Tag Archives: workshop

The making of mayamada – journey into manga

We’ve got an amazing event on Saturday 5 August, 1.30pm at Westminster Reference Library : ‘The making of mayamada – journey into manga’.  More info on our website

mayamanda founders, Nigel and Lao have written a guest blog post to tell us more –

The story of mayamada starts with failure, also known as a “learning experience”. We’ve had a few of those along the way…

mayamada founders Nigel and Lao

In the beginning, there was just an idea between a group of friends with a love of Japanese culture. We wanted to make cool t-shirts and sell them to an adoring fan base.

Unfortunately, the cool t-shirts never came, and neither did the fan base!

So once we admitted our plan was working we had a rethink. The group became a duo and me along with co-founder Lao set about working on a real brand to build.

As well as an interest in anime, manga, and cartoons, we also had a passion for storytelling. So after a brainstorming session (or two) we put those things together and came up with a whole universe of characters and stories. A brand was born.

mayamada became a universe; a television network with an all star cast of anthropomorphic characters. We started designing characters and writing manga-style comics to tell the story of the shows on the mayamada network.

mayamada manga

Even with the idea sorted, it still took a while to get our first title released. Two years. In 2013, we were able to self-publish Samurai Chef Volume 1 thanks to a successful Indiegogo crowd funding campaign.

Samurai Chef

Since then we’ve released the complete edition of Samurai Chef along with Hot Lunch: The Outer Circle and Serious Volume 1.

mayamada manga titles

We even managed to create some cool t-shirts featuring our characters. The fan base started to come too. It’s been great to see people respond positively to our stories, characters, and clothing.

mayamada clothing

We’ve been able to take our brand to comic conventions across the country where we get to meet new fans and people who have been supporting us for years now.  The support has allowed us to build the mayamada universe through new characters and stories.

Hyper Japan Summer 2016

But it hasn’t stopped there. We’ve also been able to launch our own social gaming event, GamePad. With the aim of making gaming more inclusive, we work with gaming companies including Ubisoft and Nintendo to put on a fun day of gaming for everyone. We’re glad for that initial failure, we never would be here without it.

mayamada GamePad Highlights

This is still at the beginning of our story though. There are lots more mayamada stories to write and characters to meet. No doubt there’ll be more learning experiences too as we keep building our brand – it’s all part of the journey!

mayamada brand

 

Many thanks to Nigel and Lao for sharing their story with us; don’t forget if you’d like to meet them on Saturday 5 August – book your free place on Eventbrite

“A very great master of music”

Works by Henry Purcell at Westminster Music Library“A very great master of music”

This was the headline grabbing news in The Post Boy for 26 November 1695 on the death of composer Henry Purcell.

Recognised as one of the greatest English composers, Purcell was universally mourned.  But we wanted to celebrate his musical achievements rather than lament his death, not only as a prolific composer but also as a lifelong resident of Westminster.

So in time honoured fashion, the Westminster Music Library team – together with a little help from some excellent musicians from The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a bunch of our local residents and school children, Westminster City Archives, some generous support by Westminster City Council and Westminster Cultural Partnerships Team – arranged a day of workshops with a grand finale concert for family and friends. This was set to be a fun and exciting challenge for all.

But before the musicians tune up and the music gets going, who was this Purcell chap and what made him so very special?

Henry Purcell was born in Westminster in 1659 into a very musical family. His Father – Henry Senior – was a leading musician during the commonwealth and became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal.  Henry Junior attended Westminster School and was a chorister at the Chapel Royal, he wrote his first song at the age of 8 and by the time he was 20 he became organist at Westminster Abbey and continued to work there his entire life [read more].

He turned his hand to church music, instrumental music, music for the theatre, popular songs, and most notably he composed the first ever English opera, Dido and Aeneas, a story of love and destiny. And it was this very opera that we turned our attention to for our workshops. Let the show begin!

A brief summary of the plot…

Aeneas, a Trojan Prince, is shipwrecked in Carthage, where he is the guest of Dido, the Queen of Carthage. Aeneas falls in love with Dido and asks her to marry him, to which she agrees.

Meanwhile, evil witches are plotting Dido’s destruction, and devise a plan to trick Aeneas into leaving his beloved wife. The Sorceress conjures a storm to send the royal couple home from a hunting trip. On their way, an elf disguised as Mercury, the winged god, speaks to Aeneas and tells him he must leave Dido to follow his destiny and create a new Troy in Italy.

Believing it to be the will of the gods, Aeneas and his sailors prepare to leave. Dido is heartbroken at his departure, and the witches celebrate.

So boy meets girl, boy is distracted, leaves girl, girl dies of a broken heart. There’s a good deal of action involving storms, sailors, witches and hunting, and a whole Kleenex box worth of blubbing at the end. Lots of potential to get creative juices flowing for both musicians and participants.

From sailors’ hornpipes to cackling witches, crashing drums to eerie strings, everyone had their part to play. Our grand finale performances by both adults and children were incredibly polished considering what a short amount of time they’d all had to work on them. By the time we reached the sad finale there was hardly a dry eye in the house, lucky we’d thought to provide tea and biscuits…

Henry Purcell workshop with RPO musicians at Westminster Music Library, February 2017

[Ruth]

The Fabric of India

The Fabric of India - workshop pieces exhibited at the V&AWestminster Libraries’ Bengali Service was approached by the Penfold Community Hub and the Victoria and Albert Museum to take part in a special project inspired by their current exhibition The Fabric of India (3 October 2015 – 10 January 2016).

A series of four workshops took place, with participants from both libraries and the Penfold Hub creating beautiful pieces of textile and block printed artwork. These workshops have brought out the artistic skills of some of the learners who had done this a long time ago, and others who were exploring these skills for the first time. More than forty people took part in the four workshops.

All the completed work was then displayed at the museum, and all the participants and their guests visited earlier this week. The trip started with a tour of the Fabric of India exhibition, where participants were mesmerised by tent of Tipu Sultan from 1799 which seems to be in its original condition. Having learnt and watched videos of different techniques and methods of weaving, so everyone enjoyed looking at the various textiles in the collection, some up to 4000 years old.

The Fabric of India workshop participants visiting the V&A

 

The tour was then followed with a reception and a thank you event hosted by the V & A Community Learning Team. It was a fantastic day out and has inspired many of our participants to become interested in further textile-related learning. In order to facilitate that, there is an ongoing discussion with one of our adult education partners to host a series of intermediate level textile based projects for Church Street Library. We hope to run these in the new year.

The Fabric of India - workshop pieces exhibited at the V&AThis Fabric of India project between Penfold Community Hub and the V & A has presented us with opportunities for more joint work in the future. So watch this space!

[Mahbuba]

Comic Club update

There have been two recent special events, as well as the regular meetings:

Breaking into Comics 3. Image: Theo Mabayoje for Industry in the Streets (IITS) www.industryinthestreets.co.uk

Breaking into Comics vol 3

After two successful editions of Breaking into Comics our third and final volume for 2015 had to be something extra special.

Between Westminster’s Business Information Points, Westminster Reference Library and Marylebone Graphic Novel Club, we were able to gather a panel of industry experts specifically selected for their success at diversifying their skills in graphic novel production to engage new audiences:

  • Lewis Peake is an illustrator and filmmaker based in London who shared his experience both as an illustrator creating film storyboards and visuals as well as film production.
    www.lewispeake.com
  • Adam Vian – illustrator, animator and Flash Games designer of SFB Games, he is also the man behind the delightful all-ages fantasy Long Lost Lempi.
    Tom Vian – As the programming half of SFB Games, Tom has been making games with the artistic half – his brother Adam – for over 13 years.
    www.sfbgames.com
  • Nigel Twumasi – founder of Mayamada, a company that blends the best of Looney Tunes, Japanese TV and British streetwear. Nigel shared his experience as a a founding member of a startup developing a brand as both retailers and story-tellers. Mayamada produces their own line of clothing, comic books and even uniquely flavoured chocolate bars all bearing the faces of their own characters.
    www.mayamada.com

Comic book fans, budding writers, artists and those interested in creative literature were present to meet them and take part in our presentation and Q&A.

The Essence of Comic Book Storytelling. Image: Theo Mabayoje for Industry in the Streets (IITS) www.industryinthestreets.co.uk

The Essence of Comic Book Storytelling

Hosted by artist Shangomola Edunjobi and writer Emanuel Adelekun, this interactive workshop was aimed at anyone wanting to improve their written and artistic story telling skills.

Selling out with a week to spare, attendees were keen to see what new skills could be acquired in the art of storytelling and Shango and Manny delivered in full. The session was broken up into two main parts: The first half focused on certain principles and concepts that aided good storytelling, the second half focused on applying these concepts and producing a story that can be further developed.

Shango and Manny worked seamlessly together, and showed the creative processes behind both past and future short-story projects.
Keep an eye out for more workshops coming in the near future.

All above images: Theo Mabayoje for Industry in the Streets (IITS) www.industryinthestreets.co.uk


DMZThe next Marylebone Library Graphic Novel Club meeting is on Wednesday 2 September, on War in Comics. We’ll be discussing anything from Battlefield Action or Fightin’ Marines to DMZ or MCU’s Civil War.

We’ll also be reviewing previous meeting topics on race in comics, banned comics and as ever, discussions will be varied and relaxed so please join us for a conversation, some snacks and some good reads.

[Clint] 

 

A Lovely Library Living Wall

Church Street Children's Library Wall, by Valentina Wong

Church Street Children’s Library Wall

Church Street Library has a lovely new artwork! Artist Christian Nyampeta and local gallery The Showroom worked with different groups of Church Street people to create the design which has been printed onto wallpaper and installed on the library’s big back wall which spans two storeys (from the Community Space in the basement, right up to the Children’s Library).

Local children, schools, library users and lots of different community groups took part in art workshops with the artist to share their ideas about what should be included in the design and we are really delighted that it was jointly created in this way and reflects their views of Church Street.

Photo 1 (art workshop with Church Street Library ESOL group) by Louise Shelley

Art workshop with Church Street Library ESOL group

The wall has ended up being a demonstration of how libraries can be places not only for reading, learning and access to information but also spaces for culture, discussion and creativity. It’s something you can enjoy visiting many times and find new things in it each time you look at it.

The finished wall was celebrated on Wednesday at the Church Street networking lunch with music from King Solomon Academy and St Edwards’ Primary School and speeches from Cllr Steve Summers and Christian Nyampeta.

St Edwards School performing in front of the new Church Street Library Living Wall, January 2015, by Valentina Wong

St Edwards School performing in front of the new Church Street Library Living Wall

[Charlotte]

Sights and sounds Behind the Lines

On 4 August 2014, the 100th anniversary of the day the First World War was declared; we opened a four day Behind the Lines creative summer school, due to end with a grand finale performance by participants alongside musicians from the RPO at St John’s Smith Square.

Several people who read our previous post about the Summer School and the performance at St John’s Smith Square asked whether the concert had been recorded. We’re pleased to say that this video about Behind the Lines, including the amazing summer school is now available to view:

 

Take a look at the Gallery too!


The summer school featured two of our First World War composers who were also good friends, Maurice Ravel and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Ravel had wanted to be an air-bomber, but was rejected because he was too small; he was finally allowed to become an ambulance driver, and he saw and experienced the horrors of the front-line at first hand. Vaughan Williams was a stretcher-bearer, who also knew the unimaginable tragedies of the trenches. Both of them made their war-time experiences part of their music; Vaughan Williams in his ‘Pastoral Symphony’, and Ravel in his suite ‘Le tombeau de Couperin’. These works would be the focus of the summer school, using them as inspiration to create a new work for our final concert.

Pupils from schools across Westminster and adults from local community group Open Age all contributed material for the final work, which was performed in front of an audience of VIPs, family and friends. From the opening chords to the incredibly moving finale – an off-stage performance of The Last Post – what started out as a lot of disconnected ideas, transformed into a very moving and fitting tribute not only to our chosen composers, but also our many First World War heroes.

[Ruth]

A walk in the countryside – Vaughan Williams Family Workshops

Early Years

It’s a sunny spring morning in London and the young crowd gather for the very exciting music workshop at Westminster Music Library.  There are lots of sleepy faces, but not for long…

BTL Early Years workshop on Vaughan Williams, Westminster Music Library March 2014

Everyone gets their wake-up call with a very lively and energetic warm up; lots of wobbling, shaking, clapping and moving! Workshop leader Detta then introduces the very talented Royal Philharmonic Orchestra musicians on violin, cello and vibraphone, who then introduce us all to excerpts of Vaughan Williams’ Pastoral Symphony.  ‘Pastoral’ relates to rural scenery and the countryside so we decided to let the music take us on some journeys through different rural settings:

Tthe first musical journey takes us for a walk up a steep, snowy mountain.  It’s hard work so we have to stop at the top for a rest before making our way back down the other side.  The second musical journey then takes us into the park where a squirrel is climbing a tree; it’s autumn so the leaves are lovely and red.  Finally we take a trip to the countryside and the beach where there are lots of sheep and cows.  We’re lucky it’s such a sunny day outside!

Primary Years

Another sleepy, shy group of children, but they are soon full of beans and ready for active music making after a movement, rhythm and vocal warm up. Looking again at Vaughan William’s Pastoral Symphony, the group learn to sing a fragment of the melody from the first movement.

BTL Primary Years workshop on Vaughan Williams, Westminster Music Library March 2014

Following that, the group decide on a new rhythmic idea and pat it out along with the music played by the RPO musicians.  The workshop leader decided it would be a good idea to create music based on different landscapes in memory of Vaughan Williams, who was very much influenced by different places in the world.  The first group stayed in London and portrayed the image of Big Ben in the morning mist with the birds twittering.  Group two took us to the hot Sahara desert, and as they looked across the sand dunes they saw some shepherds with their camels.  Group three took us further south to Antarctica where they played music to represent the enormous glaciers and melting ice.

We were fortunate to have a Vaughan Williams expert join us expert during this session; Ceri has just completed her PhD on Vaughan Williams at Oxford University and was able to answer some questions on his life.  He lived from 1872-1958, and spent a number of years living very near to Westminster Music Library; in Cheyne Walk on the Chelsea Embankment, London.

Ceri was able to answer one of the children’s questions “why did he fight in the war?”, explaining that he felt it was his duty to be a soldier in World War I, but he was too old to fight on the front line. Instead, he was part of the ambulance services, helping other injured soldiers, and he also looked after horses in the war (which may have influenced his Riders to the Sea opera).  He came up with the ideas for the Pastoral Symphony during WW1 whilst in France, and started writing them down when he returned to England. Ceri told us that he was inspired by the landscapes and scenery in France, such as the sunsets.  He also took influences from the military bugle music. So this pastoral symphony actually painted the picture of a dark, ruined, war-zone France instead of pastoral England.  Ceri also explained that Vaughan Williams was very eager to draw attention to the folksongs of England; eliminating the idea that there were none.  In fact, some of the motifs in the Pastoral Symphony were based on English folksongs.

Other questions about the life of Ralph Vaughan Williams included:

  • What did he do in his spare time?
    He liked walking, community music and conducting choirs.
  • What did he play?
    He was organist at a church in Stockwell but he wasn’t very good, he also played the violin.
  • Was he only popular in England?
    He also became famous overseas, particularly in America and Finland (after Sibelius!).
  • Was he a family man?
    His first wife died in 1951, his second died in 2007 and was 30 years younger than him.

As we discovered through these workshops, Vaughan Williams loved to travel and experience different places; much of his music reflected his interest in landscapes and scenery.  We also discovered that he loved his home country – England, as well as France, the New York skyline, Antarctica, and many other places around the world.

[Jane McConnell]