Invention : Gardens

I had written a series of poems in which characters were seen through their gardens; Dave Ward and Matt Simpson started using them for workshops in schools, rather to my surprise. But they were right. I should have remembered that any writing game you use for yourself can be used for others.
My basic game had been to decide on mainly fictional characters and invent the detail of their gardens to reflect character.

Put this simply, children could play by choosing a character that appealed to them, listing the associated personality traits and objects, and either converting these into appropriate flowers, trees etc., or describing the condition of the garden. In many areas it will be useful to begin by discussing what can be found in gardens.

Although many children will start by making "lists" these will not usually make interesting poems unless detail is encouraged, particular ideas explored and an effort made to draw the listed thoughts together.

Different methods of subject selection have been used. In the original game players tried to cross a maze with seven exits, marked by greek letters which were the symbols for subjects - horror, history, someone in a story, space, animal, etc., and the player chose within that category. The exits have been renamed to suit the occasion or differently each time. But for work with groups it may be easier to suggest one category - a cartoon character for instance.

The poems were usually displayed on paper flowers attatched to a trellis; when more time was available this became a three-dimensional garden. For the trellis, a net was used as the base and the flowers and leaves were stapled to it. The centres of the flowers, which carried the poems were cut circles of sugar-paper and the leaves and petals , often strangely worked to represent attributes of the character, were cut from advertising posters. The garden involved origami, tissue paper sculpture and mixed-media work with anything from pipe-cleaners and clay to various wires, newspaper and found objects.

For further information on this sort of game click on games listed under INVENTION in the INDEX side bar.

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Windows Workshops Dave Calder, The Windows Project ,1997,1998,1999,2009