Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Character Factory


This weekend I led my first ever workshop. a little drop-in number for kids following Flatpack Film Festival's Cartoon Rock screening. I was crazy nervous in the run up, partly because I haven't conducted workshops of my own design before and didn't know what to expect, but also due to imagining kids swallowing small parts or getting paper cuts - I mean, nobody likes a boo-boo. Armed with safety scissors, pritt sticks & a variety of coloured paper shapes (lovingly hand cut, like posh chips) I descended on the Birmingham & Midland Institute and got set up.

Fresh out of a morning film session and armed with bowls of cereal, lots of children filled the tables and began working with the shapes in front of them. Circulating and chatting to the families taking part, it was nice to see both parties regarding the creations as characters with personalities and traits, with one little girl making a rather abstract fellow called "plap-plap" who enjoyed drinking wine, with another youngster declaring their creature's favourite food was "vegetarian fruit". The shapes began to come alive with the imagination of their maker.





As we were tidying up a lady who had been working feverishly on her laptop throughout the session said the kids on her table looked like they were having so much fun, both quashing my workshop fears and aptly summarising the day by adding, "Sometimes the simplest ideas work the best".

Special thanks to Laurie & John Ramsell for testing out The Character Factory format and making the impressive array of creatures at the top of this post, and to everyone for coming along and not swallowing the apparatus.

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