The Gruffalo Is Alive In Dare Valley Country Park

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“Silly old fox, doesn’t he know?
There’s no such thing as a gruffalo!”

Well, he may not be so silly – I was sneaking around with my camera in Dare Valley Country Park when I saw it, a huge beast hiding behind the ash tree, next to the holly and in front of the willow. I saw it .. The Gruffalo!

Out to Learn Willow and Dare Valley Country Park teamed up to bring a literary creation to life through the art of willow weaving.

The Gruffalo is a children’s book by writer and playwright Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, that tells the story of a mouse’s walk in the woods. The book has sold over 10.5 million copies, has won several prizes for children’s literature, and has been developed into plays on both the West End and Broadway.

Over two days a team of young people got together and learnt how to make circles and fish out of willow branches.

Mel and Matt from Out To Learn Willow said: “We do anything and everything to do with Willow – sculptures, community projects, anything!”

The young people first learnt the basics of willow-weaving with exercises involving twisting pieces together, forming circles and tying knots. The group worked from the legs up using a sketch to build the legs and body, both arms and the head, as well as claws, horns and spikes.

Emma Elliot, Dare Valley Worker, said: “They interacted with each other so well and it’s great to see them make something using a natural resource”.

Even I had a go…I don’t think it’s my calling, but I did enjoy the experience and the sculpture shows real talent, creativity and strength, and all from a few branches.

Check out the gallery for more willow-ful pictures

Image: animationmagazine

Related Article: Do You Dare 2013

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