Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Instructive thoughts



Some months ago I watched a student I was mentoring use the first verse of this poem with a class at school to build up a writing project they were working on.  I was inspired by his original approach to a tired old subject, he injected a wonder into instructions.  Tomorrow I am going to try it out on my class and see if they are up to the challenge.

In the meantime, enjoy a lovely film accompaniment to a superb poem read by the author.

Neil Gaiman, Instructions:  with sound track: Nick Drake, Pink Moon.  Uploaded by Boink Boink.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

What a weekend....

Crikey it has been a busy weekend.
Firstly we were booked into here:
The Big Bang Science Fair, held every year at the NEC.  It speaks to my inner geek and I love the creativity and innovation of investigative science and am a trumpter for engineering.  Although not all science is a good thing (Keats called it unweaving the rainbow) mostly it is the application of it that causes problems.  Science itself is the most wondrous thing.

Anyway we saw lots of these:
Tim plays Black Hole Pong.
John was fascinated by the explanation of how time and space bend around mass;  Matthew got to watch his nerve pulses on a screen and then make a man clench his fist by pressing a button.  I got to play in the Primary Education Zone, gathering ideas for things we can do in school.  The only problem was that there was too much to take in all at once.  Really you need to give a couple of hours to each area then go away and absorb what you have learnt.

What was really wonderful though, were the number of young people presenting innovations for green energy and green transport.  We saw a number of different ideas and I love that these children are applying fresh vision to our future and looking for ways to mend the mistakes of their elders.

Once we were stuffed with science and engineering, we headed off home, taking a detour to my boys favourite place.

 Games Workshop/WARHAMMER:  one of Nottingham's most successful companies.  This is a small boy /tomboy's dream.  The company run daily tournaments in their individual shops and also at their headquarters in Lenton Lane.   They offer workshops for beginners, where you learn to construct and paint the miniature figures,  develop your troupes and then play the games in constructed settings.  They have a museum, a championship board for young Sword Slayers and a bar for food, drink and quaffing!

What I really like about it is that the games are all about creating your own players.  You have to make up the models and paint them before playing.  The development of observation, fine motor skills and painting ability is awesome.  Already Matthew has developed wash, dry brush and fine detail skills (at 7).  Both boys enjoy the strategy and gamesmanship.  Better still it is not DS, it involves communicating with human beings.

Although I am a fine one to talk, I spend much of my time in my head, designing and painting.  The current project is coming on apace.  My rod puppet version of Baba Yaga now has hands (unfinished but attached) She has a dress, which is awaiting it's embellishment ; she has her headscarf on but not quite tidy yet and she will have an apron.



I am not sure what to do with her but have enjoyed getting back into puppet making.  I prefer making rod puppets and felting has lent itself well to the sculpting of her face.  I suspect that there are more characters to come.  Big Bad Wolf?  A dragon?  All on rods as I don't have the patience for balancing the controllers for marionettes.

As you may notice we have a very untidy house (squint behind Baba Yaga and you will see).  There is a change coming to our home, a very welcome one.  We have a new hobby room being constructed.  What was formerly our garage, is soon to be a studio.  We will be able to have paintings, Warhammer and Airfix and felting projects out as work in progress.  No longer will we need to clear our dining table each day before we can eat.  A very exciting prospect!

Having taken a breath and a small lie in this morning, we are now ready for our adventures today.  The boys are going to the theatre with their gran'ma.  We are all driving to Brum (Birmingham UK).  Once there, after lunch, the boys and Gran'ma will go to see Lionel Bart's Oliver whilst Tim and I go to the City Art Gallery to see the Leonardo Drawings and the Staffordshire hoard.

Once we are home it will be a big intake of breath, before we step onto the merry-go-round of school.

I will leave you with the boys current projects

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Hares, birds and boys

This afternoon was the most beautiful weather, not March but May in feel.
This is the walk to John's Tree.

On the way we saw these boxers, living up to their names:

Then we heard this songster:
There were skylarks in every field, dancing and singing ( my field, field, field, my my field, my field),  too quick and high to capture on film.  Then silence as this gentleman emerged:

Until we finally wandered home:
Whilst being serenaded:




Coming along nicely

Finding the hands a tad difficult though.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Feeling Ambitious

I have had this image in my head for weeks, in fact she has been haunting my dreams and demanding to be given flesh.  She is also not keen on the idea of stasis so I have returned to my precious rod and hand puppet book for ideas.  Will continue to post the development along with many requests for help and ideas.


Before long this began to emerge, The character is a Babushka, there are overtones of Baba Yaga about her but I am not sure yet whether that is who will begin to come out of the character.  But she is very definitely Eastern European, experience and time will be in her face and hands and austerity and simplicity in her dress and headscarf.  Although I do intend a little embellishment in memory of youth..


This is the final edit for the day, Baba is beginning to reveal her personality, she is no longer as severe as her drawn version.

Update: