Wolves in the Walls Project


This project was inspired by a lesson plan written by Nigel Meager (Teaching Art by Nigel Meager). In his illustration lesson plan, he referred to the children’s book ‘The Wolves in the Wall’ written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean.

The idea is for students to practice markmaking with various mediums, study & discuss photos of wolves, then illustrate their own wolf character.

The ‘Wolves in the Walls’ story is super and the illustrations by Dave McKean have so much drama in them.

I read the story to my students and we discussed the illustrations. Next the students had a chance to play with the charcoal, graphite sticks, oil pastels, pens, pencils etc, to see what textures they could invent.

After looking at some photos of real wolves and discussing what it would be like to touch them, the students set about creating their own ‘Wolves in the Walls’.

Once drawn and carefully cut out, we arranged a lovely display on the wall. Some students decided to go on and make their wolves using clay, which they painted beautifully.

Gromit model making day

Jim from Aardman Studios holding Gromit

Last Wednesday I was invited by my local primary school (where the Art Cabin is based) to be part of a very special day.

Aardman Studios, the creators of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, Morph and Timmy Time to name a few, sent over one of their highly skilled model makers (Jim) to show us how Gromit is made.

After a talk about model making, we were all given the correct amount of Newplast to make our very own Gromit. Jim took us through the making process stage by stage, so we were all making our models at the same time. Since I was making one too, I don’t have photos of the step by step stage (perhaps something to blog about in the future).

Part way through the day we also had an unexpected visit from ‘Wallace & Gromit’, as you can imagine the children were thrilled!

The nursery children didn’t miss out either, they made Morph’s friend Chas (which was less complicated than Gromit).

Each and every Gromit that was made developed it’s own personality & character; by the end of the day there were many wonderful & fun dogs to admire.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why Aardman Studios paid a visit to this little Hertfordshire village school, it’s because they won a Herts Catering competition!

Miro project

Getting the arrangement just right


This super Miro project incorporated a game, drawing, collage, construction, modroc, painting and composition. We worked on it over a period of nine 1 hour sessions.

Miro project

A lovely book to introduce children to the art of Miro.


After an introduction and discussion about Miro and his work, we played the ‘Roll A Miro’ game, you can find many print-outs on Pinterest. I used the ones from Once Upon an Art Room and Pinterest. Children roll the dice and the number rolled tallies up with a shape, the students eventually build up their Miro image. I have to say this game went down really well.

Miro project

Playing the ‘Roll A Miro’ game.


Next the students cut coloured card to create a large collage of shapes, this activity is credited to AccessArt. Once the collages were complete, I read a nonsensical poem pitched at different sound levels (that was interesting!). The children had to draw over their collage in response to the words and sounds with a black felt tip pen.

Miro project

Creating the Miro inspired collages


To show the children how the same set of painting directions could lead to many variations, I devised a quick painting session. I read out half a dozen actions, for instance:-

  1. Paint two yellow circles.
  2. Paint two red lines from one side of your paper to the other.
  3. Paint three blue wavey lines touching the red lines etc….

The students loved this activity and the enthusiam for painting did lead to some children painting more shapes/lines than necessary. But hey, we were having a good time!

Miro project

A Miro inspired painting.


After a talk on shapes (regular & irregular). It was time to plan the sculptures.

The brief was to create two large shapes from cardboard. One shape from clay (although some children made more as it would be asthetically pleasing to their design idea). Up to six small wooden sticks or two cut lengths 1cm x 1cm wood.

Each child had a white mountboard plinth to arrange their sculpture on.

To make the large sculptural elements, the students cut two pairs of different shaped card. To create depth, two small pieces of bubble wrap were sandwiched between the cardboard and taped in place. The cardboard shape was completedly covered in masking tape, ready for modroc-ing.


The Modroc was cut into small strips, a single piece of Modroc was then dipped in water and carefully placed onto the cardboard shape. To activate the plaster and cover the bandage, the Modroc had to be gently smoothed with a finger.


Once the Modroc had dried and the students had made their small clay sculptures, the painting could begin.


It was great fun getting the students to think about how their final sculpture’s elements should be arranged. Trying different placements to create a pleasing balance. I was very impressed how the students approached this part of the project, all their hard work was coming together and they wanted to get it right. All the elements were glued in position using either PVA or a hot glue gun (which I was in charge of for safety reasons).


Here are the finished sculptures. As a last minute thought, I asked the students to title their sculptures.



AccessArt are running a competition with over £1200 worth of prizes thanks to the competition supporter Cass Art. There are two age groups for entry, ages 5-7 and ages 8-11 and the theme is ‘My World’.

Not forgetting the dedicated teachers, artists and facilitators, there is a prize for ‘Talented Teacher or School Prize’ too.

For more information, catagories and entry forms, head over to AccessArt. Hurry, the deadline is 27th May 2016.

Hmm, think this is something the Art Cabin students would like to take part in.


This weekend I visited the V&A Museum of Childhood, a lovely museum near Bethnal Green, East London.

Apart from the superb array of toys from bygone eras, there was an exhibition of TV characters created by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate. I hold Bagpuss and The Clangers (along with other TV characters such as Fingerbobs, Pipkins and Mary, Mungo and Midge. Morph, Trumpton) responsible for getting me interested in creating and making.

I loved the stories, animation, puppets and plasticine so much, that I wanted to create my own world. And I did (I still do).

If you get a chance to visit the exhibition, you will learn that The Clangers’ attire was based  on an outfit that Twiggy wore (who knew!)


Of course, I was very inspired by my visit to the museum (I always am). So, now I’m thinking of what kind of art project we can do? Perhaps, the children can create their own 3D character and make up a story about their adventures … oh the possibilities.

The Clangers, Bagpuss & Co exhibition is on till 9th October, but do check out what else is on too at the museum, because during holiday times there will be workshops for children, so you can make a day of it!



Accessart are once again spearheading a participatory project for 2016 called the AccessArt Village that involves embroidery. Appletons Wools have kindly donated wool for the project, I have a few students here at the Art Cabin who are taking part.

“The aim of the project is simple: to inspire the AccessArt audience of all ages (children , teenagers and adults) to embroider a line drawing of their house on a 20 cm square piece of fabric. The sewn squares can then be sent to AccessArt, where textile artists will work the squares together to make an AccessArt Village artwork.”.

The artwork will go on display around the UK in 2017. AccessArt are inviting galleries, museums, libraries, arts centres, schools and libraries to get in touch if they would like to host the AccessArt Village Textile. How exciting!





AccessArt are giving you (and me) the opportunity to win this super book called ‘Make, Build, Create: Sculpture Projects for Children! Written by Paula Briggs and published by Black Dog Publishing. To find out about how to enter visit AccessArt.

Good luck if you decide to enter!

I bought the Drawing Projects for Children book, Paula’s first book and it’s super. A thick book full of inspiring ideas. It’s easy to follow with lovely big photos. It’s one of my favourites and I refer back to it often when I am organising drawing activites at the Art Cabin. To find out more about this book and to purchase it, visit AccessArt.