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Friday, 25 May 2012

A Right Royal Garden Party.


Anna Roebuck is one of our fabulous creative members offering courses and workshops in glorious Staffordshire! Here are her thoughts & ideas about the Jubilee in another member guest blog post. For links to her entry, please click here.

I hope you’re all excited about the jubilee and planning some great celebrations. I’m really surprised how much I’m looking forward to it as I’ve never been much of a royalist, but I still vividly remember The Silver Jubilee.  I’ve been doing various creative workshops as a build up to The Jubilee and believe these workshops mean people really feel part of the celebrations and hopefully they’ll remember them in some 25 years too.

By chance I began a major commission for a jubilee project, with a primary school in North Notts, 60 years to the day of The Queen’s ascension to the throne. It started with a full school assembly and then through the course of the day some 120 pupils made place settings for a Royal Garden party using recycled plastic bags.

The commission had a wide brief, sometimes that’s harder as there are so many possibilities. It also had to fulfil 3 criteria; to go in to the school’s sensory garden which was a little forlorn and in need of a burst of inspiration but first be part of a major exhibition ‘A right Royal Extravaganza’ at Rufford Craft Centre and it also had to involve the entire school. I wanted to make something that all the children could relate to and that was fun. I wasn’t sure at first what to do for the jubilee and decided we should look at what the Queen does rather than just symbols. As I trawled the internet looking at The Queen’s different roles, my lightbulb moment appeared, possibly on the 3rd cup of coffee! The idea of ‘A Royal Garden Party’ grew. We set about making a huge crown for the head of the table (and garden), then inspired by her majesty’s fabulous hats we made ‘hat planters’ to be seated around the table as well as place settings, teacups and cupcakes all made from recycled plastic bags.


I like to involve who I’m working with at every stage of a project, so the children worked on designing and making using recycled plastics, paper and jewels. It was a challenge at first working out how to involve them as they were pretty young, but they were so enthusiastic and keen to take part that they gave everything a go and really surprised me at times with their ideas and skills. I love the crown and hat designs that they came up with. One task was to make a crown using pipe cleaners; one of the boys came up with a design similar to the coronet crown and the group decided this was what they wanted to make.

The children made up lots of different parts, but it was only on the last day that they got to see how it all went together. As I was finishing putting up the crown, I overheard one child proudly telling her mum all about what she’d done. It’s great that we got the opportunity to make something with such an impact and that will be in an exhibition for all to see. I’m really proud that we got to make this for the jubilee and hopefully the children feel the same.

At The Making House we run lots of creative workshops for all ages specialising in using recycled materials and hope that it encourages people to consider issues around waste and recycling as well as being creative, inspiring and fun. I also run bags2riches which I started in 2001 with the aim of creating desirable objects from every day waste, producing contemporary jewellery, lighting and artwork using recycled plastics and share these techniques by delivering projects all around the country.

There’s still more preparations to go, with numerous bunting and flag making workshops left and then finally I’m looking forward to the 5th June when I get to relax with my own Royal Garden party.

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