Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Book in its Natural Habitat - Lynn Huggins-Cooper

I have done lots of events and school visits on the theme of my book 'One Boy's War' . Recently I carried out a six week residency with my author-plus-textiles-artist hat on. We made a banner with a class of Year Six pupils and a group of older village residents as part of an inter-generational project.

It really felt like my book was being read in its 'natural habitat,' because the boy in the story was from a small mining village in County Durham, and the school I was based at was in a mining village in rural Gateshead. 

The village takes heritage very seriously, and history stands side by side with modern life. The past is remembered, and valued - and the people are celebrated. 

We chose a banner, because the Chopwell miners banner is so celebrated and well known. 

I started the project by reading the story and talking about the First World War, encouraging the children to handle artifacts to bring history to life. 

Working together, the older folks and pupils wet felted a poppy each to hang from the banner. 

The group discussed and sketched out designs and we worked over the weeks to produce the different aspects of the banner in fabric. The older ladies were experienced with needlework and this really helped the children to realise their ideas.

It was immensely satisfying - and humbling - as an author to quite literally see 'all ages'  enjoying my story and working together on the theme. 

 I am proud to say that the finished piece now hangs in the school which hosts the Chopwell Miners Banner - an honour indeed!


Penny Dolan said...

How heart-warming to be able to celebrate all that's within your book in this meaningful and creative way, Lynn. A most admirable sort of launch.

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Wonderful work! Its so great that different age groups could work on a single project like this so that the drawings could be transformed into cloth and stitches and the children helped with the stitchery. I've just been reading about the artist Louise Borgeois's cloth books so feel very akin to your project. What a lovely idea and how satisfying for all involved. Thanks for posting.

Joan Lennon said...

What an excellent project - well done all!