Friday, 21 February 2014

Moving Stories Introduction Evening

The next exhibition opening at Seven Stories is Moving Stories, Children's Books from Page to Screen Saturday 5th April. This is an exhibition curated in partnership with the National Media Museum in Bradford, and was on display there during Summer 2013. It will be displayed over BOTH galleries at Seven Stories!

The exhibition aims to show all the fantastic ways that stories can be adapted, be it in a book or on film. The exhibition is divided in to 5 themes; Fairy Tales, Journey of Adventure, World of Fantasy, Overcoming the Monster and Friends and Family.

To find out more about the exhibition, click here or here!

Last night was the introduction event, to show the plans for the exhibition off to all staff and volunteers involved with Seven Stories. We had a fantastic turnout, with a few photos below. Gill (Senior Curator), Beth (Learning Co-ordinator) and I (Alison, Curator) presented all the different elements of the exhibition, our new methods of interpretation and a brand new drama experience for all visitors - watch this blog to find out more about the exhibition content.

The audience broke in to groups to explore different areas of the exhibition, before feeding back their favourite parts of the exhibition and the books involved.
Some of our fantastic textile illustrations from the Judith Kerr Exhibition, exploring the Sensory Explorer Bags being rolled out for the new exhibition.

Alison (Curator)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

David Almond and Polly Dunbar talk about My Dad's a Birdman

One of the most interesting aspects of making an illustrated book is the collaboration between the various creative forces.

The Seven Stories Collection includes numerous archives showing the interplay between author and illustrator. An excellent example of this can be found in the material relating to the book My Dad’s a Birdman, by David Almond and Polly Dunbar.

My Dad's a Birdman © Walker Books

In the summer of 2008, author David Almond donated his original manuscript and notes for the book to Seven Stories. Later that year illustrator Polly Dunbar donated all of her work from the book, from initial character sketches through to the finished artwork.

The material gives a unique insight into the creative mind of the author, as well as an interesting take on how an illustrator responds to a text and brings their own interpretation to it.

Last week, Seven Stories was pleased to host an event in conjunction with Newcastle University that marked the first time David and Polly have ever spoken together about the process of creating the book.

Polly and David at the event

As well as busting some myths about what it is like to collaborate on a book (the two never met until after the book was released), they both spoke of their desire to make a book with such strong and adult themes accessible to a young audience. Here's a preview clip of the talk:

A fascinating insight for aspiring authors and illustrators alike, the talk will be available to view at the Seven Stories collection, where the original material from the book is also open to public access. The full video will also soon be available via the Newcastle University, Children's Literature Unit website.

David Wright (Learning Co-ordinator: Picturebook in Progress Project)

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Gruffalo Travels to Chatham, Kent

This Saturday, A Squash and a Squeeze, Sharing Stories with Julia Donaldson will open at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, in Kent. 

View from just outside the exhibition space
The exhibition arriving in crates to the venue

The exhibition will open on 15th February 2014, and will be on display until 1st June 2014. Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the Gruffalo, among many other of Julia Donaldson's books, will be hosting an event on the 17th May.

Contained within the exhibition is some beautiful original illustration work from a mix of illustrators including Axel Scheffler, Nick Sharratt, Lydia Monks, Joel Stewart, Karen George, Emily Gravett and David Roberts. It is displayed alongside notebooks and early ideas from Julia Donaldson, including the notebook with the first idea for the Gruffalo!

The exhibition has plenty on offer for families including areas where you can share stories and explore sensory environments based on Julia's books; You can follow in Toddle Waddle's footsteps, climb into the cave with the Cave Baby and meet The GruffaloSing-a-long to songs on Julia' Jukebox or perform a play on the stage.

This is the second venue for the exhibition, after being on show in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery last summer, and attracting a whopping 33'000 visitors! The exhibition will travel to Bradford following its run in Kent, at Cartwright Hall from 28th June – 9th November 2014.  

The Historic Dockyard is easily accessible via train from London and the surrounding area, and is a fascinating day long visit, not just for the exhibition, but also to explore all of the different parts of the dock, including a fantastic submarine

Go to the Dockyard website.

Alison (Exhibition Curator)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Visitors to the Collection

Over the years, we have had quite a few fantastic and famous faces visiting our Collection store.

Here are a few images of some of comments from the lovely authors, illustrators and editors that have visited, and even a few illustrations too!

Above we have comments from a few illustrators, including Catherine Rayner and Emily Gravett, the little mouse is apt as we have some of the artwork for her book 'Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears' in the Collection. Also the author Gillian McClure, and Roger and Gill Wright, who donated the archive of Elinor Lyon.

Here we have some 'wonderful' comments from some more illustrators, including Ed Vere, Ian Beck and Anthony Browne, who has kindly provided us with a shape to transform! The comment below the cheeky monkey by Anthony Browne is from another ex-Children's Laureate, the poet Michael Rosen.

At the top of the page, we have a lovely little picture of the Incredible Book Eating Boy himself, drawn for us when Oliver Jeffers visited in 2009.

Some more fantastic comments, and a lovely little illustration from Lauren Child, whose exhibition we hosted in 2009/10. There is also a fantastic comment from John Burningham, beloved illustrator, who we also worked with for an exhibition in 2010.

One of our favourite comments from Colin McNaughton, although we won't be working any less any time soon!

A list of some of the names that visited in 2011, including Imogen and Sophie Smallwood, daughter and granddaughter of Enid Blyton, as well as a cheeky 'Lost Thing' from the very brilliant Shaun Tan.

And the final page, with our most recent comments from two very lovely new illustrators who have been filmed as part of our Picturebooks in Progress project - Yasmeen Ismail and Levi Pinfold.