Designers work to make young inventors’ wacky visions a reality

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Artists, designers, glassmakers and manufacturers are hard at work making young people’s inventions become a reality.

Creative youngsters are seeing their vision come to life as part of Inventors!, an arts project funded by the Cultural Spring.

Sophia Carr with Norman Veitch (left) and Dominic Wilcox

Sophia Carr with Norman Veitch (left) and Dominic Wilcox

More than 600 drawings of wonderful, weird and wacky inventions were submitted as part of the Arts Council-funded project, with a selection chosen by a panel to be made into working prototypes or models.

Leading the design workshops was Sunderland-born artist and inventor Dominic Wilcox.

He said: “Children are born with fantastic imaginations, but because they’re not encouraged to think differently they lose interest in feeding their imaginations.

“Inventors! has given so many youngsters licence and encouragement to think differently, and the response has been fantastic.

A close  up of Sophia's invention

A close up of Sophia's invention

“We’ve teamed up more than a dozen young people with manufacturers, artists and tradespeople from across Wearside and South Tyneside, and they’re now hard at work bringing the children’s drawings to life.”

Morgan Regan, 11, and Shaun Booth, both of Roker, who attend Dame Dorothy Primary School, jointly came up with the idea of a “baby wall holder” – an invention where you can put a sleeping baby.

Morgan said: “Dominic came to our school and talked to us about inventing things and encouraged us to think about solving everyday problems through inventing new things.

“We came up with the shape first, and then thought about putting a papoose with a baby in it up on a wall – it’s somewhere safe to put a sleeping baby.”

The “baby wall holder” is being made by Dave Park, owner of Fibre Style in Houghton.

“It’s certainly something I’ve not done before,” joked Dave, who specialises in fibre glass.

Meanwhile, over at the National Glass Centre, six-year-old Sophia Carr watched her ‘umbrella for ladybirds’ being made.

Norman Veitch, of Wearside Glass Sculptors based at the NGC, said the umbrella took an afternoon to make. Norman, who used to work at Pyrex before starting his own business in 1996, said it was great to see young people using their imagination.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed working alongside Sophia to see the umbrella take shape – it’s something a bit wacky, something creative and an idea that’s come from her imagination.”

Sophia had attended an Inventors! workshop at Willowfields Breakfast Club where she’d come up with her idea.

Sophia, from Southwick and in Year 1 at Willowfields Community Primary School, said she’d enjoyed her time at the NGC where she watched Norman making her creation.

The inventions being made will be the centrepiece for an Inventors! exhibition, which will be hosted at a pop-up shop in Fawcett Street from January 16.

The exhibition features original drawings and some of Dominic’s inventions.