This is their very own fantastical map, made collaboratively and containing over 200 layers of drawings and words gathered during our work together with a sound file to play as you enjoy it. These are thousands of yellow ants moving in their nest (more of these sounds and who made them are here).
Below are posts about the process which began in May 2016 and concluded with a sharing of the map with the whole school in November. People of all ages have been invited on creative adventures to re-imagine Eynesbury with us and grow a sense of wonder about the possibilities it offers. They shared these discoveries in the form of drawings, images and words. Every single contribution was invaluable and influenced the project in all sorts of ways. Some of these wonderful ideas can be seen on the final map but there are many more in the posts below. A key to some of how these layers were created is here.
Artists Filipa Pereira-Stubbs and Sally Todd were the artists in residence at the school. Deb Wilenski, in her role as creative connector for our work, has been sharing some of the children’s ideas with others interested in their ideas in order to inspire Wild Exchanges - extraordinary conversations about the real and imaginary. These are shared here. Artist Helen Stratford also worked with Eynesbury to produce our first ever Fantastical Blitz day on 24 September, where the whole community was invited to add to the conversations and discoveries.
A copy of this map has been given to every child in the school. It is also available from Eynesbury Parish Church, St Neots Library, St Neots Museum and the Vir2oso interactive art stall in the market square. In many ways it is just a beginning and we invite people to add their own (real or imagined) discoveries about Eynesbury to it.
Over 200 layers
This fantastical map was made collaboratively and contains over 200 layers of drawing and words, incorporating the work of children and adults alike – all carefully connected by illustrator Elena Arévalo Melville.
The key below indicates that these elements were created during:
children’s explorations of school grounds (for example the fantastical creature that has now become the project logo)
children’s explorations of the market (for example Days Column in the market square)
children’s explorations of church and graveyard (for example words from their circle poems inspired by Ted Hughes’ Amulet)
children’s walks by the river (for example the narrow boat)
the Fantastical Blitz day (for example the entrance to the underworld inspired by conversations about Coneygeare)
You can find out more details by reading the posts below.
Our first fantastical blitz
On this warm and windy Saturday at the end of September, we welcomed over 100 people of all ages from the local community to join us to complete 24 hours of creative adventuring and together create a fantastical map of Eynesbury. The Blitz itself began on Friday with families taking home our Props Boxes or joining in on walks led by the St Neots Museum. Then throughout Saturday, we hosted a whole range of drop in activities from our base camp in school. Our youngest participant was 14 months and our oldest in their eight decade. Some people stayed more than 3 hours as they immersed themselves in all the different activities.
Here’s some of their comments on the day plus a slideshow of images and this brilliant short film offering a birdseye view of base camp:
What did I like the best? Hmmm this big map, the art, the whole world in a map, the one minute map, the fantastical maps of space and the earth… oh and the sound thing was amazing. (Kier)
I loved the Wild Exchanges, such a nice environment (Isabel, Year 6)
Nice to cocoon yourself in the tent and to draw. Not an activity we would normally do… (Alfie’s dad)
Not too much to do, just right for us and some space to do it which felt good (Dad of Josh (6) and Zak (4))
We loved the idea of the Wild Exchanges…. I didn’t necessarily think of them as children but just as people with interesting ideas… (Katherine and Gregory from Manchester)
It felt so inclusive and friendly and not too busy so we were very chilled (mum of Charlotte, Daniel and Amelia)
The whole thing was very relaxed and enjoyable (mum of Bethany, 12 and Isla, 8)
The day was made possible by the brilliant energy of the children and families and local residents who joined in but also by the support to run the activities and the day from: the Neotists, St Neots Museum, Cambridge Conservation Initiative, Tesco Extra St Neots, Eynesbury Parish Church and Vir2oso. And of course Eynesbury school who were brave enough to host the first ever Fantastical Blitz Day on their grounds.
Particular thanks to photographer and film-maker Maciek Platek for his film and many beautiful images included here, to bio-acoustic engineer William Seale for sharing his extraordinary recordings in our tent of sounds and to illustrator Elena Arévalo Melville for her fantastical signage on the day. And of course to CCI artists Filipa Pereira-Stubbs, Helen Stratford, Sally Todd, and Deb Wilenski, all our wonderful volunteers and the CCI Board of Trustees.
Our next blitz will be with Offord Primary School on 25th March 2017.
Beginning the brilliant fantastical map
(by Sally Todd) On our last residency day, we asked Year One and Year Five to collaborate in creating a giant map of ‘Eynesbury in St Neots’. We emptied the Year Five classroom and covered the floor with a giant piece of paper for the children to work on, with an additional ‘studio’ in Year One for those who wanted to paint or write more amulet poems for the map.
We needed volunteers to orientate the map…..the river, the school, the church, the market square and a compass too. Ms Robertson wondered if it was daunting to work on the huge white paper but we then thought, working all together would give us courage and Ryan B and Ben started to ‘map’ the river, followed by Ellis and Gabriel creating the compass.
Without further prompting, the children embraced the need to ground the map in the real, discussing amongst themselves where things should be placed, and checking that landmarks were on the right side of the river.
A map of practical and extraordinary things
(by Sally Todd) It didn’t take long for the map year one and year 5 were creating together to include a plethora of both practical and extraordinary things including: a cinema, a sewer pipe, the doctor, the baker, and a houseboat. A ‘haunted’ house was needed too, after all we had seen it on one of the outings, and of course the famous Eynesbury Giant.
I really like the blue shoe, there’s a bit on the land and a bit on the water. Not like a real shoe but like an imaginary shoe Jamir
I’ve made the Eynesbury Giant. He needs to stand up. In the middle of the map. Alex
This is the haunted house with claw marks from a big monster Ryan A
Put what you like on the map, anything, …
(by Sally Todd) The brilliant fantastical map that the children created, was the culmination of a body of work that developed throughout the project. It was inspired by their earlier sketchbooks, the experience of the outings and a confidence from revisiting materials explored previously. There was also the added excitement of creating features in 3D with painted objects and cardboard models.
As expert mapmakers they offered the following advice to anyone wanting to make a fantastical map themselves:
They would need to spread everything out, make sure the river is there, but also that everything is connected up with paths Becca and Joanna, Year 5
Be really focused and look at a LOT of different things. Let everyone join in and use your imagination. You should use different materials. It helped when we looked at lots of different maps. I really like using 3-D objects like this ball. Missy, Ash, Frank, Year 5
Do what you want. It could be a map of anything. Like I’m doing the haunted house in 3D. But it could even be a haunted park. That would be good. With a swing that goes by itself cos a ghost is on it. I’d definitely go to a haunted park. Would you? Would you open the gate? It might be creaky. But put what you like on the map. Anything. It could even be a chicken. A potato spud. It’s up to you. It doesn’t matter. You just need to make sure that you use your imagination. And whacky colours too – that helps. Ryan A, Year 5
You need to think quite carefully about the real and the fantastical said Anna,Year 5, who also shared that, the best bits were doing this big map, and being with the Year One’s too, that’s been good. I like that we’re making it out of lots of different materials, 3D and pop up. We found exciting things when we were out walking…….