Meet Claws Monet, one of 29 fibreglass lobster sculpture erected throughout the Plymouth Massachusetts Downtown and Waterfront areas. I saw loads more but only managed to get somewhat decent photos of the ones displayed here. Each lobster was sponsored by local businesses and organizations which were then custom designed and hand painted by local artists. While I was there a gorgeous mosaic lobster sculpture named Sir Loin was stolen but (UPDATE) artist Diana Naples has agreed to recreate Sir Loin and two teenagers have been charged. You can read more and see Sir Loin here did I just link to the Old Colony Memorial, why yes I did.
Action Aid UK are an amazing charity and I was thrilled to be asked to be part of their Latitude Festival activities. The theme this year within their tent at the Festival was menstruation. There were mixed reactions when I discussed this with lots of people prior to the event; from mild interest, confusion and lots of pulled faces. It's something that all women will experience in their lives, a rite of passage, a cycle and the varied reactions reflect the different experiences that women will feel at different times. What we often do not think about are how people struggle with issues pertaining to menstruation in third world countries, while experiencing homelessness or poverty. The Action Aid Uk tent were offering activities including henna painting, dance and drumming workshops, my jewellery workshops and more.
My session focused on creating waist beads from recycled African glass beads:
- Waist beads are a celebration of womanhood and femininity.
- Waist beads are not only for the young or slim!
- Waist beads can also be worn around wrists or necks.
Waist beads can be traced throughout Africa, they are depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics are famous from the Yoruba tribes of Nigeria. They are a chain of beads worn at the waist and have personal meaning to the wearer. Meanings include:
Adornment - worn under or over clothes or via an exposed mid-drift, waist beads are decorating our vital middle sections with one of a kind, personal pieces. It is not about conforming to body pressure but empowering this area and highlighting femininity.
Menstruation - Mothers may traditionally create and present their daughters with waist beads as a rite of passage into womanhood. Waist beads were/are practical as menstrual cloths could be strapped to the beads to provide a type of belt.
Celebration of Womanhood - waist beads are worn during rites of passage during puberty, at weddings. Waist beads are used as a tool to measure weight loss or gain as they will roll up or down which can also be used to signal a pregnancy. They are also said to allure partners and to signify that a young woman was ready for marriage.
Protection - as with lots of jewellery, waist beads are thought to offer healing energy to the wearer and protect them from negative energy. Gems and stones are included to provide specific powers.
Waist beads, like everything, can be seen negatively by some:
Ownership of Women - Some say that the placing of the waist beads at puberty can be seen as staking a claim on the woman’s virginity, purity and placing the father or parents in control.
Charms - Some waist beads have been known to be charmed or have spells placed upon them to entice or entrap the opposite sex.
African beads reflect the diversity of African geography, culture, resources, technology, religions and society. Beads have been found on or next to human remains dating as far back as 100,000 years ago, a number that gets larger with further archaeological finds. African beads have historically featured organic materials such as seeds, shells, bone, nuts but include those made from stone, shell, ceramic, glass, wood, bone, metals, plastic, computer chips and more. Today there is a growing industry of recycled glass and plastic beads.
Bead use and meanings range from decoration, trade, monetary, emulation, religion, adoration, fashion and more.
Thank you so much to all the staff and volunteers of Action Aid UK and Latitude Festival!
Everyone loves a soup during the winter months to get all ones nutrients and to keep warm. Gazpacho is a great way to enjoy soup in the summer and stay hydrated, refreshed and get much of ones five a day. Gazpacho is typically a Spanish dish with a recipe that will vary and depend on whom you ask and how their parents or grandparents made it. The following is a simple Gazpacho recipe that is simple and fun to make with children and suited to their taste buds.
1 kilo red ripe tomato chopped
1 green pepper deseeded and chopped
1 red pepper deseeded and chopped
1 large cucumber deseeded and chopped
1/2 a small white onion chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
250 ml tomato juice
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 chunk or two slices of stale (not moldy) bread
salt and freshly milled black pepper
- Cover and soak the bread with the tomato juice and leave while preparing the other ingredients.
- Combine the tomato, green and red pepper, cucumber, garlic and toss in the olive oil.
- Remove the bread from the tomato juice and squeeze the excess juice from the bread and add the bread to the prepared vegetables.
- Blend everything together in a food processor or with a hand blender until smooth with no chunks.
- Now stir in the olive oil, cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill for at least two hours and serve as is or with garnishes such as finely diced cucumber, herbs, ham, eggs, spring onions, peppers or anything you would like.
Here are the salmon and brocolli pasta and accompanying beetroot salad that we made today at the Healthy Eating Course held at Wentworth Children's Centre. My workshops focus on healthy recipes that are easy to prepare and cost-effective. The workshops allow for the parents and children to prepare ingredients and cook together and try new things. We cook our meals and then sit down together to enjoy the fruits of everyone's labour.
400g pasta (penne or fusili or tagliatelle)
250g skinless and boneless salmon fillets
150 ml vegetable stock
150g broccoli - chopped very finely
25g parmesan (optional)
1 chili finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- First poach the salmon. In a medium saucepan, add the vegetable stock, the juice of half a lemon, bay leaf, salt, pepper and heat to medium high. Add the salmon with the skin side next to the pan. Cover, reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Once cooked remove from pan, cover and allow to cook. Keep the poaching liquid. Break the salmon up in to smaller flakes and remove any bones that may still be in the filets.
- Prepare the water for the pasta according to the instructions and be sure to add salt to the water. Set a timer and cook the pasta until al dente, strain and reserve.
- Melt the butter in the pan with the poaching liquid, add the chili to the poached water and stir over medium heat for one minute.
- Then add the brocolli, cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for three to five minutes.
- Next add the yoghurt to the mixture and stir well until everything is combined well.
- Add the parmesan to the mixture and combine.
- Add the mixture and the flaked salmon to the pasta, add salt and pepper then stir and thoroughly combine.
- Garnish with fresh parsley (or any fresh herb) and serve.
1 tbsp Olive oil
fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of salt
- Finely chop all the ingredients with the exception of the rocket and place in a bowl.
- Toss together with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Gently stir and fold the rocket into the vegetables.
This is mixed-media polymer clay painting comprised of photographs and patterns that I have made onto a canvas. The hand is a ceramic sculpture I made millions of years ago in New Orleans. The candelabra is one that I found outside Ebenzer Street thousands of years ago. I was simply playing with symbols of time.
I had a glut of Granny Smith apples and found myself all out of jars. This rarely happens so I seized the opportunity to turn the remaining apples into apple brandy. I used the same recipe that I use for my quince brandy which is:
6-8 Granny Smith apples - cored, quartered and cut into large chunks
75 cl of decent brandy
50g demarara sugar
1/2 tsp pink peppercorns
4 cardamom pods
In a steralised kilner jar, I layer the spices, apples and sugar and then fill the jar with the brandy. Once a week for the next monthI will shake and flip the jar to ensure all the spices and sugar are being mixed throughout. I usually leave for at least three months before straining the brandy through muslin into sterilised bottles. I find it impossible to simply discard the strained fruit and I will use it to make either mincemeat, ice cream or a boozy sauce of some sort.
I love working with people of all ages doing arts, crafts and food workshops. I received this thank you card from a young girl who I have worked with several times before when she has attended workshops with her twin sister and their grandmother. Today we made mobiles and talked about art, crafts and musicals. I was really touched to receive this card at the end of the session and it hangs up and inspires me each and every day.
I do love making vegetable juice and beetroot is a mandatory addition to any juice I make. I do try to have a citrus-based juice in winter time to really boost my immune system. This juice and the patterns I also made from photographs of the beetroot, pink grapefruit, lemon, orange and lime. The sweetness of the beetroot balances the sharpness of the citrus fruits resulting in a tangy, refreshing juice.
Here is the completed mosaic made over a four week period at Henry Maynard Primary School in Walthamstow London. Henry Maynard is a wonderful school where everyone from the children, staff and students are enthusiastic, kind, caring and proud of their lovely school. I facilitated a family learning course with eight children and their mothers. The children and parents came up with the theme of a ship, which is the schools emblem, coming out of a book and different items which symbolise what they love about their school such as music, reading, maths, friendship, sport and arts. The hand border are the mosaic hands that they all made from their own hands on the first day and symbolise the teamwork that they all showed throughout the project. I am so proud of everyone on the course and at the school and so thankful to everyone, especially Lauren and Alison Pearson. Please do check out my other mosaic projects at Wentworth Children's Centre and Comet Children's Centre.