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)

Tetley Workshop – Matchbook Stories

Commissioned Work, Community, The Tetley, Workshops

The current exhibition at The Tetley is an unusual one. Curated by Spanish performance artist, Dora Garcia, entitled ‘These books are alive; they spoke to me!’, it looks at the written word, and from my experience of it, it feels more about the experience than the content. The sound of the book readings are musical to the ear, I read passages from ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ to members of Pyramid of Arts’ High Rise Movement Group a couple of days previously. The words make little sense, but they flow from the tongue like a poetry of sounds, and one of the group members was taking in every sound I made.

For my family workshop, inspired by this exhibition, I looked at the title of the show. The title is a quote from the film Fahrenheit 451, based on the book by Ray Bradbury. In the story, books are deemed dangerous and burned (Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature books burn). Burning books with matches, the empty matchboxes can be filled with tiny books and the stories written by the participants, almost like secret pocket stories.
I printed out passages from well known classic and children’s books, and had a set of story cubes (dice with pictures on) to help inspire the participants to write their own stories.

I was so impressed with the stories they created, many of the children came over to read and show me their creations.
The stories were really varied, and the children seemed to love creating their books, which was a joy to watch.
We had: a book filled with bizarre fake news (very topical I thought); a story about a lonely book, left on the shelf, because people don’t read anymore, the book goes on a journey and finds other books and they are read again; a dinosaur who is scared of thunder (with good reason it would appear), he gets electrocuted in a storm and goes up to heaven and meets up with all the other dinosaurs; Alvin the fish who goes up into space, he gets eaten by a space crocodile, but it’s ok because the crocodile is filled with water and the fish lives happily in its stomach; a story about a sheep and a shadow; a cyclops; a unicorn; a man who lost an eye, found an eye, and then became a robot!!! Children’s imaginations are so wonderful, and as much as they enjoyed my workshop, I enjoyed it too!

Below is a selection of images I took during the workshop. 

We used story cubes, which helped us move our stories along.

A story about a monkey called Grapes and a doll called Cutey

The dinosaur who was afraid of thunder.

A book full of fake news.

Alvin the fish, who lives inside a space crocodile.

The lonely book who lives unread on the shelf.

Click on the links below to see the passages from the books I used to help inspire the participants.

Books_01 Books_02 Books_03 Books_04 Books_05 Books_06 Books_07 Books_08 Books_09 Books_10

Tetley workshop – Camera Obscura

Commissioned Work, Community, The Tetley, Workshops

I ran a workshop at The Tetley in December during the Scientific Method exhibition, creating simple camera obscuras.

Probably not the best time of year to be creating an object that is heavily reliant on light, but we persisted all the same. I only had three families attend the workshop, which proved to be in our favour, as I could spend time with them, explain processes, and help with the construction. I enjoyed explaining how light travels, and cameras work (such is the science nerd deep within me).

Below are some images from the workshop and a instructions on how to make your own. One tip though, they work better in good light, so an overcast day is not the best day to experiment, and begin your understanding of how cameras work!

Items you require to make a simple camera obscura

Our decorated, and very seasonal, camera obscuras

Image taken with my camera, you can make out the upside down view of the car park and buildings from the Learning Studios windows

Click here to see the tutorial on how you can make you very own camera obscura

Tetley Workshop – Sound Weaves

Commissioned Work, Community, Diary, The Tetley, Workshops

The current exhibit at The Tetley is No Quiet Place. 

Using a spectrum of approaches to production, exhibiting artists share an interest in mixing visual and sonic elements within their work. Some installations embrace the cacophony of contemporary culture’s accelerated pace, whilst others lament it, wistfully dreaming of a time and place reserved for quieter contemplation.

I am really interested in using our different senses when creating art work, and finding ways to inspire the imaginations of the participants. So the idea of using sound to create visual art work really appealed to me.

The idea of Sound Weaves (catchy name for a workshop, I thought so too!), was to listen to the sounds that were broadcast in the room, rummage through the many different materials that were on offer and create their own unique weave. I visited Scrap, located in Sunnybank Mills in Farsley, before the workshop, and picked a plethora of materials, different textures, colours, fabrics; as well as foraging for sticks and bits & pieces that nature had thrown down for me (living near the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey, this was an ideal location to find what I needed).

IMG_0211The participants also had a choice of creating a frame for their weaving from sticks and string, or to use material I had bought from Scrap (offcuts and trade waste), which fitted perfectly for what we where doing.

IMG_0220Above, a young participant creating their loom using natural materials.

IMG_0224Above, inspired by the sound of the sea.

IMG_0232Above, the finished result, embellished with fish and sea creatures, and making good use of the catkins I’d picked up from underneath a willow tree, as sea plants.



IMG_0213Above, inspired by the sounds of Australia, birds, the sea and lightening.


IMG_0245Above, the sound of someone running up the steps; 70’s music; african drums represented by the red; flowers from a british meadow; leather representing cows mooing (a very literal interpretation); green fields; tartan of the flying scotsman steam train.





IMG_0264Above, a collaborative creation by a mother and a daughter.

IMG_0269Above, finished piece, which will hung proudly at home.

If you want to listen to the playlist (of odd sounds, globally inspired music and natures soundtrack) you can here:

Sound Weaves, YouTube playlist

I enjoyed the workshop, and want to do more things involving different materials, and being inspired by using different senses.