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Cats vs dogs, in clay

Baraboo 10-year-olds,, from left, Marie Fadeyev and Kyra Hess have a clay cat versus clay dog fight Tuesday afternoon at the Baraboo Public Library. They were working on a stop-motion animation of a cat trying to steal a bone from a dog, Fadeyev said.

Children learned about the techniques used to create famous animated shows like "Gumby" and "Wallace and Gromit" Tuesday during a workshop hosted by the Baraboo Public Library.

A large crowd of kids and some parents armed with pencils, construction paper, glue and brightly-colored clay filled the library's community room for the program on stop-motion animation using clay figures, also called claymation.

The event was organized by former Baraboo High School art teacher Rochelle Robkin, along with the Stage III Youth Programs at the Al. Ringling Theatre.

Robkin seemed good naturedly overwhelmed by the 44 people who showed up to participate. "I expected 10," she said. "Oh God, this is really fun."

Robkin directed participants to begin with pencils and big sheets of paper on which they drew a series of small cartoons, called a storyboard, laying out the story and images they want to animate.

Phillip Zolper, 11, of Baraboo, came to Robkin with an idea for animating a story about a man-eating chicken heart, a campfire-side horror tale. She chatted with him and helped him work out some of his ideas on the storyboard.

Next, workshop participants took up colored construction paper and glue to assemble into the backgrounds for their animated scenes.

North Freedom resident Dan DeForest and son Liam DeForest, 15, cut out flowers from yellow paper for their scene.

Dan DeForest said they have done some animating at home with their home movie camera, but they were hoping to get more instruction at the workshop.

"We're just going to do a plant growing," he said. "Maybe it will turn into something, we haven't gotten that far yet."

Baraboo resident Michelle Lopez Camarillo, 15, and her sister Tabitha Lopez Camarillo, 8, were working on an elaborate scene that included a chocolate waterfall with their construction paper and glue.

"We're making a scene from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Michelle Lopez Camarillo said. "Which is one of her favorite movies."

"We've actually done sets with clay before, but never animation into a movie," she said.

Zolper brought his monster chicken heart story to life including an "elephant-bodied, reptile-head" creature.

"He's going to get crushed by a huge boulder," Zolper said.

Friends Marie Fadeyev and Kyra Hess made a clay cat and dog for an animation featuring the cat's attempt to steal a bone from the dog.

Fadeyev said she took the workshop last year and came back for a second round. "It was fun," she said.

Robkin said she might demonstrate the technique for animating the clay figures, involving taking many images of each scene while moving the figures in tiny increments. However, with the number of children who participated, she was not going to be able to animate each video in one day.

Instead, Robkin said she'll be back at the library today and will help children complete their animations over the coming week.

"The kids can come in during the day and I can help them," she said.

The library will host a showing of the children's creations in the future.

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