Desinging bottle tops

3D software with prototype of LED bracket

Prototype for bottle top LED holder.

I’ve been excited about 3D printing to enhance Craftplay.  The revelation I had was to print brackets rather than things of beauty in their own right.  In digital arts parlance – we are “making the things that make the things”.

This is a prototype of a cap for a shampoo bottle that will hold a “Noepixel” colour changing LED.  It works, but I am now creating a modular version with replaceable sections for different sorts of bottle.  This will give us a flexible light show for babies or result in utter madness.


looking forward to the session tomorrow, been working on the scissors in the workshop lately, some slow but steady progress, with a few disasters along the way!

22nd November

Double day two STRONG sessions.

The morning session was my first with the slightly older nursery group. They are a strong group with lots of sharing and cooperation between the children and  between the adults and children too.

An overwhelming display of strength was shown by some of the children, using the tools laid out and pushing their entire length of the handles in the ground.  They confidently ran round the space exploring the tools and the environment.

INSIDE/OUTSIDE      In the forefront of my thoughts was where the final commission will be used, how the indoor environment will work with the final commission piece, the kind of ‘tools’ that could work both inside and out.  The ‘loose parts’ the tools  could be used with…..paint, clay, soil, sand, glitter, dough, foam.

Todays session allowed the strength of the children to be tested and stretched with the tools, will these experiences be possible inside?

Tools that attach to the body??  Observing one child getting a lot of enjoyment from discovering the shapes the bottom of his shoes made on the the ground, could the tools attach to the body?

The Afternoon Session, this group have grown in confidence from that first session where they stayed so close to the adults.  Again this was another STRONG session, lots of pushing banging, pushing banging pushing banging with the tools lots of repetition.

Some great collaborative play occured this session between the tools and john’s unfired clay pots. A satisfyling shattering of the clay  followed by collecting of the pieces into  a vessel, very focused and absorbed play.

A new kind of play was observed today for the first time , the ‘rolling pin’ tool was turned into a gun….could the appearance of the tools be more ambiguous allowing the users more of themselves to be projected on to the objects. Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 14.55.27 Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 14.55.11 Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 14.54.59

Where did that week go!?

slip painting a bowlclay leaves & perspexIt’s another Happy Craftplay eve Hurrah!

So looking forward to the next outside adventure at Bilston tomorrow. Lots of ideas converging from the last session on the 15th – significance of tools, collecting, transporting, layering, painting, spreading… I’ve had the opportunity to make a few air dried offerings for the children to engage with. Raw clay pots that might dissolve in the elements, or can be transformed into other objects? (been thinking lots about Annemarie’s hay-balls too and how the children discover them in the garden time & time again…) How do we value objects that are semi permanent or disappear into the landscape? Are these objects appropriate as a commissioned resource?

15th Of November at Bilston.

pic3 IMG_8487IMG_8483Here are a few images of the tools i made for Fridays workshop. I love the way the soil has marked the tools after the session. So interesting to see the children connecting with the objects i made. There was a strong family connection for some of the children who recognise the tools  (one little girl’s dad was a builder and she spent a long time using the ‘hammers’)

Another energy filled afternoon with the children and staff from Loxdale school. Lots of digging, mark making, hiding, discovering and questioning.

So great to have all three makers together and some seeds of collaborative work being sewn.

Clogs on sticks

Clogs on sticks


Clogs on sticks are all the rage in Bilston this autumn.  On our first windy session, they were dragged through the mud, went on some great solo adventures with enthusiastic boys, and eventually were reunited. This week they’ll be making a comeback, secured together…….. with their very own wheels, and bicycle basket. Who knows where they’ll go, with the lovely children from Loxton Primary School?

I’m really excited to read Jon the potters blog below about vessels for gathering and transporting. Thats where my focus is too, so this Friday will be really interesting.


Loxdale Primary School we salute you!

One of the six Happy Museum’s principles is to ‘be an active citizen’. I think the children, parents and staff from Loxley primary school nursery certainly ticked that particular box when they visited the Gallery grounds on Friday. Get this – the four year olds and their grown –ups  walked 40 mins to the Gallery, spent  90 mins, fully engaged, full on, creative exploration in the fresh air before walking back to school in the pouring rain. Hats off guys!

The wide open space in the garden made for some big, physical interactions with the clay as well as smaller individual making. Loved watching a group of boys  jumping on,  grabbing handfuls of and sticking wavering lengths of willow into lumps of clay. Big art! One child made great use of the whole space, racing from one provocation to the next making sparkly clay biscuits, coated in coloured sand and lovingly presented in one of Annemaries wicker creations. A preliminary nod towards a collaborative commissioned outcome – Wicker collecting vessels filled with jewels made from ceramic & other materials to be hidden, transported/collected??

Here’s a few photos from Friday’s fun:

Anyway, judging by the rosy cheeks and the enthusiastic pace of play, I bet there were a few tired, but happy!? youngsters at home time. Looking forward to meeting Annemarie and Corrie on Friday. Happy days!