Falmouth Graduates Help Bring the 'Art of Storytelling' to the Eden Project

“Raising his head from his pillow of early autumn leaves, the muckle smiled sleepily, as the sounds of the forest grew louder. Stretching his hairy arms above his head, the muckle yawned, sneezed, and shook his head to clear away the last clouds of sleep...”

The muckle, designed and constructed by Jim Parkyn.

Falmouth Animation graduates Freddy Pooley and Lauren Jansons are working at The Eden Project this week with former Aardman model-maker Jim Parkyn as part of their ‘Art of Stories’ half term storytelling festival. The team of animators are delivering animation workshops to Eden’s younger visitors as part of an ambitious plan to create a crowdsourced animated story.

Jim makes some final adjustments to the muckle.

Members of the public were asked to submit suggestions for the first line of the story on The Eden Project’s Facebook page and from these the organisers selected the winning first line (in quotation marks above). Visitors to Eden this week are invited to write their suggestions for the next line of the story on a blackboard; the team choose the winning line and the following day it is animated.  Another blackboard lists the puppets, props and scenery that are needed to film the scene and Eden’s young visitors are invited to get creative with plasticine, paper and pipe cleaners to create the required items. The completed creations are placed in a ‘holding area’ where they are then available to the animators for each day’s filming.

Woodland creatures ready and waiting for their close-ups.

Musician David Gibb is on hand to add an original score to the film.

Scenes from the story are uploaded here to the Eden Project's YouTube channel daily, and the completed film will be edited and uploaded at the end of the week.

The team of animators are also delivering workshops to aspiring young animators who use the University's stop-motion equipment to bring their characters to life on screen.

"What if we did this?" .... discussing ideas for animated comedy.

Lauren and Freddy are great ambassadors for the course and the Animation & VFX course tutors are extremely proud of what they have achieved over the last year. After graduating in 2013 the pair set themselves up as self-employed animation practitioners and have been delivering animation workshops to children on the Penryn campus and in schools both locally and nationally.  It’s fantastic to watch them and the staff at Eden at working with the children and inspiring young animators to give life to their own creations.

Lauren shows a young animator how to use the stop-motion software...

...while Freddy assists a puppet-maker at the plasticine table.

"With all the new free software that is available kids can do most of this stuff at home now, but for many of them this is the first time that they have given it a go, and seeing them watch their creations move in front of their eyes is really rewarding.  It's hard work at times, but also a lot of fun and we're enjoying every minute." 
Lauren Jansons & Freddy Pooley

‘The Art of Stories’ brings 9 days of children’s storytelling events to The Eden Project, with workshops delivered by guests such as Beano artists Nick Brennan and Gary Northfield, Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, graphic novelist Gareth Brookes, illustrator Bruce Ingman, and writers Barrington Green and Emily Barr. The event takes place in the stage area and ends this Sunday 1st June.


Dance drawings

First year Falmouth Animation and VFX students have been taking advantage of dance rehearsals happening just nearby.  Three minutes walk down a winding path, past the bluebells, takes them to the Performance Centre, where Dance Lecturer Kuldip Singh-Barmi leads the morning dance technique sessions.

The walk down to the Performance Centre
takes us past a spectacular display
of bluebells and other spring flowers

Kuldip and the dance students stretch before class

The Animation module is called Motion Studies and our students have been asked to create an animated dance sequence that incorporates cycles.  Kuldip and the dance students have kindly agreed to allow small groups of Animation students to sit at the edge of their classes and sketch them as they rehearse.  As they draw, the students concentrate on shapes and paths of movement, trying not to be distracted by details.  They have all enjoyed the experience so far.

Mads and Naomi get ready to draw the dancers.

It is not surprising that animators are often attracted to dance as a form of expression.  There are several great examples of animated films that celebrate the flowing arcs and cycles of dancers in movement.  Animators such as Erica Russell and Ryan Woodward have captivated audiences and inspired many of our students.

Long may our association with the Falmouth dance courses continue.  We look forward to screening our students' work for the dancers and to generating future projects with the Performance Centre.

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