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Glittering Shards

Glittering Shards: November 2010

Glittering Shards

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter wonderland in South London!

Snow is coming to South London tonight - the first time in decades that we have had snow in November. Just in time for the first day of my mosaic exhibition!  I am ever so slightly excited about this as it will just soooo complement the feeling in the gallery. Yesterday, me and 3 wonderful creative friends worked all day to get the gallery ready - and it is beautifully glittery, perfectly wintry and positively Christmassy! Here's us in process (you'll have to wait a bit for pics of the finished product!):

Roll on Tues 30th November 10am!  (I will be there - Sprout Community Arts, Moyser Road, SW16 6SJ - Tues to Sat, 10am - 5pm until 11th December). I should really be going to bed but decided I needed to make some real focaccia to feed myself as I invigilate and am waiting for it to rise! Using this recipe here (scroll down for English version). 

In the meantime, ordinary life goes on (thank God!). Here's a pic of the kiddies making paper chains for the first time EVER today and were truly full of glee and this new found craft.

They did it so well, so easily and kept saying "Look mummy, its getting longer, its getting longer". They just did not want to stop.  I remember being just the same as a child, enthralled by making paper chains (genetic or are all kids like this???) After a quick photo, (daddy looking a bit like Jacob Marley me thinks!) the first paper chain was hung in the hallway...

As an aside, a few blog posts ago I mentioned about childhood smells that evoke happy memories of making and crafting? Well, the picture below says it all for me. Pritt evocative. Love sniffing the stuff!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sneak preview at glittering beauties

My dear blog feels rather neglected - I have lots of ideas and blog posts being written in my head but I simply do not have the time to do them justice as the intensity of getting ready for my exhibition has all but taken over the space in my life. But. ..this time next week I will be happily sitting amidst all my art in the gallery, with plenty of time for mooching on the computer in between talking to visitors...

...until then, I offer you a brief sneak at some glittering beauties that I just love. Above are glittering mosaic balls (oh, there is a story brewing about them, but I have to hold off telling just yet!) and below is my mosaic jewelery range called "My Heart is a Mosaic" (brooches and pendants). There is a lot of meaning in this jewelery, which I will share with you,  hopefully next week. In the meantime dear blog readers, I hope you don't feel too neglected ... 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting ready for Advent...

Advent, as you may know, is all about getting this post is about getting ready for getting ready! This is another one from the archive...a fantastic activity which we enjoyed so much as a family and the children still talk about it and remember it a year on. So, as its 2 weeks to December (and I am knee deep in exhibition prep!) here it is to give you ideas for  your preparations. So read below and then click on these follow up posts here and here to see how this nativity activity evolved.  Enjoy!

In Italy it is the custom to build a nativity scene in your home (often instead of a Christmas tree). I have vivid and fond childhood memories of the year my mum decided to build a really elaborate nativity, taking over a whole sideboard and built with a lot of love and creativity.

We have always had a small nativity under our tree but this year I have decided to make a proper nativity in one of our alcoves in the dining room. This is partly inspired by my mum's example and partly by a wonderful book from the Steiner Waldorf tradition that I dip into frequently, called "All Year Round".

So today I worked hard to build our nativity that has the theme "Mary's Journey". The heart of this is to help us all understand in a visual and enchanting way the story of the nativity and the ideas behind the season of advent (like waiting and preparation). This nativity is built up slowly over the four weeks of advent, adding more figures and props on each advent Sunday so that by the time Christmas eve comes, the setting (as our hearts) are ready for the arrival of the small, vulnerable baby who came to show us another way to live.

The beauty of this nativity is the shining pathway of stars for Mary to journey along. Each day, the children move Mary along the star path and each day a star is removed from the path and stuck to the sky. The little ones can see Christmas getting closer and closer as the path gets shorter and shorter (and the sky more sparkly!).

We started tonight with Isabella and Toby placing Mary (and a donkey - really an ox! - at Isabella's insistence) on the first star of the path. We then each added a stone to the scene. I will post photos each Sunday so you can see the nativity develop.

Before you imagine a scene of creative domestic bliss, you have to know that Mary was dropped on her head by Isabella and shattered beyond repair (she was really upset and took a lot of reassuring that she had done nothing wrong). We traipsed off in the rain to find another Mary. Then, in the midst of preparing food and being asked repeatedly to draw Mr Men, a star and jingle bells, I contorted myself into the strangest angles to tap nails and screws into the wood to hold up the blue material and fairy lights. The blood was running out of my arms, the nails kept falling out and the material flopping down when I stopped and put my head in my hands in frustration. Isabella noticed this, came up, stroked me and said "It's ok mummy, I know you can do it". So gorgeous and she was right. It was done, it looks lovely and I am excited about this creative addition to our Christmas.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Mosaic Exhibition in London...and online!

I close my eyes at night and see tiles dancing. It  feels as though every waking moment not devoted to my children is currently devoted to making mosaic art for my forthcoming exhibition. And to this, I would like to warmly invite you!  If you live far, far away, I will be having an online version of the exhibition too - details below!
I have taken part in lots of group exhibitions over the last 5 years but this is the moment when I have chosen to fill the walls of an entire gallery with the work of my hands, my head and my heart (to paraphrase St Francis of Assisi). I am hugely excited, quite overwhelmed (and a teensy bit nervous...).
The exhibition will contain wall art, jewelery, some 3-d work, decorative gifts and lots of hanging glittery things (well, it will be nearly Christmas...!). So, a perfect start to the festive season.  My penchant for writing will also be sneaking into the exhibition, with poetry and prose alongside the art. I hope it will be a feast of beautiful things for the eye, provocation and amusement for the mind and some soothing and connection for the soul.
There is also a 'special guest'  at the exhibition. I have been working alongside the wonderful volunteers, young people and parents from the Klevis Kola Foundation which supports refugees. This team effort has resulted in over 40  mosaics that will be displayed, on the theme of hope. Many of the Klevis Kola gang will be at the Start of Show Party on 3rd December for you to meet. And there will be a raffle, with special prizes, to raise money for the work of Klevis Kola.  Several of the mums will kindly be making yummy international food for you to eat on the 3rd as you browse and mingle! So, here are the details:

: Sprout Community Arts, 74 Moyser Road, Tooting, SW16 6SQ (nearest tube Tooting Broadway then bus 57 or 333 to top of Moyser Road).

When: the exhibition runs Tues 30th Nov - Sat 11th December (when there will also be a morning mosaic taster workshop that you can book onto) and is open Tues - Sat, 10am - 5pm. I will be there a lot (but not all) the time so do call if you are coming especially as I would not want to miss your visit!

Start of Show Viewing: Friday 3rd December, 6-9pm, to which you are warmly invited (feel free to bring friends). Come, browse, chat, munch international snacks and you may even win a prize!

And for those too far away...

I will be doing an online version on the exhibition on Sunday 12th December here on the blog. You will be able to see the art, read the prose, sign the visitors book and if anything grabs you, see a list of what work is still available to buy! Sorry that I can't send party food down the optic fibres though...

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Your footprints in my soul...

A dear friend of mine is pregnant with her first baby and sent me her first scan pic the other day.  Got me indulgently reminiscing, as one does, and flexing my other artistic muscle, the writing one, which is deep within me and goes back a long way.  She will be five soon, I can't quite believe it...

I will never forget the moment when two lines appeared, heralding your secret existence. Soon, the first butterfly flutters, making your presence felt. The tickle of butterfly wings gave way to the energetic gestures of a mime artist exploring the edges with hands, feet, elbows. Such joy on seeing your grainy image on screen, waving to you, wanting to touch you – so close yet so out of reach.
I will never forget the moment we first met and locked eyes, touching my lips to your just-born face.

I will never forget your vulnerable frame and your slim, kissable feet that couldn’t hold onto a pair of socks for long. I soon learnt that early parenthood included sleepless nights, feeding and going round the house gathering up those stray socks.

I will never forget your gentle, insistent drinking at my breast - both your hands clenched and placed firmly, one on each cheek, as your jaw moved up and down. When satisfied, you would close your eyes, raise your eyebrows to the sky and exhale a sigh of contentment as though giving thanks. Your little hands were often intertwined in prayer position or one hand clenched and held against the side of your face. “On the phone again?” your dad would say. 

I will never forget the twisting in my heart at your little donkey-bray cry and trembling bottom lip. The relief of enfolding you, absorbing your insecurity at the strange smells, breezes and lack of edges to your new existence.  Slowly, watching you stretch into the expanse, emotionally and physically – both arms and legs fully extended with glee as you woke each morning.

Years go by and my soul is richer for the path of your footprints in my life. With eagerness I watch the unfolding of your beautiful existence.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

South London Mosaic Workshops & Exhibition...its all happening!

Apart from my dear family, ALL else except my mosaic world is being very neglected in the last few weeks (including writing and reading in blog land, I know I know).

As soon as I get back from dropping the kids off at school, I close the front door, put my head down and walk straight to the studio without looking at all the housework piling up. This is what cheerios look like after a day....!
I have taken part in lots of exhibition over the last few years, but never a solo show. I am told that this intensity of working on a solo exhibition is very normal... Here is my grouting production line, ready for me (I love grouting, saving it all up!).

And my work for the next couple of weeks:
In the midst of this intense making, its wonderful to have started the next lot of mosaic workshops - they take place every Tuesday evenings in blocks of 7 weeks, in addition to my mosaic-maker drop-ins twice a week.
New students, new ideas, possibilities unfolding. Love it! I have also taken part in a whole day of demonstrating mosaics at the wonderful Artyard, encouraging adults to re-discover their creative selves.  A truly great place.

This Thursday also sees the culmination of several weeks of working alongside the volunteers, young people and parents of the Klevis Kola Foundation (which supports refugees). 25 mosaics have been completed and we are going to get messy on Thursday, grouting them all before I mount it into a giant patchwork mosaic which will feature at my forthcoming exhibition.

I will post full details of the exhibition in the next couple of days...hope to meet some of you lovely blog readers. Promise to be back in the middle of the week...and here's a question for you to ponder between now and then. What smell evokes in you happy childhood memories of making stuff with your hands?

PS. Talking of childhood memories... I have been searching for a childhood game for years. Today, my dear husband packed me off for 2 hours away from the house in order to 'switch of' (ha ha!) and I was mooching in the local shops and I FOUND IT! I almost cried and kissed the shop assistant! I have such happy memories of playing this game with my mum and brothers when we lived in Italy... Anyone else used to play Jack Straws? And as Christmas is coming, any ideas of really good family games?

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