BugStore! What a fantastic idea for your town's children's or literary festival!I've just spent the last three weeks working on an amazing art installation with the children of four primary schools in Yeovil, Somerset. Together we created hundreds of colourful Pop Up Paper Bugs filling an empty shop unit in a prime site at the entrance to Yeovil's Quedam Centre.
Pauline Burr of South Somerset District Council's Art department, came up with this genius idea and what fun it's proved to be! It's a brilliant way to engage with the wider community, to show the outreach work that goes on behind the scenes at a literary festival and a wonderful way to promote and publicise your festival. The reaction of children, teachers, shoppers and council was a pure delight.
Pauline knew all about my popular Pop Up Monster and Dinosaur Workshops for kids and thought that I could come up with a simple pop up bug design to share with the children of Yeovil. It didn't take long to come up with a design which would be simple enough for even the youngest and least experienced hands to create something special and unique to them, something they could be proud of.
Using another thousand or so sheets of my favourite Rothmill Assorted coloured card, I set out to see what the children of Yeovil could come up with. I was not disappointed!
Read more after the fold...
Meantime Yarlington Property Group, the tenants of the Quedam Centre promised us the use of the old Santander shop, a great site at the entrance to the centre.
First school visit was to Huish Primary School, where I was greeted warmly by staff and pupils alike, with my bag full of picture and pop up books. Starting the day with an assembly featuring the ever popular Dinosaur Roar, we soon got down to work. I showed the children my very simple bug pops and very soon the school was humming with creativity, setting the tone for the next three days with the other schools.
Next up was Holy Trinity School, where we had a day of great creativity and giggles!
Click here to see more fantastic pop up bugs from Holy Trinity Primary School
Next day saw a wonderful day with the teachers and children of Oakland's Community Primary School.
Click here to see even more amazing bugs from Oaklands Primary School
Then came a fun day with the children of Barwick and Stoford Primary School. The diversity of bugs still amazing me as does the energy of the children.
Click here to see the Barwick and Stoford Pop Up Bugs!
As ever the children's creativity, never far below the surface, bubbled to the surface as a great swarm of fantastic bugs started to emerge. I'm never to prescriptive about the outcomes and always encourage children to explore their creativity, offering hints and tips and gently guiding and coaxing the children to be as imaginative as possible. Six leg So? Let's have sixty, two eyes, why not five? Trying to get them to just have fun, be silly explore and make mistakes.
Fantastic fun, and soon the children have offered their creations to be installed in the BugStore.
That set the course for the remaining schools, who all stunned me with their enthusiasm and wit. By the time I got the keys from Yarlington, I had the best part of two hundred and fifty amazing bugs frankly filling our little house.
I was having great fun photographing all the bugs. I set up a colourful photographic background and used my new Dmx LED lights to photograph their paper bugs, they looked so fantastic! Giving me loads of ideas for future children's books or animated series in the process.
Having a very small budget, I borrowed some white plinths and bought a lot of white lining paper to refurbish the old Santander store. Big colourful cut out card letters went up in the window and the attention started to rise. Even whilst putting it all together I was constantly getting comments and admiring glances from the passing shoppers, noses were pressed against the glass and I was delighted with the response of the shoppers to our BugStore project..
Come the sunny Super Saturday and suddenly we were deluged with children, their parents, grandparents , aunts and uncles , brothers and sisters as they all wanted to show their creations to their families and siblings. The children were so chuffed to see their creations in the midst of this colourful shop full of bugs.
Don't they look amazing! The response was terrific and both town and district council were delighted.
This is an idea that would help gain engagement with the whole community and would be an ideal way to promote a children's or literary festival.
If you would like a pop up festival workshop or outreach events at your local schools, please contact me via my contact form on my blog here!
More details on a whole range of fun and engaging workshops for children of all ages from 2 to 82 can be found here - Paul Stickland Author Events and Pop Up Workshops
With huge thanks to Pauline Burr, Sally Freemantle, Yeovil Town Council and South Somerset District Council and, of course, the wonderful primary school children of Yeovil, Somerset.
by Paul Stickland