Sharing our favourite things

By: | Date: 18/04/2018


It’s hard to believe, but it’s six months since I first wrote about Eureka!'s sculpture project for blind and partially sighted children, funded by Children in Need.

At that time I introduced you to our project partners and told you about a fabulous family day out at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, exploring the outdoor artworks with Lynn Cox, our sculptor and creating some of our own, led by Emma Spencer, the Sculpture Park’s Family Learning Co-ordinator. The project continued with workshops at Eureka! where Lynn began to lead the children through developing their own artistic skills and vision.

We held four practical sessions in our conservatory space which has plenty of space and natural light, benefiting from floor to ceiling glass windows on two sides. This meant we could set out the working tables in a horseshoe configuration that allowed Lynn to help the children (and their families) without standing in their light.  She was assisted by our Enablers, and of course her guide dog Danny, at each session. Another key partner joined at this point – fabricator and handyman Graham. He worked closely with Lynn throughout the project to ensure that the vision for the sculpture could become a reality.  He talked through the weather properties of the various wires with her, and how they would be fixed to meet resistance and safety requirements.

The basic form of the sculpture was a series of globes woven from thick, pliable (just) weather proof aluminium wire. Each child was asked to bring in their favourite toy which would be captured within the globe, or “amorphous blob” as they came to be called! Thinner coloured wire was used to weave in other objects including pink cowbells, and large shiny textured beads. At the final session, the individual globes were woven together and fixed firmly into a tripod base formed of 3 sturdy tree trunks. The wire, while strong and weather resistant, is flexible too, meaning that the entire sculpture can be reformed into different configurations.

The work was challenging for the children – the wire was difficult to bend and weave tightly enough to ensure that the toys within were secure, as well as tucking away any sharp ends. The wire cutters were difficult to manoeuvre as well. But with support and guidance from Lynn, their families and our Enablers, all the children persevered and surprised themselves with how much they achieved.

The finished piece was named “Favourites” because it contained the children’s favourite toys. The group thought that the sculpture could be the starting point for other children to talk about their favourite things and how it would feel to say goodbye to them for ever so that they could be included in a sculpture that everyone could see.

Parents told us that the children’s artistic confidence had soared outside the workshops. They took more pride in their creativity and were observing and commenting on their environment more frequently. One family enrolled on the Arts Award programme and revisited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, while another used his sculpture as a show and tell project at school. All the children said they’d made new friends and enjoyed building a sculpture which would be put on display for all to see.

Celebration Day was 2nd December, but unfortunately the weather just wasn’t kind enough to allow Favourites to be installed on that day.  Nonetheless, the children enjoyed a celebration event with lots of yummy food from the Eureka! café. The sculpture was unveiled by Eureka!’s Chief Executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski, and a Very Important Bear from Children in Need also dropped by to say hello.

In February, the weather became mild enough for us to finally dig a hole in the ground near to Eureka!’s Wonder Walk.  Enter, with spade, Graham!  A hole was dug, cement poured in, the sculpture was placed at child friendly height, a Braille/English plaque affixed, and Eureka! – Favourites was installed.

The brightly coloured sculpture stands out against the surrounding foliage and is easily seen from the path leading to the car park.  I’m interested to see how the coloured wires change as they weather, and how visitors interact with it.  So next time you visit Eureka!, please take a stroll over to Favourites and tell us what you think!

Final report available here.


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Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE. Map