And this is why I don’t have a sat nav…

Personal musings, Thom, Travelling, writing

But the truth of the matter is, there are more maps in the world than anyone can count. Every person draws a map that shows themselves at the center.

— By Catherynne M. Valente, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland

I have lots and lots of maps in my head. Maps with shortcuts and scenic routes, in various parts of different countries… Secret beaches with abandoned chapels in the dunes or secret spots where you can park for free in many towns and cities, hidden speed cameras or stunning view points. I have maps for good dog walks, organic shops hidden in the Ashdown Forest or tucked away in obscure parts of London. Maps to get to remote sea side villages in Spain or in India or how to get to the run way of Gatwick airport. Abandoned derelict factories, secret surf spots, ghost towns and disused old skate parks from the 70’s, the best basque cakes in the entire galaxy… It’s all mapped somewhere in my head!

Welcome Autumn

creativity, Thom, Uncategorized

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Since writing this post at the beginning of the summer, Thom has been through a few sketch books and quite a large amount of paper… I have been a bit more savey. I’m still using the same book, and it looks a bit tattered now from being soaked with water wash for all sorts of water colour, clay or pastel experiments.

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Dear Thom,

You have spent the entire summer thinking about and drawing dragons. You have drawn, painted and modelled an impressive collection of different species. We have been spending hours reading together the How To Train Your Dragon books, by Cressida Cowell, as you loved the films so much. You told me that the dragon on picture number 2 (above) is a fire dragon.

Prior to dragons, you were fascinated by pirates, as we read Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie. We even met a real pirate in Eastbourne, during a Pirate gathering. You were dressed in your fine pirate outfit and this big grown up Pirate surprised you, when he drew out his dagger out of his belt, in between waiting tables to start a play fight with you. You got a bit scared and decided that you would rather take your pirate outfit off and just go to that Pirate gathering in normal day clothes.

To my surprise, you got really captivated by the story of Pinocchio retold by Michael Morpurgo that we read after Peter Pan, just before we entered the Dragons Era.

We had a recent butterfly interval, during which we spent a few days making butterflies in all the ways we could think of, covering the doors of our craft cupboard.

We have only lived here for a few months but the patio has already hosted numerous creative endeavours…

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Such as a few action painting projects…

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and some large scale chalk creations…

You have also been showing a very keen interest in photography and I have let you play with my camera quite a lot.

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You seem to really enjoy making your own short videos. In one of them you keep repeating: “The caterpillars are singing along with the birds”. I thought it was beautiful.

While I have been struggling with back issues, spending a lot of sunny days bed ridden, or being seen by the osteopath or the physiotherapist, you have spent a lot of time riding your bike back and forth on the cycle path to get gelatos (“strawberry cream ice cream in a cone, with chocolate sprinkles please”) with Daddy (and sometimes with me too).

The Tooth Fairy paid us a visit for the first time, as you lost your first milk tooth. It was exactly around the same time you managed to ride your bike without stabilisers for the first time, at the beginning of the summer… and you have been riding it steadily ever since!

It was the day of the football World Cup final and we ended up watching it in a pub that evening as we were celebrating your bike riding success with a pub dinner. You asked me questions all throughout the first half of the game, getting us a few looks from irritated football fans.

Yesterday we came across a few dressing up bins outside a charity shop near us… and we found a couple of very cool outfits… so now you are waiting for Halloween :)

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Your current favourite place is the Rock Climbing site. As two climbers pointed out to me this afternoon, you seem to be a “natural”: you just climb up and down trees and rocks with such ease and speed to the dismay of  everyone around.

You and Tara are both really good climbers and such a combo! It’s sometimes hard to keep up with you two! You have just spent the afternoon together, paddling in a stream, playing with stones.

I hope that you are enjoying this journey as much as I do, and remember:

“To live will be an awfully big adventure!” (Peter Pan/J.M. Barrie).

With lots of love,

Mum.

Creativity as a Daily Practice…

Uncategorized

“Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Our world has been turned upside down recently, as we moved house… We left an old cottage in the woods for a more urban dwelling in a very quiet town on the edge of the forest. We had to readjust a little bit to our new surroundings, and now we are pretty much settled in. We had to change our habits and a house move was a great opportunity to get rid of a lot of our possessions that were just sitting around. I believe that if we have too many things, then these things end up owning you as you will need a bigger house to accommodate all of your belongings, therefore you will need more money and will have less time for yourself, and your dear ones… I  was worried that our cat Henry was going to suffer the move as he was so used to living in our old neighbourhood where he was thoroughly enjoying a busy social life of his own, with some of the neighbours, people and cats alike. He was invited for dinner to a few houses a few times a week, eating with his feline friends and their people! I’m sure he is sadly missed! So I was worried that he would struggle to live in a town, even though we have a private garden surrounded by other gardens… He is so sociable… But soon he made friends with another cat, had a few fights with the hot locals and has already seduced a few human ladies…. I have caught my neighbour feeding him cat biscuits the day before yesterday. image

His Royal Highness Henry the 1st.

Thom and I have been immersed in The story of Peter Pan, reading a new chapter of the book every night… image

We watched a beautiful Peter Pan broadway musical and we had great discussions about the story, went to a pirate event by the sea front, had a boat ride around Eastbourne’s harbour and Thom enjoyed dressing up as a pirate a lot… Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading J.M. Barrie’s book, which gave me a deeper understanding of the character of Captain Hook, captain Paul Watson remains my favourite pirate ;)

I have been struggling with sciatica for 9 months now, and things got worse a couple of weeks ago when I did my back on top of it… After 3 days stuck in bed I ended up being just about able to make my way to the osteopath,  who said she would have rather seen me 9 months ago… So it was time for me to surrender to stillness… Stillness is a great place for me to make felted animals from…

imageHere are 2 of the animals I made :)

imageThom called the blue tit Mr Nice

imageAnd this is Lady Nice, which I made for Thom’s birthday but I gave her a makeover…

And I made another owl for the birthday of a special little girl who turned 7 last week…

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Thom and I have a great project on the go, we have exactly the same sketchbook and we do a double page spread everyday. Whatever we feel like doing. So far it’s been water colours, drawing and glitter for both of us. It’s nice to sit down together at the coffee table and start our daily creation :)

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imageYesterday’s paintings

imageToday’s creations… (You may have noticed, owl is one of our totem animals :)

We have also been doing some action painting in our new patio, which I found to be very therapeutic! Thom really enjoyed mixing all the colours together to create new ones and we were drumming with our brushes on a large sheet of paper pegged on a laundry line… It was grand… We ended up experimenting holding the brushes with our toes, and then just walking in paint and all over big sheets of paper rolled out on the floor… It got messy, but it was fun. I think process art is definitely the way to go, for children and adults. If we are not attached to produce something “nice” then we can thoroughly enjoy the creative process, the release of tension and blocked emotions and letting go of inhibitions that hold us back. Plus for kids experimenting helps them to understand better how things work, build their confidence and problem solving skills (along with free play and good stories to feed their imagination… ) Well to my humble experience anyway…

:)

What about you? How do you nurture your creativity? Do you manage to make time for it?

I definitely feel happier when I do :)

Speak soon,

Noemie.