The Early Bird and her Word Worms: Laura Frances Martin 2019
My recent Arts Council England DYCP immersive writing project, Getting The Word Out, has had a profound impact on my writing in the past year, and I'm now benefiting from a brilliant 1:1 training programme with acclaimed author Wyl Menmuir, thanks to a recent Cultivator Skills Training grant.
I've always had a passion for words and a love of language, and I've written for personal enjoyment and had work of all kinds published over the years, as well as copy writing, editing and publishing as part of job roles in arts and media. Recently, I've become a regular contributor and occasional guest co-editor on Sally Crabtree's Poetry Postie FM radio show; and I contribute work to The Daily Haiku. I'm excited to be sharing more soon, but meanwhile here are a few things I've done recently that have involved words...

My Nature Journal: Schools For All Seasons

I've recently co-written & co-designed a new children's publication as part of the exciting Schools For All Seasons programme with Real Ideas, inspired by a creative tool I also co-conceived and designed for ARTiculate earlier this year.
 The Schools For All Seasons Nature Journal is a 16-page creative learning journal for primary children, designed to increase wellbeing through closer engagement with nature and the seasons. Moving through gentle creative activities that get children moving and outdoors, noticing the nature on their doorsteps, collecting, drawing and writing about their thoughts and feelings - whether they live in town or rurally - the journal also leads children through the Five Ways to Wellbeing from HeadStart Kernow, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. 
Inspired by ARTiculate's Bird Passport - an original creative research & engagement booklet, printed on high quality sketchbook paper and with lots of space for children's own ideas and work, which we designed and produced for the Wider World project on Scilly in February - Real Ideas approached me to co-design and co-write the new learning & wellbeing Journal tool for their wider Schools for All Seasons programme being run with 12 participant primary & SEN school settings. 
The ARTiculate Bird Passports are also now on their second reprint, developing the themes of birds, migration and diversity, and connecting Year 4 pupils from St Teath in North Cornwall with Year 4s of Five Islands Academy on Scilly!
Heron I: poem and sketch by Laura Frances Martin 2020

Words On The Wing

Inspired by our incredible birdlife during lockdown and COVID, this lovely ARTiculate migratory and story arts project, kindly supported by Arts Council England, has offered artists and members of the public the chance to receive, enjoy, create and share artworks in a whole range of inventive ways.
Having conceived the original idea for the 'migratory' art element of the project, I've really enjoyed creating new pieces of work like the one here, combining poetic writing with hand-drawn imagery, and posting the original works out to friends and to strangers alike. Migratory art works have been posted out as gifts to hundreds of project participants and given to children in 6 primary schools and a school hospital setting, in North Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly, along with blank project cards & pre-paid postage so they can create and share their own work with others in turn. 
The resulting work has 'migrated' as far as Russia, parts of Europe, the USA, Asia, New Zealand and Australia; it's been a wonderfully connecting arts project that has cascaded through our communities, helping people to feel more in touch and less isolated. ARTiculate is hoping to publish some of the work in a shareable form as well as using it as inspiration for a bigger project linking Scilly and North Cornwall in 2022-23; more info on the ARTiculate website.
Heron I: poem and sketch by Laura Frances Martin 2020

The Mermaid and the Ice Cream Man

As mum to a toddler and a tiny new baby in 2014, I wrote and published a children's title, working with young illustrator Jenny Simmons whose lovely work is pictured here. I rewrote the story in rhyming verse from a short film script I had written, and my film storyboard also offered the starting points for Jenny's visuals. We published the title with 'Little Bird Loves...Books' and I've been invited to do book readings and Q&As with it in schools and at various community events including several Polzeath Marine Discovery Days. During lockdown, Cornwall College's LAUNCH drama department asked permission to use the text as a story for the students to recreate, using video segments filmed in their homes, and edited into their final assessment.
Cover of The Mermaid & The Ice Cream Man by Laura Frances Martin, with illustration by Jenny Simmons 2014
The Wild White Horses illustration by Laura Frances Martin 2020

The Wild White Horses of Treasure Bay

A final draft is ready, and a series of illustrations are under way, for a new children's title, The Wild White Horses of Treasure Bay, which I'm hoping will be ready for publication soon. Cornwall College LAUNCH programme again asked permission to use this material for their film & animation summer school.
The Early Bird and her Word Worms mini-poetry workshop: Laura Frances Martin 2019

The Early Bird and her Word Worms

Recently developed character, the Early Bird brought her roving mini-poetry Word Worms workshops to Cardinham Woods as part of the first Words in Woods Festival run by KEAP and IntoBodmin in April 2019. 
The Early Bird's roving workshop 'depot' is a set-up on the back of an old-fashioned sit-up bicycle, and it proved very accessible roaming through the woods: around 80 visitors of all ages from 2 to 82 enjoyed creating their very own mini-poetry 'Word Worms', inspired by the trees, birds, sky and wild places in the woods, plus the incentive of a chocolate egg from the Early Bird's nest! They could then choose to either take their Word Worm poem home - or transform it into a Book Worm for the Early Bird to look after in her special book!

Birds and Stars

I conceived and ran a series of creative word/art workshops as part of the Dark Skies: Bright Stars project with Mayes Creative and other partners during 2018.

Brilliant Birds and Marvellous Migrations! workshops in St Ives and Penzance Libraries saw participants of all ages inspired by the incredible migratory journeys of our native birds to create collaged works using printed words and fragments of text, poetry and old maps.

The Galleon PinARTa and its accompanying workshops at Sea Salts & Sail in Mousehole inspired visitors all about stars and maritime navigation, in what was also a collaborative, commissoned project with poet & author Sally Crabtree. Participants wrote poetry and created mini works of art, which were popped into the Galleon PinARTa with sweets, before the bashing and sharing of the goodies at the end of each festival day!
The Galleon PinARTa for Sea Salts & Sail 2018: Laura Frances Martin
North Cornwall Story Box: Laura Frances Martin 2018

Story Box with Endelienta

I was approached by Endelienta in 2017 to come up with a series of creative writing workshops as part of their North Cornwall Story Box project. I ran a specially-organised after-school club at St Minver School, initially just with the children and then later on bringing in St Minver 'Open The Book' adults to co-create stories in intergenerational pairs. These sessions led to some lovely visual story outcomes, with an exhibition of the finished works, and a community Story Box drop-in workshop for members of the public at Cornwall's Regimental Museum in Bodmin in spring 2018.