Belper Fun Palace 2016

It is not long now until Belper’s first Fun Palace. The event will take place on October 1st from 12.00 – 16.00 in the venue Number 28 which is situated on the Market Place in Belper. I have written in a previous post about how Fun Palaces started and each year since 2014 the movement has grown. The Fun Palace movement says, WE BELIEVE IN THE GENIUS IN EVERYONE, IN EVERYONE AN ARTIST AND EVERYONE A SCIENTIST, AND THAT CREATIVITY IN COMMUNITY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER.comic.jpeg

In a previous blog post I have given information about some of the activities that will go on and in this post is more information about opportunities to be creative and have fun. Also a reminder that there will be a chance to learn CPR with Amber Community First Responders who will also hope to have their car outside the

You will be able to make your own song bird with the help of Nansy Ferret. Nansy is a local artist and also singer and songwriter in Belper band, Red Ruff. For the Fun Palace she will be giving you the opportunity to combine songs – either your own or somebody else’s – with visual image. Come along, play with words and create a bird to sing in your home or to give to a loved one so that they can see your song each day! You can see more of Nansy’s work by following her on facebook as Nansy Ferrett-Campbell or on twitter @monster_nip.FullSizeRender

The Derbyshire branch of the British Science Association will be there with some Science fun and experiments for visitors to join in with.BSA

There will be the chance to use your creativity with pipe cleaners and wool to make a variety of characters either human, animal or magical.FairyFullSizeRender

Artist Tan Draig will be leading a hands on activity with Platonic solids before he attempts (with the help of the public) to make the largest string vest in the world at 15.00 hours.platon1

There will be some creative recycling, using glass jars to make decorative tea light holders.FullSizeRender-2

This event will also have a cafe for light refreshments between activities.


FIGMENT Derby is set to take place next Saturday August 20th from 12.00 until 5.00pm on Cathedral Green outside Derby Silk Mill Museum.Trees

FIGMENT Derby is to be the first FIGMENT event in Europe so it is not surprising if you have not heard of it. FIGMENT started with an event in New York in July 2007. Since then it has grown significantly each year in the United states and Canada.

Here is a paragraph from the FIGMENT website, ‘FIGMENT’s vision for art looks past the white-walled galleries and into the realm of participation. Art is not just something that you stand still and quietly look at–it is something you participate in. You touch it, smell it, write on it, talk to it, dance with it, play with it, learn from it. Interactive art creates a dynamic collaboration between the artist, the audience and their environment.’

It is a free event for the whole community to join in with and FIGMENT Derby is produced with support from Derby Museums. The event will start with a picnic, (bring your own food), which will take place on a large quilt that has been made by volunteers and visitors at Derby Silk Mill Museum.Quilt2Lots of photos can be seen HERE from previous US FIGMENT events. News about FIGMENT Derby can be found on their Facebook Page

I am hoping to yarn Bomb Cathedral Green with the help of the general public. I will be bring along knitted blankets, long wool wraps and knitted flowers that can be attached to the trees. The aim will be to turn the green into a colourful garden.
Bees on tree

photo 2csunflowersThere will also be an opportunity to join in making the longest daisy chain possible. The daises will be constructed from felt and be joined together by the traditional method of daisy chains.

IMG_0675It will also be possible to sit and knit while watching the other activities taking place on the green and it promises to be a fantastic, free, participatory event. Please come and join us.Trees1

Belper’s Fun Palace

Its only about six weeks until Belper’s Fun Palace which will take place at Number 28, The Market Place, Belper. The fun will start at 12 noon and finish at 4.00pm. I am writing this blog post to inform everyone about some of the planned activities.

Tan Draig a local artist is aiming to get people to help make the largest string vest in the world. The string vest will be exhibited later in October as part of ‘Belper in Bloomers’ underwear exhibition (to launch on Sat 22 Oct as part of Discovery days) at Number 28. Here is a link to all that is happening during the Discovery Days.Tan

The photo above of Tan was taken at the opening of the “part of the Fabric’ exhibition that he made in Belper’s North Mill. There is a very good account of this piece of work in the Derby Telegraph.

The large string vest will be made by a human knitting machine and Tan will need lots of help to achieve this. This particular activity will take place during the afternoon at 3.00pm. Before this time Tan has promised to enable visitors to join in with a fun mathematic activities.

There will also be creative workshops for people both adults and children to join in with. Marilyn Deakin another Belper artist will be running a collage workshop suitable for all. Here is an example of her work

MDtransitionautumn_cropped2_thumb and much more can be found on her website

Marilyn like myself believes that everyone is an artist, these are her words, “ For me its about communication and passing on skills and opportunities for people as I believe everyone is an artist – they just need to find themselves – that is my aim.”She is planning an Autumn collage workshop for the Fun Palace and has sent me this photo, however everyones work will be unique to themselves. leaf collage

There will be a chance for visitors to learn how to perform CPR correctly with help of Amber First Responders. This skill could help you save a life and is worth everyone becoming familiar with.CPR

Here is a link to their Facebook Page and a link to their Twitter Page.

There will be a chance to have a go at making something with stamps thanks to Helen from All Things Stampy. She was one of the first Independent Stampin’ Up!® demonstrators in the UK when it launched in November 2007. She runs workshops and has a website where you can order all you would need to make the most amazing cards etc. This is a fantastic chance to have a first go at making something for free.


These activities are a taste of what will be on offer at Belper’s Fun Palace. In about a week I will write about some of the other amazing activities that you can enjoy on October 1st at Number 28.

Here is a picture of how one young person imagines a Fun palace to look, so do come along on October 1st to see for yourself.Fun Palace 1

Fun Palace

Last year I attended my first Fun Palace at Derby Silk Mill Museum. I had not heard about Fun Palaces before but always enjoyed attending activities at the museum. downloadThe original idea for Fun Palaces dates back to 1961 when Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price came up with the idea and designed the Fun Palace which they called a ‘Laboratory of Fun’. Joan said that she believed in the genius in every person and also in the idea of community.

It was to be a temporary and movable home to the arts and sciences, open and welcoming to all. For many reasons it wasn’t possible in 1961 and the Fun Palace never came to fruition as a building. The idea however, of a space welcoming and open to all, bringing arts and sciences together, where everyone is an artist and everyone a scientist, remained a GREAT idea.

The Fun Palace became an annual reality from 2014 when Stella Duffy and Sarah-Jane Rawlings organised the first Fun Palaces throughout the country. The first ones took place on the hundredth anniversary of Joan’s birth. The idea quickly grew to become an event taking place worldwide on the first weekend in October. This year that is October 1st and 2nd.



The idea is that it is an event organised by local people for the fun and enjoyment of local people. Here is a short video from 2014 explaining a little more about the idea behind Fun Palaces.

This year I am planning to organise Belper’s first Fun Palace to take place at Number 28 situated on the Market Place Belper.10460502_506304829499772_9086914353426889366_n

The event will take place on Saturday October 1st from 12 noon until 4.00pm.

However the fun begins now with the fun of planning the event. I have just made a comic strip from a link on the Fun Palace website.comic.jpeg

Above is the one that I have made. There is also a Write, Science competition which needs to be completed by the end of this month July 2016.

Planning is already going ahead for Belper’s first Fun Palace which is to be a fun community event for all age groups. I will be writing soon about the activities, however if anyone reading this post has an idea that could be included please get in contact through the comments.

Here are three more comic strips made by my grandchildren just for the fun of it.

GComic IComic NComic

Flowers and Animals of the Woollen Woods

This blog, ‘Flowers and Animals of the Woollen Woods’, is a chance to show some of the amazing pieces made by knitters and crocheters for this years Woollen Woods. I have taken so many photographs that it is difficult to choose and there will be some I don’t feature on this blog. Every piece is important however and the people of Belper have loved seeing the woods with the animals, birds and themed trees.

There have been plenty of bugs both large and small. As well as bees, dragonflies and butterflies some very large ants were seen in the trees. There were caterpillars, snails and many spiders webs.ant spider web on twigs catterpillar

The woods were alive with animals even some from the very distant past. Dinosaurs once again roamed but didn’t cause any problems apart from disappearing for a few hours and then being found again. There were a number of very colourful snakes but they stayed in the trees and I am not aware of anyone claiming to have been bitten. There were plenty of pink pigs and a flock of very colourful Belper sheep who really enjoyed climbing the squirrel red dinosaur green dinosaur hedgehogs snake rabbit pink pigssheepThere were hundreds of amazing flowers many made by Belper Gardening Club. The woods were full of both real and woolly bluebells.flowers2 flowers1 blue bells

We are planning to join in with next years Woollen Woods and as soon as Voluntary Arts Week announce the dates we will let everyone know. I imagine it will be in May 2017. May is also the month of the Belper Arts Festival and so it is a fantastic opportunity for many to join in with that event as well. Keep an eye on this blog and also the Anne Clark Handmade Facebook page to get all the news.

Twitchers were delighted to discover many new species of birds, including a whole variety of day time owls.robin green bird coathanger owl 3 owls

The event takes part in an area of woodland known as Belper Parks Wood which is very central to the town of Belper. It is a lovely area to walk through, climb trees in and even have a picnic.teddy bears

Themed Trees, Belper Woollen Woods.

The Belper Woollen Woods was once again a fantastic event. There were more pieces installed in the trees than in 2015 and lots more people joining in, to both make and help with attaching to trees. There have been numerous photos and videos shared on Social Media which has been great to see. Woollen Woods have their own Facebook page. Once again the weather was very kind to us and the bluebells added extra beauty and colour. This year there were a couple of themed trees telling stories which added interest. As well as the themed trees there was a seaside themed area. Continue reading Themed Trees, Belper Woollen Woods.

Woollen Woods

It is just a week now until the Woollen Woods happen in Belper Parks Wood. It has been fantastic this year that more people have joined in the fun of making pieces for the woods. A few days ago I had a bit of a panic wondering how long it would take to put everything up. However having put an appeal on Facebook lots have responded with offers of help. Now the thing I am worrying about is the weather. Last year it was lovely and warm and the sun shone the whole time. I am not concerned about the knitted and crocheted pieces as I know from experience they survive very well but more concerned for the fingers of the installers if its cold! Continue reading Woollen Woods

Belper Arts Festival

Belper Arts Festival is now in its fourth year and promises to be the best yet. There are so many exciting things planned for the town. The Festival which includes Belper Music Festival lasts for the whole month of May 2016. The Woollen Woods is part of Belper Arts Festival and will be installed in The Parks woodland on May 6-7th and taken down on May 15th.

It is fantastic that this year Woollen Woods will be up for longer and has even more people joining in to make things. There is still time for more knitters, crocheters and felters to take part and details can be found HERE or contact me on Facebook Anne Clark Handmade. Today I have been in the woods with some of the animals taking photographs and being filmed for the Belper Arts Festival trailer. Here is a good map of the area and the Woollen Woods will be in the area of Ladywell Park and Great Parks Wood. The map shows walks through the woods and tells you about the bluebells. Once again we will have a three foot bluebell as part of the Woollen Woods. Continue reading Belper Arts Festival

What If Machine

This year I was once again part of a team making one section of a ‘What If Machine’ in Derby Silk Mill Museum. To explain, a ‘What If Machine’ is a machine along the lines of Rube Goldberg or Heath Robinson. Its the sort of machine that finds a long and complicated way to achieve a simple task. The task we had to achieve last Saturday was to unroll a banner saying ‘WE MADE IT HAPPEN Continue reading What If Machine

Woollen Woods 2016

Calling all Yarn Bombers, knitters, crocheters and those who work with felt, you are needed to help with the Woollen Woods 2016. Once again the magic will return to the Belper Parks Wood during Voluntary Arts Week and Belper Arts Festival. The woods will be inhabited by woollen creatures and vegetation created by knitters, crocheters and felt artists both local and from further afield. Red squirrels will return and be joined by foxes, hedgehogs, owls, moles, toads and insects of all varieties. Red squirrels in Belper parks woodPart of the woods will be transformed into the seaside and I am looking for fish, octopuses, shells, seagulls, seaweed, pebbles etc. Some trees will be decorated to tell a story and individuals or groups are very welcome to adopt a tree.Flower Woollen Woods 2016 Flowers of all varieties will fill the woods and amongst the bluebells there will be one that is three feet high. Woollen Woods 2016 are springing up all over the British Isles and this year Belper Parks Wood has been chosen by Voluntary Arts to be their flagship event for the Midlands. We are looking for people who would like to be part of this event.

You do not need to be an expert knitter or crocheter. Squares can be used to wrap around trees or be turned into flying birds with the addition of felt wings.Birds made from squares

The important thing is to enjoy making. The size of the finished pieces is not important. The event starts on Friday May 6th (Craft Bomb Day) when a couple of the trees will be craft bombed as a taster for what is to come.

The main event will start on Saturday May 7th with the installation of the rest of the pieces which will remain in the woods until May 15th. The woods can be accessed from the Coppice Car Park off the Market Place, from halfway up Mill Lane, The Fleet or the end of Alder Road.Belper Map

Many items can be seen around the area of the Poetry stone not far from the Mill Lane entrance. I would like to have things for Woollen Woods 2016 by April 23rd. Please contact me for details either by leaving a comment on this blog or messaging me on my Facebook page. Last year was a great success and a lot of fun so I am hoping more people will become part of this years event.  mushroom in the Woollen Woods