Whilst visiting a friend in Clerkenwell, east London recently, I met Jolly Jack the clown who very kindly showed me his cuttings book and told me a bit about his career. He was resting up as he’d recently tripped over the edge of a non-slip mat at a circus and broken his leg. This chance meeting reminded me of a visit I’d once made to an annual Grimaldi memorial service held at All Saints Church, Haggerston, also in east London, where I photographed some of the clowns’ amazing footwear.
Actually I find clowns in their make-up rather unnerving, but love the shoes, including some in one of my earliest children’s books, Robotina Finds Out.Jolly Jack’s shoes weren’t enormous, but they did have extraordinary flashing lights.
Posted in Books, Travels
Tagged All Saints Church, Clerkenwell, clowns, clowns' shoes, east London, Faber Children's Books, grimaldi, Grimaldi memorial service, Haggerston, Jolly Jack, Robotic Finds Out, shoes
Some new co-editions of the first Draw It! book arrived yesterday evening – a surprise delivery. The last co-edition was for Taiwan. Great to see my books in all sorts of different languages. As well as in English of course!
Photo by Emma Golding/the Guardian
Great to join other artists and take part in another Guardian event – possibly my fourteenth! I ran an all day drop-in workshop encouraging families to fold paper and invent some cheeky forfeits for others to act out. As usual, children were hugely inventive, and it got pretty lively – see lovely comments from participants here. No photos of me when I was hopping like a rabbit thank goodness – one of the children’s forfeits …
Another of my explore and draw events at Swedenborg House produced fine results from young visitors again. First of all we did some warm-up drawing exercises, including drawing different facial expressions on a young Swedenborg – thanks to some brave volunteers who pulled faces for us!
Last weekend I joined super talented designers, publishers and printmakers etc at a delightful Bouncing Off The Wall event organised by Starch Green, held in Greenside Primary School. I ran a workshop there to promote my leporello The Hand Book of hopes and dreams, published later this year by Design For Today.
The workshop took place in a room with a Pollocks Toy Theatre performance – not at the same time – featuring a flying saucer. Participants of all ages customised and cut out folding hands with intriguing results, including a card designed by a scientist, and some valiant colouring in by a very small person.
Posted in Workshops
Tagged Bouncing Off The Wall, Design For Today, Erno Goldfinger, family workshops, Greenside Primary School, Pollocks Toy Museum, Pollocks Toy Theatres, Sally Kindberg's Hand Book, Starch Green, The Hand Book, The Hand Book of hopes and dreams, workshops, workshops for families
A brief visit to Hastings, where I breathed sea air and called in at the Jerwood, and enjoyed walking briskly (I didn’t have a horse) past Mark Wallinger’s reference to Victorian photographer Eadweard Muybridge.
Lyme Regis was home to fossil hunter Mary Anning, and on my visit last weekend I spotted a copy of her fragile Commonplace Book in the local museum. Lyme Regis Museum is built by the sea on the site of where Mary lived with her family in poverty in the early nineteenth century. Her book includes this page about astronomy.
Mary also made copies of published poems and thoughts about love and loneliness, an insight into the mind of this extraordinary woman who, driven by curiosity about the world, made ground-breaking paleontological discoveries. I’ve included a homage to the young Mary in The Hand Book of hopes and dreams, to be published by Design For Today in November this year. My photograph is an early morning view from Lyme Regis taken from near the cliffs Mary loved to explore, with a view of Golden Cap in the distance.
Posted in Books, Drawings, Handwriting, Travels
Tagged Design For Today, Dorset, Jurassic Coast, Lyme Regis, Lyme Regis Museum, Mary Anning, The Hand Book of hopes and dreams, things to do in Dorset
Caught the train to Nottingham from St Pancras last week, happy to see my photograph of railwayman Roland Hoggard in the station. From Nottingham station en route to find the bus to a friend’s house, heading up to the Castle I passed this plaque by the canal. The river Leen joins the canal here. Some years ago there was a canal museum in one of the converted warehouses, where you could view water running underneath the building.
Walking up towards the Castle, presently closed for a refurb, I called in at the Trip to Jerusalem pub built into the sandstone of the castle rock. I was told as child that this was where soldiers called in for their last pint before setting out to the Crusades.I stayed a couple of nights with my friend J. In the morning I found one of her childhood toys outside my bedroom door.
We travelled to Leicestershire to see an Arts and Crafts cottage at Stonewall. A very helpful guide called Tony Curtis showed us round the gardens.
We went on to explore a bit of Charnwood Forest, mysterious and very Grimm like.
My niece and her family live in Nottingham. I spent a happy time with the children watching butterflies being born – Painted Ladies, delivered by post in caterpillar form. I sat with the children, watching the butterflies’ trembling emergence and gentle fluttering as they tried out their new wings before being released into the wild the following day. The butterflies that is. What delight!
Have you been to Nottingham? What are your favourite things there?
Posted in Sketchbooks, Travels
Tagged butterflies, Charnwood Forest, childhood toys, East Midlands Balloon Group, Grimms Fairy Tales, Nottingham, Nottingham Castle, rabbit, river leen, St Pancras station, Stonewall, the Trip to Jerusalem pub