Festival of Firsts amazing children’s display


This year Hours of Fun headed into the third year of working with the Festival of Firsts and we were determined to make it bigger and better than previous years.

Partnering up with Regan Shaw from Kaleidoscope Magazine and Pam Sullivan from The Williamson Art Gallery, we worked with the festival to plan how to spend a grant the Festival was successful in securing from the Liverpool One Foundation.

The aim of the project was to get children involved in crafting and raise awareness of the Festival as we travelled around the Wirral working with different groups and running drop in creative sessions.

We worked with some fabulous groups including Hoylake Sea Cadets, Hoylake 1st Guides, Priory Parish Primary, Woodchurch after school club Whizzkids, Wirral Methodist Housing and lots more.  Each group designed and created their own sun catcher windows using craft supplies and sharpie pens.  They decorated a clear transparency sheet which was then fixed into a frame ready for hanging.

We encouraged them to do some creative writing, telling us funny stories or about their favourite day or thing to do.  We had some amazing creations and the children all really enjoyed making them.  We even got them to make two so they could take one home and we could keep one for the display.


We had over 150 frames made which we hung from hula hoops, which were then hung them from the rafters at St John The Baptist Church, Great Meols, from a feature beam at Hoylake Parade Community Centre, in the windows at West Kirby Library and it is currently on display at The Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead.  The display creates a visual spectacle, reflecting light and colours as it dances around in the sunshine.




Chinese New Year celebrations at Williamson Art Gallery

Throughout February I headed to the Williamson Art Gallery to help out at some of their workshops.  They run a free drop in craft workshop every Saturday and do some amazing and fun activities which all ages can get involved in.  To celebrate the Chinese New Year they did shadow puppets and Chinese dragons.  Both groups I went to have a fantastic time and made some fabulous creations.

The shadow puppets were made using black card, scissors and a craft knife.  The designs were drawn on to the card then cut out, some with amazing detail.  Once ready we attached sticks to them and used pins to secure any sections that would be moving, acting as a pivot.  We then headed behind the screen and put on a fantastic shadow puppet play.


The Chinese dragons were so much fun to do, the group I helped out with got really involved and made so many different colours and sizes of dragons.  The dragon heads and tails were covered using colouring pens, card, shiny paper and tissue paper.  The bodies were created by folding two pieces of card together as a concertina then attached to the finished head and body.  A couple of sticks were attached and a Chinese dragon was created.  The group then paraded around the art gallery displaying their creations for all to see.

Festival of Firsts fun – making willow lanterns

Hours of Fun are part of the Festival of Firsts team bringing lots of fun, workshops, events and entertainment to Hoylake, West Kirby, Meols, New Brighton, Woodchurch and Birkenhead. The festival is organising a lantern parade at the end of March in Hoylake and as part of this we are making lanterns with groups of children.
The workshops kicked off at the Williamson Art Gallery and they were making lanterns from willow. I headed over to help out at the workshop as a volunteer and to take a closer look at this technique of lantern making and it was so much fun.
The venue is fantastic, with lots of space, equipment and supplies to use. Everyone is really welcoming and friendly and anyone can come down to the Saturday workshops. They advertise through social media so follow them on Facebook and twitter to find out what they do.
I have not worked with willow before and had a quick lesson with Pamela Sullivan the resident artist there. As children started to arrive we got them designing them lantern, showing them some pictures of lanterns other people had made to give them some ideas. Once they were happy with their design, we got them bending, shaping and cutting the willow to size, fastening it in place with gaffer tape.
Due to the lantern parade not taking place until the end of March, the follow up workshops will run sometime in March and we encourage those who came to the first one to come back and finish their projects and more people to come along and get crafty. We got the adults involved too, helping out or designing their own lantern.
The lantern designs included – a butterfly, a traditional pyramid, a sun, a pig, a vase, a fly, a heart and a star.
When working with willow you need to soak it in water to allow it to bend and be shaped. If working with straight pieces it is not required to be wet. You need to ensure your design includes somewhere for your light to sit. Once you have the frame in place you can cover it with tissue paper using watered down PVA glue. Make sure you leave a gap somewhere so you can get inside to put a light – we will be using LED candles.
I will be heading back to the Williamson Art Gallery tomorrow to help out at their next workshop – the theme this time will the Chinese New Year – I can’t wait!


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