I’ve been to the Middle Earth weekend to create a forest installation and puppets with children and families in the activities tent. The event was over 2 days at Sarehole Mill in Birmingham, one of Tolkein’s childhood haunts and celebrated all things Tolkein. The event was extremely busy, with a medieval camp, viking battle re-enactments and lots of weird and wonderful characters floating around.
We arrived on the Friday evening (myself and Garth Gratrix- an extremely talented artist and frequent workshop colleague) and spent several hours preparing for the hoards to arrive the following day. Having created a sinister backdrop of the eye of Sauron, we then made a forest using cable reels, cardboard tubes and bare branches.
On Saturday, we spent the whole day working with children and families to make leaves for the forest, to protect us from the gaze of the all seeing eye. The children’s imaginations were really fired up, and they made some incredible images and stories during the workshop. By the end of the day, we had made hundreds of leaves, met some fantastic children and parents and stopped briefly, only once, for a well earned cup of tea and a sit down.
Saturday evening was spent preparing for another hectic day on Sunday, when we made dragon puppets, crowns and medieval headbands. Sadly I never got chance to take a photo of any of the puppets. We were so manically busy, with a constant queue for our table, that by mid afternoon, we had used all of the 80 templates that we had prepared. I did, of course have a demonstration puppet, but that ended up going home with a young boy who had missed out on the opportunity to make one.
Below are some of the amazing creations by the children.
And finally- some images of Garth in his elf costume, complete with cardboard ears, for your amusement!