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Glittering Shards

Glittering Shards: September 2009

Glittering Shards

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Foraging in the woods today

If you live somewhere rural, please excuse the indulgence of me going on and on about being in the trees. Us urbanites are tree deprived.

Off for a cycle ride in the woods today. Would you believe we found a woody glade, with a moss carpeted floor, to have our picnic, just as the sun came out?

We went with the intention of finding stuff to craft with - cones, acorns, twigs...Isabella got stuck right in as you can see!

I probably won't post again 'til we are back in smoggy London. See you then.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grateful in the forest

I am technologically challenged today. I have a most gorgeous picture of my two bunnies, cuddling up in a bike trailer as we cycle through the trees in Elveden Forest (Norfolk), but don't know how to do blue tooth on my friends (lovely) MacBook I am using, so can't upload the picture for you right now.

So just imagine if you will. So many varieties of deciduous and coniferous trees; pink, red and deep blue berries, squirrels, rabbits, finches, robins.... and us away from the London smog (gosh the fumes have been getting to me lately) and instead breathing in that lovely spicy, woodland smell (guess even a photo can't do that for you on a blog, so you will need your imagination in gear now).

So beautiful. I closed my eyes to go to sleep last night and went through all the things I am grateful for - the trees, the fresh air, the beautiful colours, for creativity and possibility and mostly for my precious children and loving husband and the friends who surround us. Grateful.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dragonflies and fairies

Dragonflies are really rather special, don't you think? So delicate, so ethereal in their colouring and see-through wings. They do appeal to my inner child who likes the ideas of fairies a lot! Hee hee, and now I have two little ones to share my fairy glee with!

There is a large wall in our garden that is crying out for a mosaic day, soon. I know already it will be a forest glade with some magical goings on - think midsummer night's dream.

In the meantime, in homage to dragonflies and all things fairies, here's one of the recycled broken dragonfly lights now turned into a dragonfly garden ornament (see earlier post on how these were made). Oh, and having decided that autumn was here, cold nights having visited already, tonight is warm, close...summer is back again! Time to sit in the garden with some wine and see if I can spot anything twinkling...

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Thursday, September 17, 2009


Yesterday morning, Isabella and daddy were in the bathroom getting ready for the day and (for some bizarre reason) a discussion about toenails ensued. It went something like this:

Daddy: "Isabella, what do you think toenails are for?"
Isabella: (in matter of fact tone) "For painting, daddy!" (duh! don't you know!).

I can explain. Not long ago, Isabella, having watched me change my toenail colour on many occasions, asked if I could paint hers. Of course I happily agreed and we sat on the grass in the warm garden. She chose her nail colour and on it went. Toby followed suit and then insisted that daddy have his toenails painted too. So, half an hour later, there we all were, all painted in the toe nail department. Since then, her love affair with toenail varnish has unfolded and she has changed from purple to pink to blue (hey maybe we should try all three colours at once...) but I didn't realise it had gone so far! Don't you just love how kids minds work?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mosaic Memory Garden

There is a beautiful place, two minutes from Waterloo station, perfect for relaxing, enjoying beauty and being in touch with the broken reality of life.

It is the garden of St. John's church, in whose crypt live many creative projects including the wonderful Southbank Mosaics.

We spend a lot of time on the South Bank - it is one of our favourite places to go as a family - and so we make the garden of St. John's one of our pitstops on the way. The kids love it and I think it is extra special for its meaning. The garden is a favoured spot for some of London's homeless. South Bank mosaics worked with some of those who use the garden and together a beautiful mosaic bench was created, to remember fellow homeless friends who had died. Special leaf tiles were created and the names of these friends written onto them and embedded in the bench. Beautiful.Isabella and Toby love climbing up on the bench and Isabella decided she would balance on it and practice her ballet! She also took a photo of the owl next to it - here it is!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

What a great saying

"It's ok to remove a fly from a friend's forehead, but don't use a hatchet".

Chinese proverb, source unknown.

Love it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Object graveyards

I am clearing out the 'shed' part of my workshop so it is no shed and all workshop! Amazingly, almost everything that was in the shed (not part of my mosaic life) has found a home elsewhere. There is nothing like decluttering and sorting stuff so that things have a proper home rather than being shoved out of the way. It was soooo satifying. We are now nearly ready to insulate and paint and put in new work benches. Very exciting.

The sorting included making "keep", "give" and "chuck" piles. We are regular users of freecycle so the 'give' pile will be distributed there and to charity shops.

Then comes the "chuck" pile. Granted, things have come some way - at our local dump, we were able to put old batteries, wood, cardboard and old electrical items in seperate piles, trusting they will be properly recycled. Yet, what I saw was upsetting. A mountain of TV's. I am sure half of them (if not more) were perfectly fine, just not 'flat' enough. I mean, even if you get a flat screen telly, what do you actually do with the half a metre of extra space that you gain behind your TV cabinet?

Then I saw this mirror, full length , beautifully framed and pristine. Left there to be dumped. I so wanted to rescue it. So much you can do with a mirror if you are a mosaic artist. But no, I had to leave it because it is the property of the dump. Oh my. It reminded me of the Object Graveyard webiste - the afterlife of everyday things. Check this out

I think Freecycle should have people working at dumps to re-house perfectly good objects to loving homes.


Friday, September 11, 2009


It was a 'mama melts down' day. My resources low, a child who whined soooo much and protested at any attempts by me not to do what he wanted (yes he's in his toddler two's) and a little girl struggling with asserting her top dog status with the little boy and then whining when it all went wrong. Oh, and that thing that toddlers do (guess with two of then only 15 months apart, there is less respite) of asking / demanding something on average every 20 second AND asking the same thing repeatedly (even though you have answered several times) like a rapid gunfire of the same question. It was too much, tipped over the edge by one of them hanging onto my clothes (anyone else find that exceptionally irritating?)

It went on all morning. I wanted to cry. I managed to turn the ship around by grabbing the whining boy, turning the telly on and cuddling him.

Tonight, take away curry, red wine, first two episodes of House and early night - I need it.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

That was the week that was

Nearly bedtime, nearly Friday...and I am looking forward to some downtime with my two sweet bunnies tomorrow.

I have had a week of a topsy turvy house due to major plumbing work that disrupted several rooms in the house, including the kitchen - arghh! At last, all is back to normal and my nerves are being stroked to calmness. I don't really fare well when everything is out of place and I think I did quite OK in coping - spontaneous weeding of my neighbour's garden calmed me down at the worst point of the chaos on Monday!

Then, yesterday, our little Toby fell and got a nasty cut next to his eye - he was very brave for a 2 and a bit year old and entertained us all during the long stretch we spent at Accident & Emergency. "Hello ladies" he said to two nurses, who smiled and thanked him, saying they hadn't been called lady for a long time! "Where's my Mr Bump bandage?" was his other refrain for over 2 hours (toddler way of asking "how loooong am I going to have to wait here?"). Ho hum, he looks kind of cool with his war wound.

Today was my first day invigilating at the gallery. Another beautiful, sunny day - the gallery is so full of light (and a little bit like a greenhouse after a few hours!). Despite feeling a bit under the weather, I enjoyed the space and made six of my mosaic stones. Here's a picture (excuse the background).
The stress of the week has been eased by looking at and smelling the gorgeous lilies my kind husband gave me as a 'well done' for the opening of the exhibition last week (alongside scrambled egg and smoked salmon breakfast last Saturday). Bliss.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009


The evening sun shone, catching the glass and making it shine. People came, lots of them. The sangria flowed. Then the moon came out, full and brilliant. It was a special night and the 'room of mosaics' was launched into the sea of September, for all to see (88 visitors yesterday - our first day of opening!)

When asked what she thought of the exhibition (bearing in mind not many people have been to an exhibition of mosaic art before) one lady replied "I feel like I am in heaven". Oh yes...

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ooooh, ahhhhh, wow!

There was a lot of oohing, ahhing and wowing today!

At the gallery, 7 of the band of 10 mosaic maniacs gathered.

We unwrapped our contributions to the exhibition, so now hopefully you understand...

The variety, the beauty, the uniqueness, the feeling and colour and texture of each of these beauties. Mosaic exhibitions have to be experienced to be believed and understood. I'm not kidding you - they are so unlike 'ordinary' art exhibitions. If you have a chance ...go, go, steep yourself in some beauty.

Opening night is this Friday 6-9pm. Then every Thurs to Sunday until 27th Sept. Jeanie Avent gallery, London, SE22. Go, go, go!

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Colour colour colour

The long weekend is over and all the little tasks of preparation for tomorrow's hanging of the exhibition are underway. Grouting, cleaning up, naming and signing pieces, putting hooks on, painting frames, taking photos, grinding away sharp edges and doing a small repair on fellow artist, Mireille's, piece that has come from France.

Snatching a bit of lunch before I keep going, reflecting on how amazing colour is. I just painted the frame to my latest piece (the one I started at 'Mosaic School' - its finished!) and it never fails to amaze me how much difference colour makes. The frame went from pine to silver and it has transformed the piece. Just think, if colour can make such a difference to the look and feel of a mosaic, what difference it can and does make in our lives. It is transforming, its potential limitless. It reminds me of the book of Revelation in the bible, which describes the stones and colours in the 'eternal city' - jasper, gold pure like transparent glass, sapphire, emerald. Wow!