We each had our own envelope, and we soon found out why.
Each envelope contained a piece of black card, a 6in x 4in canvas, a small envelope and a sheet of coloured card in colours that began with the first three letters of our names. Helen had to be quite inventive in some cases... the green above is L for Lime and the brown is Nut Brown!
Each person had to draw the first three letters of her name, one on each piece of card, not necessarily matching the colour it represented.
Then we put everything back in the envelope and passed it along to the person next to us. She had to cut out the letters we'd drawn. That wasn't always easy, as we didn't all draw easy shapes like these ones, and we all groaned and laughed and generally carried on about it.
Then we put everything back into the envelope and passed it along to the next person. She had to cut the letters into sections, whichever way she wanted. Then we passed everything along to the next person.
By now the shapes bore little resemblance to letters. Helen asked us to make a face with the shapes we'd been given.
|From left: faces from Nola, Helen, Carol, Maz and Cindy|
This was harder than it sounds, which was the point of the exercise. It really makes the creative part of your brain work hard, even though it's quite easy to make something that is recognisable as a face. Humans are hard-wired to recognise faces.
Then we packed the pieces back into their envelopes and passed the loose pieces along to the next person. This time, we had to make something living in the natural world, a plant, an animal, an insect...
|From left: Cindy's rose, Maz's insect, Carol's flower, Nola's caterpillar, Helen's flower|
By now, we thought we were getting the hang of this!
The next time we passed the envelopes along, we had our own letters back. Now came the real challenge, to make something from our shapes that would be the basis of a creative work. And this time, we would glue down our design to the black card, so we'd have it for reference. We could add other shapes from our card sheets, but we had to use all the letter shapes. Hmm.
Off we went.
.. and added pattern for the texture she planned to add later in the work.
Helen glued her shapes down and cut out the whole shape.
Then she flipped it and traced around the shape (she's done this before, hasn't she?)...... and began to see what she could make from the shape. She said she's "good at seeing faces".
Maz had trouble with her shapes so, after a false start..
... she decided to try Helen's method.
We all decided it looked like someone waving around a very serious weapon!
Nola had trouble too, because she had very few shapes from her letters.
She added some other shapes from cardboard and made one called The Big Bang,
but then she moved on to this strange animal, which she decided was a horse. Or maybe a dog. Or a dinosaur?
And here is a book that Helen showed us afterwards, of a similar thing she did previously with another group.
They had to use the letters of FLORA to make a design.
The she traced the outline, as she did in our group.
She played about with the shape and eventually made a face, which she described as "a Ruritanian in a funny hat".