker who shared her practice. It is really exciting to explore new mediums and materials in our work and to see where these new possibilities can take us…
charcoal study by Hannah Ivory Baker
All art materials demonstrated can be found at www.artreq.co.uk where you will find over 60 varieties of ancient drawing materials to try out!
A huge THANK YOU!!! to the wonderful people at Unity Theatre, Liverpool and to the children, parents and teachers from Abercromby Nursery who helped to make the world premiere of A Polar Bear in a Snow Storm such an amazing experience. Special thanks to Louise Flooks for arranging everything, to Phil for the beautiful lighting, and to Kayden and Eden for their puppetry performance and hard work!
Meet Arty, a little polar bear who loves to draw and make marks but lives in a world of white – as white as a blank sheet of paper. He wishes he had colours to use so he sets out on a quest to find some. This story introduces early years mark making skills and an understanding of how colours work. The performance lasts 30mins and is followed by 30mins mark-making, drawing and storytelling workshop ideal for children aged 3-5.
I was so excited to be invited by the BBC to share the inspiring story of FA Cup contenders, AFC Wimbledon and The Wombles with an amazing group of local schoolchildren. Our segment aired at the start of BBC One’s Football Focus shortly before the team’s 5th round match on Saturday 16th February – maybe you can still catch it on iPlayer . . .
Special thanks to the wonderful children and staff at Kings Oak Primary School, the highly helpful AFCW Foundation, and the super professional BBC crew!
I had the wonderful honour of presenting Axel Sheffler’s famous Pip & Posy stories to an amazing audience of 150 children in the stately Guildhall at Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The publishers, Nosy Crow, arranged for the children to meet a larger-than-life-sized Posy character, while I drew them into the story world through music, movement and mime.
Pip is very proud of his big red balloon. But when he lets the balloon go and it pops, he is inconsolable. Luckily, Posy has a clever idea to cheer up her friend and soon they are having fun again!
You can order a copy of Pip & Posy and The Big Balloon direct from Nosy Crow . . .
In September 2018 Forest of Imagination took root in the heart of Bath.
I was thrilled to be invited by Forest of Imagination organisers 5x5x5=creativity to present my Scribble & Scrunch workshop and activities as part of the wider Bath Children’s Literature Festival.
This multi-sensory, interactive storytelling experience is crafted to inspire wonder, fire the imagination and to build the confidence to be creative. Originally developed for the classroom, then adapted for the stage, Scribble & Scrunch fitted perfectly into this urban forest environment of cardboard and paper. The children were so excited to enter the little box house and to discover within it a magical world of nautical adventures.
Find out how to arrange an amazing Scribble & Scrunch Storytelling for your event or school
Amazing and inspiring! Thank you so much!” – Rachael Grinyer, Head of English
As part of Bath Children’s Literature Festival I had opportunity to spend a day at the excellent Paragon School
I started with a performance of Scribble & Scrunch for the Nursery children. My characters Tiger Louie and Dash & Doodle visited the Reception children to inspire them in storying and illustration.
Then with Year 1 we made monster pop-ups tied in with my Monsters Love Words picture book that features rhythm, rhyme and onomatopoeia. I shared my Night Walk story and worked with them to produce their own journey narratives using maths language. They produced a beautifully illustrated concertina book with glow-in-the-dark features for the class to keep.
I was thrilled to be invited back to share this magical performance and exciting workshop for a new generation of pupils at Liverpool’s Abercromby Nursery School as part of their visit to Unity Theatre. It was great to have access to such excellent facilities – atmospheric lighting & immersive sound – along with superb support from the house technical team and management. The children and staff from Abercromby really enjoyed the experience and posted their own gallery of images from the day on the school’s website.
In this exciting new project I’m collaborating with four KS1 classes to create four original picturebooks. The children have already brainstormed ideas, selected key characters, produced story maps, and are now busy working on the words and pictures.
Their working titles are:
- Monsters Love Words
- The Littlest Monster
- S P A C E
- The Ultimate Test
As the project progresses I’ll share more news about how each storybook is developing…
I was thrilled to perform Scribble & Scrunch today at Unity Theatre, Liverpool. They had invited children from nearby Abercromby Nursery School to visit the theatre and enjoy a storytelling and activity session. It was a great experience to work with the in-house technicians to put on a show with professional lighting and soundscapes. Thank you so much to all the staff and children for such a fabulous day!
The session was lovely! The children were all engaged and loved the stories and activities. The costume was fabulous! “She is a real princess,” said one little girl. It was all fab!
Staghills Childrens Centre invited me back to do another 6-week project on storytelling and emergent writing.
We explored the story creation process using cameras and iPads, creating characters and settings, building story structures and linking them to movement, roleplay and writing. Each session has been a multi-sensory experience: paper has been ripped, torn and scrumpled; dough has been squished, squashed and squeezed!
Children have become forest adventurers and ocean voyagers, and have been introduced to some of my own favourite characters: Scribble & Scrunch, Mouse & Rabbit, Sydney the Sock. It has been so exciting to see the children develop into confident storytellers!
I loved attending the sessions as did my little girl. I loved the interaction with the children, especially getting the children to write the stories, which turned out quite funny! Thank you for sharing your stories with us!”
I had a wonderful day with the children at the Co-operative Childcare nursery at Littlehampton. I have been commissioned by The Midcounties Co-operative to produce five little picturebooks to feature each of their existing Little Pioneer characters. Yesterday the children worked with me to build stories for the first in the series – about Charlie, a boy who loves to co-operate with others!
I was also filmed and interviewed throughout the day. The film will be screened at the organisation’s AGM next month . . .
I’ve just completed a fun mark-making project working with 2-3 year olds at Staghills Children’s Centre in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. Parents joined their children for stories and activities on several dates including today’s celebration event. The brief included creating 3D sculptural work whilst helping the children to develop confidence in using a wide range of marking media and materials. I began each session by sharing an exciting story selected to inspire a particular approach to mark-making. Over 6 weeks we experimented with:
- Drawing with chunky wax crayons on paper
- Stamping on fabric with fruits and vegetables
- Painting tracks with toy cars and dinosaurs
- Printing with bubblewrap and foam shapes
- Marking with fabric crayons, paints and markers
- Creating & decorating cardboard structures
- Making lanterns using wax crayons on yupo paper
Some of the activities produced beautiful decorations on squares of fabric. I quilted these together to create an 8ft teepee and some gorgeous scatter cushions – a perfect place for telling stories!
I have now been invited to extend my stay into the Summer Term to work with the same children as they progress to the next stage as storytellers and emergent writers . . .
The Stories Alive project began today with a storytelling experience at Burnley Youth Theatre for classes of children from local nursery settings. On each group’s arrival the project lead, Gordon MacLellan (Creeping Toad), introduced myself and Carol Ferro (Short Story Lady) in the main auditorium. We then headed to breakout rooms for interactive story creation sessions.
The project will continue over the remainder of the academic year with each practitioner assigned to work closely with one of five participating schools. I’m looking forward to spending more time with children from Taywood Nursery in Burnley, helping them to discover the excitement of telling their own tales . . .
My sketches of Mouse & Rabbit simply begged to be brought to life as three-dimensional characters! It was so exciting to see them emerge from from my sewing area so full of personality and ready for adventures – they love dressing up, going places, doing things and being creative!
I spent Saturday in Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens in a fabulous handmade yurt supplied by High Peak Community Arts. I was there to entertain children and families with an interactive story session. Learn more about my Storytelling here.