Wednesday, 4 August 2010

National Play Day

Another Play Day - our fourth for the play association based in Dorchester. Having done willow wings and swords, leaf mobiles, harvest crowns, leather wristbands and gauntlets, this time we were doing mobiles, head dresses, willow rattles/corndollies, dragonflies and building a Viking boat! And of course, storytelling.
Leaving really early, to set up the Pavilion by 9.30 for a 10am start...after coming back from Cornwall on Sunday, was not ideal...but we were all ready to go on time, and offered dragonflies, mobiles and helping build a willow boat sculpture. The boat turned out beautifully - it was made of willow panels, with a mast, rudder, figurehead of the unicorn carnival head, and peopled with masks like the green goblin and grey wolf. It looked splendid, and by the end had arches set in the decks...
The mobiles and head dresses were popular, and I was pleased to see that folks of all ages and genders were interested, and the mobile I made to set the ball rolling drew much praise. (Still a kick, having only been any kind of maker relatively recently.) As ever, some smaller folk decided to make the willow rings themselves, while some teenagers and adults bottled out and requested to have pre-made ones or us to make them - never predictable who chooses to or not. Some made wonderful trailing head dresses, and others fairy crowns. Some from organza fabric, and others from curling ribbon. As ever also, by three o'clock, I felt I had been cutting up fabric forever... However much stuff ready cut up you go with, people always tear through it, and as fast as you make more, they vacuum it up, like (as said in a previous blog) guests at an endless feast, some calling for beer, and some for cake, and all for cheese and biscuits...(again, to use the same book as analogy as in a previous blog -) like Bilbo in 'The Hobbit' when the dwarves come visiting...
Willow rattles/dollies/torches or whatever one wants to call them went down well in the afternoon, small children to adults taking up the challenge, but for the faint hearted of every age, we still offered mobiles and crowns, and got a couple of people wanting wings. And of course a few desperate for swords, again, as always.
Perhaps we should, as Wayne pointed out, review offering an interactive boat sculpture however, as every time we've done it so far, the weather has tipped it down! The weather was distinctly changeable - luckily dry when we set up, and sunny on taking down and clearing up! but grey and misty during parts of the day, and pouring with rain twice. The Pavilion of course was packed, and Deor performed the Inca flood myth as the rain pelted down. We also did Bulgarian and Swedish tales which made everyone laugh, and then Deor finished with a dark but haunting and beautiful tale of 'when King Hal shall ride again'.
I didn't even have time to stop for lunch, as folks came in wanting to make things as I took my first bite of the burgers being handed out to those working there, and didn't stop till after every other attraction had finished either, as folks kept wanting more! The very last being a couple making a mobile to hang in their baby's nursery...

We all lay about on the grass dazed and in my case confused as well, after the last bits of fabric and willow were gone, the camera's charge exhausted and the Pavilion packed away...and were paid promptly (always pleasant!) and praised a great deal - 'we think you're wonderful' said the organizers, 'so flexible!' They loved how popular we were, how we offer things both simple and complex for every age and competency/confidence range, the sheer number of things we offer, how we entertain folks when the weather's foul, and generally how we always think of something. At one point it rained hard enough that only two things were still going on! Of which we were one. They were pleased and impressed with us as usual, and said things like 'another reason you're amazing is -' which always goes down well!
Tired but pleased to be appreciated and glad to see some of the wonderful rattles and crowns and mobiles folks had made, as well as marvelling at the lovely boat, we all trundled back to Devon to have supper at a pub we knew, before the others made their way back to Cornwall, and ourselves to the city, and me to bed!

The last thing that was REALLY nice was that Ann of PlayPlus, who had bought a copy of 'Porlock the Warlock' last time, had read it and so said 'I loved your book' and had also lent it to her daughter who also liked it a lot - it's always so great to hear when people have enjoyed it.

BIG Thanks to Ann, Carol and Sarah of PlayPlus for booking us and all involved in setting up the event!