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WELCOME... TO THE WOODLAND GAMES!

7th August- 

3rd September

Stirchley's ecological answer to The

Commonwealth Games.

What on Earth IS The Woodland Games?

 

The Woodland Games is a Summer arts project taking place in Stirchley, South Birmingham. Open to friends, families and people of all ages.

Starting Sunday 7th August, every week you and your friends are invited to a sculptural costume workshop 

inspired by Stirchley's local ecology.

In these workshops, you and your "team" will make one giant costume, big enough for you all to wear (a bit like a Chinese New Year Dragon). The costumes will be inspired by microorganisms such as protozoa, nematodes and Arthropods that live in our soil and green spaces and keep our entire world alive!

When you and your friends and all the other teams have finished their costumes you'll wear them to the final event (The Woodland Games) in Hazelwell Park on Saturday 3rd September!

The Woodland Games is an outdoor activity day of strange new sports and games, happening on Saturday 3rd September. The only catch? Teams are playing in these sports dressed in their giant costumes!

 

It's gonna be super strange, super fun, super silly and something you can take part in with all your friends and family! 

What does The Woodland Games involve?

The Woodland Games has been devised by Stirchley-based artist studio, Hipkiss & Graney. Alongside developing new games and events, they are commissioning local musicians, illustrators and ceramic artists to make new art!

It involves lots of costume making, learning about our local ecology, music and fun social events and outdoor activities.

If you are looking for an opportunity to be a bit creative, engage with your local environment in a fun way and want to be part of a project with others from the local community then THIS is the project for you!

How can I get involved in Woodland Games?

We are looking for local residents, workers and friends of

Stirchley to sign up as TEAMS for The Woodland Games event!

 

All ages welcome... we want this to be as intergenerational and inclusive as possible!

As a team, you join one of our art workshops where you will work together with your friends to build a giant costume using hand-dyed fabrics, recycled materials, paints and Papier-mâché. 

Workshops

 

Teams only attend one workshop! Just in case you were worried you had to attend all of them!

 

Workshops will be taking place at Artefact, Stirchley. Workshops run from 2-4pm on the following dates...

Sunday 7th August

Tuesday 9th August    (*10-2pm) 

Saturday 13th August

Saturday 20th August

Sunday 21st August

Friday 26th August (Over 18's 7-9pm)

Saturday 27th August.

TEAM APPLICATION!

 

If you would like to sign up your Team for The Woodland Games then simply email us at hipkissandgraney@outlook.com with the heading "Team Sign Up" and tell us which workshop date you will be attending.

Not Part of a team? No worries! We'll group people together so everyone has a team and it will be a fun way to meet new people!

 

17th July, 2022

 

Chapter 1. Where Did The Woodland Games Idea Come From?

 

In Summer 2021, we were working on a project in Warley Woods we called Woodland Tales. We loved the project and had great fun creating all the artwork with the people that visited the park and it made us realise we'd love to do something similar in Stirchley where we are based.

Over the last 5 years we've seen different environmental action groups, founded and ran by local residents, form in Stirchley. We noticed a growing passion for environmental science and a will to reorganise the ways we live as a community to better care for our local ecologies.

 

We wanted to craft a project that celebrated these community movements in Stirchley. Something that reflected Stirchley's gritty determination, it's hopefulness and its indomitable ability to experiment with new ideas and go it's own way... and this is where The Woodland Games was born.

We want to create a specific output where residents, workers and friends of Stirchley can express their interest, love and wonder at the incredibly complex and important ecologies that surround us and are crucial to all life on Earth. A way in which we can pay our respects through culture, ensure it's continuation through understanding and share this interest through social events.

We really, really hope you enjoy this project!

21st July, 2022

 

Chapter 2. Beginning to Work Out How To Construct The Woodland Games Arena

Thanks to everyones amazing financial support we are finally able to start buying all the materials needed for The Woodland Games!

 

Our first job was to work out how to construct the Woodland Games Arena!

 

Made from over 500 metres of fabric, the arena is designed to cause no damage to the environment of Hazelwell Park. The design is taken from observations of mycelium and hyphae filaments growing outwards to create vast networks.

Contestants begin at their teams base situated around the perimeter of the arena. When the game begins they must carry giant nutrients and minerals across the mycelium network to trade with other teams, returning their new nutrient to their starting base, then they must race to the centre before the timer runs out... and teams must do all this whilst wearing their giant costume they created in the Woodland Games Workshop!

 

Now we've worked out the dimensions of Hazelwell Park and the arena our next task is to hand dye the 500 metres of fabric used for this installation!

 

The very fine fungal filaments that create the webs of mycelium are usually white but we are taking artistic license here and going with a wild and psychedelic colour scheme to express the complexity and diversity of mycology! 

Music featured in the above video is by Anna Palmer and Beth Bellis. Special thanks to our volunteers for helping us and those who donated fabrics to the installation!

Chapter 3. The Kickstarter is now closed... now, the project begins!

Thank you all so much for your kind donations to The Woodland Games... now the project really begins!

 

All hands on deck, now we can afford the materials we have begun sourcing all of the art supplies for our workshops that are taking place throughout August! There will be 7 workshops throughout August. This means finding all the paints, fabrics, dyes and starting to hand dye the fabrics for our teams costumes!

 

The amazing businesses on Stirchley's bustling highstreet have been collecting all their cardboard for us.

 

 

MUSIC!

 

Anna Palmer and Beth Bellis are our official Woodland Games composers. They are crafting and improvising a melodious score for the Woodland Games that will encapsulate the stories and the hopes behind it.

 

 

You may most likely know Anna and Beth from the Birmingham genre-bending musical outfit that is Dorcha.

 

They wrote the music for our last Summer project, Woodland Tales, and we loved what they created so much we are so glad they can join us again for Woodland Games!

 

 

Prepare for dangerously high levels of silliness, fun and epic musical talent, that, if you're not ready, will catch you unawares and steal your heart.

 

 

ILLUSTRATION!

 

We are very excited to announce that we've commissioned our favourite Birmingham based illustrator, Katharine Wade, to create a series of risograph illustrations that will released as part of a How To Play Guide for our new game, Mycelium Max. We asked Katharine if she'd like to work with us because she is very good at capturing moments of love and togetherness in her illustrations. You can always see that her subjects are, in that moment, enjoying an abundance of contentment.

 

 

We thought this style of capturing happiness would be the perfect style for depicting the kind of feelings we want people who join us to feel when they are making their costumes and when they are playing in The Woodland Games.

 

 

CERAMICS!

 

Where would any big sports fixtures be without medals! Well, for the Woodland Games we have commissioned, expert Potter, William Kew, to design and hand craft all of the medals for The Woodland Games. 

 

 

Like all Hipkiss & Graney projects, The Woodland Games is filled with mythology, lore, songs and languages, and Will Kew has taken much of these away as references and is currently working in his ceramics studio at Sun Dragon Pottery, designing all the medals that will be awarded to all teams that compete in The Woodland Games.

No Hipkiss & Graney project has ever been created by just Dale Hipkiss & Jonny Graney, and if it was, it wouldn't be even a quarter as good. One of the biggest joys of community art is getting to work with other artists to create something more thoughtful and beautiful than we could ever achieve on our own. And by working with a whole community, we get to create something far more meaningful and effective than making something hidden behind a studio doors.

We can't wait for you all to see this project!

4th August, 2022

 

Chapter 4. The Woodland Games Medals

Very exciting! We have commissioned ceramic artist, Will kew,

to design and craft the contestants medals for The Woodland Games.

Early August we visited their studio at Sundragon Pottery, in Balsall Heath to document the making process. Take a look at how our studio visit went in the video below...

Using Hipkiss & Graney's concept art and the visual languages we've created, Will Kew enriched the world of the Woodland Games by adding their own signature style of natural motifs and ancient crafting methods.

Sunday 7th August, 2022

 

Chapter 5. "AND THEY'RE OFF!" The First Workshop!

The Woodland Games workshop have now begun and they are a

they are a great success. Creative, informative and daft, the teams made a start on some fantastical looking creatures and costumes. Check out their experience in the video below...

Tuesday 9th August, 2022

 

Chapter 6. Trialling: MYCELIUM RUNNING

One of the first ideas we had for a sport was called "Mycelium Running". The name comes from the book of the same name written by world renowned mycologist, Paul Stamets.

When we began dreaming up ideas for ecological-inspired sports we realised that "Mycelium Running" already sounds like an Olympic event (but for mushrooms). Another name idea we had earlier on, of a similar vain, was the Hy-phae Jump (hyphae are the fungal filaments that make up the mycelium stucture). Don't know what it could entail but we'll work out the details later. 

Tuesday 9th August, 2022

 

Chapter 6. Trialling: MYCELIUM RUNNING

One of the first ideas we had for a sport was called "Mycelium Running". The name comes from the book of the same name written by world renowned mycologist, Paul Stamets.

When we began dreaming up ideas for ecological-inspired sports we realised that "Mycelium Running" already sounds like an Olympic event (but for mushrooms). Another name idea we had earlier on, of a similar vain, was the Hy-phae Jump (hyphae are the fungal filaments that make up the mycelium stucture). Don't know what it could entail but we'll work out the details later. 

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Saturday 13th August, 2022

 

Chapter 7. The Following Workshops

Over the last six weeks the workshops have created a treasure house of amazing costumes turning the gallery of Artefact into a kind of Jim Henson/ Peter Jackson-esque workshop of masks and monsters.

Participants have said they are having lots of fun learning strange facts about microbiology and ecology and then having to utilise these facts into a designed and built sculptural costume. The creations that have come from these workshops are silly and funny but also anatomically inspired which is wonderful! 

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One team have created a giant Nematode! It's even got an anatomically correct stylet!

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Check the flagellates on that! This cool arthropod inspired armour has fabric whips inspired by how some protozoa move through the soil!

Saturday 3rd September, 2022

 

Chapter 9. The Parade!

The morning of the games began with all nine team getting to Artefact gallery for 12 o'clock. Last minute adjustments to their costumes and sculptures, contestants readied themselves for the days challenges and festivities ahead.

At 1 O'clock teams lined up down the Pershore Road and, banging drums, blowing horns and shaking tamborines, the procession began advancing down Hazelwell Road, passed businesses, then homes then passed the Fruit & Nut village Orchards and over the Rea. As the procession passed the Birmingham Brewing Co. contestants were cheered on by the public drinking their hoppy pints of Pale Brummies and Stirchley Lagers.

Next the parade walked along the River Rea, up passed the bridge and the allotments and finally bursting out into Hazelwell Park! As the contestants began to enter the arena they were met with cheers and applause from the assembled crowds waiting to see them. 

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Team "Soil Train" leading the first ever Woodland Games procession.

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Saturday 3rd September, 2022

 

Chapter 10. The Games Begin!

The games begin with a quick performance from each team, a carefully choreographed piece that expresses their teams personality! From ferocious and fabulous to powerful and silly- the teams were ready to go!

A blow from the horn by project Composer Anna Palmer and the teams were off! 

This first game was called Mycelium Max: Fungal Road, a play on the iconic "Mad Max: Fury Road"... If Mad Max was set in an environmental and societal dystopia, then Mycelium Max is set in an ecological utopia!

It was fast-paced, silly, dangerously confusing and most importantly, it was lots of fun for players and spectators.

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Saturday 3rd September, 2022

 

Chapter 11. The Second Game: Blade Runner!

After a long break, a rehydration and tallying of the fairly abstract score system, it was time to for teams to get ready for our second games event!

 

We called this event BladeRunner! 

 

Can you guess what this game entailed?

 

This game celebrated the humble lives of the arthropods who smaller organisms rely on so much to process organic matter so their nutrients are accessible! 

 

This game was a bit like a relay race. Teams collecting a giant 5 metre long papiermache blade of grass (without using their hands) to carry it on their backs, and to run it down to the other side of the field as fast as they can (against the clock!)

It was tense... it was ridiculous... it was the Woodland Games.

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If you'd like to keep up with all the live Woodland Games updates then make sure to follow us on our social media channels...

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