Author Archives: wiredandwild

Wired and Wild In schools

Wired and Wild outreach in schools

We had a fantastic time taking Wired, Wild and Alive into 7 schools, the children were so excited by Alice and the creatures, we got an amazing reaction, it was lovely to see!

There was a special assembly in the morning to meet the characters, the children then went on underwater adventures with Alice, wrote Fab fishy poems with Rik and made underwater shadow puppets with me (Mandy) for a special performance at the end of the day!

We also went on another adventure to the rainforest and had a special visitor Andrew Gray with his live exotic creatures to help us learn about the tree frogs of Costa Rica. Children went on a trek through the forest with Alice, made giant Birdwing butterflies with me and created super hero teams with Rik to help the Rainforest.

What people said about Wired and Wild Outreach programme in Schools

The Wired, Wild and Alive art project captured the children’s attention from the start. They were engaged and motivated throughout the day, responding well to the expertise of the storyteller Alice who really brought the sea creatures to life and mesmerised the children with her array of props, creatures and costumes . The children embraced a number of aspects of the arts in a project which which looked at animals and there habitats, which culminated in a high quality performance at the end of the day involving puppetry and poetry.
Sheenagh Newton XII Apostle RC Primary

“It was great to be involved in the Wired, Wild and Alive Projects. Both the children and staff learnt lots from working alongside the artists on the day and developed skills and techniques which can be used again in the future. We are looking forward to being involved in more environmental projects with Wired and Wild !”
Kind regards,
Dawn Hurst
Leigh Central Primary School

“A very creative day crossing a number of art forms!
Art: Mandy’s knitted puppets are so detailed!
Laminated shadow puppets by yr 4 magically displayed in show!
Drama: engaging performances by Alice took the children on a journey.
Poetry: lively and funny
Great characterisation of Spike and Huey by Rik!
Visuals also great on screen on a backdrop to final performance, animated art.
Please let us know details for show in Manchester.”
Carrie Morrow
Head teacher
Atherton Sacred Heart RC primary

“Everything really enjoyable, children focused and joining in, suitable for all ages”
Would you like them to come again? “Yes please!”
Elizabeth Leeroyd yr 3,4 teacher
Barlow hall Primary Manchester

” Presented in a fun way, keeping the children engaged and enthused!
Even the children who were unsure took great pride in presenting their work to the whole school!”
Would definitely want Wired and Wild to come again!
Alan Jones
Teaching assistant
Leigh Central

“So rich, the storyteller brought the story to life and captivated the children!
Alice captured the children’s imaginations, the colours, costumes used, the expression she used, the way she got the children to move around and put themselves in the creatures shoes all aided this!
One of the few sessions where the boy I work with was mesmerised and left having learnt about the Amazon and the coral reef and the creatures that live there. He still talks about the sessions to date.i think it’s a positive way for children to learn, particularly those with special needs who find the classroom setting difficult.”
Mandy Brooks
Learning support assistant for a boy with autism
Barlow Hall primary Manchester

“It was the best assemblies we have ever had at our school!!!”
Sophie aged 7, Leigh Central primary School

Manchester Museum film

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I am really excited to be making a film with conservationist and curator at Manchester Museum and two very experienced TV guys, Joe Bendinski who has worked on all the major kids TV programmes and Fraser Durie who makes wildlife documentaries and is the media course leader at Salford University.
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The idea was to give the creatures in Manchester museum vivarium a voice through my puppets, to tell their stories.
Huey played the museums first ever chameleon tour guide professor Hulio Diego Franchesco who introduces us to all the different live creatures in the museum. The script is very funny by Rik Thorpe with Imput from Andrew Gray and myself.
The puppeteering and voices were by Matt Crowther and Rik Thorpe who both did a fantastic job!
We filmed in the museum at night, when it was closed to the public which was great because all the frogs were really active and singing, we got some great sound effects for the film!
it was fantastic that we could work with the live creatures.
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Part of the filming was done in the studio using my textile trees and plants as the set. It was great to be able to use them in this way as it looked quite different to the exhibition, the idea was that we were recreating one of the display cases at the museum.

I am really excited because they are going to give Jose the frog animated eyelids in post production.
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Mark Toners painted glass shadow screen

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Painted glass shadow screen
By Mark Toner

After seeing Mark’s silhouette paintings on glass, I knew they would make an amazing shadow screen for Wired, Wild and Alive!
I have experimented with coloured shadow puppets on a white screen and love the idea of reversing this and having the silhouettes against the vibrant colour of the seabed!

Mark uses pigment reactions of paint on glass to create an a magical effect.

“my work is all about energy and where it all started nature”
Mark Toner

Wired and Wild outreach programme feedback

What people said about Wired and Wild Outreach programme in Schools

The Wired, Wild and Alive art project captured the children’s attention from the start. They were engaged and motivated throughout the day, responding well to the expertise of the storyteller Alice who really brought the sea creatures to life and mesmerised the children with her array of props, creatures and costumes . The children embraced a number of aspects of the arts in a project which which looked at animals and there habitats, which culminated in a high quality performance at the end of the day involving puppetry and poetry.

“It was great to be involved in the Wired, Wild and Alive Projects. Both the children and staff learnt lots from working alongside the artists on the day and developed skills and techniques which can be used again in the future. We are looking forward to being involved in more environmental projects with Wired and Wild !”

“A very creative day crossing a number of art forms!
Art: Mandy’s knitted puppets are so detailed!
Laminated shadow puppets by yr 4 magically displayed in show!
Drama: engaging performances by Alice took the children on a journey.
Poetry: lively and funny
Great characterisation of Spike and Huey by Rik!
Visuals also great on screen on a backdrop to final performance, animated art.
Please let us know details for show in Manchester.”

“Everything really enjoyable, children focused and joining in, suitable for all ages”
Would you like them to come again? “Yes please!”

” Presented in a fun way, keeping the children engaged and enthused!
Even the children who were unsure took great pride in presenting their work to the whole school!”
Would definitely want Wired and Wild to come again!”

“So rich, the storyteller brought the story to life and captivated the children!
Alice captured the children’s imaginations, the colours, costumes used, the expression she used, the way she got the children to move around and put themselves in the creatures shoes all aided this
One of the few sessions where the boy I work with was mesmerised and left having learnt about the Amazon and the coral reef and the creatures that live there. He still talks about the sessions to date.i think it’s a positive way for children to learn, particularly those with special needs who find the classroom setting difficult.”
Mandy Brooks
Learning support assistant for a boy with autism
Barlow Hall primary Manchester

“It was the best assemblies we have ever had at our school!!!”
Sophie aged 7, Leigh Central primary School

Interactive coral reef

Interactive coral reef

Interactive coral reef


Interactive coral reef

After making a living reef animation, I thought it would be interesting to explore how I could make an interactive reef, so children could move it and bring it to life. I liked the idea of corals being a community working together to build structures and people from the community working together to bring Wired and Wild to life. I worked with mums to explore hyperbolic coral techniques and their children to make the digital panel. Jeff Fox helped me achieve the interactive element by creating a wooden ledge, that children can work from underneath. The bleached reef was deliberately not interactive to show the contrast of the dying corals.

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Crochet and cake club

Exotic flower wall hangingCrochet and cake club.
Wall hangings and coral reefs were made with the help of a lovely group of ladies who crochet, mainly mothers whose children go to Barlow Hall primary, we meet once a week on a Thursday, our children play while we crochet, experimenting with different crochet techniques starting with the hyperbolic coral, we researched images and ideas and invented our own corals and flowers. Each week we shared our creations. I wanted to give the opportunity for the ladies to put something of themselves into the project rather than tell them what to do, I wasn’t after a production line, I wanted them to get something out of it, which freaked them out slightly at first! Being used to crochet from patterns and doing it for more practical reasons like clothing or blankets. I wanted them to have freedom to be creative within my project, they soon started adapting techniques and coming up with new ways of working to create.
I was very much one of them not a tutor, I provided materials and showed them some ideas and techniques and they gave me ideas and techniques too!
Thank you to Samantha Stibbe who generously made delicious cakes and hosted the sessions in her home!
We plan to continue Crochet and Cake club it’s been a lovely social gathering and really positive for us all! It is also the highlight of our children’s social calendar!

What the ladies said about crochet and cake club.

“For me having some time to do something for myself has been really rewarding and helped my confidence. Being part of a group and feeling that I am contributing to something creative has, for those couple of hours each week, made me feel I am achieving more than just going to work, coming home and being a mum.
Working towards a collaborative project has been really motivating and seeing the progress and the individual’s creations develop week on week has been totally inspiring!
Everyone has been really patient with me and taught me new skills (as I was a complete novice when we started!)
I hope I can learn more techniques as we continue. As well as eating gorgeous cakes it’s also been great getting to know women from our school community better and establish new friendships. It feels like being a part of something women have done for generations; sitting and talking non stop and creating and through that of course supporting and inspiring each other.”
Jennie Thompson

Attending crochet and cake club with Mandy and the other ladies has increased my confidence in my crafting skills, particularly in engaging more freely and creatively with the medium. Along the way, I’ve grown closer to the other ladies and feel a genuine sense of community forged as we craft. Some of my first (astounded!) words in the initial session were; “where’s the pattern, though?!” and reflecting back on that shows just how far we have all come. Gone is my reliance on following patterns, replaced by growing understanding of how the stitches, yarns and various techniques affect the final piece of work. This underpinning knowledge has opened a floodgate of creativity and joy, as we each bring our own ideas to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. What a wonderful experience we have shared through working alongside Mandy! ” Jen Playforth

“I have thoroughly enjoyed our weekly crochet sessions. It has been a fun social gathering; getting to chat with lovely ladies in a relaxed and friendly environment, full of encouragement, support and creative ideas, whilst drinking tea and eating delicious cakes.
My crochet skills have improved along the way as I have learnt new techniques. This has inspired me to research further ideas as my confidence has grown. I feel proud to be part of a fabulous group that is contributing to such an amazing project!”
Michelle Clough

“Being out of work and being treated for depression life has been tough for the last 2 years. Crochet club gave me friendship, fun and focus. My crochet skills were basic but I’ve been challenged to learn new techniques and use it to make totally new things. I am going back to work but will definitely keep up with crochet club as it’s been the best therapy ever!”
Sam Stibbe

Creating a yarn bombed forest

Trees
My initial challenge was making trees and plant life that would be sturdy enough to withstand children moving around them, I was really lucky because the post office next to my studio was closing down, I was allowed to take all the stands that they used for queuing. I had the idea of creating a yarn bombed forest, I covered branches in crochet and attached them around the bases, crocheting in between to create a webbing effect. I made big leaves from hula hoops and a job lot of irish green stockings from ebay.

Rainforest Adventure

We were very lucky to have frog expert Andrew Gray join us, with his live creatures at leigh Central Primary school, children helped Alice look for the Lemur Leaf frog, made the endangered giant, Birdwing butterflies with me and created superteams to save the planet with Rik, they had great fun while learning important issues about the environment!

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Wired and Wild in Schools

We had a fantastic time taking Wired, Wild and Alive into schools, the children were so excited by Alice and the creatures, amazing reaction, it was lovely to see!

There was a special assembly, the children went on underwater adventures with Alice, wrote Fab fishy poems with Rik and made underwater shadow puppets with me for a special performance at the end of the day!photo 2-3photo 4-4
What people said about Wired and Wild Outreach programme in Schools

The Wired, Wild and Alive art project captured the children’s attention from the start. They were engaged and motivated throughout the day, responding well to the expertise of the storyteller Alice who really brought the sea creatures to life and mesmerised the children with her array of props, creatures and costumes . The children embraced a number of aspects of the arts in a project which which looked at animals and there habitats, which culminated in a high quality performance at the end of the day involving puppetry and poetry.

“It was great to be involved in the Wired, Wild and Alive Projects. Both the children and staff learnt lots from working alongside the artists on the day and developed skills and techniques which can be used again in the future. We are looking forward to being involved in more environmental projects with Wired and Wild !”

“A very creative day crossing a number of art forms!
Art: Mandy’s knitted puppets are so detailed!
Laminated shadow puppets by yr 4 magically displayed in show!
Drama: engaging performances by Alice took the children on a journey.
Poetry: lively and funny
Great characterisation of Spike and Huey by Rik!
Visuals also great on screen on a backdrop to final performance, animated art.
Please let us know details for show in Manchester.”

“Everything really enjoyable, children focused and joining in, suitable for all ages”
Would you like them to come again? “Yes please!”

” Presented in a fun way, keeping the children engaged and enthused!
Even the children who were unsure took great pride in presenting their work to the whole school!”
Would definitely want Wired and Wild to come again!”

“So rich, the storyteller brought the story to life and captivated the children!
Alice captured the children’s imaginations, the colours, costumes used, the expression she used, the way she got the children to move around and put themselves in the creatures shoes all aided this
One of the few sessions where the boy I work with was mesmerised and left having learnt about the Amazon and the coral reef and the creatures that live there. He still talks about the sessions to date.i think it’s a positive way for children to learn, particularly those with special needs who find the classroom setting difficult.”
Mandy Brooks
Learning support assistant for a boy with autism
Barlow Hall primary Manchester

“It was the best assemblies we have ever had at our school!!!”
Sophie aged 7, Leigh Central primary School