I spent a lovely morning yesterday running the first of my preschooler art and crafts workshops at Manor Farm in Ruislip. We mixed colours, made puppets out of envelopes, squidged playdough, did some fabulous sticking and stamping and drawing, then had a story and some songs to finish.
We're very lucky to be in a lovely space - the 'Stables' next to the cafe. It's just been refurbished, and we were the first event to happen there! It's spacious and clean with it's own entrance, toilets and changing facilities and a kitchen!
I've got lots of plans for future weeks - next Tuesday morning will definitely involve shaving foam!
If you'd like to join us then park for free at Winston Churchill Hall and follow the arrows. We start at 10.30am and the session costs £3 per child (siblings under a year free).
The worst part of my job is having to be my own marketing department. I find it totally excruciating.
Today I've had to write a blurb explaining that I am utterly wonderful for a grant application, drum up business for my preschool workshops that start tomorrow, and have a meeting about marketing Harrow Open Studios.
Having enough confidence to show people things that I've made, let alone then having enough to tell people that they should pay me money to own those things...well that's a lot more confidence than I possess really.
Once upon a time I'm sure I must have had all the confidence in the world, just like this little girl who happily tells anyone who'll listen that she's 'a very good artist'. Which of course she is.
The day before yesterday Martha arrived back from a couple of nights at my parents with my old doll's pram, and a doll my Grandma once gave me, with an outfit she had knitted for him.
There's something very poignant about a hand knitted item which was made by someone who is now long dead. I think about that poignancy a lot as my other Grandmother - Gran - was a prolific knitter and my girls now wear some of the many cardigans she knitted for me and my sister
I may be a sentimental fool, but I like to think a little of their love for me is in each stitch, and that love is being passed on down the generations when Martha and Greta wear or play with things they made.
I only know my mother's father through things he made, as he died long before I was born, but I feel I know him well, and Martha knows about him too, as she grows up with his work on her living room wall.
And when she spins around in a princess outfit made by my Mum, looking rather a lot like the lady in the poster painted by my Grandad,
I like to think that the things I make will live for longer than me, so that even if my creations never reach a wider audience than my family they will still let my great grandchildren understand a little about me and my world.
Sometimes you spend an evening working away, an evening that's very precious because there aren't many available when you work two a week and have a baby who doesn't approve of sleeping between 7-midnight.
You spend the evening working and working, you finish the piece and then you put it with the other pieces it's meant to complement, and you realise it doesn't work at all.
Oh that's a horrible sinking feeling. I had that feeling when I made this last night.
If anyone would like this rejected papercut then leave a comment below....
On Sunday I embarked on a snowy journey to Richmond - bus. train, another train and I was there. Miraculously it took only an hour and a bit - Sunday + snow + London normally equals travel chaos.
I had to get to Richmond for the get-in of 'Muswell Hill' - A play at Orange Tree Theatre which I have designed the set and costumes for. This was to be possibly the smoothest get in ever - the play's set in a modern kitchen in Muswell Hill, The floorboards had already been painted and varnished, and the kitchen was already built and painted too.
So once the last show's floor had come up, My floor boards went straight down.
Time for lunch. At Orange Tree lunch for the Stage Management/Techies consists of eggs and soldiers, the eggs are boiled in kettles... it's fast becoming a get in tradition, theatre folk tend to be keen on their traditions. Handily Octavia, the artistic director's daughter, has chickens which keep everyone supplied with gorgeous free range eggs.
The floor was laid, the kitchen wheeled in to place, and it was time for a spot of rigging and focussing of lights.
I just had to paint a door before wending my way back home in the snow.
Next morning, after a spot of early morning snowman building...
...it was time for Sam Walters, the director to come and have a look, and plot the lighting cues.
Then it was time to dress the set with the props the stage management team had spent the past month collecting and making.
My favourite of their creations has to be these delicious looking deserts, make from not-so-delicious pva glue, paint, and sawdust, and the fake avocado and prawn starters.
and of course they also had to create versions that come back from the dining room and go into the dishwasher...
So the set was in and dressed, the costumes were ready in the dressing rooms, the lights were rigged and plotted...just add actors and you have a play.
Once they'd teched and dressed it was time for me to slope off and leave them.
I hope they have a lovely run - it's on until the 10th March, book tickets here if you fancy.