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!
I am even more elusive than usual just now for people looking for workshops for adults or professional training sessions. (You can always set up your own training course and book me for that!). Most of the following events are still being finalised so come back to this page to find out more or drop me an email and I can let you know details as they confirm
Workshops in the diary just now for the next few months include:
Lights, Words and Inspiring Places, 4 – 6 November, near Dunkeld, Perthshire. Drawing ideas out of the November weather and from mountains, moors, stream, wood and stone to give us words, to shape poems, spin stories, making quick puppets and holding the essence of autumn in tiny lanterns, printed tissue and leaf-lightcages.
Wild Words: planned for early December, a one day workshop down in the West Country: playing with words, making stories, building books. Details to be confirmed – contact Gordon for more information
Institute for Outdoor Learning, March 2012, Hollowford Centre: probable workshops on this exciting event
Southend Educational Trust, Essex, (tentative) April 2012, a day working with school grounds and finding ways of inspiring literacy through playgrounds, playing fields, flowerbeds and vegetable plots. Details to be confirmed
stories under our feet, tales from hills and woods and local streets
…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)
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
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
or by telephone on
Environmental storytelling, art and celebration – Education, Training & Workshops