Eynesbury Primary School

Fantastical Map of Eynesbury FINAL WEB

We were delighted to work with Eynesbury Primary School as our first Fantastical Cambridgeshire School.

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


Fantastical Map of Eynesbury

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:

Blue Dot children’s explorations of school grounds (for example the fantastical creature that has now become the project logo)

Red Dot children’s explorations of the market (for example Days Column in the market square)

Yellow Dot children’s explorations of church and graveyard (for example words from their circle poems inspired by Ted Hughes’ Amulet)

Pink Dot children’s walks by the river (for example the narrow boat)

Purple Dot 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.

The final programme for the day is here.

Our next blitz will be with Offord Primary School on 25th March 2017.

Creative Adventuring with Year Ones


(by Filipa Pereira-Stubbs) Our walk for this final day of adventuring together was simpler and closer - through the graveyard and over into the Conneygeare, right on the river banks. Once settled and safe we took a moment to sit still, close our eyes, and listen.  Then the children were off. Conversations roamed far and wide and included rivers and fish, rainbows and friends, compasses and dungeons and, of course, the haunted house.

girld seated on grass gathering materials leaves, sticks and bark

Line drawing of a compass

Image saying dangers ocean the Altantic Ocean. Beautiful. There are big fish. And a view.

Two boys building teh haunted house in a tree from the ground

Artwork of string and paper

Park bench use to dispaly a drawing called spy bais

Image of a line drawing of a happy and sad face called come in if you dare

Image of some woolen thread tied in a tree called my first knot

Image of a line drawing of a haunted house window with a crack

image of a girl called 'Little Longline' the fox

Children making called animals make an offer

Children using woolen thread and strips of paper called introducing the forest

Year 5 walking back to school

Girl carrying a basket made from paper called carrying back the basket

Year Five lead the way


(by Filipa Pereira-Stubbs) Todays going to be so fun - we’ve been out all morning. Phoebe

We walked a long way on this our final day of adventuring together - a long walk there, and a long walk back - along paths that took us through nettles, past lily pads, ducklings and fish, over noisy bubbling water, and under arching blue skis.  It was hot, but the conversation was flowing and intense.  Not once did any of the children flag or complain. Ryan, Charlie and George became the ‘illuminati group’ who pretended they were poor and lived in a tree. Here’s just a flavour of our adventures:

Drawing partly hidden inbetween the branches of a tree

Masking tape use to form a barricade

Children walking over a river on a narrow bridge

Children walking next to a river with a narrow boat in the background

Making tape use to form a barricade

Looking up at a boy in a tree

Looking at a map on the climbing frame

Bringing our imagination into the landscape


(by Filipa Pereira-Stubbs) We had the best time, we went to the park (chorus back in the Year Five classroom)

Group of Children under a sign wondering which way to go

Children walking down a narrow path holding their hand up so they don't get stung

Group of children walking along a leafy riverbank

For this fourth and final day of adventuring, we invited the children to decide where to walk to - in consultation with each other and their teachers, they would make the decision, and surprise us.

an arrow stock on a tree with masking tape pointing the way to the next clue

A torn piece of paper laying on the ground saying now you've found the first clue go west to find clue two

Image of seeds, leaves, sticks and poppy heads on the ground

We deliberately brought very few materials with us; as we walked we identified different spaces to explore and encouraged the children to select a few materials to create and decorate their space, thinking carefully about what they needed.

I really liked choosing where to go and we could do what we wanted and I know this park but I only came here when I was six  Charlie (now nine)

Put what you like on the map, anything, …


Child working on a huge map spread out on the ground

 (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…….

Image of a small boat setting sail on the fantastical map

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.

Cardboard cutout of a building for NHS Doctor

Drawing of a map showing sewer pipes

Cardboard cutout of a cinema

Cardboard cutout of a Greggs bakery

cardboard cutout of a giant and people at a cinema

Painting of a houseboat in black and blue

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

Beginning the brilliant fantastical map


Map of the river

Map of pathways

(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.

Artist Sally Todd and children creating amulet poems

Images of work for the muddy path

Children work on their fantastical map kneeling on the ground

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.

Which way is north?


(by Sally Todd)

Peachy peachy
Suma looma

We met at the bustling Thursday market in the centre of St Neots and started with a meander around the stalls, looking at the sights and wares. There was much laughter at the ‘Ladies Knickers’ sign and ‘Fat Balls’ pet food along the way, and a chat with the butcher about the football results. We settled by the fruit sellers* and did four quick sketches looking North, South, East and West.

I’m doing a tennis racket, cushion box and table with five pound note Noel

This is the vehicle to help the old people go where they like Leo

I drawed a t-shirt, some steak, wrapping paper and strawberries Oliver

Which way IS North? We checked our bearings with a compass, then mapped out the school, the market square and the river.

We’ve got a different kind of compass, it has the time on it…we’re just doing the six continents now….somebody in the market could come here and find their way to the continents Ellis and Travis

We asked the children to draw two of the old buildings surrounding the square, leaving a gap in between to place what they would like to see in the centre of St Neots.

A water park….my house…..a dragon statue…..a book shop….my mum and the sun

I’m drawing these agents climbing the wall, New York agents Callum

I drew a museum with paintings and artists Leo

I’ve done a market house for the homeless people to live in Charlotte

We took a moment to look at old pictures of the market place from long ago. Phoebe recognised some of the same buildings and exclaimed, Oh we’re there in the future of the picture!

and finally we made a giant collaborative drawing of the things we could see and the things that we imagined.

from a single volcano….look at all that lava…. look how far it goes….well its all over the world Gabriel

The nearby fabric stallholders said they wished they’d had that experience at their school, as they ran to help us save the Year Five’s drawing from blowing away!

Inside people is a heart…


Amulet by Ted Hughes  

Inside the wolf’s fang, the mountain of heather.

Inside the mountain of heather, the wolf’s fur.

Inside the wolf’s fur, the ragged forest.

Inside the ragged forest, the wolf’s foot.

Inside the wolf’s foot, the stony horizon.

Inside the stony horizon, the wolf’s tongue.

Inside the wolf’s tongue, the doe’s tears.

Inside the doe’s tears, the frozen swamp.

Inside the frozen swamp, the wolf’s blood.

Inside the wolf’s blood, the snow wind.

Inside the snow wind, the wolf’s eye.

Inside the wolf’s eye, the North star.

Inside the North star, the wolf’s fang.

(by Filipa Pereira Stubbs) Inviting the children to create their own poems in response to this offered them a different way to map the familiar terrain we had explored together that day. Many were seeped in imagery from the church and the graveyard. Here are just a few examples:

Colouring the Map


(by Sally Todd) The children have been thinking how colour is used in maps;

this one looks all Christmassy with its red and green lines….the land is the colour of skin….this map is all a forest its got green everywhere

We offered the children a pure colour ‘station’ to test out the impact of colour on a map. It prompted powerful images of journey stories, signs and personal expression:

Giraffe carrying a mammal map, sticking its tongue out by Holly

Its my great grandad he died, lava fell on him by Dom

Lake going to a Yeti with snow tornado by Callum

The House of Haunted map  (where T is for Tesco, EB is for Edinburgh, the blue lines lead to the house, the red is blood, the brown for houses, and black spiders) by Charlotte

Map of my Emotions by Missy

The future is a tree


(by Sally Todd)

Inside the church there are memories
Inside memories there are people
Inside the people there is love
Inside the love is a candle
Inside the candle is a light
Inside the light there is a church

Ana, Year Five

Inside the tree is a heart and in the heart is the future and in the future is a tree
Travis,Year One

Back at school we picked up on the geo cache idea Ryan had shared and began to think about what else might be hidden outside. We shared Amulet by Ted Hughes and talked about special objects before inviting them to create their own ‘circle’ poems, taking an object seen on the walk as their starting point. The church featured hugely in the amulet poems, partly because we had lingered there, taking shelter from a torrential downpour and maybe also due to the atmosphere of this hushed and contemplative space.

What’s Church got to do with art?


(by Sally Todd) This was Cameron's question from year 1 before our visit to the church earlier this morning. Here are just a few of the other observations and comments made by the children after their visits.  I am struck by richness of their drawings and their responses to the early art work found in the church but also on the ‘studio like’ atmosphere of calm and space that we found within such a building.

The squares are there to hold the people upright….The tower is moving backwards and forwards.. (year 1)

It was calm and peaceful…I was intrigued because I didn’t know where we were going, like being lost on a map….The wood smelt musty in the church, I don’t smell it when the whole school is there….I could hear voices echoing and footsteps….I didn’t think that kind of thing would be in the church (the skull)…I was shocked by the crumbling wall

The Village inside the Town


(by Sally Todd) One of the year 5s described Eynesbury as like ‘a village inside the town’ and today we ventured out on a first local walk with the children despite the heavy rain, asking them to imagine they were exploring Eynesbury as if for the very first time. Taking pocket size sketchbooks and pencils with us, we wondered what we might discover on our own doorstep, if we look carefully and take a while?

I love that tree!….I can smell mud…There are loads of holes in the ground, like china

At the end of the lane sits St Mary’s Church, one of the oldest buildings in St Neots. The children know the church well, through its relationship with their school and also for some children, in a very real and profound way, with the graves of family members. We thought we would look inside the church. The children explored tentatively at first, as they adjusted to the darkened space, then they became emboldened….

(of the light in the ceiling) I think that’s the internet….The glass windows are a map of Jesus…What’s behind the curtain?…..it’s the Giant’s door!

Outside again, we spoke also of the hidden and concealed things within the local landscape, like the ancient rabbit pathways underground and then, Ryan told us he knew where there was a geo cache buried in the graveyard. As we made our way to the river we stopped to look at another old building, this one boarded up and overgrown and known locally as the ‘haunted’ house:

There’s ghost in there….I’m looking at it now….no one lives there….its scary

One minute St Neots, next moment the world


Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly discover the world.
(Frederick Franck)

(by Sally Todd) I was struck by the artist Emma Kay’s ‘The World from Memory’ drawings (part of a project on knowledge and subjectivity) and I thought we could ask the children to draw their home town…..in one minute…..and then the world. When you only have a minute you have to respond directly, with sometimes revealing insights about what we know or what might be significant……..

It was intense, speedy
I drew the keys on my map
I drew my house….and Subway
I did the rugby pitch
I did the world and I drawed England
These are Scottish Islands and the North Pole and the South Pole
I put myself in the world
I drew the world and I also drew the things that mean the world to me

One minute drawings of St Neots……

……..and one minute drawings of the World

Dinosaurs don’t need maps


(By Filipa Pereira-Stubbs) We have returned for a second day with the children to think about maps and what they can be. 

Year One's speculations included:
… in the olden days it was really useful - they had to use horses or donkeys - they didn’t have cars
It’s the same as satnavs.
Dinosaurs don’t need maps - they have a sense of smell...

Year Five added some intriguing ideas:
A Map can be of anything of life, a place where you live.
You could draw it on a wall or door.
It could be made out of rocks…..or hair.

We set each class a fun challenge - to draw a map of St Neots in just one minute. The children were quick to respond. Maps with a simple line, random houses, trees, cars, a dog on a roof of a house, the river, home, roads leading to school and away from school.

Then again, in one minute, the invitation to draw a map of the world.  This time there were spherical earths, filled with lands, labelled countries, floating aliens, moons and stars.

We talked again about how what goes into a map depends on what's important to you – more on this in One minute St. Neots.

Then it was action stations! Children took turns at our five stations, free to experiment with collage, colours, maps, constructions and words. They used these to consider tools, attitudes and thinking around map making, as a way into thinking about their own Fantastical Map. The children also mapped their own ideas, stories, themes and used colour, words and map segments as springboards for further creating and making.

Using words and letters as our inspiration, we also drew worlds of words, and big bold patterns and stories began to emerge. Together we thought about what and who inhabited our world with us - water, roads, houses...dogs, bees, parents, school friends...imaginary creatures, aliens, and exotic animals.

The children were becoming more confident and curious in finding new ways of mapping.  

At the very end of the day, Ryan commented Thank you so much for coming.  You’ve let my mind free on paper.

Joanna added I really enjoyed it.  I went into my imaginative mind.

Is Holland pink?


(by Sally Todd and Filipa Pereira-Stubbs)

On our first day recently with the children we wanted to begin by listening to their thinking about art and adventures. After we had introduced ourselves as artists and described how we often collaborate on projects, sharing and listening to each other’s ideas, we asked the children, what might an artist do?

The children thought about what an artist might do - paint pictures….paint trees….shapes….decorate…paint countries… decorate cities….some even paint houses…make music… paint the horizon at the back of the sky

And also what they might use - In the olden days people would get berries from plants because they didn’t have paint and then they would make paint that was red.....Ah they use their bodies - we all have bodies - does that mean we can all be artists? ….Yes cos you can use everything, every part of your body!...Use your imagination….reuse stuff.

We also asked the children, what might an adventure be?

For year 1 it was:

Finding dinosaur bones and fossils….strawberries and blackberries…all sorts of stuff we can use to make new stuff…you go into a forest and camp there…you sleep downstairs…different places and new things…outside is the better one…go to the moon…nature

If you go to school and its new, its an adventure

Year 5 captured the importance of the familiar and the strange beautifully in their answers:

Exploring something you haven’t experienced before.. going somewhere you’ve never been before…going somewhere far away….going to a different country….going to the same place during different seasons - a landscape in different seasons….just go out in the park…looking at things in more detail.

But also how they can take the lead:

You could create your own adventure
Dream an adventure

We moved from the classroom to the big hall where we projected a variety of maps from around the world and throughout time, using the overhead projector. This prompted a lot of questions and theories about what a map might look like, what it might be telling us and what we could imagine a map to be?  We sat in the dark and reflected on……

Reconstruction of Roman Geographer AD43 world map…….the blue is the colour for the sea and the skin colour is the land

A 12th Century Islamic map of the world…..Is that the world with a boat?

A Polynesian navigational map….Is it a leaf? It’s a semi circle….a nest….the top of an acorn…..tiny little baby leaves….its for the stars!

Mt Vesuvius lava flow map 1631-1831….Are those coloured worms?

Iceland polar bear map 1598….Its like a skeleton with a backbone

Europe as Queen map 1587……Is Holland pink? Is it New York? I can see the New York Lady

City of London Aerial view……It’s a satnav map….Eastenders!

100 acre wood map EH Shepherd……Winnie the Pooh!

Glove map for London Great Exhibition 1850…He has the whole world in his hand so its like God’s hand

We shared with the children that, as artists and ‘cartographers’ working together, we would be creating a fantastical map of the St Neots area ….thinking together about and imagining what we might like to put on our map.

As a way in to the process, we asked them to take us somewhere in their school grounds, settle and draw something they observed or were thinking or imagined. Intricately observed drawings and imaginary fantasy landscapes were begun.

Introducing Fantastical Cambridgeshire


We met with the teaching staff at Eynesbury Primary School, introduced the ideas and principles of the project, and how we would work with the children and the school community over the coming months. We shared too some thoughts around what mapping might look like with examples of maps drawings and objects.

We then offered the staff a flavour of CCI’s working process by inviting them to collaborate on creating a map of St Neots… from the perspective of either a giant or a tiny creature… and with a palette of earth coloured inks/chalks and recycled maps.  

Here is a taste of some of the conversations we had about the map that was created collaboratively…

I used my hand because I am from St Neots.

I used to have a boat and this is a memory map of me using my boat, going from the mill and back.

This is the big park with the river running through it.

Mine is a network of roads, thinking about children coming from a range of places.

Mine is of the marina - there are lots of bulrushes in the marina which are beautiful as they have gone all fuzzy.

Noticing St Neots


(by Sally Todd) As a prelude to the project, Filipa and I took a wander from Eynesbury Primary School along the river towards the centre of St Neots.

Navigation Wharf… Windmill Row… Fishers Yard… the street names conjure up a place full of stories and potential.

The town feels framed and enlivened by the river, with wonderfully atmospheric green spaces to experience on our route to the centre… an ancient tree catches our eye… lichen covered and ’bemused’ stone faces stare back at us as we pass through the churchyard… we find old buildings enveloped in foliage like a fairy tale forgotten city and ‘secret’ waterways through tiny arches and then suddenly we are in the centre with the wave of traffic… and the singing busker and the bright colours of the high street and the clever chewing gum ‘collector’… jolting us from our reverie. We arrive at the vast open space of St Neots market place… in the rain… though we still get our bearings on the sun dial…