Last week I was joined by children in Witham, Basildon and Maldon libraries where we made scores of Cheshire Cats. Being naturally solitary creatures, Cheshire Cats have rarely, if ever been seen in these kinds of numbers before, making this half-term a record-breaking Wonderland phenomenon! Last week’s “Down the Rabbit Hole” workshops in Essex Libraries were supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and I’d like to say a huge thank you too to all the wonderful librarians and volunteers who assisted with the collage cat creation. There is still one workshop to go so if your children come along to Saffron Walden Library on the 14th November they can make their very own Cheshire Cat to add to the score!
On Tuesday Nicola Killen and I held our fourth and final Art Club and the theme this time was doll’s house rooms from shoe boxes. We had a wonderful array of bits and bobs for the children get creative with and at the end of the session we put all their rooms together to make a mansion of a doll’s house! Huge thanks to all those who helped us gather the supplies for this session – both Nicola’s and my parents, Perry and Ian as well as Jones the Bootmakers for supplying all the boxes. Special thanks go to my Dad who lovingly sawed up and sanded all the blocks of wood that were used to make the tiny furniture. We would also like to thank the wonderful Anne, Pippa, David and Richard from Cambridgeshire libraries for making Art Club happen!
For me and fellow children’s book illustrator Nicola Killen, this month is all about Art Club. We are collaborating with Rock Road Library to hold a series of art workshops for children and yesterday was one of my favourites – collage day! The children worked with multi-coloured, glittery and hand-painted papers to create some beautiful and imaginative images. Inspiration came from toys, flowers and other random objects as well as an imaginary book cover for the final piece. Many thanks go to the wonderful Anne Worthington who has been a great help to us with Art Club. Have a look below to see some of the children’s fantastic collages!
I do love a bit of Halloween. Here is a fairly hideous pumpkin brooch I made the other day out of Fimo – it has copper powder around the amazing glow-in-the-dark eyes! I was actually aiming for scary but everything I do tends to end up looking quite cute so I had to work quite hard to make this guy look like bad news. I think I sort-of succeeded. Happy Halloween!
I went to a workshop the other day to learn how to make jewellery from silver clay. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Well it was! The clay really is silver, in fact it is more than 99% pure which makes it a higher grade than sterling silver. I was expecting to be able to work it like I would Fimo but it is very different – much more like an air-drying clay. And the surprise was that it dries so quickly that we only had about 10 minutes to make each piece, so I felt a little nervous… But once I had got my head around that particular constraint I had lots of fun and made some nice little pendants. We were under the guidance of Emma Mitchell who is not only a silver clay expert but a fantastic teacher too. She made it all very easy for us so by the end of the morning I had managed to make all of the below. Brilliant fun!
Over the past week I have been helping children from Cherry Hinton, Chatteris, Bar Hill and Cambridge to make colourful, crazily collaged, crafty dragons. We had a lot of fun at the library workshops, there were wings, claws and teeth and flames everywhere and the children created a spectacular array of fire-breathers! I’d like to say a very big thank you to Cambridgeshire libraries and to the lovely librarians who helped me with my dragon workshops. Another big thank you goes out to all the children who left their dragons behind so that the libraries could make Mythical Maze displays with them! Here is my dragon together with some of its new friends…
Next week is going to be a busy one for me with workshops in Cherry Hinton, Chatteris, Bar Hill and Cambridge Central libraries. I haven’t 100% worked out what I’m doing yet but it is very likely to involve cutting, sticking and generally having quite a lot of fun making monsters! The theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is Mythical Maze so I’m going to be creating some monsters that haven’t been seen in a long, long time….Sort of like these guys:
Despite worryingly wild weather that threatened to frighten away our tent, Saturday’s pop-up dragon workshop was a great success! It was a super day at the Histon and Impington Feast and we had lots of children and parents coming by to see what we were doing. Pop-up-genius Nicola Killen and myself spent the afternoon helping the children to cut, fold and stick their various wonderful creations. Here are just a few examples of the brilliant pop-ups they made:
Today is the day of the Histon and Impington Feast Book Jam and I will be joining forces with Nicola Killen to run a pop-up dragon-making children’s workshop! After independently doing workshops involving pop-ups and collaged dragons we decided to join forces and create a super-workshop that does the lot! If you would like to join in then come and find us at Histon Junior school later today. We will be running three sessions over the course of the afternoon, starting at 12.15pm, 1.45pm and 3pm. Here is my first attempt at a pop-up dragon…
On Saturday I had a Fimo demo in Jarrolds in Norwich – admittedly it’s a little early for Halloween but any excuse to start making ghosts and pumpkins is fine by me. I made the below steam-pumpkins to Staedtler’s secret recipe and this is my little ghost who glows in the dark….!