This week and last week I have been delivering workshops in schools in the Heart of Eden. The focus has been on working with the five to seven year olds, and I have resurrected a lovely little project my friend and I used to do when we worked together.It is using a rather beautiful children’s story byJames Rumford about a cat made from a calabash gourd.
In James’ own words:
“Several years ago I wrote and illustrated a story called Calabash Cat and His Amazing Journey. In it, an African cat goes off down the road on an adventure. When he gets to the end of the road, he asks, “Is this where the world ends?” It’s a foolish question, of course, but the other animals he meets keep trying to answer it. Not until he meets the eagle does he find the real answer: there is no end to the world.
I suppose that this is the same with all questions. If we knew the answer, we wouldn’t ask the question. If Calabash Cat had known more about the world, he wouldn’t have been so foolish. But it took a foolish question for him to gain some wisdom. The trick is to keep asking questions no matter how foolish they might seem later. You never know where your questions will lead you.”
I told the story with some decorated and embellished animal sculptures that I have, and some lengths of coloured wool (you need to see the book to make sense of that!), and then we all drew calabash animals and added a little colour. The children as ever, produced some lovely work and concentrated all afternoon!
I do enjoy doing these workshops; they are rewarding and I am always impressed by the creativity and commitment the children exhibit.
Here are a couple of their animals.