Sunday, 24 March 2013

THIS IS A TOKEN.



I am giving it to you.
Because I have nothing else to give you.
Because I am very poor.
You can keep it.
As a reminder that I exist.
If you wish.
Or you can exchange it.
For something else.
And forget about me.
If you wish.
The choice is yours.

A few weeks ago I met up with the Lovely Colette and we went to the "Fate, hope and charity" exhibition at the Foundling Museum.
It was every bit as emotional as the "Threads of Feeling" exhibition of last year.
In 1739 after many many years of petitioning and campaigning Thomas Coram succeeded in gaining a royal charter for the Foundling Hospital.
The history of the hospital is at times wondrous and at times dark but at all times amazing.
There were some horrific statistics printed on the wall at the museum.
At the time of the hospital's opening 75% of Children in London and 95% of children in the workhouse didn't live beyond the age of 5.
The Hospital accepted children who's parent or parents could not care for them. 
The admissions process its self was heart breaking.
How we managed to come out with any of our emotions intact I do not know.
The mother would bring the child to the museum and if she managed to get through the lottery style selection process she could leave her child at the hospital.
She would leave a token with them and she would keep a matching one. If she was lucky enough to be able to come back to collect her child she would have to produce the token to be able to claim them back. That along with paying back all the money it had cost to support the child in her absence.
The exhibition was full of tragic tales of mothers who came back after years of absence only to find their child had died with in months of being left.
When a child was admitted to the hospital their name was changed  and all traces of their previous life removed, siblings were split up and given different surnames. The tokens left with them were sealed in packages with their details and filed away, most never saw the light of day again.
Many of the tokens were scraps of fabric, that was what the exhibition last year was all about.
This year was exploring all the other heart wrenching tokens in the archives.
I mean how impoverished must your life have been to only be able to leave a hazelnut shell for your child?



This one left us both a bit weepy. 
translated the symbols read "I want relief"


The words at the top of the post are from this print which is for sale in the museum shop. 
I found it so poignant and moving, which is why I bought it.
And then very carefully packed it ready for moving and so now I really can't tell you who the print is by. Which is really annoying as I hate to not be able to give credit when its due.



The exhibition is on until 19th May, The Museum is really interesting and has a great cafe, which helps to restore your emotional stability after the event.
Love Nora xxx

Saturday, 23 March 2013

ORDERED CHAOS
This roll of gaffer tape and I are becoming very good friends.



After 6 months of stress and anguish and in particular 3 days of stress at levels here to previously unknown to human kind the plan is coming together.



Soon very very soon we will be off to the seaside.
The lasts are all ready starting to build up.
Last time for the boys at their childminders, someone who has been a constant part of our lives since the Ginger one was 6 months old. I was brave.
Last Friday walk to school. I was brave.
Last time two of my extra glamourous very cleaver, now gone to work in very impressive places assistants, and I sat down and ate lunch together. I was very brave.
Last time I popped round to see one of my friends and set the world to rights in her kitchen. I was brave.



Our lives are an organised chaos of boxes and packing.
For once I actually know where every thing in my workshop is.
I just can't get at it.



Things may become a little sporadic round here but I will be back with a new adventure to tell you about soon. 
If I am organised there even may be a couple of things to show you before we are off, but don't hold it against me if fail!
See you all on the other side.
Nora xxxx

Thursday, 21 March 2013

MAPPING OUT THE PAST
I have been meaning to do this one for a while, but life always seems to get in the way, more on that one tomorrow.



But earlier this year a friend, neighbour and founding member of the Ninjas up sticks and went.
It wasn't a huge surprise.
We had all known about it for ages.
But it came if not exactly hot, then definatly warmly on the heels of another friend and her daughter leaving for ever and going so far away if they were any further away they would be on the way bak.
So we were all feeling a little raw round the edges about people leaving.
But this friend wasn't going quite so far away and she will be coming back from time to time.
In the course of her packing up the last 20 something odd years of her life I had so many calls of the "do you want X Y Z?" nature they kind of became part of the daily routine.
I don't think I said  "No" once. But I may be wrong.
Amongst some of the treasure that came my way was a collection of maps.
Jane had spent much of her childhood in Germany and so there were some wonderful old maps from her family's camping trips all over central Europe.
I am sure they will all find their way in to my work at one point or another, my current obsession with maps shows no sign of abating.
This map though it really caught my eye.
A Panoramic Guide of the Rhine form Mayence to Cologne.
It was love at first sight.
Unfurled it easily stretches for 5'.



I am in heavy negotiation with the hippy over the building of a frame for it.
Well, I mentioned it once, he agreed, I remembered, he has forgotten.
But it is there now filed away in my brain patiently waiting.
Apparently the enigmatic black numbers next to some of the towns correspond with the kilometre stones along the river and make it possible at any moment to fix one's position.



That I do feel is a very Germanic approach to what is basically an artistic tourist curio.
I really am so so in love!
And when (if) it is ever framed I can look upon it and remember not glorious Technicolor evenings upon the Rhine, but our dearest Ninja 3 and all her fantastic disguises.
Love Nora xxx

Monday, 18 March 2013

CHICK CHICK CHICK CHICK CHICKIE LAY A LITTLE EGG FOR ME!
We all had a great time on Saturday.
It was the day of the Easter workshop for Crafty Boys and Girls.





And there were lots and lots of boys and girls and a lots of bright colourful wool.
Carol Grantham a local textile artist came along and taught the children how to make felted Easter Chicks.



She was fantastic, calm and unflustered by the sheer volume of children we had come along.
Both the children and the parents who decided to stay had a wonderful time. It was wonderful to see the kids faces when the fibres started to finally knit together and the chicks take shape. Even some of the boys (and by some I mean my own) who never last a whole class with out becoming disruptive and loosing interest were concentrating hard and made colourful multicoloured chicks. 



Some were really young one little brother wanted to join in and he was only 3.
There was also a birthday party for a 10 year old and her best friends.



And just as I was giving up hope someone made a mutant Cyclops chickie.



Phew, I thought for a moment the children were going to let me down.
Oh and one with a hat.



Oh and we discovered a new fact about wool fibres when we got home. When felted in to a slightly oval shape they are really really bouncy.
Hope you all had fun weekends too.
Love Nora xxxx

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

NICE BIT OF SKIRT
I'm sick of my clothes.
I get up in the morning and I look at them and I feel uninspired.
So I put on my jeans and a jumper dress.
Again.
This happens more or less every day. 
But sadly one of my pairs of jeans reached the end of their natural life the other day.
So now I'm down to one pair.
Something had to be done.



Sunday night I went to bed early intending to catch up on the sleep I had missed out on by having a good time the previous two nights.
But no, wasn't happening.
To much stuff wizzing round my little head.
So to take my mind off the stress of the impending move and all that involves I turned my sights to my wardrobe problems.
This skirt is not what I imagined in the wee small hours.
That was probably not possible in the time scale anyway.



But I do love it.
I bought the pinstripe Linen a few years ago and the hankies and lace were all just hanging about, getting in the way in my workroom.
All in all it only took a couple of hours to make and it made me feel quite spiffy on the school run this morning.
Love Nora xxx

Sunday, 10 March 2013

THE BOYS DONE GOOD
Happy Mother's day people.
I had the obligatory cup of tea and toast in bed this morning and a clutch of lovely presents from the boys.

I knew something was afoot as I lay in bed this morning listening to the whispering and giggling downstairs and the not so subtle crashing and slamming of the front door as they all trouped out to Daddy's van to collect what ever it was they had hidden in there.
I wasn't disappointed, mug, jug and egg cup. There were also chocolates but they I am afraid are long gone. Apparently the "this is a present for Mummy only" rule doesn't stretch as far as chocolate. 
My main present arrived a few days ago.
The Hippy is working on a school building at the moment and on Thursday there was more than the usual crashing, swearing and thumping about as he unloaded his tools at the end of the day.
There was a knock at the shed window and some frantic beckoning.
Upon further investigation it would appear he has "rehomed" an unwanted and unloved set of old wooden school lockers.




"Happy Mother's Day Love" he said whilst strolling off leaving me to gaze upon my new and wondrous treasure. 
The boy had done good.
Hope all you Mothers out there are feeling just as loved.
Nora xxxx


Thursday, 7 March 2013

WHAT'S NEXT?
Well, that is a good question.
Gillian and I have been working away sorting out the most fantastic schedule of events for Crafty Pint at our wonderfully supportive venue. The Railway SW16.
In fact they are so supportive it would appear they are letting us loose to arrange a HUGE event in the summer.
Still not sure I can believe anyone is mad enough or has enough faith in us to allow it, but apparently they have.
Sadly I can't let you know the details just yet, but trust me you will be amongst the first to know when I can spill all the beans.
In the mean time we have booked the talented Anna of Anna Agykum to run a fascinator class for us next week.



Have a quick peek at what we are going to be creating next Wednesday 13th March.
If you fancy joining us all the details can on how to book a place can be found here.
Then the following weekend on 16th March I will be holding the next Flaming Nora workshop for crafty boys and girls.
When we have Carol Gratham a local fibre and textile artist coming along to teach felting to the kids. We will be making felted chicks just in time for Easter.



I'm really excited about this one, as it is such a wonderful tactile thing for children to learn, and knowing what children are like I will be sad if we don't have at least one killer monster zombie chick before the end of the day.
If you fancy booking a place you can do so here.
Love Nora xxx 

Monday, 4 March 2013

BLOOMING HECK!
I have spent the last couple of days making these.



Lots and lots of tissue paper mixed in with a generous sprinkling of old paper dress patterns.



It is a little addictive if I am honest.
Very satisfying.



I will be teaching people how to make them at the weekend.
Just in time for Mother's Day.
"I Blooming Love My Mum"
from 12 - 3 at The Railway SW16.
The best bit is that it is free.
Its part of what has become known as "The Mother of all weekenders"
I had an idea to decorated the venue with the flowers.
But I needed something bigger, more of a statement piece.
Out came the instruction sheets from all those now chopped up old patterns.



Very happy.
If you are in SW16 this weekend pop along say "Hi" and have a go at making something lovely for your Mother.
Love Nora xxx

Friday, 1 March 2013

HURRY UP SPRING I'M OVER WINTER NOW!
Its cold, its damp, its miserable. 
Where is Spring? Where is the sun?



It can't be far away the Iris's are out in the pots on our window sill 
and the house is full of vases of Daffs.



In other news I have been working on not one but two replacement banners.



One to put on the wall at workshops to look all pretty and one to eventually put up here to make it look all pretty .
Hopefully they won't take me too long to finish.
Hopefully I won't leave it behind this time.
I need one of them for next weekend.
But more of that later, its Friday night, one child is in bed and the other should be in bed, there is a cold bottle in the kitchen calling to me, and fresh tube of pringles on the side and the final two episodes of "Dancing on the edge" waiting for me on the iplayer.
Happy times.
Love Nora xxxx