Getting your mind’s eye in the groove 

Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine what a piece of artwork will look like once it’s mounted and framed up on the wall.  Would it be best positioned above a mantlepiece or your office desk? Maybe in the kitchen or living room?  Iris and I have created some mock-ups for you to see, examples of her work in interiors to get your mind’s eye in the groove so you can easily start to picture her framed pieces up in your own home.

Prints are available to buy from her online shop in a variation of sizes – https://www.irisgracepaintingshop.com/collections/all

Giclee Printing

Using extremely ‘high end’ scan-back camera technology and daylight balanced lighting, we are able to create an incredibly accurate and detailed digital image from Iris’s Original Paintings. 

Our colour management ensures consistency and guarantees the highest standards and quality of image. With the very latest in art printing technology with fully calibrated photo-scanning, processing and printing equipment, we pay fastidious attention to colour balancing to ensure extremely accurate reproduction.


The word Giclée (“g-clay”), is derived from the French verb gicler meaning “to squirt or spray”, Giclée, is used to describe a fine art digital printing process combining pigment based inks with high quality archival quality paper (Hahnemühle German Etching,  310 gsm) to achieve Giclée prints of superior archival quality, light fastness and stability.

Profits from the sales of her art go towards her therapies, education and future.

Weʼre raising £800 to pay for our insurance so we can re-start our animal therapy and therapeutic pony rides supporting children on the autism spectrum.

To help us Donate here https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thelittleexplorersactivityclubcic

We have created a stress-free, non-judgmental environment at The Little Explorers Activity Club for families with autism and other special needs to enjoy with our ponies offering animal-assisted therapy and therapeutic pony rides and activities for all abilities.

Mainly working with children on the Autism Spectrum and their families but also families with anxiety and depression.

Our Outcomes:
Improved confidence, communication, self-esteem, skills & personal development. A sense of community and relief from isolation.

We believe in tailoring each session to individual needs and empowering the parent’s knowledge and skills to be able to use our approach at home even without the ponies. We have developed a free PDF downloadable 30 page guide for the families to follow.

Over the winter we have had our sessions paused due to the virus, we are raising some re-start money to fund our insurance to open again in the spring once this current Omicron wave is over.

Spending time with ponies is proven to reduce anxiety, aid communication with kids on the autism spectrum, ADD, ADHD and reduce depression. It has been seen to lower blood pressure, help concentration, calm anxiety and build confidence. It has been clinically documented that just being around horses and ponies changes human brainwave patterns, we calm down and become more centered and focused when we are with them.




Summer Sale – 50% off Iris’s Silk Scarf

We are offering Iris’s Raining Cats Silk Scarf on a Summer Sale at 50% off, here is the link to her online shop where you can buy this beautiful scarf.


With the help from a Cotswold family-run company called Beckford Silk with nearly half a century of silk printing expertise behind them we have created Iris’s silk scarf. 
Their designers worked with us to produce a scarf that is not only visually stunning but also feels exquisite.  As many of you know Iris’s sensitivities to fabrics has been an issue in the past so she was our ultimate product tester.  As she flew around the house and garden with the scarf around her I knew we were onto a winner. 
Iris is in good company, Beckford Silk has an impressive client list, institutions, such as the National Trust, Highgrove, Westminster Abbey, the Tate and the Royal Academy. The first painting to be printed onto silk is ‘Raining Cats’, I adore her gentle mix of blues and earthy tones, they shine brightly on the pure silk and I hope it will inspire adding a little magic to those who wear it.

It is packed in a cellophane wrap with care/washing instructions inside. 
85cm x 85cm with blue stitched hem

Book Review: The Cracks That Let The Light In

Like so many of us, Jessica prepared for the birth of her first child with family advice, parenting books and classes.  Her experience did not follow the predicted path, their son was born with cerebral palsy and it filled them with frightening uncertainty, exposed to all of the difficulty and unfairness of life.  They were fighting to keep their son Ben alive.  Jessica was fragile, lost without a clue of what the future may hold and my heart ached for her and their family.  Rather than finding the demands of parenting impossible, it was the relentless demands that keep her going.  Being held together by her love for Ben and the family’s love for her. 

Jessica’s beautiful words and her intriguing honesty have given me a deeper understanding about embracing disability.  Her drive for people to understand what their life is like and so many others living with disabilities is inspiring as it will create better support and possibilities.  Without a doubt, her book will be extremely useful for my work with The Little Explorers Activity Club that supports families with special needs.  Packed full of thought-provoking discussions, she learns to truly listen with deep respect and love.

Extract from Chapter 4

We get a train from the nearest village into Edinburgh where the festival is on. While James goes to a comedy show, I take Ben to a gallery of modern art. We see an exhibition of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s images of photographic plates being electrocuted. They are dark pictures with bright white explosions of light, what he calls ‘Lightning Fields’. He seems to have made the invisible visible in all its unpredictable, unique beauty. Perhaps this is what is going on in our bodies – microscopic crackles between synapses and cells that we don’t normally see. Maybe we all have little fizzing rivers of energy flowing from our brains to our muscles, but Ben’s are more like these bright cracks and unpredictable explosions of activity. I am hoping Ben will let me see the whole exhibition, wary that if he is unsettled or something goes wrong with his milk I don’t have James there to help me. But as I push Ben around the museum in his laden buggy he is calm, looking up at the flares of light. I buy a poster of one of these white lightning bolts frozen mid-strike, with the artist’s name in bold text above and the Edinburgh gallery written below. For the next two years, until we move house and the frame gets accidentally smashed, the print hangs above our bed. A little flash of inspiration.’

I’m inspired and will be recommending her book to parents as a testament of following your parenting instincts.  Inclusion and environment is the key, Ben is included in all of the love and unique beauty a family can share.  Eleven years on, with two siblings he jokes and laughs with them using the Alexa speaker from his eye gaze device, he listens to his father read Harry Potter and a great many other books from their ever-expanding library. Their story spreads an uplifting feeling of hope and I admire what she has achieved and how it will bring light and joy to other families.

Ben (centre) with his parents, sister Molly and brother Max. Image: Kate Borrill

Inclusion for Ben is at the heart of everything,  so for parents who feel a little lost about where to start to revamp/re organise their homes I asked Jessica if there were any key factors, thoughts, ideas that she felt would be helpful to think about.

‘This is a huge topic. I had an enormous advantage in being an architect so I could tell when I looked round potential houses which would be appropriate for adaptation. I think the most important considerations are level floors and easy access in and out. It’s crucial to be able to get in and out of the house easily (we love having ramps rather than needing use any lifts) and then to have as large an area as possible on the ground floor without needing to push a wheelchair around sharp corners or bump over thresholds multiple times a day. Also, everything needs to be bigger than you think! I thought the landings and widened doorways were ridiculously large but now Ben is eleven I can see that we really need that much space (and still the walls are covered in marks from where we’ve bashed them). But also, good design is key. I feel passionately that designing a house to suit a disabled person doesn’t mean compromising on how it looks, it’s just that a lot of accessible design is bad. A fully accessible house can still be a beautiful house.’

After Jessica finished writing her book it should have been a time for celebration but the Pandemic has been very difficult for many of us for a variety of reasons.  I can imagine it has put a huge strain emotionally on families with disabilities as the hospitals were filling up and unable to cope.  I asked how she got through those dark moments of worry and what has helped her in these tough times.

‘We had a particularly difficult time at the beginning of the pandemic because I had an accident which meant I had to have major surgery on my ankle just before lockdown. Just as I was discharged from hospital, unable to walk, our daughter developed a cough and fever and so we not only all had to self-isolate at home, but we also had to separate her from Ben within the house. We have always encouraged Max and Molly to be very tactile and relaxed around Ben, and it was heartbreaking to ban her from touching him. At the same time I was reading reports of criteria for hospital treatment and it seemed like Ben’s ‘frailty’ would mean he might not be prioritised should he need hospital care, and we knew he was vulnerable to respiratory infections.

I coped with it by buying an oxygen saturation monitor in the hope that we could care for Ben at home as long as possible if we had to, and we barely left the house for months. We were lucky that some of Ben’s carers were still able to come, and as we headed into the summer last year I could walk again so it has all seemed easier since then. In fact, because we have been so cautious, Ben has been healthier than ever over the last year.

I have found parts of the last year incredibly difficult, as have so many people, but I’ve been lucky to have a husband to share the challenges with, and we are fortunate to have brilliant carers for Ben who have helped us enormously. Still, the pressure of needing to do and be everything to him (teacher, physio, speech therapist, nurse) has been a lot. I actually think the difficulties of Ben’s early years, and the ways in which we are used to our everyday lives being complicated, in some ways prepared us well for the pandemic. The past year has been hard, but we’ve had lots of hard periods over the last eleven years and so I think we have some experience in how to deal with difficult situations!’

Jessica’s book, ‘The Cracks that Let the Light In: What I learned from my disabled son’ was published by Endeavour and released this month.

Buying Iris’s Original Paintings

We have a selection of Iris’s Original Paintings that are for sale, if you would like to enquire about pricing please email Arabella at irisgracepainting@yahoo.com

The paintings are sold unframed, dry mounted onto board. We transport them using a company called Pack & Send, they create a wooden casement for secure delivery and offer insurance.

In our opinion the paintings are best framed with glass that offers UV protection.

Last Chance to buy Iris’s Cards

We have limited stock left of Iris’s beautiful card packs. They come as a collection of 16. Each one will be cellophane wrapped with an envelope & blank inside.  The cards are 15cm x 10.5cm.  

To buy your pack click here

Tumpty Tum

Dance to the Oboe

Whisper

Explosions of Colour

Raining Cats

Anima

Painting a Lullaby

Water Dance

Blossom in the Wind

Monsoon

Story of the Secret Seahorse

Trumpet

Dancing in Snowflakes

Octavia

Sunflakes

Under the Sea

£2 per card. £32.00 for the pack. FREE DELIVERY

All of the profits raised from the sales of her art towards her ongoing therapies and some saved for her future.

Online Support For Families

It has been a dream of mine for a long time to create an online service at The Little Explorers Activity Club so we can help many more families through our approach.  Now, with the Covid19 Pandemic it has become vital that we take the time to develop this support for families in their own homes so they can apply our methods.

With a grant from the Leicestershire County Council Communities Fund this dream has become a reality. I’m delighted to announce that for families that live within Leicestershire, the 30 page E-Booklet is free of charge. To receive your free E-Booklet email us at thelittleexplorersactivityclub@yahoo.com

The power of flip thinking has turned the tragedy of the Pandemic into something that will inspire and support families around the world.

To buy the Harmony at Home E-Booklet use this link to The Little Explorers Shop where you will be able to download the PDF.

All profits go back towards the running costs of the animals for our animal therapy sessions.

The Egg Project

Iris’s education has always been developed with her interests at the heart of it all. I have designed a project that will enable me to cover all of the different areas of the curriculum so that it is intrinsically motivating for her.
I can test her knowledge without pressure through games.
Set out on a table that is inviting and comfortable.
The displays are interactive encouraging participation.
Natural light from the windows enables me to work with Iris without distractions from other artificial lights.
She is free to explore and use different forms of media to express what she is learning.
Using flowers and an embroidered table cloth it softens the learning environment to be more inviting.
And of course it’s always good to have a faithful friend around to enjoy the experience with.

Iris Grace Silk Scarf Styling Tips

There are so many fantastic ways to wear a silk scarf and here are just a few. Iris and I have been having fun this morning dressing up and trying some of them out.

Calming the senses with a wrap-around effect.

Pretty in pink with this sophisticated necktie.

This photo of Iris is the meadow was from last summer, oh I can’t wait for those warmer days!
A beautiful solution for any bad hair day.
Draped over shoulders like a cape is a favourite, gives comfort & security.
Every artist needs a headscarf at hand to keep her hair tidy.
A delightful way to accessorize toy boxes, bags, baskets…
and of course, our faithful friend Thula modeling the ‘Raining Cats’ Silk Scarf with such style and majestic grace.

If you would like to buy your own Iris Grace Scarf here is the link to her online shop – https://www.irisgracepaintingshop.com/products/raining-cats-silk-scarf

 

Hiatus Auction

Hiatus-Auction

We are trying a new way of auctioning Iris’s Paintings this month, it will be done by a ‘sealed bid/silent auction’ where the buyers will kindly submit their highest bid in one email rather than bidding as the week goes on.  I want to adjust our system as the interest in her paintings is so widespread around the world that this seems to be the fairest way to conduct the auctions to fit in with everyone’s time zones.

So remember this is a one-bid auction of your highest bid and email that to us at irisgracepainting@yahoo.com

‘Hiatus’ is painted on thick watercolour paper with many layers of acrylic. It has also been dry mounted onto board and will be sold unframed. If you are bidding from abroad we have a brilliant International Courier Service which we have used to send her art safely to it’s new home in the past.

Good luck Everyone, the auction is now open to submit your bid! irisgracepainting@yahoo.com

The proceeds from the sales of Iris’s art goes into her own savings account to be saved for her future.