Megan Dowsett is a creative consultant working in museums, galleries and the arts, an illustrator who is finding her voice through personal and local projects, and a parent to two young beings who can't help but influence her creative journey.

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.

29 August 2012

The Table Plan

IMG_4157 Continuing with our wedding crafts, we found that the quickest and easiest DIY element of the entire event turned out to be the making of the table plan. Yes, Liam spent hours writing every name in his beautiful handwriting. But then, tickety boo, we used split pins to attach the labels to a gloriously ancient ordnance survey map we found in a charity shop and voila, it looked pretty convincing!

26 August 2012

Carnival Parade: Canada

I thought I'd finish the Carnival celebrations with a triumphant display of the Canada element - made entirely by my partner artist, Caroline Jones in collaboration with Hampton Academy and the Orleans House Holiday Workshops. Caroline and I enjoyed a great relationship for the duration of the project and I really enjoyed working with her.IMG_4078 Left, one of three screen printed banners inspired by the art of the indigenous people of the North-West coast. Below, a moosehead constructed from cardboard and parcel tape ... and nothing else. IMG_4076

24 August 2012

Eccentrically Lucky Charms

IMG_4375IMG_4383 Keeping with the small theme, I made a gloriously eccentric collection of Lucky Charms with 4 - 10 year olds. Using plaster, clay, wire, pebbles and pins, we made our charms before threading them with beads to make a bracelet.

20 August 2012

Bridesmaids' Gifts

Our wedding owed a lot to the marvel of modern Britain that is charity shops. Knowing that something shared between my bridesmaids and myself was a value of finding the perfect bargain, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that you've bought something beautiful without adding to the creation of more junk for our world, I wondered whether it was too cheeky to give them carefully selected gifts from charity shops. I decided, with a bit of thought, that they'd appreciated it!IMG_4110 Early on, I found a brooch, which throughout the wedding preparations became something of a talisman for me. I was fascinated by the unusual clasp, and its style seemed to represent everything we were considering for our wedding. I didn't wear it, because it remained an idea that I could give it as a gift. But only if I found a second, equivalent gift could I give them to my bridesmaids.
Well, thankfully I did. And I took great joy in making each a piece of felt with a small hidden pocket and a note of thanks tucked inside, before clipping each brooch to the felt and packing it into a matchbox.

18 August 2012

Carnival Parade: Jamaica

For the Jamaican part of the parade, a float was taken over by a steel drum. Children from an enormous variety of workshops created fish, crabs and other sealif to add to a 'fishing net' draped across the back of the truck. IMG_4050For the banner, Year 7 at Teddington School researched the concepts and ideas behind Rastofaria and transformed their discoveries into monoprinted panels. Top photo credit to David Shepherd

16 August 2012

Tiny Fantasies

IMG_4355IMG_4347 Still the greatest opportunity in my working life to make a big, creative, joyful mess, is the Orleans House Gallery Holiday Activities.

Last week, responding to the tiny pictures in the Polemically Small exhibition, I worked with 4 - 10 year olds to create tiny books full of even tinier characters, and folded away into C7 envelopes.

After using wax resist and watercolours to create exotic backdrops, we explored different ways to create funny, mysterious, believable and magical creatures. These are a few of my favourites. IMG_4357

14 August 2012

Wedding Bunting

To my mind, you can't have a wedding without bunting. However, the appreciation of bunting hasn't quite crossed the ocean to Canada, and my Canadian Liam still associates bunting more with car showrooms than country wedding festivities.IMG_4149 Making bunting from old maps seemed the ideal way to bridge both our preferences - Liam won't say no to anything if it can involve some maps! Little did I realise a few of the other bonuses ... making bunting from maps was infinitely quicker than fabric, as it was intrinsically double sided, didn't need seams and hems, and by being paper, was possible to cut out several triangles at a time. A few dear friends and family stepped in to stitch across the top and voila! 200m of bunting. On the other hand, paper bunting is much more fragile than fabric, and although we only used it inside the marquees, it isn't quite as fresh as it was at the beginning, and nor is it as easy to store. IMG_4148 Outside, we borrowed the incredible reams of bunting made by our friend Carly McAuley for her wedding last year. Even with two acres of garden, we had bunting to spare ...

12 August 2012

Carnival Parade: Brazil

IMG_0049aBrazil was perhaps the most flamboyant country of the Carnival Parade. I handed the creation of the figureheads over to the 10:15 Club, who worked with Michelle Reader to come up ambitious sculptures which combined the base shape of a football with the creatures of the jungle.
And I worked myself with Year 7 from Teddington School to create an embroider- ed Amazon Rainforest for the banner, with a wide assortment of techniques, threads, beads and colours.
IMG_4056Middle photo credit to David Shepherd

3 August 2012

Reena Makwana

This is Reena ... inspirational stitch illustrator, foodie and colleague.  One day, maybe, I too will conquer stitch.