Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Family friendly exhibition and events at Hove Museum

Be careful not to stray from the path  - Mr Wolf is waiting for you at the museum!
We hope you will join us at Hove Museum for an exhibition with a story telling theme. The show is on until 9th May 2017.

It feels like Christmas! - but that's not just us getting excited - our visitors have told us that the show has a real 'Christmas' feel to it. There are many interactive exhibits that children (and adults) will enjoy and it is free to the public.

Sixteen Fabula Collective artists and our guest artist Joe Evans have put together a stunning feast for the eyes. Come and see new stories and old ones retold in imaginative and interesting ways - including books, films, narrative textiles and three dimensional installations. Perhaps a visit to a story telling exhibition in Hove Museum (a lovely venue in itself) could be an ideal antidote to the more commercial side of Christmas? Some of the work is inspired directly from Hove Museums permanent collection of toys, games and the history of film in Brighton and Hove that you will also be able to see when you visit.  For your information there is also a cafe at the Museum and it is a short walk from Hove seafront.

Story telling and workshops

next Saturday 17th at 11am and again at 1pm come to Hove Museum for ghost stories read by the fireside. The stories, illustrated by Fabula member Dagmara Rudkin and written by Charles Rudkin, were inspired by Hove Museum itself and are suitable for children aged 8 years and over. Charles will be reading one of three stories inspired by the toy collection at Hove Museum and Art Gallery. Come and hear about the evil master Gorger taking over all the toys and imprisoning the Wizard in the Attic. Can he be defeated? 
This story comes from a collection of short stories called 'Hauntings in the Museum'. The other stories are about a ghostly Major and the famous Amber Cup.
Book to ensure a place or drop in at 11am or Ipm.

ART WORKSHOP for children on Saturday 17th at 2.30 - 4pm run by Louise Dennis and Juliette Rajak. Come and make a Christmas decoration with a narrative twist! It is suitable for 5 -10 year olds. Book to ensure a place or drop in at 2.30. 
Image from the previous workshop where children made houses inspired by stories and fairy tales. These looked special and individual in the daylight  - turn the lights off and they looked even more magical!

The next workshop for children aged 7+ is on January 28th at 10.30

For booking and further info please go to for further info about Fabula and individual artists

A Magical Exhibition of Stories At Hove Museum

Detail of The Story Cabinet - how many fairy tales can you spot?

Our Exhibition Many Ways To Tell A Story is looking so beautiful!

With 17 artists exhibiting a selection of story-themed work this show provides so many different ways to tell stories that you will find something for all ages and many different tastes.  We are excited! but it's not just down to our excitement - visitors have told us that there is a definite Christmas feel about the show - although the show does continue until May 9th. You can expect stories visualised in interesting and unexpected ways within a beautiful building set by the sea. And if that isn't evocative enough for you, perhaps the fairy lights from some of the exhibits will get you in the mood. 

The woods, a place where stories can grow. Who can you see looking out at you?

This is our biggest exhibition yet! It is bursting with stories told through book, film, 2D illustration and 3D installation on a wide variety of themes such as memories of a holiday camp, stories made in one minute, a variety children's books, a book to introduce opera to a reluctant audience, photographs that explore a sense of place, an installation situated in the fireplace inspired by the toy exhibits - and much more.  

Installation by Penelope Chong - Shadows escape down the fireplace. Inspired by Hove Museum's toy exhibits.

Peering in the round window at our private view.

Poster by Somin Ahn from her beautiful concertina book of  The Three Little Pigs (also exhibited)

Children (and adults) will enjoy using torches to spot details and identify stories in The Story Cabinet -  our collaborative piece that is made mainly from paper products and inspired by Fairy Tales. There are other interactive displays too where you can peer in with a torch for a visual surprise. Colouring and quiz sheets are available to help make the visit even more memorable for young children… and then of course there’s also Hove Museum’s magnificent permanent toy collection upstairs - and why not have some refreshment in the cafe?! Sounds like a perfect afternoon to us!

Images from Juliette Rajak's picture book 'Ellie's World'

The setting - Hove Museum

Imagine a story, there are many we know like this, that take place in a strange old mansion - itself brimming with magic and untold tales and set a little apart in some way from the rest of the world. The characters in it have to be young at heart if not actually young, and enter with a mind ready to discover their own magic and mysteries that are there to be found, if they look carefully. Then think of Hove Museum, situated well away from Brighton's city centre and near the coast. It feels a bit like a well-kept secret. There is an interesting history to Hove Museum - this building could tell a few tales.

Curated to appeal to families, it has a certain open and pleasant atmosphere, a quirkyness or originality. Perhaps there is an energy held within the building from stories in it's past - if you believe that sort of thing. Maybe it's the interesting exhibits including the huge collection of toys and games or it's collection about the history of film in Brighton and Hove. Certainly, it holds objects that would have been central to lots of tales and imaginings in their past. Somehow there is the right ambience. We think Hove Museum is a wonderful place for narratives to come alive. Fabula Collective's work  with it's focus on storytelling and narrative art fits just perfectly here.

In the busy build up to Christmas why not take some time to remember old stories and find new ones in this exhibition at Hove Museum?

Our guests look at puppets from Henny Penny by Dagmara Rudkin


STORYTELLING EVENT - next Saturday 17th at 11am and Ipm come to Hove Museum for ghost stories read by the fireside. The stories, illustrated by Fabula member Dagmara Rudkin and written by Charles Rudkin, were inspired by Hove Museum itself and are suitable for children aged 8 years and over. Charles will be reading one of three stories inspired by the toy collection at the Hove Museum & Art Gallery. Come and and hear about the evil Master Gorger taking over all the toys and imprisoning the Wizard in the Attic. Can he be defeated? 
This story comes from a collection of short stories called 'Hauntings in the Museum'. The other stories are about a ghostly Major and the famous Amber Cup.
Book to ensure a place or drop in at 11am or at Ipm.

ART WORKSHOP for children on Saturday 17th at 2.30 - 4pm run by Louise Dennis and Juliette Rajak. Come and make a Christmas decoration with a narrative twist! It is suitable for 5 -10 year olds. Book to ensure a place or drop in at 2.30. 

There is a further story themed workshop on 28th January.

For booking and further info please go to

She wants to tell you a story! - what story is it? (detail from The Story Cabinet)
Please go to the Fabula website for further information about us and please read our blog for fuller information about our artists and our preparations for the exhibition at Hove Museum. When you visit please remember to put your comments in the comments book as we'd love to hear what you think.
Embroidered dusters inspired by female characters in fairy tales and notions of domesticity. Vanessa's embroidered dolls are also on show in the exhibition.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Fabula at Hove Museum - Our Opening Weekend!

Last Friday was our Private View at Hove Museum. It was a lovely event and we were very pleased and excited to welcome lots of people to help us celebrate the start of the show. 
Looking into our cabinet of development work containing sketch books, maquettes and materials. 
The exhibition is looking spectacular and we couldn't be more happy with it. We'd like to extend a big thank you to The Royal Pavilion & Museums for hosting both the private view and our very beautiful show that was expertly curated by Julia Basnett.
Our curator Julia Basnett (left) accepting flowers given to her from Fabula Collective to say a big thank you for all her hard work. 

It all feels very Christmassy... here's a sneak preview for those of you who weren't there on Friday:

Captivating puppets and images from the story of Henny Penny by Dagmara Rudkin. This display is illuminated with lighting throughout and adds to seasonal feeling of the whole exhibition. 

Our guests admiring the exquisite film models and automaton by Richard Clarke. Don't forget to see the Fabula Film Reel  - five films showing upstairs in the museum.
We were also able to be part of the Open House event on the first weekend of the exhibition.

A selection of prints, paintings, cards and small gifts from Fabula were on sale and are now available to buy throughout the exhibition at the museum shop. 
We are particularly proud of the diversity in this exhibition - there will be something for everyone. We can't really do it justice here but we will try to give you some idea of what you can expect. There are hand made books retelling fairy tales, five short films (upstairs), stories told quickly through drawings done in one minute, a variety of children's books, three-dimensional work including The Story Cabinet, photography, poetry, narrative textiles and work inspired directly by our residency at Hove Museum.
The Camp by Madeleine Swift is in the book corner along with many other Fabula books. You can also see Madeleine's touching film about childhood memories of a holiday camp. 

Lively prints and a book in progress from Clara Wei Fu. It depicts a lovely story for children about an important relationship that helps the child to find their internal peaceful or happy place so they can cope with everyday life.

An illustrated introduction to Mozart's The Magic Flute by Jo Lawes. Colourful and appealing work made to introduce opera to a reluctant audience. 

This is The Story Cabinet - our collaborative piece. Some of the work in the exhibition, including the Story Cabinet,  is interactive because there are torches for you to use to peep in and get a better look at all the details. See how many fairy tales you can spot. Why not add another to our suggestion box and for children there are colouring and quiz sheets with sticker prizes to make their visit more memorable.

Peeping through the round window in The Story Cabinet. Three cabinets bursting with fairy tales!
Fabula Collective hope you will be able to come to see the exhibition which is on until 9th May at Hove Museum

Further information about the workshops that we are running alongside the show can been seen in the previous blogpost on this blog or at Hove Museum where you can book your place. 

Friday, 25 November 2016

Look! - Fabula at Hove Museum

Our Fabula exhibition at Hove Museum starts soon...Three rooms of Fabula Collective art work and work from our guest artist Joe Evans: including 3D installations, 2D illustration, Puppets, Books, Model making and films. Inspired by fairytales, theatre, Brighton and Hove's history of filmmaking, memories, the concept of inside and out and more. All are welcome, come along and enjoy the show. Open to the public from 2nd December, admission is free. 

*update! - exhibition has been extended to the 9th May*!

Alongside the exhibition there is an exciting programme of events....

We hope to see you at the museum!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Into The Woods...It's Time For A Story...

The forest - a place for transformation. What lies in the shadows?

Wild woods and lands are the threshold places where stories can come alive. Are the trees friendly and will they protect us? What happens if we stray from the path? And when we are in the woods what creatures will know we are there? Whose eyes are looking, watching, (waiting), peering though the woody darkness? 

The big bad wolf in a land that never was in a time that could never be

Beautiful objects and images made using a natural colour palette are put together in our collaborative piece - The Story Cabinet. Here, old and new stories will join and overlap providing a feast for the eyes in three wooden cabinets.  An alternative term for 'fairy tale' is 'wonder tale' from the German Wunderm√§rchen and these cabinets are just bursting with 'small wonders' to bring you the magic of far away realms full of mystery, morals and magical characters.

Let us take you back to a time when humans and animals could talk to each other. Come, peep through a window - a portal to another place - and Join with the story. Those who live there can't see that a giant lurks nearby....

A great while ago, when the world was full of wonders....

Art Nouveau window frames a story
...there was a little window at the back of a house from which a splendid garden could be seen. Full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs, it was however, surrounded by a high wall. No one dared to go into it because it belonged to a wicked enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded throughout the land. 

The couple there had no children and were very poor. All they had was a cow. One day he gave her a bunch of keys that would open any door except one door she must not go in and the key to that door was magical. At last he dropped off to sleep. When he woke up, the room looked so changed. The sun was shining into part of it, and yet all the rest was quite dark and shady. 

Who lives here? - a place of safety or imprisonment?
The tower had neither stairs nor door, but near the top was a little window. A white bird always came to her there and every time the bird threw down to her whatever she had wished for. In the morning she was asked how she had slept. "Oh, very badly!" she said. "I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It's horrible!" 

The wicked thought grows all the time like a poisonous plant and slowly kills the good thoughts. A wicked feeling was growing in the stepmother's heart, and she determined to send the children to the witch. She threw one of the shirts over each of them and when the shirts touched their bodies they were transformed into swans, and they flew away over the woods.

Time -  past, present and future.
The next morning she went out and gathered asters and began to sew. She could not speak with anyone and she was warned that she had to return before midnight when the spells would be broken. 

And the pea? The pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it. 

There, that is a true story.

(But only one of many that could be told).

The Story Cabinet will be exhibited at Hove Museum from December 3rd until April 2017 as part of Fabula Collectives forthcoming exhibition "Many Ways to Tell A Story". 

Come and visit and see if you can find the pea in the museum!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Hurray - New Picture Books Are Coming!

What has Fabula member Emmi Smid been up to? - well, she has been drawing, painting and writing and is developing not just one, but two new picture books! The first of these is a picture book that explores issues around encouraging positive body image. 

The book is called 'Minnie and Max are OK!'and it is written by Nicky
Hutchinson and Chris Calland who are specialist advisers on children's behaviour and mental health.

Introducing Minnie and Max

Without giving too much away, the story is about a little girl who's not too sure about her appearance and her loyal dog Max suffers from similar insecurities. Luckily they have an awesome grandmother and lovely friends who show them that they are totally OK! 

Children are bombarded with "perfect" role models from a very young age and so a story like this is very much needed. It is it is a very heartwarming, recognisable and endearing story and Emmi says she is very excited to be illustrating it.

Emmi strongly believes that picture books are the perfect vehicle to introduce young children to difficult, profound topics, without them feeling like they are being lectured to. Her debut picture bookLuna's Red Hat, published by Jessica Kingley Publishing, tackles the stigma of suicide and has received excellent reviews. Sensitively written and beautifully illustrated by Emmi it is designed to be read with children aged 6+ to help them cope with difficult feelings arising from bereavement by suicide. It also includes a guide for parents and professionals by grief expert, Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers.

Introducing Luna

Another one to watch out for from Emmi is a picture book that she is currently developing with the working title of Cardboard Box Village. This is a story about gender roles and diversity. Emmi says she was inspired to write it by a friend who is currently questioning their gender and potentially transitioning. In this forthcoming book Emmi aims to show how the fear of anyone who is 'different' can restrict us from working and living together and seeking strength in our differences. She has started noticing all the small ways in which we box ourselves and each other into our established gender roles. What we would achieve, Emmi wonders,  if we could let go of not only gender, but also skin colour, religion and background? 

Emmi has an illustration style that would bring many different kinds of stories to life but currently she is focusing on designing picture books that address social taboos and highlight current global topics. But can we discuss anything and everything in picture books? - this is a central concern of Emmi's work and one that she has taken part in debate about. In asking herself this she questions her own practice and ensures that her work will remain useful for it's intended young audience. 

Cardboard Box Village, follows on from Luna's Red Hat as another big and important topic that Emmi is taking on. We're confident that her new book will have the same lightness and sensitivity apparent in Luna's Red Hat and we look forward to seeing it when it's finished. Unfortunately there are no sketches to show you yet as all the illustrations are still in Emmi's head! Watch this space!

Both Minnie and Max are OK! and Cardboard Box Village will be published in 2017 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and both books will have a guide for parents at the back.

Luna's Red Hat is out on the shelves in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and can be ordered online through the publishers or at www.waterstones.comYou will also be able to see it exhibited at Hove Museum from December 3rd until April 2017 as part of Fabula Collectives show - "Many Ways To Tell A Story". 

For more information about Emmi Smid's work please go to the Fabula Collective website and follow links.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Cinema Mythica is a winner!

Fabula member Richard Clarke's latest film is selected for multiple film festivals and wins an award!

  Actor Mark Daniels as the despicable villain Mr Murnau, here he espies his nemesis the heroine Arianne.
Richard Clarke's latest film, Cinema Mythica, is a 16 minute film that tells the story of a female orphan's heroic voyage towards self discovery and d√©nouement (completion or fulfilment of life task). It is set amidst a transition landscape of period design in historic locations with fictional characters. 
Richard is a multi-award winning, international independent filmmaker with a master’s degree in Art and Design from The University of Brighton. His preferred filmmaking genre is short narrative fiction with a fantasy theme and his work has been described as dark, theatrical, imaginative, comical and thought provoking.  So far he has made twenty-two short films. 

As well as being the director, the lighting manager, cinematographer, editor and tea maker! - Richard also makes all his own props and sets and these are beautiful art objects in their own right.

Taking a break, the actor surprises the cast and crew during filming by turning the camera on them.  
We are pleased to tell you that Cinema Mythica has been officially selected and has won ‘Best Music Award’ in the following festival:

MAC Underground Film Festival in Manaus, Amazonia, Brazil in the famous 'Amazon Theatre’. It premieres in October 2016 and has been translated into Portuguese for this festival. ‘Best Music Award’

Further official Film Festival selections include:

10th River Film Festival in Padova, Italy premiered in June 2016 and it was translated into Italian for this festival.

Minikino Film Festival in Denpasar in Bali, premieres in October 2016 and has been shortlisted as finalist.

Indiewise Virtual Film Festival in Miami Florida, premieres in July 2017.

The film has also been submitted to the ‘Del Fic Autor Film Festival’ in Mexico and Jerzain Ortega, Director of the festival has said of it:

“The performances are very good also the direction and sound…overall a very cool short film from a talented director, it’s highly creative and imaginative”. 

The film stars the prestigious talents of Ruby Hermon, Mark Daniels, Juliette Rajak, Madeleine Swift, Dagmara Rudkin and many more. 

Behind the golden screen of the kiosk set; lights and camera are comes... ‘action’.

 Richard guides the Cinema Mythica ladies through a song rehearsal, they captured it perfectly.

The wonderful singing Theatre Patrons perform, an eventually unused, film song 'Wagons Roll’.

The film took two years to make and it is inspired by the long history of filming and picture houses in the City of Brighton and Hove dating back to the late 1900’s. This includes the world famous Art Deco design of the Regent Cinema, opened in 1927 a building that once occupied the site of what is now Boots the Chemist in North Street.  

The theatre set on location -  designed and built for the hallway of a period Georgian house.
The interior of the Duke of York's picture palace was another inspiration for Richard’s set designs that were made on location in a period Georgian house with a theatrical ownership history in Brighton's Hanover Crescent. The picture house is another well known Brighton cinema landmark and, built in 1910, it is arguably the world’s longest running cinema.

Techniques of theatre and early cinema are embedded in the film, especially split screen techniques such as those developed by Hove filmmaking pioneer George Albert Smith in his 1899 film Santa Claus. Part of Richard’s research during the making of Cinema Mythica took him to Hove Museum which has a dedicated Early Cinema section on the history of film in Brighton and Hove, including details of Smith’s filmmaking exploits. 

It is well worth a visit to Hove Museum to learn more about the history and culture of filmmaking in the city. If you visit between December 3rd and April 2017 you will have a chance to watch Cinema Mythica. It will be screened daily on the Fabula film reel in the cinema on the first floor at the museum for the duration of our forthcoming exhibition. This will also be an opportunity to see many of Richard's beautifully crafted props that will be on show downstairs in the gallery.

 Reproducing early cinema split Screen Film techniques using modern digital editing.

Film Still from the beginning of Cinema Mythica, these film techniques show authentic early cinema screen size, inter-titles and screen quality.

Last but not least, please follow links from the Fabula website for more information about Cinema Mythica and Richard's work.