I spent yesterday afternoon revisiting the Lauren Child exhibition at the Western Park Museum, this time with Marie Knudson, curator of my exhibition next year. And yes, it seems I can indeed have animals hanging from the ceiling! Yeehah!
We decided, as a good starting point for ideas, we'd go round the exhibition methodically, looking at how things were framed, how the children's props were constructed etc. It was useful too to look at which things were standing the test of time and which were already falling apart. The giant jigsaws for instance, are already peeling and the computer game is flaky. The reading books though are still in very good nick.
Watching kids is interesting too. The Lauren Child has a cupboard made up to look like a fridge, with plastic food to take in and out, which kids just love. We reckon we can borrow the idea but do it better: Marie says we can make the ark from A Lark in the Ark, with little opening doors where children can take animals in and out. She's even suggesting hand-sewing soft toys of my animals from the story. We thought also maybe a mirror with animal masks and a dressing up box, so children can dress like a goat say, in a coat, or maybe be a giraffe, and put on a scarf...
We have decided on building an H shape in the middle of the gallery space, providing two themed 'rooms' for children. In one side we'll probably have the Lark in the Ark play ideas, in the other a reading room with cushions, themed on another of the books. It could be When You're Not Looking! as it would be nice to feature that somewhere, since I wrote it too, but the artwork won't frame up well, as it is all dropped onto coloured backgrounds (see above), so doesn't really exist as it appears in the book.
Another idea I had was a 'stick the flies on the warthog' game, based on Stinky! , using magnetic flies.
We will of course have a drawing area against one wall, with activity sheets, like step-by-step instructions on drawing my animals. I thought we could hold a competition for the best drawings, with books as prizes, but also perhaps framing the winners alongside mine in the gallery.
And Marie suggested a treasure hunt, with little cut-outs of my various characters stuck onto walls and windows throughout the building, for the children to tick off.
As you can probably tell, I'm completely giddy about the whole thing, almost as giddy, some might say, as a Giddy Goat!! Thanks for all your enthusiasm Marie. With your help, it's going to be GREAT!