Tag Archives: storytelling

Woodland Tales

hoping for clear skies....

Tree Tellings!

Saturday 20th October 2012

Plas Power Woods near Wrexham

Meet Nant Mill Visitor Centre

11am – 3.30pm

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!

 

To find out more and get directions, visit the Woodland Trust site 

 

the richness of autumn will feed our stories

 

 

 

A Wanton return!

Revised copies of The Wanton Green have just come in, so grab your cheque books, or contact me for paypal ideas and give yourself a treat (well, we think it is!)

 

From original blog posting:

Over the last year, I have been one of a team editing a book that has now been released. The Wanton Green is an exciting collection of essays from (mostly) British pagans exploring their relations to places


 

From the lost magics and holy waters of London to bleak Staffordshire Moorlands; from childhood adventures in Rochdale to faeries in Devon and Cumbria, a new book, The Wanton Green, offers readers a different perspective on landscape

 

As our relationship with the world unravels and needs to take new form, or maybe to reconnect with an older pattern, The Wanton Green presents a collection of inspiring, provoking and engaging essays by modern pagans talking about their own deep and passionate relationships with the Earth. With contributions from 20 authors that range from Druids to Heathens, from Chaos Magicians to Witches, Shamans and Voudou Mambo, Wanton Green brings voices from the diverse and growing Pagan community of Britain to the environmental debate and promises food for thought and inspiration for the spirit

 

Contributors include Emma Restall Orr, Runic John, Robert Wallsi, Jenny Blain, Melissa Harrington, Graham Harvey, Maria van Daalen, Susan Greenwood and Susan Cross. (Visit the Wanton Green blog for tastes of the treats within…)


All the contributors have forgone their royalties, allowing any arising to go to Honouring the Ancient Dead 

 

Ordering copies

a) direct from me £ 11.99 a copy, + £2.00 P&P for first copy and £1 per copy after that (cheques to Creeping Toad, or I can invoice you – 51-d West, Rd, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6HQ, UK

b) from Mandrake, the publishers

c) through a local bookshop or on-line store

 

Details

The Wanton Green: contemporary pagan writings on place

editors: G MacLellan and S Cross

 Mandrake Books, Oxford, 2011

ISBN: 978 1  906958 29 9

 

the walk to Lud's Church, can be marked by mud, sand...or icicles


Creeping Toad on tour, Highlands September 2012

Creeping Toad in action, Apple Day at the Dove Valley Centre, October 2012

What else could happen?

Creeping Toad on tour,

3 – 14th September 2012

what else could go wrong?

what other trick could we play?

what will happen next?

 

With stories to inspire, enchant and engage, workshops to captivate, books to make and new adventures to find, Creeping Toad stories involve participants in worlds of marvel and wonder and leave people full of words and images and ready for action

“like dogs who need toys to have fun and be happy, children need fun and to play to be happy. Then we learn well. With Gordon we play and have fun and learn at the same time”

Year 5 pupil, Runcorn, 2011

 

Gordon MacLellan – Creeping Toad – is one of Britain’s foremost environmental art and education workers…and he tells stories too!

 

Between 3rd and 14th September, 2012  (and again in November), Gordon will be working in the Highland area (at least) and is available for a few bookings….

 

building stories out of found objects and occasional treasures

A day’s visit to your school might include

 

storytelling performances: lasting up to 60 minutes for up to 90 children at a time

 

stories outside! using the school ground, we’ll take storymaking out of the classroom and use the immediate environment, the day’s weather and whatever we can find to shape a set of stories never told before (allow 60 minutes for a class session)

 

story and book workshops: taking a bit longer (allow 90 minutes for a class) as well as discovering the stories that no-one has ever heard before, now we will build those into the books that no-one has ever read before and leave the classroom with a library no-one has ever visited before!

 

tales of old Scotland: a collection of stories of Highland folklore and Scottish histories, of heroes and sorrows, bravery and the magics of sea, mountain and moor

 

your own themes and ideas: or are you exploring a particular theme that you would like to involve some stories in? pirates….tropical islands….ancient cave people…..where in our school would bears live?…castle adventures,  have all featured in recent Creeping Toad projects

 

Charges: £250 a day: includes storyteller’s fee, travel and materials. Can be paid on the day or I can invoice you

 

effective storymaking invites us to step out of busyness and appreciate the world about usFor further information:

visit the Creeping Toad website at www.creepingtoad.com

To book: contact Gordon directly at

creepingtoad@btinternet.com

or by telephone:

landline: 01298 77964

         mobile: 07791 096857

 

 

 

 

 

Excitements at Annesley

A few days working with Foundation Stage children at Annesley Primary School, Nottinghamshire.

camels got priority in our desert tents!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a theme “Children in other countries”, we set off on expeditions to make new friends:

 

We could fly in a ‘plane

            We could drive in a car

            We could ride on a donkey

            Or hang onto a motorbike

            We could sail in a boat

            Or gallop in a horse

            We could squeeze all of us onto one elephant

            Or have an elephant each

            Or we could sit on a flying carpet

 

Children went off exploring, finding other adventures, other animals, other children

 

            One group went to cold places and made a tent and a campfire. They cuddled up with polar bears at night to keep warm. They met wolves and bears and many friendly animals

 

the arctic encampment (including stray penguin)

            In Africa. another group saw lions, but were not afraid, although on person was scared of elephant noises

 

Working in the school garden, we made those tents, built those shelters, found homes for monkeys, frogs and crabs, assembled that picnic ( nuts, apples, leaf-ice-cream), photographing and drawing the results. Eventually we made friends with other children and recorded our adventures on pop-up cards with grown-ups doing the writing because when you are 4 years old it’s useful to have minions to do those sort of things….

 

On a tropical island, children made houses and met giant tortoises

And Jack (3 years old) said:
The eagle and the owl are friends,

            And beavers make dams,

            Whales swim in the sea,

            And squirrels climb trees,           

            But the eagle flies

            High in the sky.

 

inside of a pop-up card - an animal friend

 

assembled stories

 

South African workshops, 2011

re-imaganing: exploring possible futures

2 weeks in South Africa, old friends, new friends, new workshops and an exciting new centre to work with

 

The Re-imagining festival in Grahamstown was part of the annual National Arts Festival exploring new perspectives on the environment and social change in South Africa. I always find when I visit this beautiful country that people are full of new ideas, new ways of looking at issues. Visiting RSA challenges me to look at what I bring to sessions and inspires me to find my own new perspectives and gives me new things to think about

 

Re-imagining addressed sustainability education by opening up spaces for discussion, space to listen think, talk and share.

 

My role: to work with local children on building stories, not with serious outcomes but to help children (and anyone who wanted to join in) to let their imaginations go, to find a degree of imaginative freedom and confidence in their own value as thinking creative people

 

So we used our immediate environment for inspiration and shaped new stories, made animals with our fingers, shaped characters out of leaves and scrap card and found adventures everywhere from the centre’s leaf-shaped pool to the caves of a rockery and a recess in a wall

books take shape after an afternoon of exploring stories

 

and in the quiet spaces between sessions, and between shows and exhibitons in the wider festival,  I let my own imagination wander

 

1. Head down a hole

Full of sand and hope

Dreaming of aardvarks

 

2. The aloe lifts fire

To a pale, cloudless sky.

Pause.

Embrace a flower, ignite your spirit

more adventures!

a story expedition, ready to set off!

ADVENTURES EVERYWHERE – with Gordon MacLellan

finding stories in the environment

Sunday 24th July 2011

Hollowford Centre, Castleton   10am – 3pm

A day to play with words, this workshop will help us find “adventures everywhere”… anywhere. It will offer activities designed to draw inspiration from simple observation, fostering confidence in participants’ own skills and encouraging improvisation within supportive activity structures. The activities used will also allow ideas to merge as a number of short activities flow together to give longer more intricate adventures

We will play with words, using language as another tool

to explore, enjoy and celebrate our environment.

We will use spoken, shouted, whispered, sung or written words and will explore exciting ways of holding onto written words in bog books, wild scrolls, mapsticks, water pictures and tales hidden in treasure chests

The activities used here have been tried and tested with family groups, on adult events and with school children – often in situations where Literacy is an issue and activities are needed that remove worry and fear and encourage simple enjoyment of words

 

Programme will include first words: setting out on an adventure

adventures everywhere: activities for a story-building walk: short activities with minimal equipment for use outside

holding onto adventures: ways of recording our words

bigger stories: working in groups to make quick, longer pieces

Activities:

o developing story characters

o deriving adventures from found objects or

artefacts

o making your own books

o the value of treasure

o story bundles

 

Price: £30 + vat (£36 inc vat)

Places are limited and will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis

Payment in advance will secure your place on the programme

 

To book or for further information please contact Hollowford at

enquiries@hollowford.org

Tel. 01433 620377

Bring: lunch, outdoor clothes, a sense of fun

Materials: provided

Finding Hollowford

Directions can be found on their website: www.hollowford.org

making stories, building books

 

Adventures Everywhere! Creeping Toad on Tour 2011!

Adventures Everywhere!

stories under our feet, tales from hills and woods and local streets

 

in the woods or in a classroom, Gordon's tales captivate and enchant....

…sneaking out of school what did the children find?

…what did we see, when the salmon swam up the river?

…the tiger’s roar shakes the clouds with thunder and the world changes…

With stories to inspire, enchant and engage, workshops to captivate, books to make and new stories to find, Creeping Toad activities involve participants in worlds of marvel and wonder and leave people full of words and images and ready for action

“like dogs who need toys to have fun and be happy, children need fun and to play to be happy. Then we learn well. With Gordon we play and have fun and learn at the same time”

Year 5 pupil, Runcorn

Gordon MacLellan – Creeping Toad – is one of Britain’s foremost environmental art and education workers…and he tells stories too! Newly returned from project work in South africa over the summer, Gordon sets off across Britain on another tour of terrible tales, mischeivious legends, wild stories and moments of gentle wonder

 

Tour dates (these are still tentative and may shift a bit as bookings come in)

Week beginning:

29th August 2011: central Scotland

5th and 16th September, 2011: Highland Region

early November:         Perth and eastern Scotland

December 2011, January 2012: East Midlands, Cheshire, Lancashire

 

making stories, building books

A day’s visit to your school might include

 

storytelling performances: lasting up to 60 minutes for up to 90 children at a time

stories outside! using the school ground, we’ll take storymaking out of the classroom and use the immediate environment, the day’s weather and whatever we can find to shape a set of stories never told before (allow 60 minutes for a class session)

story and book workshops: taking a bit longer (allow 90 minutes for a class) as well as discovering the stories that no-one has ever heard before, now we will build those into the books that no-one has ever read before and leave the classroom with a library no-one has ever visited before!

 

your own themes and ideas: or are you exploring a particular theme that you would like to involve some stories in? pirates….tropical islands….ancient cave people…..where in our school would bears live?…castle adventures,  have all featured in recent Creeping Toad projects

Charges: £250 a day: includes storyteller’s fee, travel and materials. Can be paid on the day or I can invoice you

 

For further information:

visit the Creeping Toad website at www.creepingtoad.com

 

To book: contact Gordon directly at

creepingtoad@btinternet.com

or by telephone on

01298 77964

effective workshops absorb people.....

 

 

 

 

Training days in 2018

card mask in progress: a giant, a tree, a world, a hope...
card mask in progress: a giant, a tree, a world, a hope…

Two training courses are growing on the Toad horizon just now

Courses like this are aimed at teachers, rangers, environmental education specialists and playworkers and, really, anyone who is looking for activities to deliver to a group of children (or families) along creative environmental themes

Workshops aim to offer participants the chance to experiment, to experience activities for themselves and to talk about resources, workshop patterns and the tricks that make for effective delivery

If you want to find out more about the content of a workshop, you are welcome to contact me, (creepingtoad@btinternet.com) if you want to book or make a booking enquiry, please contact the organisers

a story builds....
a story builds….

Stories Everywhere
4th July 2018, Dartington Estate, Totnes
Organiser: Wildwise: http://wildwise.co.uk/training+.php?nID=18&n_start=0

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: creating stories, poems, instant adventures and terrible tales.

A day to enjoy words, this workshop encourages participants to find “adventures everywhere”… anywhere. It will offer activities designed to draw inspiration from simple observation, fostering confidence in participants own skills and encouraging innovation within supportive activity structures. The activities used will also allow ideas to merge as a number of short activities flow together to give longer more intricate adventures

The activities used here have been tried and tested with family groups, on adult events and with school children – often in situations where Literacy is an issue and activities are needed that remove worry and fear and encourage simple enjoyment of words

Rates:
£80 | £95 | £120 *
* rates for individuals / voluntary-charitable organisations / businesses

ClayfacePuppets, masks and monsters
July 2018, Dartington Estate, Totnes
Organiser: Wildwise: http://wildwise.co.uk/training+.php?nID=18&n_start=0

a day finding characters, making characters, turning ourselves into wild and wonderful things: a mixture of working with found and natural materials with alternatives using more traditional materials.

Our activities today will start with some first principles in puppetry, those little tricks that can turn just about anything into a character to send off adventuring, before moving on to improvising with piles of twigs, leaves and mud. As the workshop progresses we will add more intricate ideas, looking at shadow puppet landscapes and movements, at mask forms that lend themselves to a whole ecology of characters and  wonderfully strange creatures who can wake up a wall of rocks laughing

The programme will include
first puppets: ideas for instant animation
improvising with natural materials: add string and a lump of clay and we’re off!
straightforward activities to incorporate into other sessions needing few materials
essential shapes and techniques to apply in other situations
more intricate forms of masks, puppets and shadow puppets for more determined workshops or public events
building giants: processes for making both big puppets and mosntrous masks

Rates:
£80 | £95 | £120 *
* rates for individuals / voluntary-charitable organisations / businesses

Story character detail

Autumn adventures

public events, October 2016

Events where you can find me over  October

Families: unless otherwise stated, these events are aimed at family groups – stray adults are welcome to come and join us, too: to listen laugh and make things as suits.

Appropriate ages: If you are 7 years old or less, can you please bring a grown-up with you and don’t lose them during the session.

Stern word: I try to keep things as relaxed and cheerful as possible during sessions but I do reserve the right to ask people to leave if their behaviour disrupts the rest of the group and I generally recommend getting to a drop-in event at least 40 minutes before the scheduled end of the event as I often have to pack up and move somewhere else quite quickly!

Last minute bookings: I still have odd days here and there (some are very strange!) if you would like a session for your site or your own group. Contact me at creepingtoad@btinternet.com or 07791 096857 to find out more

October

Storytelling, tallLight up the woods

Saturday 15th

Plas Power Woods, Wrexham

Mixing lanterns, with woodland storytelling, campfire warmth and the thrill of wandering through a wood at night. You will find me deep in the woods, on a log by a stream telling stories of enchanted owls, tree-magic and occasional bears. This event is becoming a hugely popular annual event. Tickets are limited and advance booking is needed!

Follow the link for more information

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/get-involved/events/15-october-2016-lanterns-plas-power/

autumn-apples-1Sunday 16th

Apple Day

Dove Valley Centre

Another regular feature and another annual delight. Join us for an afternoon of delicious apples, orchards, stories, art, and baking apples and potatoes in the fire. Bring your own apples and you can scrunch them into the juice – bring your own chutneys and swap them or their recipes. I am here to tell stories and lead some Museum moments: we’re collecting apple thoughts and orchard stories.

12 – 4pm

Free.

Just come and enjoy an afternoon deep in the dale

Dove Valley Centre, Under Whitle, SK17 0PR (between Longnor and Sheen)

An event for Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project

Drawing Steam

Monday 24 October, 11am-3pm

The Gothic Warehouse, Cromford Wharf, DE4 3RP

Get inspired by the landscape of Cromford Mills and High Peak Junction and sketch, scribble or draw your favourite bits onto our big drawing. Using a variety of materials, we’ll work together to create an amazing picture, 20 metres or more long, that tells the story of this special place: the birthplace of the factory system in the valley that changed the world. Part of Derwent Valley Mills Discovery Days.

An event for the Big Draw

An event for Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project

 

Tuesday 25th

Calacas: make your own tiny Day of the Dead characters

In the final days before Hallowe’en, join me for an afternoon with tiny skeletal people. Inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead ideas, we’ll make little skeletal people doing everyday thigns…there may be skeleton footballers, musicians, ladies in ball gowns, gentlemen in tophats and tails – or ladies in tophats and gentlemen in ballgowns…who knows what way the bones will inspire us!

 

Green Man Gallery, Buxton (Hardwick Square south, , SK17 6PY

https://www.facebook.com/TheGreenManGallery/

Booking needed.

Cost £6.00 (accompanying adult free – but adults could always book a place and make their own Calacas!)

Drop in in person, or call: 01298 937375 (card payment).

low-boggart-water

And if you survive that, you might like to call in for

Boggarts and Freetings: spooky stories for Hallowe’en week

Still at the Green Man Gallery, between 5 and 6pm (more or less), £3 a ticket and stories for laughter, shock, delight and dismay and a nice shiver or two for the arrival of winter!

 

Wednesday 26th October

Bone Detectives

Explore the secrets of the skulls, learn to read the clues hidden in eyesockets, teeth and the bony curves of zygomatic arches and sagittal crests. Meet some skulls, draw some bones, take your own bone-folder home. (Bring your own mystery bones with you, if you like to baffle us – only nothing too drippy and messy, thank you!)

Buxton Museum’s Pop-up Museum will be there to, so come and see some of the Treasures of the Peak and talk to museum experts…

I’ll be there at the bony end of things!

A free family day

National Trust, Ilam

11am – 3pm. Free event but car parking charges may apply

No booking needed – just turn up and join in

An event for Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project

skulls-long

Pavilion Pictures

Thursday 27 October, 11am-3pm

Pavilion Gardens, Buxton SK17 6BE

Draw, colour, collage, etch and sketch
your way around Pavilion Gardens as we
 celebrate the Big Draw in Buxton. Collect some materials from us by the Pavilion, then get exploring around the gardens and see what inspires your artwork. If it’s raining, there’s plenty to do and draw inside – from the wonderful winter garden to the bustle of the cafe and gallery.

An event for Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project

citl-long-logo

BOOKING YOUR OWN EVENT

Creeping Toad activities are tailored to suit your individual needs rather than chosen from a set menu of options. But, here are some examples of recent (2013 – 2015) creative adventures that might whet your appetite and give you some suggestions to shout at the Toad about…

a desperate race across a tabletop...
a desperate race across a tabletop…

pirates: environmentally-inspired pirates, low-leaves autumn-apples-1 low-boggart-water citl-long-logofinding nature’s treasures, writing pirate books, making maps, giant lantern pirate ships, parrots, puppets and lots of wildness: the Tiny! Pirates have appeared several times (working with Buxton community group Stone and Water), a judging panel of mermaids supervised sailing in Mottram St Andrew, pirate treasures inspired new stories… More pirate workshops »

"just how piratical are you?"
“just how piratical are you?”

challenging assumptions: ethics in environmental education session at Losehill Hall, Peak National Park

a waterfall of words and colours
a waterfall of words and colours

some fishy moments: in 2014 and 2015, with musician Steve Brown, I worked on a whole series of lovely river sessions with schools involved in the Ribble Rivers Trust’s “River in the Classroom” project, hatching trout for release back into local rivers. In September 2015, I was busy making pop-up rivers and finger-puppet river creatures at Scotland’s Salmon Festival

river pop-ups cpautre moments and thoughts of river, movement and leaping fish
river pop-ups cpautre moments and thoughts of river, movement and leaping fish

Festival of Outdoor Learning, Hollowford, Castleton: and msot eyars I’ll be at this lively weekend doing workshops that might be anything from making tiny books to spinning stories out of weather and wood..

Cave drawing 2

a pop-up landscape of Stone Age life
a pop-up landscape of Stone Age life

homes: living in caves and castles: working with props, drama and sheer imagination: cave people in search of new homes, Stone Age lives, spooky houses and mysterious castles as part of the Summer Reading Challenge in 2013

adventures everywhere: using the school for inspiration to build a class adventure, finding stories everywhere, anywhere, out of anything

touring Scotland: I’m usually up in the Highlands twice a year, telling stories, making puppets, and enjoying the wild ideas and wonderful imaginations of children in schools and everyone on public events

 

Green Man

Save

Save

Save

Save