What are these Bees doing?

Here’s a few bee characters busy doing a variety of hopefully interesting activities.

I’m going to use these drawings to make stencils that can be used to make colourful images for the school wall at Ashley Down.

Bees Rock!; Work in progress.


Here’s one Tula and I found ourselves working on late yesterday evening by torchlight!
It’s a bit scruffy but I like it.
More to come from this busy bee series for Ashley Down Primary School very soon.

Alex Hykel: Artist, Puppeteer, Harmonica Player;

Think you can’t do it?


Monday morning message; we are all capable of so much but often fear, uncertainty, self doubt or lack of perseverance get in the way of us achieving our goals.
Think you can’t do it? Chances are you can! Maybe take a moment to mentally break it up into smaller, more manageable pieces. Then be calm, breath, think creatively,  and then go for it hammer and tong!
The chances are you’ll have progressed a fair bit by the time you stop, and should feel a lot better.
Wishing everybody positivity and productivity.

Alex Hykel: Artist, Puppeteer, Harmonica Player;

Over Head Projector


Ashley Down School had put this OHP out to be recycled a little while back, so I have rehoused it in my little workshop. I’ve  also made a lttle projection screen/ drawing board so now wecan enlarge our sketches. Awesome! Here’s a picture of Tula enlarging her new character ‘The Buckland Beast’


The bat shadow above her comes from one of the batarangs I made a while back with Rufus. We are using them to weigh down the acetate that we trace the sketches onto. It’s a lot of fun!

Alex Hykel: Artist, Puppeteer, Harmonica Player;

Elli Characters

Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory Characters


There is an organisation based at the Innovation Centre at the Bristol and Bath Science Park called ELLI whose mission is to help people in schools, colleges, universities and businesses, from all over the world, to learn to be the best they could possibly be, whatever their age or stage in life. They do this by teaching The EFFECTIVE LIFELONG LEARNING INVENTORY. You can find them online at elli.global

As far as I understand it, there are 7 parts, or dimensions that they have established that make people effective lifelong learners. These are; (and I quote from the learning partnership.com

  1. Changing and Learning– A sense of myself as someone who learns and changes over time.
  2. Critical Curiosity- An orientation to want to ‘get beneath the surface’
  3. Meaning Making – Making connections and seeing that learning ‘matters to me’
  4. Creativity – Risk-taking, playfulness, imagination and intuition.
  5. Interdependence – Learning with and from others and also able to manage without them.
  6. Strategic awareness – Being aware of my thoughts, feelings and actions as a learner and able to use that awareness to manage learning processes
  7. Resilience – The readiness to persevere in development of my own learning power.

At Ashley Down Primary school they have embodied these personal skills into 7 different characters.

  • A Flexible Cameleon, who understands how to change and learn.
  • A Curious Cat, who has critical curiosity.
  • A Linking Spider, who understands meaning making.
  • A Creative Unicorn, the creative one
  • A Busy Bee, who is interdependent
  • A Planning Owl, who has got the strategic awareness, and
  • A Stickability Tortoise, who knows how to persevere.

If you look at the picture above you’ll see there are two additional characters, an elephant called Elli and a Toucan. Now if I’ve got it right, These characters are used in a story context, Toucan and Elli being the protagonist and companion and they meet all the other characters on their adventures, and the various skills they learn from them enable them to succeed on their quests. Nice!

A teacher at the school called Steve Lewis suggested that it might be good to have these characters on the school playground wall. I think this is a great idea. I think it could be really effective if the characters were painted in situations that clearly demonstrated their individual skills, in a way that the kids could understand and find memorable. How to do this deserves some careful thought, experimentation and consultation with the children of the school as we can be sure there will be some clear opinions about exactly how a unicorn can be creative, and an owl plans.

That’s a lot of Wall!

Oh my golly gosh! Ashley Down School have asked me to paint this wall in their playground.

I’m delighted to do it, but definitely a bit daunted. I’ve got till April to prepare, which is quite a long time. With careful design, doing it will hopefully be fun. More on this coming soon.