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.

31 December 2013

The Christmas Card Factory


8 December 2013

Collagraphs with Little People

Half term workshop_2013 (5) Over half term, I finally returned to my favourite printing technique - collagraph printing, with 4-7 year olds, and 7-10 year olds in the afternoon. Half term workshop_2013 (18) We took inspiration from the lovely exhibition in the Stables Gallery - Kate Lockhart vs John Lockhart which, with many city-based paintings, is a lovely theme to grasp and adapt for collograph printing. Autumn Half term_2013 027 I decided to be ambitious, and use the messy inks, soaked paper and the printing press, all within our two hour workshop. Half term workshop_2013 (23) Thanks to the help of our amazing intern team, the ambition paid off and we came up with some beautiful prints! Autumn Half term_2013 033

1 December 2013

John's Retirement Gift

Retirement I finally found a photo of this illustration, which I did for my father's retirement, sitting in a campsite in Foz do Iguazu, almost three years ago!

27 November 2013

Bookshelves at the Riverside Gallery

Bookshelves 2 small for web My compilation of drawings, 'Bookshelves', will be a part of the upcoming Still Life exhibition at the Riverside Gallery, Richmond - until 22 February.

24 November 2013

Monoprinting with Grown Ups

IMG_6437 This term, Scissors Paper Cloth turned their hand to Monoprinting.  It's a gloriously liberating medium, and amazing to see the defined styles that appear under each person's hand.

Here, from top to bottom, we have the work of Ruth and Armi. IMG_6433

2 November 2013

Margaret Nicholson

I indulged in the treat of visiting the Knitting and Stitching Show for the second time in a year, this time at Alexandra Palace.  I managed to be completely full of inspiration and ideas before I'd evenhanded over my ticket, largely thanks to a retrospective exhibition in the forecourt of work by Margaret Nicholson.
I don't feel these images do justice to the detail, breadth and style of the exhibition, but they will have to simply give a taste ... Much of her work (eg, above) was the intricate, painstaking work of On Nue, a technique I'd never come across before and will never have the patience to try, in which silk threads are used to couch gold bands onto calico.  Despite the hours spent on these however, the work that really appealed to me was the goldwork embroidery - not only the technique, but the designs, inspiration taken from her travels and the journey from design to final execution.

I've treated myself to a few golden threads ...

26 October 2013

Inspired by Madge Gill

IMG_6423Over the summer holidays I worked with children at Orleans House Gallery to create drawings of their dreams inspired by the work of Madge Gill, and turn them into group cyanotypes on fabric. IMG_6425

Now I have put their work together to make a dress, inspired by Madge Gill's dresses in Lausanne and Sydney, and it's on display in the new Madge Gill exhibition at Orleans House Gallery.

This is my first venture into dress making and I think I've caught the bug.  Next stop, acquiring a sewing machine of my own!

19 October 2013

Steamy Science at the London Transport Museum

IMG_0754My final Summer Holiday activity for families at the London Transport Museum, written by myself and delivered by freelancers and volunteers, took the form of a demonstration session. IMG_0528 Using some of the equipment belonging to the Museum for schools sessions, we explored the different forms of energy used to keep London's public transport moving.  With a particular focus on steam in the year that a steam engine returned to the underground, we finished the session with an opportunity for children to try out for themselves the effects of built-up pressure, on a very small scale...IMG_0803

16 October 2013

The Dragon Book on Tour

DSC_1331The Dragon Book, finished earlier this year for the Meet the Artist exhibition at Orleans House Gallery, is currently on display at Andover Library as part of an exhibition of work by the Andover Embroiderers Guild.

12 October 2013

Felt Bracelet

IMG_6408Usually, the spontaneous crafts are the most fun.

I was tidying up my desk the other day, and deciding whether to keep the remaining, minimal, scraps of handmade felt, I suddenly found myself with needle and thread, putting together this bracelet...

5 October 2013

Down With It at the London Transport Museum

IMG_0655As described previously, I wrote the Summer Holiday activities for families visiting the London Transport Museum, before training a team of freelancers and volunteers to deliver them.  A second activity looked at the means of getting down to the Underground, in which families made moving models of lifts and escalators.

28 September 2013

Book Arts at the Summer Exhibition

Returning to my discoveries in my visit to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, I thought I'd turn to book arts.
I think my appreciation of the book arts will be satiated when I've made a few more artist books myself; for now, even the relatively traditional interpreta-
tions of this art form make me want to get stuck in with transforming a book.

Alexander Korzer-Robinson is a very patient man!  I love the way he takes the imagery that exists within the book and, through paper-cutting, transforms it from a book into a stage.
It's always nice to see a familiar 'face'; I first came across Claire Brewster's work in the Mind the Map exhibition at the London Transport Museum a year ago.  It seems she still makes beautiful paper cuts, often of birds, usually from maps, thus tying together the favourite themes of myself and Mr Liam my husband!
The work of Francisca Prieto made me want to up my ante, return to origami and take on imagery at the same time.

25 September 2013

A Canadian Sketchbook

A quick little sketch from Banff, on my recent trip to Canada.

21 September 2013

Summer at the London Transport Museum

IMG_0447As part of my role at the London Transport Museum, I wrote three drop-in activities for families visiting during the summer holidays, and then trained a team of freelancers and volunteers to deliver them.  To tie in with the 150th anniversary of the Underground, each activity celebrated one of the engineering achievements that made and make the London Underground a success, linking with a specific display in the Museum exhibitions.

This activity, 'Tackling Tunnels', focussed on the cut and cover techniques used to make the early underground tunnels.  Following a storytime narrated by a tunnel labourer, families were tasked to build their own tunnels, strong and big enough for a small wooden train to pass through...

3 September 2013

Madge Gill and Cyanotypes

IMG_6258 IMG_6265 For an upcoming exhibition about the work of Madge Gill, I was asked to work with a group of children to create Madge Gill inspired fabric that could be transformed into a dress for display. The monocolour of cyanotypes struck me as the ideal way to interpret her work. The children recreated dreams that they'd had, traced them onto acetate and allowed the sun to transfer them onto fabric. I loved the way the work of each child harmonised on the big pieces above, and we still managed to give each person their own piece to take away.
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I remain an eternal fan of the imaginative drawing of children. Above, the sense of design, space and proportion of sisters Jasmine and Kira particularly caught my eye.

30 August 2013

Print Rooms at the Summer Exhibition

To my sadness, I stumbled across the Print Rooms at the tail end of my visit to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and they were, inevitably, my favourite place; filled with inspiration, and with a wall of mesmerising book arts thrown in for good measure.  For my own benefit as much as anyone else's, here I aim to list a few of my favourite print pieces, for me to refer back to on a rainy day ... I shall return to the book artists at a later date.
This is Silent Spring by Rebecca Jewell, with pictures of birds printed directly onto a mass of feathers.  All the things that most catch my imagination ... beauty, birds and the memory of their song, and an entirely unusual canvas!
I couldn't find the piece that caught my eye in the exhibition, but the work of Mila Furstova is something I would like to explore further.  I'm captured by the delicacy of her designs, and entranced by the way she takes her prints and then manipulates them, on a whole range of paper cuts, folds and structures.  The piece in the exhibition was a spiral of imagery so delicate that I had to check the label to identify the medium.
There's something reassuring in finding yourself drawn to the work of a well-known artist.  As if to confirm that the choices of the establishment aren't entirely arbitrary, but there is some kind of common aesthetic.  Stephen Chambers attracted me last time I visited - the world of pattern, decorative detail and fairytale.  A whole wall was dedicated to these 'Fantasmi' - a world of gold leaf and pattern from the days of icons.
This piece drew me on two levels ... first for the mixed media painting an printing, the colours, textures and patterns ... and then because I recognised it ... Charlotte Hodes has a piece in the Crafts Council Block Party exhibition currently on show at Orleans House Gallery.  It's like seeing an old friend!

26 August 2013

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

In the nick of time, I made it to Royal Academy's Summer exhibition.  The thoughts, ideas and discoveries of new artists (to me, at least!) are too many for one entry, so I shall share them over a few in the coming weeks.  To start with though, the initial wow factor: El Anatsui's hanging installation in the courtyard.
It fills me with joy and, ahem, ambition, to see such a beautiful and high profile piece made entirely from recycled pieces.  And the sound of it shimmering in the breeze is utterly unique.  I like the video of its installation too...

22 August 2013

Carnival Hats

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For Art Club's contribution to this year's Twickenham Carnival parade, I was keen to give a creative free reign to my group, who feature a number of talented, imaginative and independently minded souls. I knew they'd relish the opportunity to simply 'go for it' and really, there's nothing I like better than moving about, helping each person solve the troubles they encounter on their own mission.
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That said, we needed some coherence in order to be recognised as a group. They were tasked with making hats, as flamboyant as possible, and fitting with this year's theme of 'gardens'. Furthermore, we were requested by the lead Carnival artists to keep a colour scheme of 'hot colours' for our flowers. And so we set to work ...

18 August 2013

More Linocut Magic

IMG_6241Often I find it very humbling to see the magic that students, adults and children, manage to create in my groups. I've always seen myself as the useful person who knows how to use the press, how much ink to use, or how much paint to mix, and each time I see what people come out with, I reminded how true that is - how much talent, imagination and inspiration people turn up with! IMG_6236This is the work of Scissors Paper Cloth, in our second block of lino printing classes. From top to bottom, pieces by Ann, Carole and Yumi. IMG_6231

14 August 2013

Flower of Felt

IMG_6177 A small gift made from scraps of handmade felt, and put together on a train journey north to visit my cousin ...

10 August 2013

Art Club Paints on Silk

IMG_6200 These two vibrant masterpieces were painted by Grace and Amrita, as we explored the summer theme of Gardens celebrated in the recent Arcadian Vistas exhibition at Orleans House. Everybody loved the quick, explosive effects of painting on silk, even if it didn't always go as planned! IMG_6201

6 August 2013

Make and Paper ... Mache

IMG_6193Make and Create's final project for the year took on the multiple possibilities of papier mache. Some people turned the basic form of a plant pot into a magical, eccentric construction. Others explored the sculptural forms of animals, such as Claudia, below with her tree-frog. IMG_6186
Fi, above, brought in a chair and transformed it into a decoupage masterpiece. All in all, we merely touched on the numerous theraeuptic possibilities of papier mache!

26 June 2013

William Morris' Birds

Itching for a treat of day out, I decided to head north to the William Morris Gallery. It's been on my radar a lot recently - having re-opened after extensive refurbishments, I first saw the jobs and then the photos, and now it has the additional prestige of having won the Art Fund prize.
India06I had a wonderful time - it's tremendously inspiring to follow a story of such business success within the creative realm, and since Morris combined this with a sensitivity to the issues of society, he couldn't really make me happier!

From a sketching perspective of course, I kept my eye open for the birds, and filled my pages with Morris' birds.

23 June 2013

Woven Swirls

IMG_6112Weaving with Make and Create recently provoked me to take on my own small project. Some time ago, I thought it could be a fun ongoing project to make small samples in different textile techniques inspired by various water themes. This piece began with the pattern on the side of an orca, and presented me with the challenge of creating curves as smooth as I possibly could. It's not perfect, but I learnt a lot along the way.