My 7 year-old son described this workshop as ‘so good, your head might be blown off’. If you’re willing to take the risk of losing a fairly major appendage then you should definitely head along. Led by Aardman’s Lead Senior Model Maker, Jim Parkyn, the premise is simple – learn how to make various Aardman characters out of clay. 

On the day we attended, the workshop the chosen character was Gromit, a popular choice with all the audience members. With a lot of clay to roll we all got to work straight away, with clear instructions provided by Parkyn throughout in thoughtful, simple language that the children could relate to – for example, roll out 12 little peas and 4 Maltesers. The pace was just right to keep little hands and minds engaged and the interesting anecdotes provided by Parkyn throughout about some of the films he’s worked on gave a really interesting insight into the sheer level of detail and effort that went into pre-CGI animation. 

The event could have beeen improved even further with the addition of a microphone for the workshop leader – we were sitting at the back and with 40 other people in attendance we occasionally missed an instruction.

However, Parkyn’s regular visits to each of the tables meant that we were easily kept on track. There’s a great sense of satisfaction from creating something out of nothing, and whether your Gromit ends up as a travesty of nature, as mine did, or a spot-on replica, as my husband’s did, this is a unique opportunity to learn a fun new skill. We all left feeling pretty animated about clay. 

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