I first came across Lizzie during the Easter holidays. I was looking for an activity for the kids outside my usual go-to places when I stumbled onto her Hatch your Baby Dinosaur workshop. It was clearly a crafts activity, but the dinosaur angle stood out, so I booked the kids in and hoped it would work out.
I expect you already know that it did!
Lizzie started by explaining to all the children what they were going to be doing, as well as showing some examples for inspiration. So far so good. But then came the things that weren’t so common, like the amount of materials she had on offer — not just your usual paper and paint, but also boxes full of recycled materials such as fabric, wallpaper, bubble packaging, ribbons, plastic cutlery, masking tape, cardboard boxes, rubber tubes and much, much more! There was no limit when it came to using them either, no maximum quantity. Lizzie encouraged the children to take as much as they needed and use as many different types as they wanted to.
Her class was about exploring imaginations, materials, textures and above all having fun. It was messy, but it was meant to be, also a freeing experience — especially for us parents. And how refreshing it was to see someone moving away from aesthetics too; her focus was not to get the kids to make something pretty, but rather about creating freely and see what you end up with.
It was a lesson I also took home with me. No wonder her adult classes are so popular.
Since meeting Lizzie, she has run workshops in Birmingham, Deptford and the Latitude Festival (where she made a Caravan-a-Slide-o-Saurus!) and I am thrilled that more children and adults are having the chance to enjoy her approach. She is one to watch, and I am happy to use this platform to give her a shout out.
Tell us a bit about d.i.ynosaur. How did it get started?
I started D.I.YNOSAUR in January 2019 after making a series of wearable dinosaur sculptures for my own Art Practice.
It was so much fun making these mad dinosaur creations that I wanted to share the experience with everyone else!
I’ve worked for years for various art businesses, facilitating workshops for Adults and Children.
I found that a lot of these workshops were very outcome based and I wanted to design workshops that promoted full freedom to experiment and explore as many materials as possible. D.I.YNOSAUR workshops are energetic, imagination led and encourage totally abstract creations!
Dinosaurs are a fantastic source of inspiration. Dinosaurs roamed the earth for millions of years; however we have no physical evidence of their appearance. Fossils give us an understanding of size, shape and their lifestyle, but no one can be totally sure of how they looked on the outside. Scientists have made educated decisions, but no one can be 100% sure. Having no photographic evidence is wonderful for engaging a child’s imagination.
Furthermore, dinosaurs are a fantastic tool to teach children about the fragility of our environment. Dinosaurs became extinct through natural environmental collapse, whilst our current environmental crisis is due to our own actions. Using recycled materials and exploring ways in which we can use discarded materials creatively, helps children to think about the wider possibilities of recycling.
What do you love most about the business?
I love seeing people get excited about materials and watching how their creations develop. D.I.YNOSAUR workshops for Adults are especially rewarding as it’s wonderful to see how therapeutic adults find the making process. As an Artist, I take for granted the fact that I create daily. Most of adults coming to the workshops haven’t made anything like this since primary school! It’s a fantastic way to destress, promote the importance of play and let your inner child come out!
What would you have done differently?
In hindsight, think I would have sought some advice from another creative start-up at the beginning. Setting up D.I.YNOSAUR has been very much a learning-by-doing process, which has been great, but probably more stressful than it could have been with some good advice!
Biggest High. Biggest Low.
I am super excited to announce that D.I.YNOSAUR will be going to Latitude Festival this summer. I will be making a GIANT Dinosaur sculpture which will double up arts space for workshops over the festival. I am super excited to see hundreds of people running riot around the festival dressed as dinosaurs!
Biggest low… thankfully there hasn’t been one yet! Everything so far has been super positive and enjoyable!
Best advice you were given?
‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ — This is a classic from my Mum. It’s important to take a step back, and think about what you have achieved, before you are too tough on yourself!
‘Be prolific. Just keep making.’ — Mike Chambers, was my Tutor yearrrs ago. He told me to keep making, keep doing, keep experimenting, be prolific- explore your ideas and be confident in your decisions.
How do you switch off?
With a glass of wine in the pub or painting in my studio in Ladywell!
I’m really excited to develop D.I.YNOSAUR over the coming year. As I set only set up this year, I have lots of ideas that i want to expand on.
D.IY.NOSAUR has collaborated with some really exciting South London Artists recently, which has been wonderful. I am really passionate about working with local creatives and artists, looking at ways to develop a whole range of exciting dinosaur related workshops for adults and children.
Dinosaur Life Drawing Workshop was a great hit, and I would love to run some more of these mad quirky dinosaur events!
Favourite things to do/places to go in South East London?
I love a good proper pub! Skehans in Nunhead, The Gowlett, The Monpellier in Peckham. I also love a good walk in a park, South London is amazing for big green spaces- Dulwich Park, Greenwich Park, and obviously Crystal Palace Park to see the Dinosaurs! We are so lucky to have beautiful parks around us.