Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Ruthin Craft Centre

I had a great time running an animation masterclass with 11-14 year olds at Ruthin Craft Centre last week. The 12 students made paper cut-out and stop-frame animations, inspired by some of the beautiful work currently being exhibited.

For inspiration, we looked around the Jerwood makers exhibition currently on show at the centre. It's full of fascinating work; one of the most striking pieces on display is the giant swimming polar bear, Byaku, by artist Nahoko Kojima, cut entirely from one sheet of white paper. Floating from the ceiling in the centre of the gallery, he casts rippling shadows across the walls.

To give the students a starting point, I suggested that they create a character who swims or flies. They were already brimming with ideas, though, and came up with some weird and wonderful films. To name a few; a girl turning into a flying pig mermaid, a cluedo-esque murder mystery, and a unicorn eating a dinosaur!

Hard at work under the rostrum.

The workshops also gave me a chance to road test a home-made multiplane. If you're not sure what this is, it's basically a lightbox with multiple layers; sheets of glass / heavyweight clear plastic, so you can create layered animations with a more 3D effect.

An overhead view of the multiplane

Mine was made by separating sheets of glass (taken from cheap clip frames) using blocks of wood, cut to size. A light, covered with a frost filter, was placed underneath the bottom sheet of glass so that it shone upwards through the layers. To hide the light fittings from the camera eye, I also covered the bottom sheet with tracing paper. To make sure the glass and wood were secure, they were attached using heavy-duty double sided tape. However this is all temporary - it needs a bit more tweaking for long term use! For example, you can't adjust the distance between each layer of glass, which you'd be able to do on a proper multiplane. But it was exciting to be able to test it out.

Also worth mentioning is Andy Singleton's gorgeous paper sculpture, recently created with students of Bryn Hyfryd. It's hanging like a swirling cloud in one of the artist spaces at Ruthin Craft Centre, so if you're in the area you should check it out. Andy is an artist and illustrator working in paper cut-out, and has previously done window displays for Mostyn, Liberty and much more.

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