Atoms of the Rainbow

Hands cradled the golden fairy hummingbird wings, Iris positioned the Christmas tree decoration to face her and smiled at the fir needles with atoms of rainbows.  I feel a lightness of being present in the moment, in the bird I can see resilience and independence.  They are a sign of love in Central America with wing beat patterns symbolising infinity.  In other cultures they are healers and where ever they are seen they bring joy.  Our Christmas has been filled with so much joy this year, many firsts, the first time Iris has been an Elf helping Father Christmas at the Club, the first time Iris had enjoyed opening her presents with everyone, the first time she had chosen to sit at the table with chatter around her. 

Then fear cut through, breaking the celebrations in my heart when I couldn’t hear her hum, the music dulled my senses and the distractions of being social meant that I missed her leave.  The backdoor left wide open, tiptoes and bare feet silently made their way out into the cold.  Moments of magical time turned into a ticking clock, sand slipping through fingers as I check each room and grabbed a pair of boots to take with me on my search.  Iris’s mind thinks in patterns, so must mine.  Last time she went missing it was the Swedish midsummer celebrations and she was next door checking out their kitchen cupboards.  My mind was made up that’s where I would go and as soon as I was out of the door I see the neighbour and she points to her house.  Iris is there, safe.  I walked her back to her grandparents in her grandmother’s wellington boots, she hums with her arm linked in mine.  My hummingbird is with me.

I think a lot about how I can keep her within the boundaries, installed coded gates at home and taught her she must only leave home with me, taught her emergency details, printouts of our telephone number, address and her name are taped to her wardrobe and we practice saying them.  Could a tiny GPS gadget be the answer alerting my phone? But the ancient farmhouse walls blocking the technological world and signals in my parent’s house would laugh at such a suggestion. 

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, by her age I was adventuring on my bike or pony, a traveller’s spirit within me always wanting to see what’s around the next corner.  I know I can’t keep her winglet in my arm forever but I feel behind, left behind with so much that I need to teach her to keep her safe. As time goes on life has got easier, communication improved, social skills…but in those night time hours, my mind fills with worry, wandering thoughts about a wandering Iris.  I know I am not alone, it’s an ingrained fear in most special needs parent’s minds.  My way of overcoming this fear is empowering Iris with more skills, more knowledge and abilities to try to minimize the danger.  She can not live in a fortress or a cage.  The hummingbird reminds me although we can fly backward and learn from past events we must move forward too, lifting negativity and flipping it into a positive.  So as we leave 2019 behind I would like to take with me the knowledge that Iris is not afraid to leave what she knows, she is happier in social situations, she is seeking, she is talking to me through her actions and this will guide us forwards for more adventures in 2020.    

Iris Grace Giclee Prints

Since publishing Iris’s story we have been sending her prints to new homes all over the world. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated and talented team working with us on this project to deliver the highest quality of Giclee prints to Iris’s customers. They are produced at On The Edge Framing & Art only one mile down the road from where they were painted.

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.

‘we love our prints! amazing quality and I can’t wait for them to come back from the framers, they will be calming for our daughter to look at every day.’ ~ Buyer from Portugal

‘Here in Malaysia at the Sunway Medical Centre Iris’s prints inspire and soothe our patients.’

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.

I have struggled with great loss in my life, I have found Iris’s Paintings to be calming and enlightening giving me peace as I look into the images that she has created.’ ~ Buyer from South America 

There is a sense of harmony, joy and my spirits lifted as I look at her paintings, thankyou for this special gift. x’ ~ Buyer from the U.S

If you would like to view the selection of prints we have for sale please do visit Iris’s online shop https://www.irisgracepaintingshop.com

Iris Grace Painting Cards

Iris’s Greetings Cards make a lovely Christmas present or sent out as individual cards, blank inside, 15cm x 10.5cm.  You can buy them in a pack of 16, one of each painting displayed 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. WORLDWIDE FREE DELIVERY

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

To buy a pack of Iris’s Cards here is the link – https://www.irisgracepaintingshop.com/products/iris-grace-cards

The Peacock & The Rooster

The story begins with a Peacock from London called Pepe, he needed a home and we jumped at the chance to help him.  I adored the idea of the colourful displays that would entice any child to explore.  The magic fairy tale bird that would inspire us all came unexpectedly with a friend called Colin.  Colin is a small but mighty rooster and he was along for the ride too.  We settled them into the barn with Murph and Smurf our Pigmy goats, Blue, Casper and Jack, the ponies, then at last after the long journey we went to bed. At dawn, all was quiet as I approached the barn.  It was oddly silent, no calls for food.  Each animal was still, looking sadly down at the ground where Pepe’s body lay cold.  Colin looked at me, I felt his loss and we decided to bring him inside as he clearly needed comfort.  I am unsure how animals feel death, they certainly show almost human emotions but at the very least giving him comfort would help us along through the sadness of that morning.  We do not know why Pepe died, maybe it was the move, shock, we were uncertain of his age but what we do know is he had a very good friend who I would like to get to know better.   

Colin settled in the house making us laugh at how confident he is.  He enjoys sitting on laps, gentle strokes and settling up high on mantle pieces observing his new household.  Thula and Colin have an understanding after one quick flurry and a peck.  To those who are new to a house rooster, here are some vital pieces of knowledge from me to you – blackout blinds! brilliant blackout blinds will fool your rooster into having a lie in.  They also like to sleep high so maybe clear the mantle pieces and a book shelf just in case.  Finally a fire and a warm atmosphere will soothe your rooster in the evening.
So with a journey that began with a Peacock has turned into an unexpected and at times hilarious adventure with a Rooster.  

To our delight Colin proved himself to be incredible with Iris and other children so he is now part of our therapy sessions at The Little Explorers Activity Club

We are currently raising funds for Animal Assisted Therapy 2020, if you would like to donate here is the link – https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/animalassistedtherapy

Any help no matter how small it seems to you is deeply appreciated and money well spent. We can offer a tailored approach to vulnerable individual families and their children providing a unique therapeutic environment for them to learn.

‘Eyebrook’ Original Painting Auction

To bid email irisgracepainting@yahoo.com

Iris’s next Original Painting to be auctioned is ‘Eyebrook’ inspired by her time at the Eyebrook Reservoir at the Leicestershire/Rutland border. The Painting 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.

The bidding will start on the 10th November and end at 9pm UK time on the 17th November, good luck everyone! 
Please submit bids to Arabella at irisgracepainting@yahoo.com

Meet Our Animals That Are Changing Lives

Article on Bored Panda

‘The goats are playing the piano!’ you may think it’s a joke but it happens in our house. I blame the cat, our fantastical cat called Thula who helped my daughter with autism in ways in which we humans struggled to and their bond has inspired a movement of special needs parents to see the ways in which these animals can heal and teach our children. So we live in harmony with these animals and in turn they help us with our little charity.

I created an autism friendly club, The Little Explorers Activity Club, that offers Animal Assisted Therapy. A safe and understanding environment to have fun and socialise with other families alongside therapy that is very successful with anxiety, Autism, ADD, ADHD, depression and many other conditions. It has been seen to lower blood pressure, help concentration, calm anxiety and builds confidence. Interacting with animals increases attention spans and has a positive calming effect helping with social interaction.

So to raise awareness about what we do and to raise funds for 2020 I thought I would share a little about our animals, every donation counts no matter how small it seems, we deeply appreciate your help x

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/animalassistedtherapy

CATS

Before all of the drama of the past few weeks Iris’s Granny had bought us all tickets to go to the outdoor theatre production of CATS as an early birthday present for Iris.  I was determined I wasn’t going to miss this and have been trying my hardest to rest up so we could go together.  The perfect antidote to distract Iris from all the worries and stress lately.  

I knew the theatre at Kilworth House would be autism-friendly in the way that it’s outdoors, more casual and family-orientated than your typical London theatres but it exceeded all of my expectations. It is set in a beautiful wood with wooden walkways through the trees, over a stream lit with fairy lights and then the stage itself under a magical tent.  

The story is about a community of cats, all unique in their own way, each given their moment to express themselves through dance and songs. 

The choreography was breathtaking and Iris was transfixed as she watched the dancers move around the stage, she smiled in delight at the flying leaps and slinky moves in the derelict London Underground station. 

During the interval Iris met Old Deuteronomy, he sat with Iris, it was like old friends catching up, she looked at him as if he truly was that old cat filled with Wisdom.

Iris was moved to tears by Grizabella, a reminder of how sensitive she is to it all, how in tune to the actor’s movements, their dress and their character.  Grizabella is a very old mangy cat, no longer resembling the glamorous cat of her youth. Having left the group, she is now all alone with only the memories of her happier days. She returns to them seeking re-acceptance, but her fellow cats are initially repulsed by her and repeatedly shun her.  The dramatic music held Iris with tears building but all is well after her song Memory and they accept her once again as one of them before ascending to heaven. 

Iris clapped with us in the applause after each act, she surprised me how well she managed and her granny and I were bursting with pride.  There was a curious behaviour that at first I thought was a coping strategy by her to manage the intense music and dance.   Every few minutes she looked straight at a little tent beside the stage.  It was out of the way, out of most peoples minds and what I thought initially was a backstage tent for the cast.  After the performance Iris walked over to the tent and it turned out to be the music tent with some musicians, a mini tech orchestra, they kindly let Iris have a look around and it made me smile that all along she knew when none of us did.  

We returned home to our own beautiful cat Thula, lots of hugs and snuggles, we all feel hopeful for a better week ahead.

Prints, Cards and Silk Scrarves Available through the Iris Grace Online shophttps://www.irisgracepaintingshop.com/