My Draw It! London book at the Museum of London

Good to see my book Draw It! London (published by Bloomsbury in 2014) still going strong at the Museum of London bookshop last week.  Maps, rivers, mini-interviews, plague-pits, pelicans etc.  Lots of fascinating things to see and draw!

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Displacement activity – eavesdropping on twigs

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Quiet Pets – stick insects

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Sally Kindberg goes to Ledbury Poetry Festival


Last weekend I ran a map workshop for children at Ledbury Poetry Festival, staying on afterwards to experience some of the Festival‘s delights and surprises, as well as explore a bit.  After my saturday workshop I managed to catch the last performance of Fair Field late that evening in medieval St Katherine’s Hall.

The play involved the search for Truth and a lively struggle between good and evil accompanied by smoke – it set off a fire alarm –  and members of the Strange and Ancient Instruments Society.  At one point a dancing Devil wearing a golden suit burst through a door. He sidled up to me, gave me a kiss and asked if I’d like room service later on?  Gosh.

The next day I saw people going in to the same hall and followed them in. Was it more theatre?  Priests with bushy beards and tall hats dispensed clouds of incense, and blessings. Not another play but the Romanian Orthodox Church holding a special sunday service.  “We’re celebrating our saints, our  protectors,” a smiling woman in an embroidered skirt told me. Where else could one be kissed by the Devil one day and blessed by a bishop the next? Continue reading

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Map workshop for children at Ledbury Poetry Festival

Last weekend I was at the marvellous Ledbury Poetry Festival running a workshop encouraging children to make a giant interlinking map of magical sounds, and of course taking a few copies of my Draw It! book with me. It travels everywhere!

 The venue was Ledbury’s charming Walled Garden, and the festival’s theme was appropriately ‘outdoor magic’.  It was my first experience of running a workshop out of doors, and luckily the weather was fine.

It was an all day drop-in workshop, using my drawn ‘starter’ map and a Hat of Surprise full of words suggesting sounds to inspire participants – if they needed it.  

Ledbury children were hugely inventive, the sun shone and we ended up with an enormous map full of surprise drawn elements, like the happy baby enjoying itself in squelchy mud, strange rustling bushes and the pool of light described by a child as ‘glimmering and shimmering’.  Wonderful!

I discovered the parents of the child who painted/drew this happy baby wallowing in mud (after a rainfall) had rescued pigs who’d been kept indoors their whole life.  After their arrival the pigs rushed outside, and having delicate skin immediately got sunburned, which was happily cured by their rolling in mud.
Continue reading

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Sally Kindberg goes to Penzance

I decided to travel to Penzance for the weekend even though plans to run a Pirate workshop there had fallen through.  It had been difficult week in London including a visit to hospital and a leak from the flat above me, so a quiet couple of days in much loved Cornwall seemed like a good idea.  What I hadn’t realised was that it was Mazey weekend in Penzance – aka the Golowan festival , a midsummer celebration relating to the feasts of St John the Baptist and St Peter, the patron saint of fishermen.

Much dancing, music, and drinking takes place, and everyone releases their inner pirate or mermaid not that far below the surface it seemed …

My b&b room (with sea view) was close to the stunning Art Deco Jubilee Pool and its little cafe. The Mayor had just been in for his swim in its unheated sea water when I visited early one morning.

I had a wonderful time dipping into the festivities (even wearing a Mazey garland),  but best of all was walking along the quiet sea coast to visit Newlyn and its gallery, then to Mousehole, stopping many times to gaze at the sea, experiencing its smell and sound.  Heaven!

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‘Get To Know Your Character’ workshop at ShoutSouth 2017 festival

Earlier this week I joined other authors and illustrators to run workshops at this year’s ShoutSouth festival, held at London South Bank University and organised by CWISL.  Young people from eight south London schools took part in this fantastic story making event. I was part of team Leopard, working with fab authors Jamie Buxton, Jackie Marchant and Sarah Mussi. What a buzz of energy despite extreme heatwave conditions – marvellous!

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Sally Kindberg’s travels …

From my archive, an Emergency Travel Kit of small books for children I illustrated and designed, published by Puffin.  Much later, I was a freelance travel writer for a while for broadsheet newspapers and travel magazines. My column for the Independent on Saturday led to my sailing on a Tall Ship from Cornwall to Lisbon and writing a feature about it, amongst other projects.


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Coming soon – Sally Kindberg’s workshops at Swedenborg House

Later this year I’ll be running exciting workshops for children/families at  mysterious Swedenborg House in London.  More images from my interactive material here.

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Big Issue encounter – a positive story*

After the horrific news about Manchester this morning, I couldn’t settle to work and went out.  A Big Issue seller was standing on the corner of Seven Dials in Covent Garden with the latest edition, headlined Tiger Woman, the incredible life of Judith Kerr.   I bought a copy, and the man and I got chatting.  He did most of the talking.

C has been sleeping rough since losing his job and home in the Wirral.  “There are seven of us who’ve lost our homes, we sleep together in such-and-such Street and we look out for each other,” he told me, “it’s surprising what you get used to if you have to.  There are business people around –  we call them the Blue Suits – who insult us for being homeless, but I say to them ‘you’re only two pay cheques away from being like us!'”  C is a heritage stonemason, originally from County Clare. “When I got to London from the Wirral I managed to get a job as a brickie on building sites, but I was too slow, I’m a trained craftsman you see, I’m used to working on listed buildings,” he explained.

C talked about his tough childhood in Ireland, architecture in London, and about County Clare.  I mentioned Grace O’Malley. I’d visited Clare years ago to write about this 16th century pirate queen who controlled that part of the west coast. “Irish women,” said C, “they’re strong!”  All the time he was talking, I noticed how positive he seemed despite his difficulties.  “I’ve got a job!” he suddenly burst out, “I’m starting in July, doing restoration work on the Houses of Parliament!” he beamed.  “And … my wife’s speaking to me again!”

If you can’t find a Big Issue seller you can subscribe.  

*Big Issue later picked up on this and asked if they could use it.  It appeared as their Comment of the Week on June 1st 2017.

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