Sarah Dean's Creative Workshops for Children

Date Published: 08/09/2015

Sarah Dean is a student on our BA (Hons) Illustration degree course, and over the summer has been running a wide range of inspiring  creative workshops for children, here in Herefordshire.

"I wanted to offer an inspiring environment for children to tinker, create, experiment and share ideas with their grown-ups.  As a mum, I know how difficult it can be to be spontaneous at home. With all the best intentions in the world, its often not practical to have tables piled up with junk modelling, nor is it easy to provide the opportunity to do a few different activities to appeal to the ever changing moods, whims and attention spans of children. I also wanted somewhere for older children to come to gain some drawing confidence outside of school - something I wish I'd had growing up.

Studying for a degree in Illustration as a mature student has given me the confidence and skills to think bigger about the impact of drawing, creativity and collaboration - I am always amazed at how many young children say "I can't draw", or how many mums who say "I'm not very creative".  I wanted to show children and their grown-ups just how amazing they are and just how wonderful their collaborations can be.

 The workshops have been running twice-weekly throughout the holidays at Queenswood Country Park, providing a beautiful backdrop for the sessions and offering a wonderful opportunity for the children to explore the workshop and then take their creations off on their adventures in the park. The vast majority of the materials used are recycled and many of the activities involve nothing more than an empty plastic milk bottle and some double sided tape - but the inventiveness and uniqueness of the participants never fails to amaze me.

Each day has a general theme (Fairies, owls, foxes etc) and there is a main messy activitiy, a couple of quick simple crafts relating to the theme and then a whole host of periferary activites including nature weaving, land art, collaborative artwork and drawing activities.  Many people attending the events think it is funded in some way as the quality of the materials and the array of activities on offer is superior to their expectations. This whole project is planned, set up, run and cleared up (!) by me personally with no external funding other than the small entry fee, and I am so very grateful to Queenswood for providing the venue for me until the end of September.

Over 400 children have been through the doors and the feedback has been incredible. One parent said: 'These workshops have inspired my daughter and her friends (and me) to be more creative at home, but more importantly to think outside the box'.  I feel privileged to be meeting so many talented children and their grown-ups, and it looks like this is a project that has wings! I cant wait to see where it takes me over the coming months and years."

Check out the Creative Workshops for Children Facebook page to find out more about upcoming events! 

Original HCA Blogpost