Monday, 4 October 2010

Books and Wine

Every now and then I get a job to do which makes me wonder if someone has made a mistake, do I really get to do this as a job? Surely someone will realise their horrific mistake any minute and rush to stop me. One of those lovely jobs happened this weekend. I had the delight of going down to a little place called Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway to take part in the annual book festival.

I was invited down to do a children’s workshop and spent a very enjoyable but rather busy few hours creating revolting recipe books with a group of 8 year olds. I am continually amazed by the creativity and imagination of children. I began by reading out a few gems from Royal Dahl’s Revolting Recipes and taught them each to make a simple book then set them off dreaming up tasty treats, planning the ingredients and illustrating their recipe books. Some highlights included a marshmallow pillow, vegetable bracelets and a slightly frightening pizza that came with a safety warning and directions to ring the fire service during the instructions. My highlight was the number of little dears who came along at the end to thank me and ask me to sign their little books, where I quickly replied ‘You do know I’m not really famous right!’

The weekend at the festival allowed me to peruse the many bookshops, mingle with some authors and catch up with a few friends from last year’s festival. I did have to continually avoid the question ‘So what have you written then…?’ This innocent and perhaps obvious question to ask at a festival about books led on to confused looks when I began to explain about sculptural book works and artists books.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Deirdre Nelson, the textiles artist who is this year’s Spring Fling Artist in Residence at the Festival. She spent the week gathering words to develop into an artwork to be revealed at next year’s Spring Fling event. Other favourites included Phyllida Law, John-Paul Flintoff sewing his own clothes and Eric Robson (attention GQT fans!)

My final input at the festival was a commission by Allison Ouvry Events, as seen at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year, who invited me to create scenes and puppets for her shadow puppet performance of Peter Pan. Although a short deadline this was a lovely job that took me flying back to childhood. Photographs to follow and hopefully more projects like this...

Festival information

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