Megan Dowsett is a creative consultant working with museums and galleries, and an illustrator who is finding her voice through personal and local projects.

Through the name Norris and the Flamingo, she shares the sense of adventure that runs through all of life, wherever we are on our journey. A sense of imagination, of possibility and discovery, for children and adults alike.

16 June 2019

Easter Decorations

I've never been keen on the abundance of egg decorations at easter, since it seems to me more absorbed by chocolate than the original 'new life' thinking.  But this year, I've been completely converted. 20190419_131901 The simplicity of the egg shape gave us a framework for a day of painterly experimentation, for Feets, Bean and a schoolfriend.  And results which made lovely bunting.  I admit, I wandered around Pinterest looking for things that would pique not only the children's interest, but mine too. 20190419_132203 We tried:
- PVA and salt painting ... MAGICAL!  What a discovery!  The colours faded a little as they dried, but the texture of the painting and magic of watching the colour run through the salt crystals was wonderful.

- Painting doilies with watercolours, and mounting them onto coloured paper.  Also wonderful in being absolutely effective for all three children, even two year old Bean.

- Wax resist.  Again, five-year old Feets and her friend were thrilled to draw 'invisible' lines with a white candle, and reveal them afterwards with paint.  Less successful for Bean, but she was so happy to be painting that she didn't even realise she was missing anything.

Four happy ladies!  

2 June 2019

Dior at the V&A

20190424_105755 It was a spontaneous visit, one in company, and at a fraught time mentally. So I didn't take my sketchbook, nor did I linger, but it was fun to explore the V&A's Dior exhibition in a social capacity - something I rarely do.

As much as the dresses were spectacular, varied, abundant and awe-inspiring, the setting reflected this luxury just as much.  And so, ironically, the strongest memory for me was one mystical room which overflowed with white, paper-cut flowers.  What a gorgeous luxury of exhibition interpretation!  Every room had a very distinct atmosphere, theatrical to say the least.
20190424_105916

19 May 2019

Whose Shoes: The Book

20190523_175118 I have been working on this book for about four years, beginning with Feets and finishing it just in time for Bean to enjoy.  I admit, Bean cracked her colours a month or two before I could show her the finished book, but she has hugely enjoyed having a book featuring our shoes and family, requesting it about three times a day for the first week or so.

I'm pretty happy, all in all.  There are plenty of imperfections, but I was keen to let go of some of the perfectionism that takes hold when something starts to go well.  And I was determined to finish! orange brown My biggest learning curves ... it really is time that I started making a dummy book to test the colours and space before I make the actual thing.  So much of the success of this book is down to luck, and there are a few pages that have just a bit too much space in them. More practically, I've discovered that poster paint tends to peel after a time. It's not designed to be used in enduring hand-made children's books! All Shoes And my next steps ... well, I think it's time to move on from board books - my children are growing up fast.  This is pretty daunting - I'm going to need a lot more than eight pages in my next book!

Before I do so, I plan to make three copies of the book to share with a couple of other special children.

I will share the full story soon.

5 May 2019

Food Colouring and Kitchen Roll

One of those glorious, spontaneous activities that came from nowhere and kept my children occupied for hours ... 20190210_164718 I can't even remember how it came about - I think I wanted to show that the colour from a felt pen would bleed when pressed onto kitchen roll.  It didn't work as the pen had nearly dried out, so I got a tiny amount of water and a teaspoon to demonstrate the same idea.  Then Bean wanted some too.  And then it occurred to me they'd see what was happening better if I added food colouring.

20190216_174102 Eventually I threw my hands in the air and gave them various tubs of coloured water, endless sheets of kitchen roll, refilled the tubs on demand and stopped only when dinner was ready and there was no surface space left for bits of sodden kitchen roll.

At the moment it's not so easy to find activities that occupy both children, so this was a success a thousand times over!  We went on to cut it up, punch holes and turn it into bunting.

21 April 2019

Messy Days

20180920_171529 I am a big admirer of a couple of creative parenting blogs (except when they leave me feeling utterly inadequate, but hey - that's my own headspace to sort out!), and they regularly rave about shaving foam.

20180920_170307 I finally tracked down some shaving foam to have a go at marbling with the children.

It was great to try.  Not as easy to get right as I expected - I suspect I used too much foam - but the children loved the new medium, whatever the results! 20180920_171437

We moved on to coloured, glittery ice cubes and shaving foam, which also kept Bean intrigued for hours.  It was one of those slightly chaotic, under-planned, but worth-trying sessions that made relatively minimal mess.  I'm certainly a convert to shaving foam, as I can just cart the tray off to the bathroom afterwards and shower it down!

My favourite creative parenting blogs are The Imagination Tree and The Artful Parent

7 April 2019

The other legacy of the Arty Party

20190310_091212 This morning, we were making birthday cards, when it crossed my mind to chop up one of the paper rolls that children had filled with paintstick marks at Feets' birthday party.  Somehow, this evolved into a feast of cutting, and collaging, as Feets realised she'd made a great set of teeth for a crocodile. 20190310_104631

31 March 2019

Time to say thank you

You picked my clothes up off the floor.
You brought me water, then juice, then milk.
I spilt the milk and you mopped it up.

You cooked, and cooked - meals, puddings, and more meals.
Lemon meringue pie, rice pudding, apple crumble, strawberry mousse.
I expected them.

You helped me, time and again, to say thank you.
Still, I forgot, I forget.

You loved me through my tears, my screams.
My foot-stamps, pushes, door-slams, biting - was I a biter?
I wound you up, up, up, and you wound me down.
You screamed 'one day you'll understand!'

I understand.

Thank you!