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Talking Pictures Week 37: Wonky Christmas

John ffrench, Art work - Vessel (White with yellow stripes and brown circles)

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This piece of pottery was created by Irish artist John ffrench. It is a ceramic piece, which means it is made from clay and permanently hardened with heat. Ffrench is popular for using colour and playful shapes in his ceramics.

Yellow stripes and blobs

This shape is unusual - what type of object do you think this is? Is it a vessel, used to carry liquid or flowers? Or do you think it is a candlestick holder? Is it a pair of upside-down trousers with plodding feet raised into the air?

Something about this shape makes it feel very alive, a snail-like creature with vibrant markings.

Or maybe it’s a custard covered Santa Claus stuck in the chimney?


Christmas critters

Ffrench’s objects all seem to have a life of their own, they are little creatures sitting on their shelves. Taking inspiration from Ffrench’s designs we will be making some Christmas creatures and having fun with pens and paper.

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, as it is traditionally a Christian festivity. Some Christians don’t celebrate it either, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. But we can all appreciate Christmas Critters.

What you will need is: paper, pens/pencils/crayons/markers in lots of colours.

First we will start with a drawing of a humble reindeer. Simple and straightforward, right? Not so fast. We will be using two hands to draw this reindeer. Your right hand will be drawing the right half and your left hand will be drawing the left side. Use a different colour in each hand and make sure both hands are moving the whole time.


Let’s get started! Here is a reindeer for you to reference:


And an example of a finished rein-do-dah:

Now that we’re comfortable with it, let’s draw the following critters in the same way.

Christmas jumbles

A wonky wonderful time

Now you have a wide selection of Christmas critters in the spirit of Ffrench’s gloriously wonky creations. Let’s take it a step further and make some bonkers bockety cards to give to your friends and family.

Get a piece of card and fold it in half. On the front we will be redrawing one of our earlier critters. Redrawing or copying previous drawings gives your work a new personality each time. Have a look:


Once you have your critter redrawn we can start filling them in. We can do this with pens, markers, pencils…whatever you have handy!

Here’s a finished critter card:


Now comes the hard part - who will you gift your critter card to?


Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: ffrench was devised by Annie Forrester

Please share:

Emmet Place, Cork, Ireland
T12 TNE6
Tel: 021 480 5042

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