Thursday, 25 July 2013

Pickpocketing Cranes, a new style of Yoga and a joyous bath!

Today I went to Slimbridge to walk the Cranes.  It was a lovely sunny day and I was eager to see them again as they were very small on my first visit.  I was not prepared for the amount they had grown in a month.  Such beautiful birds and of course they are the new love(s) of my life!
Here are a few humorous photos from the day and a short film.
Photo on left taken today and a month earlier on the right. Me feeding the Cranes!

Pickpocketing Crane and a new style of Crane Yoga (or in training to be a pianist)!

The patterns and colours of the feathers were stunning.  Some Cranes were a silvery grey and others contained a touch of red.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Ash School, Zoetropes and my Dad's record players!

L-R: Making the zoetropes, a finished Beetle zoetrope ready for spinning and a butterfly sequential image.

Recently I had the pleasure of delivering a two day workshop at Ash School with the fantastic and talented pupils in year 5. Our objective was to make zoetropes based on the Cranes living on the Somerset Levels and their wonderful habitat. Zoetropes invented in the mid-19th century were a spinning drum with slots in the side, that when spun caused a sequential image inside to give the appearance of movement.

It was a wonderful couple of days - each pupil made their own zoetrope that they tested on a variety of record players I borrowed from my Dad. Dad went into the loft at home and dusted off a record player he had from 1965 (the cream one below) and I found two more in the garden shed from the 80's, on which I used to play my Duran Duran records at full volume!

Ash School pupils test their zoetropes out on the record players and film them themselves too!

The oldest record player had three speeds, 33, 45 and 78 and the pupils worked out that depending on the sequential image they had drawn (the detail and complexity had to be taken into account) - meant different speeds had to be used. A Crane flew better at 45, whereas a beetle scuttled more effectively at 78!

Ash School zoetropes in action!

As well as making their own cardboard zoetrope by hand - the pupils also filmed their zoetropes spinning on the record players using new camcorders. So we actually ended up using three forms of technology to bring the artworks to life - the zoetrope - the record players and a brand new camcorder bought this year! Great to see these different pieces of technology that all share the same 'family tree' being used by the pupils in the creation of such beautiful work!

Year 5 pupils with their zoetropes, spinning them on a pencil!

See the pupils work on show at Slimbridge as part of ‘The Company of Cranes Part 1’  until 5th August and then again at the Levels Basket Centre in Langport from 21st September until 5th October, where I will be showing ‘The Company of Cranes Part 2’.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Emma Britton Show

On Friday 5th July, I went into the BBC Somerset studios to do a radio interview with the lovely Emma Britton!  You can listen to me talking about the 'Company of Cranes' with Emma on Catch Up until the 11th July.  Fast forward to 1 hour and 8 minutes!