“Come and discover works of art along a waymarked trail in Grinlow woods, July 12th and 13th, with storytelling at the end of the trail. A bunch of local creators, dreamers, makers and arty folk have had much fun and frolics dreaming up woodland installations…………”
Grinlow Woods at Poole’s Cavern car park (Fringe Venue 94: on Green Lane in Buxton): 11 Jul 6pm to 10pm, 12 Jul 10am to 10pm, 13 Jul 10am to 6pm. Free
Further information: 07970 868 018
I am there telling stories on the Saturday: tales of tall trees and stone people, stories from the green shadows and the still pools and the dripping caves.
Times: I am due “on” in the story tent at 12, 2 and 4pm but this will be approximate!
Tiny! Wildness: the return of our annual, ever-so-slightly potty Tiny! adventures. Come and find us in Pavilion Gardens: we’ll be the ones sitting under a tree with flags, bunting and lots of bits. This year we’re going for a new set of Tiny! friends: aiming for nothing bigger than our hands. There might be heroic children, dragons, kings, queens and elephants. Who knows? We are sure some Tiny!PIrates will put in an appearanceSunday 13th
Free (and frivolous)
Pavilion Gardens (Fringe venue 33). “Search” for: “Pavilion Gardens, Buxton” and you’ll find us: 13 Jul 10:30am to 12:30pm, 2pm to 4pm Free, Ages 4+
Further information: 07825 177 355
Sunday 27th July
And on this day, I’m telling stories in the High Peak Community Arts Yurt in Pavilion Gardens but at the moment, I don’t know just where or when! Watch for details!
Over the last 3 months, I’ve been dipping into a longer project organised by the Ribble Rivers Trust. Specially cooled aquaria were installed in 6 schools in Burnley who went on to hatch 100 trout eggs each so that the school communities can watch these first few weeks of trout-life before releasing the fish into the rapidly improving River Ribble
My friend, musician Steve Brown and I visited those 6 schools to write poems and stories and make music inspired by this process. The resulting artwork reinforced the experience and has been helping us share the excitements and anticipations of The Hatching with a wider public
“In the past, industrial and agricultural pollution as well as water abstraction and inadequate sewage treatment have caused severe habitat damage to the Ribble and its tributaries, to such an extent that the wildlife supported by the river has been put under threat. The Trust was established in order to enhance the water environments of the catchment, by restoring and protecting the river to make certain that future generations can enjoy the beauty of its wildlife and fauna.” – introduction from the Trust’s website
Activities began back in January with a day with the Canalside Community Association
Then, first sessions in schools, explored the early days of trout-life as the eggs hatched, golden pearls releasing tiny fry into the world and we wrote about rivers and made pop-up landscapes of riverbeds and redds (gravel bed nests where trout spawn)
This is a silver stream, so cool and fresh as can be
Fish eggs like little beads
Eels as big as santa’s bag of treats
The robins sing in such harmony
Freezing through the splashing, popping,
Water rushing stones
Huge strong rocks blocking the icy flow
Water smashing over rocks
Soaking the grass,
Running on into the pool.
Slowing down, running wider,
The river slips into a pool,
Dark ice-cold water
Deep water, calm water, ripples meandering,
Slow carp in deep pools,
Grasping weeds to pull you down,
Down to the stones where the eels live,
Small fish, silver fish, white fish darting,
Fast as arrows, lightning flickers
Kingfishers dive, chasing fish
Graceful swans glide across the pool,
Carp sneak like ghosts through weeds and water
Trout blend in brown as sand, as stone as shadows
Moss everywhere, under water, on the bank, over the stones, up the trees,
On the stepping stones where you wobble across the pool
Big trout hunting
Deep dark, cold as ice
Yellow lightning flashes,
Rain comes splashing down!
Every raindrop feeds the flood.
The river overloaded, bursting, flowing to the sea
A soggy disaster, dirty, nasty mess
Huge, wet, destroying, damaging We are left disgusted, exhausted, vulnerable
Wild, strange and dangerous days, these dog days of summer…As part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, I’ve been doing workshops for Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Libraries making creepy houses and spooky landscape pop-ups. These have set out to inspire young people to tell us stories and to use the ideas they find in the books they read and apply these in other situations
So last Wednesday saw us creeping in Mansfield Library….
Then Thursday, I was plunging again into our Carboniferous past and leading workshops in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery as part of our Ancient Landscapes project. We were making puppets inspired by the animals of those prehistoric seas that gave us the limestone of the Peaks. A lot of creative license was exercised (not least over time periods and dates) and scientific presumptions challenged (how could anyone possibly know that trilobites were not rainbow patterned?)
Next Creeping Toad wildnesses
5th -16th August: summer residency at the Holly Lodge Centre in Richmond Park, Surrey: closed sessions not open for dropping in
20th August: more Spooky Towers and Creepy Houses: Aspley Library, 10 -12, Bilborough Library, 2- 4, Nottingham. Free, drop-in events – give yourself 45 minutes at least to make your pop-up spookiness
21st August:evencreepier houses, this time in Mansfield Library: 10.30 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 3.30. Again, free, drop in activities but give yourself time to do the making
22nd August, Sherwood Pines Country Park: away with the fairies, goblins and trolls: lively storywalks! Details, booking and prices: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-98FBDY
29th August: Ogden Water Country Park: more faeries, elves, goblins and trolls: telling stories, making up new ones, finding evidence of terrible enchantments and wild adventures and making tiny goblin puppets to take home and upset the neighbours….Details, bookings and prices: http://www.ogdenwater.org.uk/whatson.php
Next Ancient Landscapes events:
Tuesday 6th August: Winnat’s Pass Walk:exploring the millstone grits of the Dark Peak. Meet: Castleton Visitor Centre Car Park, S33 8WP, at 2pm. Walk 2 – 4pm, some steep slopes and off paved footpaths
OurAncient Landscapes project will be there among the Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Botanicals. We’ll be there with fossils to look at and draw, models to handle, people to talk to, a wall to stare at (just in case we can find anything!) and our usual exciting, messy, colourful and engaging creative activities
I’ll be there helping on the Landscapes stall but mostly to tell stories of farms and fields and the plants and animals and stranger inhabitants of the Dales and Moorlands
I’ll be on the Ancient Landscapes team will be at this National Trust event at Ilam Park
Tempting as it is, we won’t be “fossilizing fathers” but we may well invite you to look at some of the fossils we find in the limestone of the area, to make printed fossil cards for Dads, cast your own fossils (for anyone), make trilobite puppets and personal nautiloids….
Our activities are free but car parking charges apply. There are lots of other activities on at Ilam that day – but come and hunt us out!
photos and feedback from two excessively sticky days in Hadfield Hall this weekend. 70 people on Saturday and maybe 90 today (Sunday). Trying to work out a collective noun for lanterns: an adhesion of lanterns? a glue of lanterns? a spike? an accumulation?
These were lovely days and I can only thank both the Hadfield Hall helpers, High Peak Community Arts and all those well-glued members of the public with their good humour and patience as more and more people arrived and we gradually ran out of willow
Other comments come from participants…
Very helpful staff, as a Grandma I needed help which I got lots of. Alfie had a good time sticking! We will see you all on Friday
My children and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Gordon was very helpful and entertaining. Much fun was had by all of us. Would love to do it again
Brilliant! Very well organised and well run. Fab morning + can’t wait for Friday
Nice workshop, not rigid, so children could chose own designs which we liked.
Lovely idea, Beau really enjoyed it, looking forward to the parade and hope its on again next year when we can try something more ambitious when they are older
Stories that grew out of a beautiful autumn day in Plas Power Woods for the Woodland Trust with some 40 people visiting us through the day, along with several friendly dogs, a possible bear and occasional breezes. We listened to tales of animals and children and monsters and learned that we need
to be kind to Conker Trees as they remember when they could still run around the dance and play….
Deep in the woods, an old witch lives
If you are careful you might find her,
Putting on make-up down by the stream
Mud for lipstick,
her hair is leaves and grass
Her eyelashes twigs
Stick eyebrows arch over
Eyes as dark as a forest pool
In skin as green and grey and rough as bark
You might see her there,
A shadow by the rapids
Sharpening stones on the riverbank
Fitting her mouth for teeth
The Lost Fairies
One bright autumn day, two woodland fairies, Stephanie and Jasmine, were out exploring the forest. They should have been busy flying the Royal Butterflies but were fed up up with the Butterflies because whenever the girls took them out, the insects all flew in different directions and the little fairies felt as if their arms were going to be pulled off!
So today, they had tied the butterflies to a bouncy tree branch and gone off looking for an adventure
Stephanie and Jasmine went deep into the woods. Here, they could hear the rushing of the river and the rustling of the leaves. They felt the roughness of bark and smelt the dampness of water and mud and moss
In the middle of the woods, in a pool of sunlight by the river, they met a beautiful blue dragonfly.
The dragonfly told the girls about a wonderful white deer that had been seen in the woods, a rare and magical animal
Through the woods,
Under the oak trees,
Over the logs,
Beside the stream,
Across the river on the stepping stones
The fairy girls went hunting
Between one tree and the next,
Between daytime and night-time,
Between sunset and moonrise,
In the mist and the woods,
Where the squirrels look down from the branches,
And the hedgehogs look up from the bushes,
The fairy girls disappeared and
No-one has seen them again. Yet…
Bob the Duck
One sunny and windy afternoon, a very hot duck was swimming in the river trying to cool down, when suddenly a huge holly leaf blew down on the wind and landed on his head! The leaf was very spiky and knocked some of his feathers out.
Bob the duck went swimming away down the river. At a very loud waterfall he stopped and listened to some birds singing. A girl came to look at the waterfall and the birds. Bob didn’t want the girls to see him so he swam further and further down to the very bottom of the waterfall.
But as swam down, he could smell delicious pie. The smell wasn’t coming from the bottom of the pond but from up where the girl was. Bob decided that he didn’t care if the girl stroked him – he just wanted pie!
Bob swam up to the top of the pool and the girl said, “What are you looking for?” and Bob said, “I’m looking for pie”. So the girl showed Bob the way to the pie. But as they walked through the woods, a giant spiky conker fell on the girl’s head. It hurt.
So Bob helped the girl through the wood and forgot that he was missing some feathers. When they found the pie, they both felt better and stayed together to have pie for tea
arrive anytime – after 11, there will be a self-guided storytrail to take you down to our camp in the woods
What are we doing?
I’ll be telling woodland stories and tales of trees: of dancing birch trees and sad cedars, of the dramatic history of horse chestnuts and why we need to be very careful around oak and willow trees
The walk through the woods will give us new stories, as well, building new adventures for visitors to the woods out of the sounds we hear, the smells of autumn, fallen twigs and floating leaves: anything might feed into new tales!
Ancient Landscapes is a partner project to Exploring with Stories and we thought you might enjoy the delights of a project bringing limestone to life
we’ve had a busy few days as the second phase of this project begins, or maybe as the tide runs again toward the full. (PIctures from the first phase can be found on my own Creeping Toad blog – I am Gordon MacLellan, is one of the workshop artists and disorganiser of a lot of the Stone and Water projects)
With Ancient Landscapes, we are looking at the limestone of the Peak District where we live and the fossils that rock contains. Then mixing observation, deduction and wild imagination, we work to create the original environments that spawned our limestone as installations in crochet, knitting, clay, beads, felt and anything else that takes our artists fancy!
Meanwhile, a new group has taken up the challenge of extending the ancient landscape and a session at Buxton Museum last week, led on to a workshop at Fairfield Community Centre today. Five more sessions will follow and then we’ll see just how our coral garden grows before it unfolds its glories again in the Buxton Art Trail in the summer
Our use of crochet in Ancient Landscapes was inspired by the global Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project (http://crochetcoralreef.org/) whose influence we acknowledge even though we couldn’t afford to sign into their network as a community group.
The connection between those techniques, other artforms and our Peak District landscapes comes from Stone and Water, a Buxton-based community group dedicated to celebrating the creativity of the people and landscapes of the Peaks.
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
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…..)
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!
Environmental storytelling, art and celebration – Education, Training & Workshops