Activity sheets

In an ongoing bit of giving away….here are the next 3 worksheets from the original “Talking to the Earth” set from back in 1995…..The book is still available (with lots more activities, as well as my most recent “Celebrating Nature”



Forest stories: a workshop in Hampshire

,,,and the trees themselves can shape our artwork

Friday 8th April, 2011

Sustainability Centre, East Meon, Hampshire

from traditional tales to brand new stories: a chance to get to grips with words about trees, woods and wildlife and the adventures that we find under the canopy. An ideal preparation for Year of the Forest events, here you will gather activities to plan a storywalk, create your own forestbook, or simply enjoy using words to help people take hold of the inspiration trees offer us

Why not use this workshop as part of your development of  The International Year of Forests? Join us to explore ways to celebrate it with this day on words, poems and stories .

Non residential £70.00

For further details please contact Raina on 01730 823166 or email her at

Or visit their website:



just who you need to meet sitting on a bench in your woodland!



Pop-up Theatres: miniature marvels: thrills, chills and daredevil adventures!

Thursday 24th February 2011

using old prints of the Peak District join artists from the Footsteps make your own Victorian–style pop-up theatre complete with scenery, heroes, villains, animals and monsters!

tell adventures from the hills and dales that no-one has ever heard before!

Ages: suitable for anyone from 8 years of age. Younger children are welcome but must bring an adult to help them

2 sessions

Sessions are free but space is limited and places must be booked. Call the Museum on 01298 24658

Session 1:10am – 12 pm:

Session 2: 1pm – 3pm

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Terrace Rd, Buxton, SK17 6DA

unlikely adventures on the banks of the Wye?

Footsteps project:

Creative provocation: Martin Garcia

Renewing links on this website gives me an opportunity to promote the work of various friends… let’s start with Martin Garcia, “a classic proud Chicagoan” who runs ChicagoArts, paints protraits and hosted a lot of the Luna de Suenos workshops back in 2008 (see under Features in ths website

“As an artist I am trying to get new ideas all the time by talking to people and collaborating with others. My Portrait Project has brought me and my work into the homes of hundreds of Chicagoans.”

Go visit!


ChicagoArts is yet another way I am making Art accessible. I use YouTube as an open forum to send information about the wonderful art in Chicago around the world and as the world comes to Chicago I am there to let you know again and again that Chicago is a world class city for the arts.

Environmental Art Worksheets

Environmental Art Worksheets

Way back in 1995 or so, I wrote a book called Talking to the Earth exploring environmental art and creativity. We did a set of worksheets to accompany the book that have been out of print for a few years now. So over the next year or so, I’m going to post these on this website  for people to download, use and (hopefully) enjoy!

If you use these sheets, please add a comment below!

Talking to the Earth and my other environmental art book Celebrating Nature (2009) are both still available – with lots more ideas and activities for individuals, groups and occasional boggarts to make the most of!

bristling, feathered, rushy, grassy and flamboyant!

get carried away on top of someone's head.....
hints and advcie for head Sculptures workshops

advice for people leading a "Standards" workshop

Fighting words and fish!

as part of a longer project for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Nothing But Footsteps, I have been working with 2 other artists to explore 21st century responses to 18th, 19th and early 20th century prints and poems about the Peak…..the latest instalment of that project is the following writing challenge. The poetry starting points are offered and the first responses as well….why not send in your own?

Fighting words and fish

For our next poetry challenge, we’ve picked up on one of the peak’s most abiding recreational pursuits, offering you two different perspectives on the noble art of fishing……

The aim of these “challenges” is to give you something to think about and invite you to send in your responses: as poems, as prose, as pictures….as a few words scribbled over a cup oft ea or a considered composition that kept you up half the night…..And “responses”? You may agree with the poems presented – or disagree – or think it’s all rubbish and we should just build motorways – or be deeply indifferent to the appeal of thigh-length waders and lots of cold water.

1. Enjoy thy streame, O harmless fish;

And when an angler, for his dish,

Through a gluttony’s vile sin,

Attempts, a wretch, to pull thee out,

God give thee strength, O gentel trout,

To pull the raskall in!

John Wolcot, 1801

2. Oh my beloved nymph! Fair Dove;

Princess of rivers, how I love

Upon thy flowery banks to lie;

And view thy silver stream,

When gilded by a summer’s beam,

And in it all thy wanton fry

Playing at liberty,

And with my angle upon them

The all of treachery

I ever learnt, industriously to try.

Charles Cotton, 1630-1687

RESPONSES (from Facebook posting)

From Phil Robinson , 30th Dec 2010

This year, entirely unprompted, my Daisy (9yrs) asked me to take her fishing. I haven’t fished since my teens – many moons ago, but we got some stuff out of the cellar and some new stuff for her, and we went. It wasn’t the catching (and releasing) of fish that was the dominant attraction (honest, although Daisy caught heaps more than me), for Daisy and me it was spending time together in the sunshine by the lake’s bank.

Bet she doesn’t want to go fishing at the moment though! Brrrrr!

From Sara Fletcher, 31st Dec 2010

I’ve never tried fishing (apart from chasing things in rock-pools as a child – and again as a zoology student), but I’m always intrigued to see wild fish in their natural habitat: they seem to inhabit a secret, silent world which overlaps only partly with our own. I like the poems – the first one reminded me of Charles Causley’s poem, ‘I saw a jolly hunter…’

Gordon, 2nd Jan 2010

Playing with some fishy acrostics

1. Freedom moving

In the river flow

Sliding from one moment to the next,


2. After too much of

Nothing in cities

Grasping the chance of


In only this

Now and then being

Gone, while the fish still run


A pop-up adventure!
Towneley Hall inspires in many directions!
In the grounds...
work in progress: flagstones, grass and the entrance to a secret tunnel!
The Family Dining Room
complete with table, flowers and a portrait on the wall....
Frances' Towneley's adventure
this young lady went hunting for gold!

Mary Towneley's adventure

A recipe:

draw inspiration from Townenely Hall in Burnley, add a sense of place from Geraldine Pilgrim’s Not Forgotten exhibition, stir in some exciting wintry weather and season with the unfettered imaginations of local schoolchildren.

Blend well and simmer backwards for some 440 years to uncover the adventures of the large Towneley family from the late 1500s…

From November 2010 through to March 2011, I am working in Burnley, Accrington and surrounding areas to distil stories from the experiences of children living in the wonderful Towneley Hall in Burnley in the late 1500s. Trying to describe what is going on feeds in almost too many explanations- the Prince’s Foundation, Mid-Pennine Arts, the Kicking Leaves Festival….. so I’ll link them in for visitors to pursue for themselves

Most important are the stories that are unfolding: madcap capers on snowy paths with Elizabethan sledges, naughty children swinging on chandeliers, naughty children being punished by polishing those same chandeliers, climbing out of windows on ropes made out of their sheets. The ghostly knight who was killed while on guard duty and who still stands guarding the Hall, atching the world from that little window there…..

Some examples of work arising are attached and hopefully more will follow!

a storymaking residency for Mid-Pennine Arts as part of the Kicking Leaves Festival, supported by the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts

a collective set of stories from Broadfield School

Tree wrappings!

Working with National Trust from Calke Abbey, preparing for their Winter Tree Trail…..some 18 students from Long Eaton High School and I worked in a whirlwind two hour session to prepare and paint  2 x 10m long banners that will coil round  two tall sycamores at the approach to the House at Calke….pictures of the work finished and installed will follow!

long banners drying
long banner, detail - work in progress
long banner - detail


The Woodlanders

I spent last Saturday (6th November) in Edinburgh at a launch event for the book Woodlanders”.

Compiled by Reforesting Scotland, Woodlanders explores the relationships between people and woodlands through contributions by lots of  people working in and with woodlands.

So we gathered in a city square in Edinburgh an certainly I, at least, was entertaining  fond imaginings of elegant woodlanders regaling each other with their woody tales and chatting languidly with casual passers by, with all relaxing on the lawns in a late autumn afternoon sun……

It rained.

So all the contributors and passers by crowded into the event’s Yurt where we talked and chatted, told stories, recited poems, listened to music and sampled tasty wine from Cairn o’Mhor…and probably had a much more convivial time than an elegance on the grass!

Next training courses

Forthcoming training events….

come and join Creeping Toad on exciting days developing new ideas, refreshing old skills and finding time for a bit of inspiration to infuse your own activity


Thursday 18th Wild Words – day of storymaking and instant poems, playing with words and using language to celebrate the world around us!

Friday 19th Creative Biodiversity: a workshop to explore the principles of biodiversity: what do we mean, what ideas do we hope to share with people, how can we do this in imaginative, engaging ways

Organised by Wildwise and held at Sharpham in Totnes, Devon

Contact WildWise: www.wildwise, org, uk

Wild Words and Leafy Pages

Monday January 31st, 2011

This workshop will include activities that can be used to help groups of all ages use language to explore, enjoy and celebrate their environment.   We will play with words to create instant stories, sudden poems, beautiful moments and laughing incidents. Then we will explore exciting ways of recording written words in bog books, wild scrolls, mapsticks, water pictures and handmade paper.   This day is aimed at professionals working with primary schools  in literacy, art and environmental work.

Venue: Bishops Wood Environment Centre


Fabulous Worldsworking with art, recycled materials and the natural world

Tuesday 1st February 2011

BW13             February 1st

A  creative day for environmental educators, arts workers, teachers and other educators taking an alternative approach to ‘recycled’ art with the inspiring Creeping Toad.  Gordon will look at how many animals, plants and environments we can create – ranging from miniature model worlds in plastic bottles to plastic bottle animals, to projections and light and giant puppet creatures.

Venue: Bishops Wood Environment Centre


FEBRUARY: more activities to come: half day “Learning Outside the Classroom” sessions in the Peak District

APRIL: an International Year of the Forest day at the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire,

Environmental storytelling, art and celebration – Education, Training & Workshops