For the last few years, I’ve been asked to supply agricultural themed workshops for the Three Counties Show, held at the Malvern showground. These take place in the Discovery Zone, a marquee full of educational experiences linked to farming.

On previous occasions we’ve made clay sheep, cows, and chickens. This time we were challenged by the organisers to make collaborative farm buildings. Participants helped coil the structures and then made their own piece of barn decoration.

Seven hundred school children passed through the Discovery Zone on Friday – and it felt like most of them joined in with the clay! Saturday and Sunday were taken up with members of the public.

Just a few of the seven hundred school children from Friday morning.

Last year at the Hay Literary Festival, we created our first storytelling mud sofa and armchair. It rained and rained all week, though the participating families enjoyed sloshing around in the thick mud (think chocolate smoothie!) modelling and adding their favourite children’s book characters.

This year I was booked to work with older children and young people, exploring the delights of the potter’s wheel and ‘coiling techniques’.

Ned proudly exhibits his coiled clay dalek, as sister Dorothy works on her coil pot.

I spent a glorious weekend in Oxford, working with 700 children (not all at once mind you) at Zodiac 09 – a huge festival celebrating Oxfordshire’s Cub Scout movement. The organisers reckoned there were over 2500 children camping out and enjoying an extensive variety of activities. The sun shone brightly all weekend and by 4pm on Sunday we had produced a gigantic collaborative caterpillar. Once it’s fired, we’ll post a photo of the beast on the blog.

‘Drying caterpillar segments’

Over 2000 visitors a day made their way to Hampton Court, near Leominster, to sample a multitude of outdoor activities at the University of the Great Outdoors, (an event organised by Hereford Council). We had four wheels available for people to have a go on, and ran taster sessions throughout the weekend. Elliot, aged 8, gives it a spin!

Another of my long standing clients, is the Three Counties Agricultural Society. Every year, I provide clay based workshops for their three main events, (Spring Gardening, Three Counties, and Autumn Gardening Shows).

This year at the Spring Gardening Show, I vacated the relative warmth/roof over my head of the Severn Hall, and worked instead in the permanent Learning Garden. I spent three muddy days creating a large earth sofa, accosting passers by, or thrusting a lump of soggy cob onto their hands and getting them to hurl it at the structure. This one’s going to be sewn with wild flower seeds.