Cruinniú na nÓg Stop Motion Workshops

An overview of the children’s Stop Motion workshops that created our “Signals of Change” video

Three minute read 

Author: Chelsea Canavan

On 23 June, as part of Cruinniú na nÓg, in Limerick,  young people age 4 – 12, gathered in the Hunt Museum to collaborate on a stop motion video project themed around the Norah McGuinness paintings in the Museum’s Summer Exhibition, Signals of Change. This exhibition has works drawn from the Great Southern Art Collection from the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. Cruinniú na nÓg hosted two films on the Saturday for the public in the Hunt Museum Garden, which inspired us to come up with Stop Motion workshops and the creation of a video in response to the Norah McGuinness paintings in the Signals of Change exhibition.

For the workshops we split into two age groups. Our morning class was for the 4 – 8 year olds, who primarily worked on developing and creating responses to the themes and characters based on their gallery tour of Signals of Change. This group was tasked with finding a suitable theme for the eventual video. They focused on Norah McGuinness’ paintings, A Quiet Place or Small Fields of Donegal and River to the Sea. The children chose these as their focal point for the backdrop to the Stop Motion set. While on their gallery tour they worked on creating a narrative between the two paintings,  covering many themes about the west of Ireland; farming, fishing, lakes, land and rivers. They even touched on art history in  analysis and thematic discussion of Norah’s cubist style in her paintings and why that would have been her choice in representing the landscape.  The children drew and coloured in the pictures that became the background and created a few of the characters in coloured clay, that were part of their narrative.

We asked the second workshop of kids, aged 8-12, to work on the themes, background set, and character creations of the younger group to storyboard a series of events that would happen along a railway track as part of a story behind the Norah McGuinness paintings. These events took the characters and backdrop developed by the first workshop and incorporated the second groups own ideas resulting from their reflections on the Norah McGuinness paintings. Similar topics about rural west Ireland were discussed, but with an added element of mischief in some aspects of their work.

The older children worked in teams of 2 and 3 to develop stories, sets and additional characters. Each group were given a designated section of the set that they were to animate as the train went past. Many decided to create additional scenery and spare stop motion characters and then acted them out with object and clay animation techniques as the Irish Rail train, made from  a child’s wooden train set, progressed along its track through the animated sets and recreated backdrops.

What do you think farmers do?

‘Gets the eggs for the breakfast, LOTS of plants grow in the summer’

What do you think farmers do?

‘Cows, chickens & horses’

What shapes do you see in the painting?

‘Its very morning one side, then very night on the other’

If you where and adult working in this village, what job would you have?

‘My daddy goes fishing, and he has tuns of worms – wouldn’t like that’

What shapes do you see in the painting?

‘There’s a pointy triangle’

If you where and adult working in this village, what job would you have?

‘Teacher, go to the seaside’

Here is the outcome of their efforts

The Great Southern Art Collection was assembled by Ireland’s transport authority CIE for use in its hotels during the 1950’s – The paintings are very representative of Irish art at the time, making the transition from literal representation to the abstract.


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