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.

18 June 2017

Jo Beal's Daily Diary

Mum led me to the drawing diary of Jo Beal.  I would like to do this!  Dare I?
I've thought about drawing my days so many times (I even did it in the Torres del Paine) but I've never managed to keep it up.  Perhaps now's not the time, with two small children?  I'm trying to quell my need to create as there's simply no time, and the itch seems less provocative if I try not to scratch it ... but, oh, I itch!

11 June 2017

Smelly Louis

20170514_165127We still haven't run out of inspiration from the gorgeous Smelly Louis by Catherine Rayner. Inspired by this and a 'making paint' activity last summer at Brockwell Community Greenhouses, Feets and I decided to re-create a very mucky, grubby illustration of Louise the dog. 20170514_165416

With a pen each, we drew a quick outline, then took it outside to 'get back Louis' smell'.

Among other materials, we tried: squashing berries (great!); making paint from turmeric and paprika (great, but Feets is prone to adding ever more water ...); mud; leftover coffee (always a goodun); a wet teabag, first smeared, then ripped open; a concoction of flour, water and food colouring ...

Among other techniques, we tried: toothbrush flicking; straw blowing; dragging and printing paint with a stick; sponge printing (turned into squeezing floods of wet sponge onto the painting). 20170514_165234Of course, in the end, the fun that lasted longest was pouring water and mixing ever more paint, finishing Daddy's spice supplies and feeding the concoction to the plants!

4 June 2017

Utterly Inspirational Children's Books

Some of our favourite books, I have read so often that I can read the entire thing to Feets, voices and all, without thinking about what I'm doing, and my mind drifts into figuring out how such beautiful illustrations were created. And the common theme among my favourite books is watercolour - creative and with mixed media, but almost always using watercolour. We are very happy, Feets and I, sharing a cuddle, and each in our own world enjoying something beautiful. I should add that a good story is an even more essential criteria (of course) and all these stories win on both fronts!

Here is just a sample of the techniques that have caught my attention.
The Crow's Tale by Naomi Howarth.  Beautiful, vibrant watercolours and composition, smeared with thick black ink when the crow gets blackened by the sun.
The Very Helpful Hedgehog by Rosie Wellesley.  The most simply crafted of this collection I think, but the use of pencil to build the scraggy donkey is, I think, magical.
Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek.  Probably our most longstanding favourite - I read it three times, this morning, and we've enacted it many a time!  This book is filled with wax resist, masking fluid and collage, while utilising all the beauty of watercolour washes.
Smelly Louis by Catherine Rayner.  I've mentioned this book before, but I am never bored by the lovely mix of gentle print (backgrounds) and mixed-media squiggles to create the messiest dog around.

Interestingly, I've noticed that while many books are written by one person and illustrated by another, all of these are written and illustrated by the same person.  People who are utterly at home in their world as children's authors ...