Art and Memories

The work with puppets and backgrounds has finally been edited. The final session at St Sids had the children working on Indian dance. They then designed masks and backgrounds to make a small stage to perform on. This was a lot of fun for everyone, and you could see the development of the children from their control of puppets to holding up the masks. Developing their creative play skills into more focussed artistic output is challenging, but even over a few sessions it is possible to see their understanding grow. At West Exe, we finished off the puppets of the children and their families. It was tricky to get them to engage in memories, but we spent time exploring the things they like to do with their family through various art forms. These four weeks were more focussed around the process of engaging with the families in a creative way than artistic output, but the children still made some great stuff. There were many interesting chats with parents and staff about ideas for activities they can run in the future or things they can try at home.

Here are our films. Enjoy.

Puppets ‘R’ Us

On Friday we carried on with our backgrounds at West Exe, with Tamsin Pender doing some lovely work with paints. At the same time we also started to work on puppets with the children, so that they could be combined with their backgrounds to animate their memories. The photo below shows one of the children moving a puppet of him and his dad, while they take a walk, on top of the painting he created of the beach. Lizzie Swinford was working with the children on awareness of their bodies to link with the puppets that they were making. It was a really fun session with lots of messy painting and drawing with their fingers, which is always good for the participants. We also had a child do some painting who had never painted before, as he had never wanted to. These are the joyful moments when you see a parents face light up with pride - I think they were off to buy some paints at the end of the session. One more week of work, and then I think we will have a great little film of their favourite memories.

Walking on the Beach

Walking on the Beach

Japanese Art

We have been working this week on art inspired by Japanese printing and illustration. Continuing our puppet theme at St Sids, we have been making fish that will be jumping in and out of huge waves that we also have made. There were some interesting results, especially for the growth of the participants. There ability to move a puppet and understand that this needs to be something which is done both slowly and with care is really increasing. This type of motor control is difficult for the age group coming to the session, let alone their understanding why we are filming the puppets and how they will be used. Slowly, as our sessions grow, we can see this understanding growing a little bit at a time. Working with illustrator Lucy Richards has been a lot of fun. To get that watercolour effect on the textured paper we were using, she ground down chalk pastels and the children ‘painted’ with their fingers. This was a great success and the children enjoyed the textural approach to this and the bright colours they got to play with. We also made huge waves, as a set for the puppets, but it became very obvious that what they most enjoyed was playing in these themselves. We are going to use this ‘play’ approach next week, so check back to see our finished film soon.


This week at West Ex children’s centre we broke down our ‘memories’ idea to work on it piece by piece. It is quite a small group there and they are less used to this more focussed work. Lizzie has been working really well to engage the families in movement and dance exploring places that the children like to go, ending in a fantastic under the sea exploration with beautiful fabric. We spent our time making crayon pictures for backgrounds to our little film, and it was good to see the parents and children drawing together. We are hoping to build on this next week with puppets, and maybe even do some filming before the final session.

A giraffe at the zoo

A giraffe at the zoo

Lots of Energy

On Friday we finished off the animation about Solar energy that was sponsored by Ekland. It was such a fun session, with the children and families making puppets of themselves to live in the houses they had created the previous week. This type of focussed work is difficult for the families, especially when we are aware that there is a message based, final piece that needs to be finished. The children all had a go at making themselves and then played with the puppets, practicing quite focussed and slow movement. It was interesting to watch them with their puppets, as they were able to see what they were doing through the display on the camera (which was turned towards them). There is something quite amazing about seeing their understanding and recognition of what they are doing grow, as they become aware that their movement is coming out on the screen. Sometimes they were more involved with watching the screen in excitement than actually focussing on their puppets. It is difficult for them, conceptually, to understand the camera and what they are seeing, which is what makes it so great when you see it suddenly make sense to them.

Anyway, the animation came out great and the children and families worked really hard. Also, a special thanks to Lucy Richards who was working with us and made the artwork and puppets look so great. Enjoy our short little film:


We are working at West-Exe Children’s Centre putting together some work on Memories. Through movement, puppetry and visual arts we are hoping to engage the children in thinking about times they have spent with their parents or carers. The group is very young and animation would be quite difficult for them. Filming is also tricky at this type of drop in session, and so we are focusing around the use of puppets which we will build with them over a few weeks. They will be very simple but also require help from the adults, as do the backgrounds. We are planning to continue the theme over a few weeks and work slowly with the participants.

Working on Memories

Working on Memories