Todmorden Treat Explores Folk Art


Project Information


From 01 April 2015

Until 30 April 2015

Partner: Todmorden Town Council

Artist: Cath Ford


Todmorden Treat Explores Folk Art

Above mixed media canvases made by the pupils at Cornholme Primary


Todmorden Treat Explores Folk Art

Todmorden Town Council generously fund an artist visit for every primary school in Todmorden each spring - known to the schools as The Todmorden Treat.  This year the theme is Folk Art.  Students will learn about this umbrella term used to describe the artistic works often produced by untrained, uncredited artists or artisans.  Items that were often created in the home, using objects or materials local to the area, either created individually or as community efforts. These would often have distinctive characteristics of geographic communities or communities of interest.  Artist Cath Ford will be working with the pupils to explore and celebrate Folk Art.  All students will learn about Folk Art and then the schools can choose one of three activities.

Bunting and Banners

People have long decorated spaces with bunting and banners to communicate a message, create a space for an event and to help communicate identity and community values.

During the day pupils will explore some of the ways that communities have used textiles for celebration and ceremony and create their own bunting and banners which express their class or school identity and values.

Cabinets of Curiosity

Building and displaying collections in our homes helps us to communicate who we are through what inspires and fascinates us. The cabinet of curiosity became popular during Victorian times when Ladies and (particularly) Gentlemen accumulated and displayed objects to demonstrate their knowledge and breadth of experience. There are folk artists and outsider artists around the world today still using collections as the main focus of their work.

During the day, pupils will learn about Cabinets of Curiosity, talk about and learn about collections and create their own miniature cabinet of curiosity using objects, textiles and collage.

Mixed Media Canvases

Non-traditional materials and objects freely available at the time are commonly found in folk art around the world.  We do not need art materials to make art – curiosity, imagination and creativity drive humans to make art from whatever is available.

Using fabric scraps, paper, ephemera and other items, small groups will work together to create a mixed media 2d art work on recycled canvases, enabling them to explore and experiment with composition, mark making, use of new materials and the role of text in art.

For children:

  • Introduction to new skills not always available in school.
  • Opportunity to work with unfamiliar materials within a new art-form.
  • Opportunities to speak with and listen to an experienced arts professional.
  • Opportunity to learn about an art form.

 For teachers:

  • Access to new skills and techniques which can be re-shaped for their own classroom.
  • Opportunity to link the learning with school and/or class topics.




Feedback from 2014 Tod Treat - children:

A super workshop and I would like to do it again.

Fun and interesting to do.

I liked how we used rubbish which was going to [be] thrown and we made something good out of it.

Nice to share all our ideas with the group.

I really liked how we had to think about which material would look the best.

I thought it was a really creative idea.

It felt like it meant something.

It felt good to work as a team.

It was really fun and creative and tells a good story.

Feedback from 2014 Tod Treat -  schools:

A fabulous job was done so no improvements required.

Well timed and organised, the children had plenty of time to think and work, good balance.

The children had to work together in small groups and co-operate to make the final product. So team work, listening and taking turns was a vital part of the project.

Artist was really child friendly and approachable.

Very impressed with the final product.

The children really enjoyed the workshop.

It was a very rewarding experience for the children. They learnt a lot, reinforced learning from other areas of the curriculum and produced a beautiful piece of art communally at the end. It also necessitated working co-operatively, solving problems and discussing solutions together.