When we look closer at ideas, objects and environments everything changes focus and we can think and create in different ways.


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Canned puppet!

Mr Rabbit in the watering can!
A test blog post from my aged phone.

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Fresh from the field and then scrubbed, grated, baked, printed, modelled, told … all in the life of a shillingford vegetable

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Clay and Cows!

Interesting project starting at the farm creating 1000 cows for Devon Open Studios in September. It should be quite a sight! Of course any connection to Gormley’s A Field for the British Isles is purely deliberate.

I am looking at a mix of cow folk tales and myths from around the world, along with digging up clay from the fields, observing cows closely and modelling cow forms. The pictures come from a session with Newtown Primary’s Year 1s. Such a good sense of concentration! They were a pleasure to work with.

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Rabbit Puppet

I finally got to make a new puppet this week. It has been a long time and the familiar feeling of stitching life into fabric at 1 in the morning was good to return to! Rabbit has no name at present but held the focus of the children at Beacon Heath and Whipton Surestart Centres. There is a great simplicity in the act of unwrapping a puppet with children, waking it and then, in this case, feeding it with salad leaves. Once we had worked out that plastic was really not going to work that is!! I am going to use Rabbit as a focus for the Children’s Centre work I am doing with Love Local Food. Don’t tell Martyn at Shillingford Organics though as I am not sure rabbits are particularly welcome in the polytunnel!

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Badger Mind Maps!

Mind maps are an interesting way of gathering, linking and presenting ideas and information. Here is an one supporting the Badger Tails session. Check this page for more information and how to contribute your ideas.


What do we know about badgers?

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tree creatures and the permeability of clay

Withycombe Raleigh Primary came to West Town to explore soils and clay on the farm. We tracked our journey using a satellite image, waded through the stream, crossed muddy fields and ended up at Tree Henge.

There is a really good link to be made with Science and Art! Along the journey we stopped to observe first hand, in the hand and a very muddy hand it was by the end! Particles, organic matter, rock, pebble and permeability all emerged as a working vocabulary. Tea strainers allowed us to test permeability out in the field and answer the question “Why was the water staying in the Tree Henge’s moat?” Then clay became a resource for creation as we mixed different colours, added gathered materials and finally our Tree Creatures guarding the trees. I hope that, by the end, the children had a far deeper understanding of what clay is.
This is part of a developing series of stories about the resources we have on the farm. Wood, Water, Pumpkins, Pigs and more all have their story to tell of change and use through direct experience. Certainly this process is a good learning opportunity for me!

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Full Pot!

Take one very large stew pot, a collection of vegetable stories and an enthusiastic Priory Primary School, mix them all up and finish up with soup for 170, a retelling of stories and four rather beautiful banners.
This was an interesting brief from DAISI to link the SEAL theme of “Good to be me” with healthy cooking and storytelling over two days of workshops. I had a thoroughly good time. We explored how a school is made up of individuals who all have their own special qualities in the same way that a soup is made up of vegetables all with their own stories and properties.

I was impressed with the way Year 1 and 2 chopped, grated, scrubbed and peeled enough veg for the whole school, the Year 6 rap version of the story of Antoine Parmentier, the speaking and singing carrots of Year 6, the retelling of the “Old Woman and the Pumpkin” by Year 3 and 4 and foundation class’ enacting of the “Tortoise the Hare and the Squash Field. So much sharing, creativity and teamwork. Fantastic. I hope to post the lyrics of the two songs soon.
I am intrigued by the way that food and stories can be linked, cooking and telling, sustaining body and mind. I feel I need to get researching and collecting snippets of story and fact to add into the recipe. It can be tricky finding the right stories to enhance and draw out a theme without being too contrived. There is a real lot of learning to do!

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