Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Special Place

This is going to be a “scenic” post.
A few weeks ago, I received a call from one of the junior youth animators asking how they could make the scene described in Lesson 9 of “Breezes of Confirmation”. Unfortunately we were out of town, but I gave him a few suggestions on how the group could recreate that special place. However due to several schedule changes the project has yet to be done; so I worked up this example.
Creating miniature scenery is something I had done quite a bit of, but had not come across an application for it in the core activities until now.
During the 90s in Scotland I ran a miniature figure painting class (Children and Youth), for the local Community Education Group. This was mostly based around the “Games Workshop“ gaming figures, which the (mainly) boys, would paint and then use to game with.
The town where I lived was called Old Meldrum (or usually just Meldrum), so we had a competition each year where they competed for the “Meldrum Wizard” trophy for the best painted figure. I would paint a different wizard for the prize each year.(Similar to the picture below.)

The story in lesson 9 is about Musonda’s special place, where she goes when she wants to be alone and think about things. It’s a beautiful place, close to a river, with a large flat rock shaded by a tall tree. Musondo likes to climb onto the rock, lie on her back and look up at the blue sky through the branches. She always feels calm and happy in her special place.
You can create your own special.

• Cereal box
• Tissue paper
• Wallpaper paste
• Paints
• Sand
• Flock
• Small stones
• A large stone
• A tree like twig
• Artificial moss
• A small bird

Cut out one side of the cereal box and then bend/fold it into the shape you require. In this case I made a hollow for the river and two raised sides to form the banks.

Take some blue tissue paper, scrunch it up then paste it into the river bed. (I used wallpaper paste, but if you do not have wallpaper paste you can water-down the white glue)
Set aside to dry

Whilst you are waiting you can make the tree.
Take your twig and using white glue, fix suitable pieces of the artificial moss to the branches to form the foliage. Set tree aside to dry.

You can now select some small stones for in the river and a large one for Musondo’s rock.
If you get the stones from the garden be sure to wash them before use.

Repeat the process with green tissue paper for the banks, but do not “scrunch” the tissue up as much. Whilst the paste is still wet sprinkle the green flock liberally on the two banks.

Flock is available from model and model railway shops, and is used to represent grass on models and layouts. An alternative is to use fine sand, and paint it green (This is what was used on the wizard base). You can buy sand in the craft shops, but you can get from various other sources.
What I do with “non-packaged” sand is to spread it on a tray and bake in the oven. This achieves the purpose of both sterilizing and drying it. I then use sieves to grade the sand and to remove foreign material such as vegetable matter, and then store it in jars.
NOTE: Be sure to allow the sand to fully cool before working with it, and observe the normal precautions used with any baking activity in the kitchen.
Also be sure NOT to use the normal kitchen utensils (This for some reason seems to upset the kitchen owners).
Set aside to dry.
Once everything is dry shake off the extra flock/sand, and keep for the next project. It may be necessary to add more paste and a second application of flock.
Then make a hole in the base for the tree, (I used an awl for this purpose) and hot glue the tree in position, from the under-side. I added some sand around the base of the tree to hide the joint
Paint the river with suitable colours, and then stick the small stones, in place with white glue.
I also applied some glue along the banks and added sand. Then glue the large rock in place under the tree.
As a final touch Juliet “quilled” a yellow bird to represent the one seen by Musondo.

And now you can relax and contemplate, in your very own Special Place.


  1. WOW! I loved this proyect for that lesson! My junior youth group LOVES crafts! Please keep the great ideas coming! I'll send you a few we have made too.
    Most greatful, from México. ale miller

  2. Thank you Ale,
    Glad you liked it.
    Looking forward to receiving your ideas, because the more that people interact,and contribute the more useful and helpful this resource will be.
    Warmest regards
    Tyauvin On