Parish Scarecrow and Halloween Workshops
Updated: Dec 1, 2021
As part of the repurposed carnival float finances (following the carnival cancellation due to Covid), The Westhouses Community Association wanted to heighten their new ‘scarecrow’ project. Greater Creative working party member, Pam who is chair of the community group started to work with emerging artist Wendy. Together they decided to host a ‘scarecrow workshop’ for the community to improve their skills and confidence in making scarecrows. They also agreed that it would be good to have a ‘spooky show stopper’ scarecrow for Wendy to make that would be placed just off the main road on a piece of land they had been recently licensed through the district council keeping a creepy eye on passers by!
First off was the community workshop which Wendy held on Pam’s front garden as there are no community spaces in Westhouses and some of the community are unable to walk too far for local events. The session was a big hit with the participants
The session lead artist Wendy Ducksbury reflected on the session:
"14 Westhouses residents attended the Scarecrow workshop. After introductions, the group shared their plans if they had any, of what Scarecrow they were wanting to build and how they intended to display it. A couple of the older residents weren’t able to make their own scarecrows but were very happy to work with others on ideas and offered their gardens as display areas if required. We discussed what scarecrow building experience everyone had, and what space they had available. Some of the group were ‘first timers’ so were a little unsure of what they were taking on. I used three demonstration scarecrows to show different ways of building, stuffing, dressing, supporting and positioning. One of these will be displayed in an older ladies garden, and one will be positioned somewhere on the way into Westhouses from Blackwell. We also discussed how to make more of an impact by considered positioning of their scarecrow - for example performing a task, climbing a tree or falling over. Some of the group began to build their scarecrows at the workshop – I provided wood, hessian and fixings so that they could begin to create their frames.
The session overran as everyone was so enthusiastic!"
Here are some of the feedback comments from the residents…
Gave us lots of great ideas. Very inspirational. When can we have another one? Great tips on legs and arms – things we would never have thought of. Loved it – I’m already busy planning my scarecrow!
Greater Creative working party member Pam said
"The session was lovely, the residents are already speaking about doing bigger and more ambitious designs now. We’re all really excited to get cracking! The group really enjoyed the project and got very inspired by Wendy."
And here are some of the fantastic creations following the workshop
Post session Pam and Wendy decided they wanted to make the 'show stopper' scarecrow ‘Day Of The Dead’ themed. Before long they had jammed an idea for two scarecrows! Marguerita and San Miguel! Wendy was seen hijacking twigs and branches from any parked tree surgeons and over the Halloween period the larger than life couple stood proud, beside the bus stop. (Rumour has it that the ill fated pair left this mortal coil waiting for a number 56 to Chesterfield that never arrived!).
Some Resident Feedback on the showstoppers:
‘It’s fun that we have got creative things in the parish!’
‘It looks fabulous, so nice to see the community working together’
‘The first time I saw them, was in the dark and it scared me until I took a closer look’
‘My son thought they were brilliant!’
Pam was very pleased with the new village residents
"We have a scarecrow competition every year and this one was the best so far. The 2 showstoppers made by Wendy were magnificent and admired by many. We had some terrific comments from passers-by. The standard of scarecrows made by residents were excellent and I think that was due partly to San Miguel & Marguerita."
Wendy was also enjoyed the opportunity to add something to the local area
"I had a fabulous time working with Westhouses Knit & Natter group. It was great to see such enthusiasm and community spirit. I regularly re-routed my car journey to drive through Westhouses to see what any new scarecrows that had magically appeared overnight. I am really looking forward to working with the group again."
Wendy didn't stop at scarecrows either as she also ran a workshop for a group of young people at Newton Community Centre during the half term break. We had 26 wonderful witches and wizards take part, making their own spooky designs in time for a weekend of trick or treating around the local area.
The workshop was really well received by all those who took part and had a lot more interest than we expected, luckily having enough materials to ensure that a few more could be added to the group.
Some of the children were very keen to share their thoughts with Wendy:
"It's been great, I have really enjoyed it"
"My favourite was the pumpkins/ghosts"
"My best one I liked was the mummies"
"It's better than being at school!"
"Do you like my hat? - I did it today!"
Thank you to everyone who got involved to help make these workshops a wonderful success. We're now busy working on our Christmas creative offerings so keep an eye on our Facebook page for announcements.