The girls were happy to take advantage of the specialty crafting activities on offer at the Cygnet Folk Festival this year. The coordinators were superb in their interactions with the children, and I even heard the teacher whose classroom we were working in express her generous support to the staff who were managing the hoards of children playing with paint and glue!

Masks and marionette from kids' workshops at the Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
Some finished artworks — two masks and a doll. Aisha decided against attaching strings to her figure's limbs because she didn't think it would endure.

Tie-dyeing

Ziggy and Diane were back this year with their tie-dyeing activity. Children were invited to bring a cotton item to colour, but squares of white sheet were also on offer for those who needed them. Aisha brought a shirt along, but Brioni used a piece of fabric that was available.

Brioni tie-dyeing at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
The cloth is first wet thoroughly in a solution of sodium carbonate so it handles the dye properly. Then Brioni watches Diane's instruction on winding up the fabric to make the pattern that she wants.

Aisha tie-dyeing at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
Aisha stretches rubber bands across her t-shirt to hold the folds in place.

Aisha tie-dyeing at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
The girls like to choose their paint colours very specifically. Aisha chose a combination of blue, magenta and purple to decorate her shirt.

Aisha tie-dyeing at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
Once she's satisfied with the paint-job, she removes the rubber bands and shakes out the shirt. It's hung to dry on a line outside with other kids' creations.

Brioni tie-dyeing at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
After Brioni hangs up her blue starburst, the girls pause to play with a marionette made by Anne.

Marionette-making

Anne managed the marionette-making workshop with grace and patience. She brought bags of recycled materials for the bodies, a suitcase of fabric remnants for clothes and a kit-load of interesting accessories. Lana just liked to paw through the beads, pulling out ones that caught her eye and stringing them up into a necklace. Calista was happy to decorate her toy tiger.

Marionette-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
In her introduction, Anne shows the children the marionettes she's made and how they perform on stage.

Marionette-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
The body is made out of a stuffed stocking while the head and limbs are recycled paper. Wires are wrapped in the arms and legs so that fishing line can be attached to them upon completion.

Marionette-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
When the suitcase of fabric pieces is opened, Aisha dives through the pile, looking for the ones in the shades of violet that she clearly prefers.

Marionette-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
Using scissors, thread, tape and glue, the clothes are affixed to the body.

Marionette-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
A purple headdress completes the puppet's outfit.

Marionette-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
While waiting for their sisters to finish, Calista and Lana run their own puppet show with some of Anne's models.

Mask-painting

The girls love a project that involves painting. We just don’t do enough craft while driving from place to place, and I remain in awe of those who cheerfully coordinate such activities! Nic not only pre-made a whole stack of oblong paper-maché masks, but he worked with each child to help them use the paint properly. After his first workshop, he was brimming with ideas that would make his next workshop better and after implementing them, he said he was feeling very satisfied with his ability to improve on-the-fly.

Mask-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
The girls try on the blank ovals to find one that suits their (very small) faces.

Mask-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
Brioni paints her wolf-face very carefully.

Mask-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
A few choice accessories completes the look.

Mask-making workshop at Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania, January 2015
Because she's already finished her mask, Aisha starts to help our friend Amy by cutting out a pair of ears.

These activities were the highlight of the festival for our kids. I’m so thankful for the crew that coordinated each one — sometimes dealing with up to fifty children at a time! We had a great time and the girls look forward to doing more next year.