A Cheesy Celebration

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Cheese Fest, a national festival of cheese which is making its way across Britain, arrived in Aberdeen on the 19th of October for one day only. North-East cheese fanatics came together to celebrate their love of the smelly stuff. From Wensleydale to Blue Cheese to Cheddar, there was something for every cheese-lover.  

It also marked the 30th anniversary of Wallace and Gromit, a British animation beloved by all. 

There were cheese market stalls, live music, cooking demonstrations, and most excitingly model making workshops throughout the day run by Aardman Animations. 

Aardman Animations are the creators of, ‘Wallace and Gromit’, ‘Shaun the Sheep’ and ‘Flushed Away’. As well as a lot of other well-known animations.

The workshop was attended by all ages and throughout, both uncontrollable laughter and concentrated silence was heard as we made our own Gromits.  

Speaking to George, who ran the workshop, he stated that what he loved most about model making was, “The sculpting part. I’ve always loved making things with my hands so whether that’s painting or carving or sculpting. Lots of different materials, the more materials the better really.” 

“On average it takes 3 to 4 years to make a film from start to finish.” 

As the workshop was only an hour long our models turned out a little misshapen but as we were taken through each of the steps, our models did definitely turn out looking Gromit-like.  

George commented that what he loved most about running the workshop was, “Getting kids creative…and even the adults, because lots of the adults won’t have done this since they were at school so it’s nice getting them doing something that they might not have done for ages. And the kids as well… it’s nice to get them to do something with their hands and use their imagination.” 

Massive life-size models of the van, spaceship and living room set could be found at the event which children very much enjoyed playing with.  

We asked George the ultimate question. Wallace or Gromit. He replied with certainty, “Gromit. Gromit is by far my favourite character. I love the characters who don’t talk. I love how much emotion you can get without voices. It’s the same with the Shaun the Sheep films… there’s no talking in them but you know exactly what’s going on.” 

The atmosphere was very much buzzing. With people searching for their favourite cheese. It of course helps small cheese traders get the opportunity to sell and show people, who aren’t near them, what they have to offer.

Names such as, ‘Stinking Bishop’ cheese, humourized a characteristic of cheese everyone knows. The smelliness of it. People marvelled at the smell, astonished at just how stinky cheese can truly be.  

Sadly, Cheese Fest will not be coming back next year but for people who are considering a career in model making, George was kind enough to lend some advice.

 “Work on a portfolio, so create as much as you can. I’d say focus on realism if you want to go into model making because if you can sculpt realistically then you can sculpt cartoony. Not necessarily the other way round… Just keeping a record of what you’re doing, photographs of all your work, so you can see your own progression and other people can see how you’re progressing as well.” 

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