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.

6 December 2014

The Palace Where I Live

Alcazar The first 'conclusion' of my fun with palaces following our trip to Spain in September.

29 November 2014

Lacey Vases

IMG_6903 IMG_7315 In response to the Lacemakers exhibition in the Stables Gallery at Orleans House, I ran a workshop for families, trapping lace between layers of papier mache tissue paper, to create delicate vases. IMG_7319

22 November 2014

The (almost) Finished Rag Rug

IMG_7334 Some time ago I shared my Rag Rug project as a 'work in progress'. Some time later, I finished it, a touchy feely, playmat for my daughter. Of course, I have, to date, slowed at the final and far less interesting step of mounting and backing the rug, but I thought I'd share the finished product in the meantime. My learning curves ... while I'm delighted with the multi-sensory effects of the rug, I wouldn't mix applique and rag rugging in quite this way again, as the rag rugging dominates so far over the applique shapes. It would work well with bigger, bolder shapes, perhaps, or reapeated patterns. For example, the red shapes are snails, but sadly their necks have disappeared in a sea of rags!

7 November 2014

Felt Baby Shoes

IMG_7249On our most recent Making Things Day, we decided to follow up a lovely link sent by a friend months ago, and make some shoes for babies. In honesty, our babies are pushing the size limits of something like this, but they'll make great gifts! And for now, they're the only shoes with any chance of staying on Feets' feet! IMG_7247

31 October 2014

In Celebration of the Gothic

A complete treat of a day out, Liam, Feets and I went to see Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination at the British Library.  I wasn't sure what to expect - I don't think of myself as a big fan of the macabre, but we anticipated a good cross over of our interests.

Well, it was a fabulous, rich, comprehensive exhibition that left me determined to read a sequence of books that have never previously taken my fancy, and with another new list of favourite illustrators.  I will never entirely understand the singular focus on the dark and sinister, but you can't fault the imagination of writers, artists and filmmakers in the gothic tradition!

A few artists I noted ...
Leonard Baskin, illustrated some poems by Sylvia Plath.  This is Death Among the Thistles
Jim Kay - I can't find the picture from the exhibition, but the weight and extremes of black and white in his illustrations is incredible.

That's all for now, but there was of course a glorious reunion with Harry Clarke, Dulac, Rackham and Aubrey Beardsley.  The temptation to return to monochrome is excruciating!

28 October 2014

More Spanish Sketchbook

A few more, slightly eclectic pages, from my Spanish sketchbook... IMG_7234 A detail from Picasso's Guernica, at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid IMG_7236
A few trees (from the garden in my fantasy palace!) IMG_7239 The very steep hill to my house ...

24 October 2014

Sue Walton at the Knitting and Stitching Show

A little distracted by a grouchy baby, for once I didn't leave the Knitting and Stitching Show with an exploding imagination.  But one artist I did come across, who had me utterly mesmerised, was Sue Walton.
The majority of her display was based around felted textiles, and I was bewitched by the fanciful, fairytale lightness of it all.  And by her use of spoons.  Teaspoons dressed up as fairies, little theatre sets featuring teaspoons ... her work brought together my love of beauty and imagination in total harmony.

Unfortunately I can't find images of the exact display, but these 'Fork Fairies' from her collection, 'Jabberwocky' give a pretty good flavour.

21 October 2014

Spanish Sketchbook

IMG_7235I found myself consumed with inspiration on our recent trip to Madrid and Seville. The Alcazar in Seville kicked off a frenzied few days of collecting patterns in photos and sketches as I began to fantasize about an imaginary world where I live in an extravagant palace. Here, a few pages from my sketchbook ... IMG_7237 IMG_7238

17 October 2014

A Field of Flowers

IMG_7214 I'm back on the workshop trail, once more, in a gently way! Kicking off with Sunday Afternoon Art for families at Orleans House Gallery, inspired by the Harmony Project Exhibition and the work of Christopher Dresser.  An army of families explored three different ways to create flowers from fabric, and added them to our field over the course of the afternoon.IMG_7230 IMG_7217

14 October 2014

Sorolla

I took a little jolly north of Madrid's centre to visit the Museo Sorolla ... I should confess, I'd never heard of Joaquin Sorolla. There's nothing like visiting the home of an artist - it's different to a gallery. In honesty, there was a small collection of paintings that I loved - they filled me with nostalgia for distant family holidays by the sea, and overwhelmed me with Sorolla's love for his own family. The rest, I was a little indifferent to, but his home and garden were an exquisite island of tranquillity.

7 October 2014

Richard Hamilton with a Baby

IMG_6999On our recent holiday in Spain, Feets and I visited the Reina Sofia.  I had the suspicion that she might find the temporary exhibitions more interractive than the permanent collection so off we went to explore the Richard Hamilton exhibition.  I do love seeing exhibits in Spain that would have been packed, crowded and uncomfortable in London and instead are filled with a trickle of tourists who had energy left after they'd seen Guernica. IMG_6997 Anyway, it turns out that Richard Hamilton is THE artist for babies!  From watching monochrome patterns spin near a juke box blasting classic music, to playing peekaboo in the mirrors hidden within paintings, to rolling on the carpet in an installation piece, Feets had and amazing time.  And consequently, so did I!

3 September 2014

The Summer Exhibition

I seem to have been to a lot of open exhibitions this summer!  Which means I come back to my blog and reel off the list of artists I've newly discovered.  So when I went to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy I decided to choose just one artist that I liked.

It always interests me at the Summer Exhibition that, without fail, I can walk into a room of beautiful work, and find myself accidentally picking out the work by the most established artists.  It somehow seems to justify their role as an 'established artist', that the naked eye is still drawn first to their work.  Perhaps though it also admits that realistically, the majority of the work in the Summer Exhibition is by Royal Academicians...

Anyway, I was fascinated by the work of Emma Stibbon RA.  Wild, deserted, tundra covered landscapes, all in stark but textured black and white.  They remind me of some of the more textured collographs I've seen, and of my dreams to travel to the most remote places of the earth.

And so I'm curious to explore her medium - which varies, but for most of the works in the exhibition, seemed to be Polychrome print.  Whether this is how she did or not, I have yet to find out, but I'm curious to try the idea of painting a textured material onto the printing plate and using that to create the print.  Watch this space ...

27 August 2014

Another Bit of Silliness

IMG_6906I shared my 'frame project' a month or two ago, in which I filled a section of an old screen I have with bottle tops. Well, my mind kept mulling over what to do next, and has a whole host of ideas stored away! It's a nice, easy thing to do with a child around, because I can pick it up and put it down IMG_6905easily, and once begun, it doesn't need a huge amount of brainpower. Feets has been quite happy with me sat next to her, as she chews on a bottle and I roll tubes of coloured paper. I liked this idea for it's spontaneous 3d effect, though it hasn't ended up as 3D as I'd hoped. Next stop, CDs ...

20 August 2014

Urban Art Fair

I stumbled across the Urban Art Fair a couple of years ago, completely by accident, when I was gobsmacked to discover a quality art fair on a quiet residential street just around the corner from my house!  So of course I took the baby and made my way back there this year.  It's a little late, but these were my highlights ...

Lucy Storrs - As someone who dabbles in feltmaking, I could spend multiple blog entries displaying the beauty of this work.  I have NEVER seen felt used in such a fine, delicate, painterly manor.  I've been inspired by feltmaking many a time, and I'm not even sure that this is the approach I would take, but I could spend all day looking at this work, how each fibre seems to have been laid individually, to complete the perfect painting ...

Harriet Riddell - Appealed enormously to my participative, community art mind, though she was 'doing' the art herself.  She sat in a tent and drew portraits of the punters on her sewing machine.  I think it resonated too thanks to the 'single line' nature of the drawing.  I shall have to improve my machine embroidery skills!

Staffan Gnosspelius - Is a fantastic, inspiring, mesmerising illustrator, who took part in our residency project I Digress a few years ago.  I'm just appealed by the quality and beauty of his work.  Though this observation reminds me of my entry on beautiful books for children ...

Julia McKenzie - Beautiful work drawing in all my favourite themes - maps, nature, papercuts, birds...

Tessa Horrocks - I remembered these prints from my previous visit, so something about them must have stuck in my mind across the months.  I love their elegance, simplicity, and the bridging of the gap between abstract and figurative, as always ...


13 August 2014

Collage Friday Returns

IMG_6889 Collage Friday, and indeed, Fabric Wednesday, have been continuing since they began in May, some with more and some with less success, but rarely with a chance for me to document it, in the midst of trying to console Feets about the greater mobility of the bigger babies. But the last session was a quieter one, and Conni and Lydia put their minds to making their own mobiles, like the one I made for Feets ...

6 August 2014

Artist Discoveries

A recent holiday in Porlock, Somerset, and I took a relaxed moment to explore the lovely Churchgate Gallery.  These were my favourite discoveries ...
Flora McLachlan - a printer and illustrator with an exquisite array of fanciful woodland prints.  The majority of her work are etchings, but my love of collograph was brought back in full force by her collage prints.  I shall have to get cutting and sticking again!

Peggy Lock - I was blown away by a series of screenprints and woodcuts taken from still lifes of blue china.  What a brilliant, and beautiful idea!  I love the sense of collage, and the need to slowly piece together this picture of so many layers.
Sue Onley - On a completely different note, the deep, rich colours of Sue Onley's paintings reminded me a little bit of the early, figurative works of Kandinsky, which are among my favourite paintings in history.  No surprises then, that I liked these.  They give such a wonderful glow of the countryside around where we were staying.

30 July 2014

Coat to Bag

IMG_6765Probably my most ambitious sewing machine project to date, I turned one of Liam's old coats into a bag as an anniversary gift. Secretly rather proud of myself! IMG_6766

23 July 2014

Dinosaur Raah!

IMG_6736Feets and I were lucky enough to intrude on the final stages of putting together Dinosaur Raah!, the new 'recycled' exhibition for children in the Stables Gallery at Orleans House, imagined and created by Michelle Reader and assisted by a host of school children. We went straight for the touchy-feely mats and Feets lay gazing into the teeth of a hungry creature while chewing on a fish of her own.

  IMG_6743 IMG_6741
I always find Michelle's work refreshing, and her approach to everyday materials inspires my own. This exhibition is certainly another feast, I think my favourite part being what she managed to do with rubber gloves!

12 July 2014

New Georgians at Orleans House Gallery

IMG_6748 I took a flying visit round the New Georgians exhibition at Orleans House and was absolutely mesmerised by the playful and imaginative work of Michael Coldman, who has completed a residency on the theme of the Georgians at the Gallery.  An entire array of chintzy china, mixed integrated in some cases with stage set drawings, and at other times brought to life by characters as eccentric as corks and pipe cleaners, and frequently contemporarised by quotes which gave narrative and humour to every scene.  A hilarious collection from someone who doesn't take himself or art too seriously!IMG_6744

9 July 2014

A Dress for Feets

IMG_6723I'm afraid I've never been one to follow patterns, in sewing or knitting or anything else, so I've generally steered clear of dress making and stuck to making small edits to my clothes. However, having a baby seems to be the perfect opportunity to experiment with shapes on somebody who simply doesn't mind the outcome! I made this dress with the aim to avoid buttons and poppers, but perhaps I'll up the anti next time ...

2 July 2014

Another Mobile

IMG_6682 We often leave Feets to sleep in the buggy, in the corridor at the bottom of the stairs. Not a charming location. So I made her a mobile to cheer her waking moments ... Never mind the pretty colours, the meaty challenge was in figuring out a system to hang the multiple pendants at different heights. Very satisfying!

25 June 2014

The Art of Milk Bottle Tops

IMG_6676As I sorted through our accumulated rubbish I found a lot of 'hoardings' that I decided to accept I would never used. Fellow freecyclers were happy to take my cork collections, the marbles and various other bits, but strangely no-one wanted my bag of milk bottle tops! And I just couldn't bring myself to throw away such a rich resource ... IMG_6674
And so began the project to fill our folding screen with assorted memorabilia. I had visions of children turning the beads and bottle tops to make all sorts of patterns, never realising the whole 'sound' potential the thing holds too. Now my mind turns to interactive thoughts for the other windows of the screen ...