This week has been fabulous in so many ways.
It started with our holiday in Devon over the weekend. It was lovely to get away as a family and have some fun. It was on the cheap so we stuck to mainly free things, which are usually more fun anyway! E was desperate to visit a beach, so on the first day B took the girls just for a quick visit while I stayed in the car with a sleeping baby L (it was freezing outside!!). They came back with loads of shells and really excited by the experience of being by the sea.
The holiday park was useless for open space, so we sought out somewhere to go to exercise the whirlwind toddler, and found CockingtonVillage and country park. We spent a lovely time there, running around, trying out their fantastic park, and also exploring their craft centre. We watched glass being blown and the amazing people at Our Glass making a lily-shaped vase and also a fish. E was entranced! L and I also watched a blacksmith at work.
Another day we decided to do something a bit different and went to explore some local caves. As well as seeing caves underground first-hand, learning about stalagmites and stalactites, we learned about mining, fossils, cave painting and archaeology.
She found crabs, starfish, mussels, and loads of shells, including a huge scallop shell – a fab find! Then we all went paddling!
The rest of the week had been a whirlwind of busy! We’ve had tickets booked for ages for the Cheltenham Literature Festival this week. We were due to see an illustrator called James Mayhew, but he cancelled at the last minute with tonsilitis, and was replaced by Shoo Rayner. He is author and illustrator of children’s books, his latest being the Axel Storm series. He also does a series ‘how to draw…’ youtube videos which are worth a look for some tips. He was very talked animatedly about all the work that goes into book illustrations, and how many sketches (pages and pages) of faces he goes through before deciding on a style for a character. He also gave a few tips on how to draw faces, where to put features, and how to draw the same face from different angles. We came home and filled many sheets of paper with our attempts. E has now decided at the grand age of 6 that is going to be an illustrator! We went afterwards to meet him and get him to sign some Axel Storm books.
We came out of there, and on our wander back to the car walked past the ‘SkyArtsHD’ tent, where they were pulling people into a free still-life workshop using charcoals. E’s eye had been caught by the room filled with easels, so invited herself in. We were a little early, so they let us pass the few minutes by testing out their 3D TV. Woah it’s cool! E and I were in love! We then stayed for about 15 mins of the class, as I hadn’t put enough time on the car park ticket! E had a great time messing about with the charcoals and proudly brought her work home.
We were back at the festival today for a session with Nick Sharratt, famed for Shark in the Park book, and illustrating many Jacqueline Wilson books, particularly Tracy Beaker. The session was really good, involving drawing techniques and ideas, especially ways to make drawing fun: a seascape included jellyfish (strawberry jelly fish), angelfish (complete with wings and halo)…you get the picture! Also a masterclass in rhyming poetry, coming up with alliterative lines, then finding a rhyming word to help form the next line:
Big, bouncy Blue fish,
swimming in the goo fish.
Wriggly, rosy Red fish,
wants to go to bed fish
Anyway, will see if we can come up with something for a few more colours!
We came out of that session, and again wandered past the Sky tent, and E asked to go in again. The guy recognised us and welcomed us in. It was a different person leading the workshop and he came over to E gushing about home schooling saying how many home edders he’d seen this week and how wonderful it was 🙂 When we tried to sneak out halfway through, E was treated like royalty and her picture was taken and sprayed with setting stuff, and carefully rolled up. Mine was just shoved in a bag! E is now demanding an easel and charcoals!
Apart from inspiring our creative side, the festival also put us in close quarters with large numbers of school children. E was really uncomfortable with the noise levels as we waited for each session to start, she made a few comments about it always being like this at school! Teachers always give me the shivers, there’s something about them 😉 I really enjoyed being the home ed family amongst all that uniformity!
We’re on a lovely HE high at the moment, I’ve really enjoyed this week!