A window well-dressing

a Buxton stream – we’re waiting for a well picture!

For decades now, the Well Dressings of the Peak District have been one of the features of the summer. In Buxton, various wells would be Dressed, most especially St Anne’s Well at the foot of the Slopes. This summer will be different. “The Buxton Well Dressing Festival organising committee have decided to cancel this year’s festival that was due run between 5th to 12th July 2020. In the light of coronavirus, and the uncertainty this creates, we have decided to cease preparations to avoid unnecessary expenditure.” (from the Buxton Well Dressing site). Now our friends in Two Left Hands are creating an alternative, more domestic, more home-made version with Well Dressing flags for gardens and windows – or as fabric panels added to a collective spectacular banner. We thought we’d offer another variation with a miniature activity

Two Left Hands in action

Here is a tiny Well Dressing for a shelf or a window ledge perhaps

Traditional Well Dressings use flowers and leaves pressed into clay to make their decorations and you could easily do this if you have a flower-full garden. If that is not possible, maybe you’d like to try this…..

Your “well”. In our example here, we have used a small mirror to give an impression of water. You might do the same, or maybe use a nightlight in a jamjar (watch the heat and make sure any flame cannot reach the card!) or even a small bowl of water. In Buxton, maybe you could collect some water from one of the wells to go into your Dressing in a bowl or jar


You will need

  • A sheet of card – we used grey card like cereal packet card, about 30cm x 20 cm
  • A cutting mat and a craft knife
  • Some strong sticky tape
  • Glue – PVA or gluestick
  • A ruler
  • Pencil
  • Pens
  • Scissors
  • Coloured paper, tissue paper or a magazine for decoration

1. Making the shapes

The main dressing has three sections: a centre (in ours, 12 cm wide and 16 cm tall) and 2 sides ( 8 x 16cm). Draw these onto your card. The top might be arched (like ours) or square-topped or pointy or zig-zag. It’s up to you. It is good, however if the sides are slightly wider than half of the centre so that they overlap when the Dressing is closed.

Cut the sections out and lie them down with the bases aligned and a gap of about 1cm between each piece.

2. Hinges

Position the sections: side, centre, side – with gaps of about 1 cm between them. Turn them over and stick a strip of sticky tape along those inner edges to join the sections, keeping that 1cm space. Stick both sides to the centre. On the front, place another piece of tape on top of that first tape to make a strong hinge with no sticky surfaces showing. There will probably be extra tape at the top and bottom of each hinge. Trim it off with scissors or the knife. Make sure the pieces will fold closed and will stand open like 3 sides of a box

3. Decorate!

drawing, sticking, having fun, making a mess

Do the inside and outside panels separately letting the glue dry between sessions

If you want windows cut through your card, maybe do that now – or decorate, wait until everything is dry and then cut them out: either way works, just don’t try cutting when the glue is wet or everything tends to tear

Draw? Paint? Colour? Stick? If you have used grey card like us, it might be better to draw your decorations onto other paper and then stick those onto the plain card as colours often don’t show up very brightly on the grey.

There might be sequins and glitter and shiny stuff.

There might be words.

Finished? Maybe add a little more shiny stuff? There! Done!

Set all that on one side to dry.

Then do the other side…remember that the outside panels could be like the covers of a book. Do you need a title? And do you need to decorate the back of the centre panel?

4.  The Well

mirror well on cardboard

While the main panels are drying you could look at your “well”. In our example we made a small panel decorated with magazine pictures and stuck our mirror on that. We then hinged this onto the centre panel so that the whole dressing can fold up and be easily moved around

What would suit you?

5. Final touches

When it is dry, have a good luck at your Dressing. We added some touches with gold and silver pens. Or you might use gel pens. You might want to trim the edges of your panels. Does it need a light? Maybe a couple of LEDs to reflect off the “well”? Does it need to sit somewhere where light can shine through the any windows cut in the panels?

Maybe you just need to set it up and enjoy it. Maybe put it facing outwards so that passersby can enjoy our garden, wall and window-ledge well-dressings in this year when our actual wells haven’t been dressed?

evening, with extra plants and a tiny LED !

Send us a picture!

Keep in touch:

Facebook: Stone and Water or Two Left Hands

Email: stoneandwater@btinternet.com

a Well Dressing folded for easy storage or for exciting secrecy and a big “reveal”

In our Window Well-Dressing, we used lines from a poem called “As Long As Waters Run” by Gordon MacLellan of Creeping Toad. This was written about the wells of Buxton for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

Tiny! Treasure Hunters

Treasure Hunters

Treasure chests 2

a Tiny! workshop

Sunday 12th July

1 – 4pm

Pavilion Gardens, Buxton

Gryphon 5 copy 3
a Gryphon, hereditary guardian of treasure

What treasures would you hoard? Where would you keep them? Who would keep them safe?

Join us for this year’s Tiny! activity.

Decorate your own treasure box!

Find some natural treasures!

Mermaid, monster, pirate or dragon, who will guard your treasure?


Another summer, another Buxton Festival Fringe, another Tiny! day in the Pavilion Gardens. Tiny! workshops have been running for about 10 years now, inviting people to pause, sit down, chat to a stranger and make something small, no bigger than your hand (more or less), and generally relax in our beautiful Gardens

Finding us: in the Gardens, we’ll be on the grass between the young children’s playground and the miniature railway’s station

June 202: this event is hoping to happen. Final decision will depend upon government and local authority guidance on public events at that time. We are planning the event around current social distancing guidelines asking people to book a time slot over the afternoon. As guidelines changes over the next few weeks, we will adjust the event structure to reflect latest guidance

Book your tickets through eventbrite on the link below

Tiny! Treasure Hunters tickets


  • This event is FREE and materials are provided
  • Children should bring a grown up with them (and make sure the adult behaves)
  • Low Golden stones 16
    we can’t promise golden stones, you might have to find your own!


Castles, Trilobites and Treasures

Low R Wie strip

As these strange distanced, locked-down weeks continue, there are lots of activities appearing online to stop your thumbs twiddling and your fingers fidgeting

Stone and Water artists have been working closely with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Creeping Toad. Now, there are several SnW activities on the Museum blog with films of the same activities on the Museum’s Youtube channel. Rather than repeating all those posts (although you will find some here), we thought we would post some links through to the museum sites so you could go Questing for Trilobites or tell other people about your death-defying Search for a Mystery Object through the Wildes of the Pavilion Gardens past the Canada Geese of Despair….

Things to make…there are guides to making

Low Story towers

Castles, towers, woods and palaces


Low Trilobite 98Finger puppet Trilobites


Hand puppet fish and ancient sharks to chase those trilobites

Low Shark 10

Other things to do

If you visit the Museum blog you will find other activities as well and you can tease yourself with the Gigantic Buxton Museum and Art Gallery Quiz or argue about the latest Mystery Object

Chee Tor on the River Wye, Derbyshire copy
not much of a mystery place but does Chee Tor still look this ? Did it ever?

If you have a Mystery Object yourself, if it is safe, polite and not-too-offensive to share, why not send us a picture…or if you have something ancient (no, not a parent or other relative) you’re not sure about why not send a picture of that in and we can all be confused as well!


Please! Exercise those imaginations and join us on a learning, discovering, making and laughing journey through the art and histories of the Peak District



Prehistoric shark puppets


make your own finger puppet

ancient fish and prehistoric sharks


Coelacanth stripRecently, we had you making trilobites and other ancient sea creatures as fingerpuppets. In this session, let’s add some danger to the trilobites world with some large prehistoric fish…..


You might enjoy

Low Ancient fish 31Dunkleosteus: 5 m long with jaws that could crush. Our limestone here in the Peaks is Carboniferous in age – about 300 million years while Dunk belongs to a slightly older time but they are so spectacular….

Coelacanth: 1m long with wonderful fins like stumpy legs – and these are still around today. You can find film of these beautiful fish on the internet with their fins that rotate and flare and move in fascinating ways….

Ancient sharks: modern sharks are often sleek, elegant swimmers (with some exciting exceptions like Wobbegongs), in ancient times, sharks were more experimental. Look at Stethacanthus with its sort of hat, Edestus with its sticking out teeth, Sarcoprion with its strange pointy jaws or Helicoprion, the buzz-saw shark.

These wonderful animals lived at many different times so do your own research to decide what might have been swimming down the street where you live 300 million years ago

To make a fingerpuppet fish or shark….

You will needLow Fish puppets 1

  • Card: old birthday cards or cereal packets work well
  • Scissors
  • Pencils or pens for drawing and colouring
  • Glue
  • Paperclips or tape or stapler – or all of these
  • Wobbly eyes maybe


Decide first, are you making a fish with a deep body rather than the shark with a more or less straight back


FishLow Fish puppets 2

  1. Fold your card in half long-ways and draw your fish on one piece of card: make your drawing as long as a finger – or more. A good measure is to try to make one as big as your hand. Leave off any paired fins – so keep on the tail and back (dorsal) and belly (ventral) fins. Cut out the fish, cutting through both pieces of card. Keep the scrap card


  1. Low Fish puppets 3Set your fish shapes nose to nose and decorate them


  1. Out of the left-over card, cut out some side fins (pectoral and pelvic) Glue these in place on your fish – just glue the “body” end of the fin. Hold in place with a staple or a paperclip

Low Fish puppets 4

  1. Fitting it all together: turn your fish over, put a bit of glue at head and tail (X) and join together. Again, hold in place with a staple or a paperclip. Make a ring out of card to fit a finger. Wiggle this gently into the middle of your fish and glue, tape or staple it into place. Generally, position the ring so that when the fish is on your finger it is pointing forward – so the ring opens backwards.

  1. Start swimming. Chase a trilobite

experiment with drawing eyes….


  1. Low Shark 1Fold your card in half and draw half a shark body (no fins or tail) against the fold. Happy shark? Grumpy shark? Cut out the shape (DON’T cut along the fold). Open your shark flat onto your table


  1. Decorate your shark. Using scrap card cut a pair of pectoral fins (long ones that sit just behind the gills (remember sharks often have more than one gill slit)

Low Shark 3

  1. A curving triangle will give you a dorsal fin. Cut up the centre of the fin’s base – maybe 1 cm and open these tabs out. They can glue on the back of the shark or if you have someone who can use a craft knife around, cut a slit and fit the fin on the inside of the model

4. Fitting it all together: another bit of card might be needed to draw your sharks’ lopsided (asymmetric) tail. Cut along the fold on your shark and slide the tail into that slot. Glue and staple or paperclip in place. Fit a ring just like the fish above

When all the glue is dry, fold fins out, fit fish and sharks onto fingers and start swimming!

(Belemnites: these slender squid-like animals that swam through the limestone seas of ancient Derbyshire can be made like the sharks above, fitting some extra curly tentacles at their heads…..)

Now put your animals on your fingers and set off through your ancient seas! If you have a garden, you might go exploring (chasing ammonites? Hunting for trilobites?) Through the undersea flowerbeds of the Back Garden Ocean. Past the lair of the Terrible Worms (= compost heap), over the Muddy Wellington Boots of Despair. No garden? How about a swim across the sandy seafloor of The Bed, clamber over the Coral Reef of Cushions, slide down the Book Mountains and onto the Carpet Wastes…..

This is another of a number of posts replacing activity sessions which we have had to cancel. A Finger Full of Fish is a Creeping Toad event in conjunction with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Stone and Water. Based in Buxton in the Peak District, we all collaborate and support each other as we can, working closely with the Babbling Vagabonds and The Green Man Gallery. If you enjoy this activity, try visiting the others for more ideas!



Fingerfulls of trilobites


Low-Trilobites-01 copy
a rare sighting of trilobites in the River Dove in Dovedale….

This is another of a number of posts replacing activity sessions which we have had to cancel. Fingerfossils is a Creeping Toad event in conjunction with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Stone and Water. Based in Buxton in the Peak District, we all collaborate and support each other as we can, working closely with the Babbling Vagabonds and The Green Man Gallery. If you enjoy this activity, try visiting the others for more ideas!

Low Limestone 38
garden wall limestone from Buxton

Buxton is built on, and often, of, limestone, limestone that was formed in ancient tropical seas. 300 million years ago when our stone was being made there were no dinosaurs, no pteradactyls or tyrannosaurs, no giant reptiles swimming in prehistoric seas. Those ancient seas were still full of life and Buxton Museum has a wonderful collection of fossils from Carboniferous Seas. There are ammonites and lamellibranchs, corals and crinoids and trilobites. Trilobites are quite rare in our stones but they are there and are such fascinating animals they will be our first puppets in this session


Making your own trilobites

Low Trilobite 1You will need:

  • Some scrap card – doesn’t need to be big but card that can fold without cracking is good
  • drawing pencil
  • Coloured pencils or pens
  • Scissors
  • A small stapler or roll of sticky tape


Low Trilobite 2Step 1: draw your trilobite

Fold the card in half longways and draw half a trilobite against the fold. You could use one of these photos for ideas or look up trilobite on the web -there were lots of different types: large, small, smooth, spiky, lumpy…..

Keep the card folded and cut out the trilobite


Low Trilobite 4Step 2: add some colour

Flatten out the card, copy your design onto the plain half and then colour it in. We don’t know what colours trilobites were. They might have been camouflaged – sandy, seaweedy, rocky colours. They might have been bright as rainbows – we don’t know. You can decide!


Low Trilobite 7Step 3: fitting onto fingers

Use a piece of scrap card to cut a stirp about 1cm wide and maybe 12 cm long. Roll this into a ring that will slide easily up and down a finger. Position the ring on the underside of the trilobite, about the middle, slip your stapler in and fix in place. No stapler? You could tape it in place instead, or glue it. You can always tape over staples if you worry that they might scratch your finger.

Low Trilobite 98Step 4: Trilobite adventures

Now put the trilobite on your finger and set off to tell a trilobite tale! If you have a garden, you might go exploring (add another trilobite as a friend?). Through the undersea flowerbeds of the Back Garden Ocean. Past the lair of the Terrible Worms (= compost heap), over the Muddy Wellington Boots of Despair. No garden? How about a swim across the sandy seafloor of The Bed, clamber over the Coral Reef of Cushions, slide down the Book Mountains and onto the Carpet Wastes


Low Trilobite 117OTHER ANIMALS

If you are looking at pictures of Carboniferous Sea Creatures, you might have a go at some others. Eurypterids might be made in the same way as trilobites but with bigger card. Some of those spectacular sharks and fishes we’ll look at in the next activity – or you could create yourself just now



Why not try an ammonite? Like an octopus in a shell – look at Nautilus on a film platform.  Nautilus have survived for hundreds of millions of years. The ammonites were their cousins – growing large (up to 2 m across) and tough, they lasted right through to the end of dinosaur days


Step 1: Ammonite shells

Fold card in half

Draw a shell on the card and cut out through both pieces of card so you have 2 shells.

Step 2: colour

Set the shells side by side and colour them in – make sure you lie them down as mirror images – facing each other so they make a pair

Step 3: tentacles

I used an extra piece of card to make a tentacly head (with wobbly eyes) that I rolled into my finger-tube

Step 4: fitting it all together

Then I stapled the top of the shells together and fitted them on the tentacle ring. I used two extra bits of cards to add two longer tentacles (like a squid or cuttlefish).

what story waits here….

 Enjoy! Why not send us photos of any finger-fossils you make or record their adventures on a phone and send them in?

Reach us either  at

Coming soon –

something monstrous swimming in those ancient Carboniferous Seas as we look at how to make your own prehistoric sharks and fabulous finned fishes


Castles, towers, adventures….


build a place where adventures might happen….

Giant worlds strip

Build a castle, build a tower, build a landscape

where adventures might happen….

This is one of a number of posts replacing activity sessions which we have had to cancel. Storycastles is a Creeping Toad event in conjunction with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Stone and Water. Based in Buxton in the Peak District, we all collaborate and support each other as we can, working closely with the Babbling Vagabonds and The Green Man Gallery. If you enjoy this activity, try visiting the others for more ideas!

Now, flex those imagination muscles, exercise your scissor fingers and your colouring thumbs and join us to build a castle, build a tower,build a landscape where adventures might happen….


Low Storycastles 1You will need

  • A piece of cardboard: A4 or A3 white is best but this will work with cereal packet card as well or anything that you can cut and roll without it cracking
  • A piece of stiff card as a base
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Felt pens or colouring pencils
  • Sharp scissors
  • Small ball of modelling clay
  • PVA glue
  • Masking tape
  • Craft knife and cutting mat
  • A magazine with pictures to cut out, or tissue paper or wrapping paper
  • Barbecue skewers (one for each puppet character you want)

Low Storycastles 2Step 1. Getting ready

Use the ruler to draw a line maybe 2cm in from one of the long sides of the card (line 1). Take the rule in another 3 or 4 cm and draw another line (Line 2)



Step 2. Drawing the castle

Low Storycastles 3iAbove Line 2 draw your castle: think of it as a castle unfolded so work your way right across the card. There might be towers and battlements, and another tower, and a hole made by a cannonball. There might be arched windows, a door, arrow slits. Use Line 2 as a guide and don’t draw the top of your building further down than that line. If you do, you might weaken the whole castle. Don’t draw below line 1 – that will be used for something else

(We’re writing as if you are making a castle. You don’t need to: you could make a palace, a strange wizard’s house, a mountain, a forest. The same techniques work for all of these!)

Step 3. Cutting out and colouring

Cut out the castle. Cutting out windows: you might recruit a grown up with a craft knife and a cutting mat, or if you sit your castle shape so the window you want to cut out is on top of that lump of modelling clay, you can safely push the pencil through the card and into the clay. Give the pencil a wiggle. This should give you a big enough hole to slide some small scissors in and then you can cut out the window yourself.

Colour the castle in: completely? Or just draw in stones and ivy and decoration? Up to you!

All done? No! add a little bit more! How about some glitter?


Step 4: all decorated and looking wonderful?

Now cut tabs along the lower edge of the castle, cutting up to Line 1. Do your cuts about 2 cm apart

Run some glue along one side of the castle, then roll the other side round so they just overlap. Carefully press into place. Maybe use a bit of masking tape to hold it together while the glue dries or staple it if you have a staple. Carefully, fold the tabs out so that your castle will stand on the table with its tabs spread out like little feet

Step 5. Stand that castle up!

Turn your castle upside down and put a small squidge of glue on each tab. Gently stand on the castle on the tough card. You might need to adjust things a bit so that it stands straight and proud. Then press the tabs down. More masking tape will hold them in place while the glue dries. Now, rather than having a castle standing in a muddy cardboard square, decorate the castle surround with scrap paper or torn up magazine pictures or whatever (we sometimes use green sponges for bushes, grey ones for stone). There might need to be a paper moat) draw your own crocodiles or piranha perhaps). Step back and admire! You have a castle!


Having a castle means you might need a story to tell. Use some of your left-over card (or find some more) to draw someone to send on an adventure. Stick them onto a barbecue skewer (if it is very sharp, you could snip the point off with a pair of scissors so it is less likely to stick in someone!)


Giant worlds strip

We made an adventurous explorer. We added a dragon. Because this is an Easter activity this year, we thought our hero should go on a quest….They met a dragon. They found a treasure chest. A chest full of eggs! But are they chocolate eggs? Or do the hero and the dragon incubate the eggs to see who hatches out of them….

Low Storycastles 14


If you want some help with characters, there is a pdf attached that you should be able to print out of explorer children and some castle people

Story characters

Low Story towers




Make, take, play, laugh…spring activities coming up

Time To Make And Draw

activities for a strange Spring

make your own fingermouse

With all our planned events for the next few weeks cancelled, we are planning on posting some d-i-y activities to help keep your creativity going at home. To do this, we’re teaming up with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Creeping Toad, the Babbling Vagabonds and the Green Man Gallery so that between us there will be something for you to experiment with every few days (I am reluctant to say “every day”). On this blog we’ll psot liks to other people’s activites as they appear as well as posting our own activities so keep an eye on things here as  launching-off point to flap your wings and fly off to other people’s sites

If you make anything inspried by one of these sessions, we’d love to see (or hear) your results so maybe send us a picture – either through facebook (find us at https://www.facebook.com/stoneandwater/) or email us at stoneandwater@btinternet.com

And for today, why not try:

Creeping Toad’s A Fingerful of Animals


Babbling Vagabonds wobble monster


Buxton Museum and Art Gallery’s underwater colouring sheet

add some extra kelp to the museum sheet perhaps – or draw your own?

Are you ready to picnic?

Rainbow Sun

Buxton Pride Picnic 2020

Saturday 18th July

14:00 – 17:00

Pavilion Gardens, Buxton

Find us on the lawns in front of the Swimming Pool

( Festival Fringe venue 33n)


Low Hats 1Are you ready?

Have you started trimming your best hats, practising your flouncing?

Time now, perhaps, for a quick bit of cake rehearsal: how camp can you make that dish? How frivolous? How full of the trauma, despair and passion of Pride? Or maybe just bake a wonderful Gay Forest Gateaux


A summer afternoon, fancy hats, wonderful cakes, fabulous people: Buxton’s Pride Picnic is back for its 4th feast, a celebration of the town’s LGBTQ+ community. Join us for laughter, conversation, new friends, old tarts. Bring your own picnic, maybe bake a cake for our Big Gay Bake Off.

More details will follow

Cakes detail

And no, we don’t know if we’ll be able to do this wonderful event. We don’t know if Buxton Festival Fringe will happen this year. The International Festival has cancelled but with more local acts and locally organised events, we are hoping the Fringe will go ahead. If it is safe to gather, with or without Festivals (we’ll probably have our own Fringes), we will Picnic. We may have to picnic at Appropriate Distances and possibly organise some rainbow coloured semaphore flags to send messages of solidarity and cake to picnic enclaves scattered across the garden. We may even end up facetiming picnics from back gardens and front rooms across the High Peak, but we will Picnic as only Pride people can.

Stay safe. Be well

Light in a winter darkness

Winter Lights

18, 19 January 2020


This weekend saw two gentle events in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and in the Cavendish Arcade as part of our “A Year in Our Town” project. Recycling plastic bottles (or odd bits of plastic and plastic cups), we made either small lanterns, tiny lanterns (think of the lower half of a 500ml water bottle) or panels to put in a window. The panels could either give you something intriguing to look at against the light outside or for people outside to admire as they walk past on these dark winter nights…..or both.

We’ll post a “do it yourself” guide to this activity later this week

stone shelter


Minecraft provided inspiration!

viewing lantern under a table

lanterns tell stories

sometimes the colours run!

a wolf howls, a gnome hides in a small house

winter woods

lantern being drawn

The next “A Year In Our Town” events will be in February with details following soon

Some of our team, hwoever, will be helping out at Heart Art next Sunday in the Cavendish Arcade, Buxton

Come and join in the Heart Art project that plans to make 2500 hearts for an exhibition in July as part of the fringe. The exhibition will raise awareness of the 25000000 plus refugees worldwide and seeks to also raise much needed aid.
All of your arty hearts will be on display in the summer exhibition.”

Sunday 26th January, 12:00 – 15:00

Venue: Cavendish Arcade, Buxton, SK17 6BQ

Free, materials and guidance provided, only smiles, enthusiasm and a readiness to join in required….

More details on facebook: under Heart Art