Charlotte Bill: Lost and Found at Ealing library

As the dust settles on SPINE Festival 2016, we catch up with Charlotte Bill, SPINE Festival Artist in Residence at Ealing Library, to find out how you really can make animations out of just about anything… including the lost property box!

Ealing! The far West of London. I trekked over there with my trusty shopping trolley full of equipment….

Ealing animation 2The Saturday session was fun: children dropping into the library and animating the lost property which had been left in the library. There was a wonderful  selection of umbrellas and reading glasses, abandoned toys, coats, hats and gloves which the children transformed into sharks, giants, dragons and  insects, working together really well in a lovely collaborative atmosphere. They made a great little film and were able to understand the principles of animation by seeing the frames created as we went along via projector.

“It’s bringing things to life” … “You can animate anything”workshop participants

What would you do with a school group of 30,” asked Martha, the librarian…my mind ground to a halt, I had planned a drop in session for young people visiting the library … Ealing animation 1I’ll have to think about that one”… After an inspirational walk and idea storming session I came up with an idea I thought would work. I went back to the library to talk it over. More surprises as Martha outlined a plan for 120 children to take part. Wednesday was a bit of a sleepless night. Luckily a young volunteer had got in touch, I leapt at the chance of another pair of hands and on Thursday launched the project.

I decided to ask the school children to do a big animation all together using their shoes. They loved seeing their shoes move around and they liked being able to see the film coming together as they worked. The software ‘I can animate’ shows each frame dropping down into a timeline as it is made. I had the image projected big on the back wall. This showed all the children how the animation would work so they were ready for the next part.

“You take a photo, move your hands out, take another photo” – workshop participants

The next activity invited children to choose a book from the library then draw a character on thin card, cut it out and animate it coming out of the book. They had to work in pairs to achieve this, and the results were great. They had dinosaurs, monsters, grumpies fairies, and all kinds of people coming out of the books. I wanted the workshop to encourage the children to look at the books in the children’s section differently, to choose books which looked interesting, to go into the non-fiction section. They loved it and the teachers want to show the film on the school website.

“I never saw this was so simple before” … “They are really loving it” teachers

Being an artist in residence was fun. I liked the idea of moving into a library and being able to go backstage. To find out what the librarians do in their breaks. How they have a special room to go to as well as the office room. I heard them chatting and laughing, it was funny as usually you only hear librarians talk in that hushed voice. It was a great challenge coming up with an animation project which could be done by 120 year 4 children.It made the drop in session seem vary relaxed by comparison. I was pleased every single child could take part.

“Let us know if you’re doing any more of these workshops. She’s loved it” – parent of participant

Spine Festival 2016 took place from the 3-5 March, giving children, families and young people the chance to experience loads of FREE arts and literature events in local libraries across London! For more information visit the SPINE blog page or check out the SPINE Festival 2016 film. SPINE Festival is produced by Apples and Snakes in partnership with library authorities across London. #SPINEfestival2016.