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Glittering Shards

Glittering Shards: April 2010

Glittering Shards

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Our beautiful creation

Our little boy turned 3 today. What a beautiful day, the day this beautiful gift of Toby was given to us. We are so grateful, so happy and so in awe of his beautiful, energetic way of being.
Here he is enjoying his massive set of duplo (bought from some big boys who had just grown out of it) which he is just loving.
 And another picture of him being Dr. Toby, cheking us out and saying "yes you are allllright"! I made him a cake of lots of little fairy cakes topped with rice paper images of his beloved Mr Men and Little Misses - happy days!

On the eve and day of my children's birth I can't but help thinking of what was happening during the journey of labour and birth with each. I am very very fortunate to have had great experiences of childbirth (even though Isabella's took 2 days!). I remember the process with a deep and warm attachment (am I odd?!) and can honestly say that I have never felt so alive as the moments when I was giving birth to my children. With little Toby, I have the added joy of being in the place where he came into the world, as he was born at home in water - just the most beautiful experience. I am not sure I can easily sell this home for that reason - I would need to carve an "x marks the spot" in the flooring!

The other thing I do on the evening before their birthdays is write a letter to the birthday boy or girl, telling them my feelings about them, my memories of their year and what I love about them. Its something I did spontaneously the night before Isabella's first birthday just becaues I was so moved by the anniversary of that special day and wanted so much to mark my feelings of  her first year - and it kind of just stuck and has become a tradition. I imagine giving them this bundle when they are old enough to read them they have a record of themselves, their little ways, what was cute about them and how I felt and feel.

What are your ways of honouring birthdays and the presence of special people in your life?

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

International Postcard Swap

Just a quick post this morning as I am rushing around trying to do 10 things at one (its a little boy's 3rd birthday this week...things to make, things to buy!)

Zoe at Playing by the Book is organising an international postcard swap for children to take part it. Kids send 5 postcards to 5 families in other parts of the world and receive 5 back - community, geography, culture, friendship all wrapped up in a lovely simple idea.We have signed up and there's still some slots available (if not she will be doing another soon). Head over to find out more and read her lovely blog dedicated to children and books.

Gotta dash...bye for now!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mother and daughter doodles

I have just started on Amelia's Experimental Art E-Course - fun, inspiring exploration of making art using different mediums.

Week one. Me and my daughter sit at the table together with pencils, charcoal, felt tips and crayons, our aim is to doodle, to make marks without fear of what will be produced (kids are great at this aren't they?)

"What is doodling mummy?".

"It's drawing without thinking about it" I reply.

We sit together, pencil moving on the page and I pause. She looks at me. "You are thinking mummy!" she says.  "That's not doodling, that's boodling!".  Ha ha! I am well and truly caught out!

I like our doodles and this simple doodling was fun and relaxing to do together. I carried on alone into the evening, colouring and adding to my doodle with a glass of wine in hand. I think I will turn my doodle into a mosaic one day...

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Our community farm has arrived!!

Back last June, I wrote in a blog post about how we had spent a gorgeous weekend with our dear friends, the Dougherty's, in the glorious Cotswold area of Stroud. Our visit included going with them on their monthly day at the Stroud Community Agriculture, part of the Community Supported Agriculture movement.

One of the big dilemma's of living in an urban setting like London is the perpetual yearning for open spaces, countrside and connection to the earth. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have a small garden and do our best to connect with the earth by growing flowers and veg. But our visit to the Stroud farm did leave me wondering if you have to leave London to experience being part of wonderful initiatives like this. We were a little excited when on our visit last June, one of the farmers said that there were plans to start a community farm in Sutton, which is a short drive from us here. For nearly a year we kept checking in with our friends if there was any news on this new farm and I periodically trawled the internet.

Last Tuesday, our dear friend Charlotte said she had been to a local farmers market and picked up a leaflet about Sutton Community Farm. I squealed "that must be it, that must be it" and got onto the net pronto to discover that our local community farm had just launched as was looking for people to get involved. Excitedly, we packed our picnic yesterday and headed off to the farm (only 20 minutes away!), blessed by gorgeous weather to boot.

Oh the bliss of being in a big field, with our hands in the soil. Watching the children run free in a field of tiny blue flowers, making 'flower hats' and discovering the water sprinklers which made them giggle with glee every time they got showered with droplets of water!

Neil helped plant a hedgerow. Isabella helped to water seedlings and plant onions.

 I worked with the children collecting pebbles so that we can make some mosaic signs to help people find the farm easily (hey, passion for nature and mosaics coming together...why not?!)

 And then we all sat in the sun, with our new friends (oh, and an old friend we hadn't seen for years who just so happens to have got involved too!), and enjoyed a lovely picnic. doesn't get much better.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rooster Mosaic loveliness

I love this moment...hours and hours of cutting, placing and sticking are over...

 Before grouting, I cover the slate with masking tape to stop it getting ingrained with grout...
 I mix the grout to a lovely, thick, creamy consistency.

Then I spread it all over. With my hands (I love the feel of it, the spreading tools just aren't for me). Many mosaic artists don't like grouting. I love it. I love the unifying effect, the emergence of art from under a blanket of goo. Its just like life. You have to trust that even when beauty is covered up, it still there, waiting to emerge.

Then gently, slowly (straight away, I just can't wait!) I begin to wipe the excess grout off. Its a loving process, tenderly stroking and bringing it to life - shining up each small piece that makes up the whole.

Just love it. I finished Mr Cheeky Rooster yesterday (he is a commission for a couple's 40th wedding anniversary) and a friend of mine looked at him and said "ooh, he is alive!". I couldn't want for a nicer compliment to a piece of my mosaic art.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Perot Family Land Art Part 2

'We will make a Family Picture' declared our beautiful artist child. And so we did. By now, the sea will have taken it away. Happily, we have camera's to capture our moments (aren't we lucky?).  

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Being a mother and artist- passing it on

A brief hello to you all from our south coast holiday where we are revelling in the arrival of spring - blue skies, 16 degrees celcius and the smell, sound and touch of the seaside to revive me. Happy, happy.

Today, on the beach, Isabella declared that we will make a Family Picture in the sand. And so we did - for about an hour, all four of us! Loved it. Here's a preview - Perot Land Art, Part One! I will post more at the end of the week.

In the meantime, I want to pass on a link from my friend Dana, about a film that I heard of in the fishbowl last Autumn,  which Dana has happily reminded me about.

Who does she think she is - a film about women, mothering and art...oh boy! The trailer strikes a chord or ten. Hoping that I can gather a bunch of us Londoners to watch about it? Pass it on...

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Isabella's Land Art

Have you come across Land Art? A few years back, I discovered a book by Andy Goldsworthy and sat for ages enjoying this delicious feast for the eyes.

The other day, I was doing the first garden tidy up of the spring and out of the corner of my eye I saw a very industrious Isabella gathering items from the garden and laying them, very intentionally, in a line on a piece of wood she had found.  I so love watching her when she gets into this kind of artistic groove. Its like she is feeling each thing she is placing. It reminded me of a comment by another mosaic artist that I read the other day, about the learning she had gleaned from amazing Ilana Shafir's 'spontaneous mosaic' class - that you pick up each piece and connect with it to feel where it should be placed. I guess children are much closer to this instinct and connection between the physical and ethereal - they don't need to go to a class to unlearn and relearn these things.

It also reminded me of a great interview I read on The Artful Parent about fellow Brit, Richard Shilling's 'Land Art for Kids'. This is great stuff - art, beauty, nature...all rolled into one.

We are off to the beach for a few days, no doubt our trip will involve lots of pebble collecting (an obsession of mine) and a perhaps the creation of a little masterpiece or two...

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter happenings...

Since my post several weeks ago about how many bugs and viruses we have been battling with, I have struggled and struggled to kick off this sickness. I had to pull out of my 10K sponsored run on 14th March and the one that I booked in its stead on 27th March (the real one is now on 8th May in beautiful Richmond Park - you can sponsor me by clicking on the Just Giving link on the right!). I am yet to be well enough to attempt even a short jog, so by my tally, that's five whole weeks of bug wars going on in my body. Well, this week I started antibiotics and just had some accupunture to boost my immune sytsem and I do feel like I am finally winning the battle.

Hope you like the pics of our Easter crafting that we've been doing to get us in the Easter groove...ever tried explaining Good Friday to a toddler? Life, beautiful, powerful life... coming when we least expect it.

Here's praying that Life sparks in and through  xx

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