Tetley Workshop – Dancing Stick People

Commissioned Work, Community, The Tetley, Workshops

This workshop was in response to Simeon Barclay: Bus2Move, which is the current exhibition at The Tetley. The exhibition explores the relationships between performance, installation, costume display, stage design, sculpture and props.

For my workshop the idea was to make stick people out of pipe cleaners, straws and beads, so that they were movable. Using a light to create shadow, you can trace their movements as you bend, and manipulate their position.
It was a therapeutic workshop, and adults and children alike told me that creating their stick people was calming and it was nice to sit down and do something relaxing with their family.


A selection of the dancing stick people:

Tetley Workshop – Tiny Houses

Commissioned Work, The Tetley, Workshops

“Joanna Piotrowska’s photographic series Shelter saw her visiting people’s homes and inviting them to create constructions, dens and habitations from the furniture within their living spaces. The resulting constructions reflect their creator’s inner life, history and state of mind, transforming space and material into something deeply personal.” The Tetley, 2018

Inspired by this, I invited participants to create their own tiny shelters. Using recycled materials, with the toilet roll tube as a base, the creations were wonderful, and I really enjoyed listening to the stories about who lived in their tiny houses – dragons, the pencil people (who were bad, allegedly), a tiny mouse, fairies (including a sign pointing the way so they could find shelter in the garden). The children really enjoyed cutting and sticking and really using their imaginations, and it was hopefully a great way for them to learn and interact creatively with their family.

The workshop was at Beeston Festival, in Cross Flatts Park, South Leeds. It was great to introduce The Tetley to the parents, and tell them all about the free workshops that the Tetley offers. I enjoy working small scale festivals like this, and meeting interesting people with creative minds. I had fabulous support from Taneesha (the Tetley’s Participation Producer), and two Springboard volunteers, Herfa and Marnie, both of whom were superb – I definitely couldn’t have done this solo (myelitis and hot weather are really not a good combination).




Tetley Workshop – Mini Trini Garden

Arts Events, Commissioned Work, Community, The Tetley, Workshops


Day two of The Tetley’s ‘Fantasy Carnival Garden’ and it was a hot one! Felt like we were actually in the Caribbean and not the Brewery Green outside. We had lots of visitors and returning families from yesterday. All the structures on the lawn looked wonderful, with a splash of colour and catching the wind, the birds flew and the windmill flowers span around.

I printed out a few photos of birds from the islands of Trinidad & Tobago, to inspire the children and learn something new about a country they may well never have heard of, until now. I am privy to knowledge about T&T, as I have a (pen)friend who has grown up with me – almost 30 years now! I have been lucky to visit on a couple of occasions, and even had the opportunity to help create the costumes the ‘Mas bands’ wear during the parade.

More about the carnival in T&T can be found here: National Carnival Commission and Carnival in T&T
And of course the reason we are celebrating all things carnival this weekend, the Leeds West Indian Carnival has it’s 50th Anniversary this year. The Tetley is showcasing an exhibition of photos and archival materials of the carnival until October later this year.

Below is how the day went:

The birds in more detail

More from the weekend

Tetley Workshop – Festival Carnival Garden

Commissioned Work, The Tetley, Workshops


This weekend there are four artist workshops at The Tetley as part of the 50 year anniversary of Leeds West Indies Carnival. Each workshop is based around this theme, and together we are building a fantasy carnival garden.

  • Mechanical Flowers – workshop lead by Jim Bond
  • Decorating Large Birds – workshop lead by Hayley Mills-Styles
  • Butterfly Wings – workshop lead by Sarah-Jane Mason
  • Mini Trini Garden – workshop lead by Mindy Goose

My workshop was to create a scene based on Trinidadian (Trini) folklore and their birds. When Carnival first started in Trinidad, the costumes were based on folklore and eventually took inspiration from environment to decorate elaborate costumes, bright colours and bird feathers.

So, inspired by this, we created hummingbirds, flying in the sky, and characters of folklore living in the forest (many of which I have chosen, because they are less macabre and more child friendly). There were illustrated descriptions to read, and photos of the birds of Trinidad & Tobago. We used collage and built 3D jumbies, Mama Dlos, and Papa Bois that lived in the trees.

Tomorrow we expect even more wonderful creations.

Saturday in photos:

More from the weekend

Tetley Workshop – Matchbox Stories 2

Commissioned Work, The Tetley, Workshops

I got the opportunity to run this workshop again this week at The Tetley. The participants didn’t disappoint with their creations, and I really enjoyed seeing the stories come together and the magical worlds that were created.
I learnt all about Pokemon as I was very privileged to help a young boy piece together his story from the roll of the story cubes.
We had dancing aliens, otters, red fire engines, flowers, palm trees, dinosaurs, a leopard called Samantha, a new version of the hungry caterpillar and so many more.
I had such wonderful feedback, story telling, and creating worlds and tales seem to be a huge hit for the families – yes, even parents got involved!

Below are a selection of images and a couple of the book stories in full. I wish I had taken photos of all the books this way last time.


Fred The Dancing Alien

The Otter
(Dictated by the author to her father)

The Hungry Caterpillar
(New version)

The Sad Sheep
(I created my own book, with a variety of different ways to illustrate. It’s an example of what could be done, rather than my skills as an illustrator)