Monday, 14 September 2015

Sarah Dean's Creative Workshops for Children

Date Published: 08/09/2015

Sarah Dean is a student on our BA (Hons) Illustration degree course, and over the summer has been running a wide range of inspiring  creative workshops for children, here in Herefordshire.

"I wanted to offer an inspiring environment for children to tinker, create, experiment and share ideas with their grown-ups.  As a mum, I know how difficult it can be to be spontaneous at home. With all the best intentions in the world, its often not practical to have tables piled up with junk modelling, nor is it easy to provide the opportunity to do a few different activities to appeal to the ever changing moods, whims and attention spans of children. I also wanted somewhere for older children to come to gain some drawing confidence outside of school - something I wish I'd had growing up.

Studying for a degree in Illustration as a mature student has given me the confidence and skills to think bigger about the impact of drawing, creativity and collaboration - I am always amazed at how many young children say "I can't draw", or how many mums who say "I'm not very creative".  I wanted to show children and their grown-ups just how amazing they are and just how wonderful their collaborations can be.

 The workshops have been running twice-weekly throughout the holidays at Queenswood Country Park, providing a beautiful backdrop for the sessions and offering a wonderful opportunity for the children to explore the workshop and then take their creations off on their adventures in the park. The vast majority of the materials used are recycled and many of the activities involve nothing more than an empty plastic milk bottle and some double sided tape - but the inventiveness and uniqueness of the participants never fails to amaze me.

Each day has a general theme (Fairies, owls, foxes etc) and there is a main messy activitiy, a couple of quick simple crafts relating to the theme and then a whole host of periferary activites including nature weaving, land art, collaborative artwork and drawing activities.  Many people attending the events think it is funded in some way as the quality of the materials and the array of activities on offer is superior to their expectations. This whole project is planned, set up, run and cleared up (!) by me personally with no external funding other than the small entry fee, and I am so very grateful to Queenswood for providing the venue for me until the end of September.

Over 400 children have been through the doors and the feedback has been incredible. One parent said: 'These workshops have inspired my daughter and her friends (and me) to be more creative at home, but more importantly to think outside the box'.  I feel privileged to be meeting so many talented children and their grown-ups, and it looks like this is a project that has wings! I cant wait to see where it takes me over the coming months and years."

Check out the Creative Workshops for Children Facebook page to find out more about upcoming events! 

Original HCA Blogpost
We're back!
After two years of dedicating ourselves to a blog that was hosted by Hereford College of Arts website, we have decided to revert back to this platform in order to chart and archive the Illustration course here at HCA. We want to make sure that we celebrate the work of our excellent students by making regular posts and updates that will be of interest to as wide an audience as possible. Of course we are interested in attracting new students to our course, but we also want to use the Blog as a way of interacting with a wider community of illustrators/designers/potential employers,collaborators and partners - so we are encouraging feedback and exchanges of ideas.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will add new content that will allow our followers and visitors to get a feel for who we are and what we are doing, but we will also be blogging some of the exciting things that have happened over the last 24 months.

So - let us begin with a success story (and one that we will keep you all updated on). June graduate Rhiannon Sanderson has received a splendid commission to develop a storybook in preparation for the Frankfurt Book Fair in November. She is working on double page spreads to work alongside the text, a reworking of an Indian Folk tale 'The King with Dirty Feet'. Here are a couple of early ideas and colour palettes. Well done Rhiannon and good luck with the project!