Megan Dowsett is a creative consultant working with museums and galleries, and an illustrator who is finding her voice through personal and local projects.

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.

11 September 2018

Mum Days

Sometimes I wonder why I post what I get up to with the kids on this blog ... it started when I was on maternity leave the first time, and trying to 'keep my hand in' the art of workshop delivery - 'workshops' with Feets were all I was doing for a time.  These days, I don't deliver so many workshops in my professional life and I'm certainly under no illusion that the mess I make with the kids is equivalent to running a conceptually inspiring creative arts workshop.  I also have far less opportunity to think through, plan and prepare for two children of different ages than I did when there was only Feets.

So ... is it to show off?  Brilliant Mum and all that?  Having spent time on the blogs of a few AMAZING creative parents who, as well as filling me with great inspiration, left me feeling rather inadequate, I wondered whether I in my small way, was ending up doing the same for other people.

Maybe.  The thing is, we do so much parenting utterly on our own, and the kids don't often say 'well done Mum, you're doing a great job'.  And my professional hat is noting that the activity wasn't very well anchored in real-life context, or I was a bit too controlling of the outcome, or I couldn't relax enough to let them really get messy, or ...

Sometimes you do just want to say 'well done me'.  And this is the place I do it.

But having realised that perhaps sometimes I create the impression of being a 'Super-Mum', I've had a bit of a think about what I'm doing here.  These pages are about my creative journey so, much though I've begun to mull the possibility of admitting the days when I'm distinctly NOT a Super-Mum, I don't think this is the place for that.  (But yes, I am often very impatient with the kids, I have been known to smack them, we don't make nearly as much use of the amazing cultural scene in London that you would expect of parents in heritage and education sectors, and we spend about 90% of our time with duplo.)

But also, there are parent blogs out there that do a much better, thorough and professional job of sharing ideas for creative play with the early years.

20180824_104126 I thought about stopping this strand of my blogging.  But right now it's a huge part of my creative journey and there's nowhere else to share the fun!  So, instead, I'm going to try and evaluate what we did a little more constructively - the things that worked and didn't, the things I'll remember to do next time, and how I got round having no preparation time, no outside space (and not much inside space).  Lets face it, most of the things we plan for our kids turn out completely differently to what I expected.  And most of the time, I haven't planned them at all and they'd work out a bit better with just a tiny bit more planning.

Also, since this is a large part of my blogging, if not my most professional part, I'll add a link to Mum Days on my front page.

So ... today's picture is a collaborative 'jungle' collage, made on an A2 sheet of newsprint by Feets, Bean and myself.  It was completely spontaneous and therefore lacked the focus and depth that I know Feets is capable of, but we had a lovely time doing it.  It had been in my mind for a while that as a collage artist, I haven't done collage with the kids for a while and it would be fun to make use of some of the magazines I've hoarded over the years.  To have Feets and Bean at opposite ends of the table was the only way, so we had to let go of ideas of 'top and bottom' of the picture.  We shared the cutting out.  And Feets' favourite picture managed to be a type of squid.  My lack of imagination for squid swimming through the jungle prompted me to suggest we turn it into a magnificent kind of plant.

And Bean in particular is loving tape at the moment, so we created some rain at what did, after all turn out to be the top of the picture.

This was huge fun in just opening up the possibilities of the medium of collage.  Thematically it might have been better if we'd talked about it more before starting - perhaps read a story to set the scene and gather ideas.  But then, that's the kind of planning I rarely achieve as a mother.  I usually end up telling myself it was better to have done it than not!