Thursday, 10 October 2013

Wellbeing Hi-5 :: Bombing Coalville Library

Those of you that are regular readers of my blog will know that I am passionate about the relationship of arts/crafts and health and wellbeing.  I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Conference in Bristol earlier this year and since then have been forging my career in this direction.

Throughout the month of October, Leicestershire (my home ground) is celebrating the ways in which the arts, culture and heritage contribute towards health and wellbeing.  The 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' is used as a framework to deliver a programme of over 200 wellbeing events taking place across the shire.

In total I have been asked to deliver 3 workshops  for Creative Leicestershire and 1 workshop for Beauty and Utility Arts as part of the Wellbeing Hi-5 celebrations. This first session took place in Coalville library on 10th Oct.

Katherine Brown, from Beauty and Utility Arts, ran a session of papercrafts making bunting and flowers and, for the younger crafters, characters from Goldilocks and the Three Bears...
The Knitting Gurrillas of Birstall (KGB) were recruited to do a special yarn bomb and participants were invited to hide allsorts of little items on the bookshelves and between the pages of books.  Yarn bombing is a way of brightening up an area and, in the case of the KGB, making people smile...
Mr Hissing Sid liked the nature section...
The mice liked it in the children's section especially the little dark corners...
The younger borrowers had fun yarn bombing...
And later we enlisted the elder borrowers to have a go at hiding woolly gifts between the pages of books.  Pink for pink lovers...
Bookworms for the classic readers...
Crafty bookworms for the craft lovers...
 Spooky pumpkin for the horror borrowers...
Lighthouse bookmarks for Booker nominated books...
Since the workshop I have had a message from the library staff who to say that they have spotted people finding the knitted lovelies and that:

"It's great to see the delight on their faces when they find something.  I hope it is bringing lots of smiles"

I think the KGB would agree that this is mission accomplished!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Everybody's Reading Festival 2013 :: Adventures in Zombieland

Continuing the zombie theme, last weekend I ran a workshop along with professional storyteller and performer Lindsey Warnes Carroll.  The workshop was for the Everybody's Reading Festival 2013, which ran for a week in Leicester.  We were lucky enough to be hosted by the Curve Theatre in the city centre who sold every single ticket.
The theme was 'Adventures in Zombieland' and children were invited to come and make their own three-dimensional monstrous characters from recycled textiles and create stories inspired by their own favorite scary books.
The session started off with a monster story followed by another true story, to spark imagination and told by special guests Zombie Lindsey and Zombie Lisa...
Image by Alanta Lee (c) 2013
and a spot of monster moshing to get the adrenaline flowing for the creative making...
Image by Alanta Lee (c) 2013
The creative making started with a quick tutorial on how to thread a needle, sew and make decisions about how your monster/zombie may look.  Although the body shape was precut, participants were encouraged to 'freestyle' by cutting shapes from recycled felt jumpers for noses, eyes, mouth etc.  I love the work of talented graffiti style artist Jon Burgerman and the body shape, eyes and noses were influenced by his work
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
It was so lovely to see parent and child working together on their creations as a team.  Both Lindsey and myself feel that children and their grown-ups love to be creative together and we encourage a team approach towards making their creations thereby sharing the experience for long after the workshop has ended...
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
The room was calm and quiet with concentration centred on making those little stitches and bringing the characters to life...
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
Image by Alanta Lee (c) 2013
Image by Alanta Lee (c) 2013
Image by Alanta Lee (c) 2013
We had a joke bell.  The children entertained us by selecting and reading out monster and zombie jokes...
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
Stuffing the characters always seems to be the most popular part of workshops like these.  The characters start to come to life at this stage...
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
Image by Alanta Lee (c) 2013
Suddenly the characters came alive and were lovingly accepted into the world of the children's imagination...
Image Alanta Lee (c) 2013
Image by Alanta Lee (c) 2013
Image by Trudy Cleaver (c) 2013
And at the end, lots of zombies and monsters came together for some final character sharing and storytelling.  We had monsters who love icecream and pizza and zombies who were inspired by characters from favorite books...
Image by Alanta Lee (c) 2013
Every family left with information sheets to develop their story for their character further as well as a recipe for monster cookies.  Long may the adventures in zombieland continue in the imaginations of all the children and their grown ups who came to this session.  We had so much fun!

Lindsey and Lisa are available for private events/parties.  If you would like to have your own storytelling stitchy adventure, please contact us via the main website: Little Bird School of Stitchcraft