On Christmas Eve 1989, the world was introduced to the charismatic Claymation characters, Wallace and Gromit.
‘A Grand Day Out’ was the first of four Academy Award nominated (two of them winning) shorts, and began back in 1982 as creator Nick Park’s graduating project for the National Film and Television School (Aardman 2015). It was an ambitious and tedious labour of love that relied on Park’s patience and precision in handcrafting every character, prop and movement in order to tell the story.
The craft practice of Nick Park is one that Walter Benjamin would view as “genuine storytelling”. In his essay ‘The Storyteller’, Benjamin believes storytelling is not a job solely for the voice and that “the hand plays a part which supports what is expressed in a hundred ways with its gestures learnt of work” (Leslie 1998). Park’s “artisan labour” is made visible by the fingerprints that are smeared on the plasticine bodies of Wallace and Gromit, and it is through this that the characters are instilled with life and spirit.
Leslie, Esther 1998, ‘Traces of Craft’, Journal of Design History, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 5-13, viewed 5 May 2015, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1316160.
About W&G A Grand Day Out, Aardman, viewed 5 May 2015, http://www.wallaceandgromit.com/about/
Park, N 2015, A Grand Day Out – Landing on the Moon – Wallace and Gromit, online video, April 30, Wallace and Gromit YouTube, viewed 5 May 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0qagA4_eVQ