Megan Dowsett is a freelance creative consultant working with museums and galleries.

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.

Her core values come down to two simple things:

People: At the heart of everything she does, people are there – be it audiences of any age or background, volunteers, staff or freelancers and apprentices. She believes that the best projects take everybody with them on a learning journey.

Creativity: In every role she’s taken, creativity has played a key priority. Working in Museums and Galleries, creativity brings a valuable opportunity to think about the same things in a different way.

Museums and galleries are the perfect place to bring the joy of discovery and magic of adventure to everyone who passes through the doors - and to invite those who haven't yet braved these sometimes intimidating buildings, to do so in a dynamic and inviting way.

Over twelve years working in these exciting settings, Megan has developed extensive experience in both managing and delivering creative projects that engage with a wide variety of audiences.

20 December 2011

Cracker-Fest

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It's been a serious cracker-fest this year. We've made Christmas Crackers with four Art Clubs, Santa's children, and finally I managed to bring crafts through the doors of Bishopsgate Institute, as we got the volunteers making crackers at their Christmas Party, suitably supported by wine ...

17 December 2011

A Felted Advent Calendar

IMG_3577[1]It's something of a work in progress, but I thought I'd share it while the season was still festive! Here's my felt advent calendar, made in honour of our house warming and filled with fortune cookies. Each guest was invited to choose a significant number and take the cookie within. Next year, I hope the numbers will be attached through a decorative array of textile beads ...

12 December 2011

Collograph Christmas Cards

IMG_3510[1]I indulged in the glories of Paperchase textured wrapping paper with Heart young parents group, to make collograph Christmas Cards. It was hard to bring themselves to print with such exquisite papers, but they did it! Here is Rowan's.

9 December 2011

Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

My recent visit to Dulwich Picture Gallery was not only for the reunion with old masters, but to see the Painting Canada exhibition, featuring Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. My Canadian Mr Liam has talked of these paintings ever since we met, but what I thought was a journey as a surprise for him, turned into one of the most inspirational gallery visits I’ve made this year. Pictures in books and calendars had seemed vaguely reminiscent of the fauves and Cezanne, and I wasn’t sure what new discoveries I’d find.

But these guys were amazing. They did something right in capturing the ethereal wildness and ‘otherness’ of extreme wild places. It was the boldness of colour that somehow never lost their realism. The bravery of painting one piece almost entirely in pink and mauve, without it ever looking feminine or delicate – merely evocative of the mysterious sunsets you find when surrounded by water and mountains (see above: Evening, Canoe Lake, 1915-16). And the contrast that I have long loved in some of Kandinsky’s ‘Murnau’ paintings – of very, very dark against deeply rich colours. Managing, somehow, not to look false, but to capture my favourite moments of sunshine, in September as the sun lowers and the shadows become long, and the grass reaches and impossible shade of green.

I’ve not worked much with landscapes, and this is something I’ve struggled with since my trip to South America, where the landscapes hosted my most profound experiences. Group of Seven challenged me to open my paintbox and try again, revisit my sketches and my photographs, tackle those colours and take them further …

5 December 2011

Bassie's Signature

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Bassie is a member of Octagon Club, the Orleans House group for teenagers with disabilities. Every time I meet him, I am mesmerised by Bassie’s artistic intelligence. He reminds me once again of the purely contrived boundaries between ‘professional’ and ‘na├»ve’ art, as he intuitively applies ideas and concepts to his projects that career artists might think of using as identifying features for making a name in their own work.
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In this case, Bassie eats a bakewell tart each week during the break. And after the break, he finds a way to include the foil case of the tart in his work, making it an intrinsically distinctive, original ‘Bassie’ master.

During my recent collograph project, therefore, Bassie cut up his wrapper and added it to the complex and dynamic collage he had already created. Here, you can see the original collage alongside the prints which he took from it.

2 December 2011

Return to Dulwich

It’s been a goodly while since my last visit to Dulwich Picture Gallery, and what I hadn’t realised is that finding myself back in that place, among such familiar paintings, would be like a reunion with old friends. In my excitement over more contemporary art and illustration, I’d let myself forget what an incredible array of paintings lives within the cosy walls of DPG. It was a unique tour of nostalgia, from the earthiness of Murillo’s peasant paintings (see Two Peasant Boys and a Negro Boy, above), and the elegance of the Gainsborough’s Linley Sisters, to Rembrandt’s Girl at the Window and the drama of Boats in a Storm by Backhuysen, evoking memories of thrilled classes of 7 year olds creating the sound effects for the painting … the swish and the swoosh of wind and spray, the cries of ‘help’ and the heaving and hoeing of ropes and sails.