Art was one of my favourite subjects at school.
Not because I was good at it. I can’t draw a stick man! It was because it was the most chilled out lesson on my timetable.
We sat around chatting while splodging paint on a bit of paper. The teacher just did a quick five-minute blurb about primary colours at the start of the lesson and then sat back to read a book. I didn’t make anything to be proud of in art at school. Although I did get a LOT of gossip.
Fast forward 20 years and I have two children. Let’s face it, you can’t have kids and avoid arts and crafts.
My eldest is only two so there’s minimal pressure at present. She loves stickers, which is the ultimate lazy artist’s friend. But she also enjoys drawing and painting.
I remember trying to perfect my drawing many years ago with one of those books that teach you how to draw things like animals by breaking it down into basic shapes. You draw a rectangle and three circles, and boom, you have a rabbit. Sadly I always just had a slightly wobbly rectangle and three dodgy circles.
It’s not just drawing and painting. I would love to be good at baking. To make beautiful icing sculptures to top cakes and pretty icing patterns with piping. I can make a decent batch of brownies but I can’t make a cupcake pretty.
Luckily my mum is an amazing cake maker, check out my birthday cake she made for me a few days ago! So she will be creating my children’s cakes in future, thank goodness she can make them a Paw Patrol cake!
They say these things come with practice. With that in mind I headed to a local pottery painting cafe, Leap Frog Ceramics at Henry Street Garden Centre in Berkshire.
I’ve been there a few times before when my first child was a baby. I made all members of my family mugs with her footprints on that first year. It’s the thought that counts they say, which is good because the footprints were all pretty smudged.
But it hasn’t put me off. There’s loads of different pottery shapes to choose from at this cafe, including animals, money boxes of all shapes and sizes, plates, bowls, dipping bowls, Christmas decorations and words like “family” and “LOL”.
My toddler picked a fairy to decorate. I set her up with some paints dolloped on a plastic plate in front of her and off she went.
Now I have baby number two I decided to try again with the footprints and make a plate. One print came out pretty great, the other is a bit smudged. But it’s tough getting a wriggling baby to press their foot accurately against a solid surface.
My decorations were a bit random. Lots of swirls and dots.
But you know what, I’m quite pleased with the outcome. I can’t wait to collect it in a week’s time and see what it looks like when it’s been fired.
And my toddler’s fairy came out a swirly mass of colours, but actually I think it looks like it makes quite a statement. I’m sure someone somewhere would read some kind of deep meaning from his messy paint job splodged on a pretty fairy. Something about how capitalism makes us all slaves, maybe?
So Leonardo da Vinci I am not. Maybe I’m a bit of a Picasso? Anyway, the point is I made the effort.
I’ll never be a crafty mum who has dozens of beautifully-made items to showcase on Pinterest. And that’s ok.
My kids don’t care if I help them make the best plate. They just care that I was there with them.