The most exciting news!

The tail end of last week was a whirlwind of awesomeness. 

On the same day my eldest daughter turned 17, I received a message into my Etsy inbox. It was inviting me to be one of 35 exclusive Indo-British artists, designers and labels.  My first thoughts were that I could never afford it (hiring a table at the event is not cheap) and I'd never have enough stock etc etc.  I shared the news on Facebook with friends and family and within about 15 minutes I'd begun to start thinking about how I could do it. Everyone was so supportive and enthusiastic.  I began to see the potential benefits of attending and being part of this niche event. A few people suggested I set up a Gofundme page and ask for donations. I decided I had nothing to lose.  I set up the page.

Within 12 hours I had raised half of my £500 target. It was truly unbelievable. Wonderful friends and family donated, along with complete strangers.  24 hours after setting up the page, I hit my target and the stall was booked!  I am still taking donations as there is a lot to organise.  I have never done a show before and need everything!  If you feel you'd like to help, please click on the widget above.

Indo-British Fair on Oxford Street, London,  21st-23rd September 2015.  
More info -  www.travelistaindia.com

"The event will be an exciting mix of eclectic products and cultural activities with Indo representing the east, gypsy, tribal and boho and British the west, vintage, retro and contemporary. There will be interesting activities like vintage fashion booth, British tea sessions, henna art, block printing workshops etc."
"The fair will be showcasing 35 curated exhibitors offering the best of British and Asian and gypsy fashion and culture. ."

To have my art chosen and described as Indo-British is such an honor. My Anglo Indian heritage has always been a big part of my life and my love for the county and culture often flows through into my art.  To be known as an Anglo Indian (or Indo-British) artist, to exhibit among others influenced by similar things would be a dream come true.  I am very proud of my heritage, and as Anglo Indian communities are dying out all over India, I feel passionate about keeping the memory of the Anglo Indian people alive.

So, watch this space for more details.  I have a summer of painting and sourcing products.  

My table is booked for the opening day on 21st September 2015.  I am very excited!

Chat it's fate magazine

Today, my story came out in the August edition of Chat it's fate magazine.  I was contacted by them earlier in the year to share my story about PMDD, the menstrual cycle and my art.  I felt this was a way to raise some awareness of how severe PMS can become, along with how I came to heal myself from the worst symptoms.  If you would like to read my story you can find it in all larger newsagents for the next month.

If you are interested in finding out more about PMDD, please check out my PMDD blog, Meet My PMDD, or visit the UK's National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome (NAPS) or the USA's National Association for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

To find out more about the alternative ways of understanding the menstrual cycle, please have a read through my Natural Shaman Blog, particularly the article I wrote for Indie Shaman magazine, The Magic of the Menstrual Cycle and my experience at a menstrual workshop with Alexandra Pope.

Sign up to learn more about your menstrual cycle with Red School Online.  Red School Online is a new way to learn about your cycle, with peer support, fantastic learning tools and private group chat.  Go check it out!  Red School features some of my work in their teaching materials, you can find my poster in my Etsy store.

Take a look at my divine feminine art.  You can find the gallery here.

 

 

POSTER now back IN STOCK!

The Menstrual cycle poster is now in it's 2nd reprint. Orders are being taken and stock will be sent out after 20th July 2015.

I feel honoured that my poster and chart has made it's way into the new online programme being offered by Alexandra and Sjanie at Red School (formerly the Women's Quest).  If you have been after a poster, my apologies!  It's been a tricky year so far and I've had to go with the flow as so many others are having to do.  

CLICK HERE TO GO STRAIGHT TO MY ETSY STORE

The poster has had a few tweaks.  A shorter title and updated logo, but other than that it's the same as before.  It is now however printed onto 100% recycled paper using eco-friendly vegetable oil based inks.  The paper is also chlorine free!  Being able to offer my artwork in such a way is exciting and the quality is simply stunning.  All posters are sent out in recycled cardboard tubes.

There is no price increase.  It's still £12 for a poster but I'm also offering a discount of £20 for two posters, saving you and a friend money on the posters and the shipping.  There is no extra shipping costs if you order two posters.  It's an excellent time to buy one for you and gift one to your favourite girlfriend.

So for now, please go check out my Etsy store and share with your friends.  More changes are coming here, so watch this space (as they say!).

Trying something new.

This spring has seen a change in direction for me.  I've been inspired by dot painting, simplicity and colour.  My inspiration is in no doubt Elspeth McLean and her beautiful creations, and I'm enjoying playing around with dots and colours...  

In other news, I now have a volunteer job with Mind at their local Wellbeing Centre.  Its a wonderful opportunity to work with people, share art and creative ideas, offer Reiki and teach meditation.  Hence the late update!  Finding time to sit on the computer, volunteer and create is becoming a challenge, buuut... Variety is the spice of life, and I'm enjoying the feeling of being needed and useful!  

If you follow my Facebook page or Instagram, you may have seen these, but I'll leave you with an overview of the paintings I've been creating over the past few months.


Painted Drum

I actually created this a few months ago, but didn't share pics at the time.  It was a special thing, working on skin, and something that became quite a personal project.  In updating the website, I found the pics and added them.  Only fair to give them a showcase now...

I would love to do more of these drums.  A painted drum would cost £80.  Let me know if you want one!


Jan/Feb 2015 Update

Busy Times!

Over the past few weeks I've been busy creating the rewards for the lovely people who donated to my GoFundMe Campaign, along with painting some new pendants for my Shakti Mandala Etsy Store.  I've designed a tattoo which has already been inked on skin, and generally, been catching up with lots of other projects.  I spent the whole day photographing things yesterday ready for printing, so hopeful, in the not to distant future, more of my work will be available for sale.  

For now, here's a few pictures to show you what I've been up to!


Colour Me Happy

2015 has started with a bang!  Lots to do, ideas and projects on the go...

I will be back with a longer update about what I'm up to, but for now, I just wanted to let you know about my GoFundMe campaign.  Lots of ideas and projects call for materials and reasonable working conditions.  My trusty set of Prismacolor pencils have served me well, but a new set is called for.  Some of my pencils are just not usable any more and I'm down on lots of colours.  Prismacolor aren't cheap, but they do last, and they are like no other pencil out there.  I absolutely love working with them and have achieved lots of great art I never thought I was capable of.  The problem lies in that I also need a daylight lamp, and once new art is created, I'd like to get some of into print (greetings cards etc)

This generated the idea of asking some of my lovely supporters, friends and family if they could donate a little towards my art materials fund.  I set up the campaign last Sunday, and in just 7 days I have enough to purchase a 132 set of Prismacolor pencils!  I can't tell you how grateful I am to those who've donated.  It would have taken me a while to save enough, and now I can crack on with my new ideas and current projects.  I'm not asking for thousands.  My target is £300, which will get me pencils, a lamp and hopefully around £100 to spend on printing.  This will kick start my printed offerings, give my work an outlet and enable others to buy my art at more affordable prices.  I am offering rewards for different levels of donations.  There's a limited edition postcard, hand drawn zentangle postcards, 6x6 original drawings and discounted Shakti Mandala pendants.  Almost every donation requires me to create something in return, so for me it really is win win.

To say thank you to all my supporters, I create my first time lapse video.  It's a 30 minute drawing from scratch, condensed into 30 seconds.  I hope to create some more videos this year, so it was good to have a go!  I hope you like it!


November Pendants

October was very busy... I didn't manage to create any new pendants.  As the wheel turns and things level out into winter, I have created 4 new pendants for November (so far!).  I am feeling inspired, so there will be more pendants coming.  

I can create almost anything on a pendant, so if you are looking for something really special to gift someone for Yule, please consider a Shakti Mandala pendant.  I can re-create almost any design I have previously painted for £30 (including postage in UK) and alternatively, I can create something completely new and custom just for you for £40.  All come with birth certificates, pouch and necklace of your choice.  Time is running out, so if your would like to commission a design, please contact me soon!

For now, here are my new autumn/winter pendants.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ShaktiMandala

My Kundalini Yoga Weekend

This weekend I was to start my Kundalini Yoga teacher training.  I tried Kundalini yoga out for the first time just over 18 months ago and completely loved it.  I met an amazing teacher who inspired me in many ways, and despite it being a while since I've seen her, still inspires me.  It is very true that inspirational and influential people can be met through chance, short or fleeting moments, it is also true that trying things for yourself is the only way to really know if something is right for you or not.

Recently, with the equinox, things in my life changed.  Something in me changed.  Chatting to another wonderful lady who is also up there on my inspiration list, she shared she was starting a yoga teaching course.  I felt again the pangs desire, feelings I have felt many many times over the past 15 years of my on and off dance with yoga.  I have always wanted to be in a position to do a teaching course, mainly so I could learn more, know more, and feel confident in my own yoga practice.

I've tried a few types of yoga, most recently something that is commonly called 'yoga flow'.  In one lesson I knew this type of yoga wasn't for me, and found myself on the Kundalini training website again looking at their training courses.  It's great value for money and the venue is quite local, so I found a way to source the finances and made inquiries.  They had spaces and the course started 3 weeks later.  

In those 3 weeks I thought a lot about whether this was right for me.  They have an option of doing the first 2 weekends to see if the course is right for you, so I signed up with the added bonus that if for whatever reason it wasn't right for me, I could walk away without losing a lot of money.  I felt the fear many times.  In my research there were things that didn't sit too well with me, but me being me and pretty open minded, I knew that it's pretty closed and judgemental not to try something just because there are a few reservations or feelings of fear.  New things always bring us face to face with fears, the most basic being 'Can I do this?' but I saw it all as a challenge and as a potential way to change my way of life.  I enjoy yoga, I enjoy chanting and singing, and I'd loved the way the Kundalini sessions I'd been to had made me feel.  So I didn't go in cold, I went to another session local to me and walked out feeling great and positive this was what I wanted to do.

The course is complete immersion.  One weekend a month for 10 months.  Living 'ashram style' in shared rooms, basic accommodation with as much importance put on SEVA (selfless service) as attending the lectures, workshops and yoga classes.  You are given a SEVA group and throughout the weekend your group is on a rota for preparing and serving food, washing up and clearing, and cleaning duties.  Your day starts at 4am.  Up ready and showered for Aquarian Sadhana at 5am.  I had been to an Aquarian Sadhana at the local Gudwara (Sikh Temple) so I knew what to expect.  I had actually enjoyed the early morning practice at the Temple, so although I knew it would be challenging, I wasn't quite prepared for how I would feel on my first weekend.  There were many more people there than I had expected (around 50).  A mixture of new and old students who were back to complete their training by teaching and leading the new students.

After overcoming all my fears before the weekend, I got there excited to get stuck in.  I felt a little out of my depth straight away as it seemed everyone else had already been there hours and were all happily chatting together.  It felt a bit like a first day at school, or crashing a party. I had been show my room where I grabbed a top bunk bed that was situated on it's own in the corner of the room.  I wasn't quite ready to sleep right next to a stranger.  We had supper and our first workshop and meditation.  Bed was at 9 and my room mates were lovely.  A couple shared hugs and their own fears of feeling a little out of their depth and we all shared a little about our lives back home.  It was difficult to sleep, and I found myself awake for most of the night.  I knew I had slept at some point as I had a dream, but the majority of the night was spent tossing and turning trying to shield myself from the smoke alarm light and waiting for the 4am alarm to go off.  When the alarm went off it was a relief, time to get up, get showered and into white clothes with head covering for the Sadhana at 5am.  The first part of morning practice is the reading of the Jap Ji, a very long prayer, read in Gurmukhi.  Sitting in the lotus position (or easy pose) you listen to the sounds and meditate on them.  It lasts around 45 mins. Then you go into a 45 min yoga practice.  The yoga practice was good, if a little cramped as there were so many of us crammed into a small room.  Once the yoga was finished we sat again for the chanting.  There are set chants that each last 7 or 5 mins, and one that lasts for 21 mins.  A guitarist came in to provide live music which was truly lovely, and I enjoyed singing along to the chants I knew and had been practicing.  It's 7.30am by the time you finish and breakfast is served at 8am.

I found myself feeling really overwhelmed.  I'm sure the lack of sleep had a lot to do with it.  I cried a little and went for breakfast.  Sitting with a lovely girl who had seen me struggling a little the night before, the tears came and I could barely finish breakfast.  I shared my feelings with a couple of others back in the bedroom and all were really supporting, loving and caring.  No one likes to see someone else crying, and they were all doing their best to reassure me and support me.  The problem was, I couldn't stop.  The feeling in me was of utter despair.  What was I doing here?  Why didn't I feel the same as the others?  Why did I not come out of the morning practice feeling enlivened and happy?  Why did I not feel at peace?  I soldiered on, attending the SEVA meeting and learning more about what was involved.  I just felt even more overwhelmed.  I went to my SEVA group meeting in the kitchen and we did another short meditation as there was not a lot to discuss, and the tears kept coming.  By this point I was feeling really embarrassed and conscious that lots of people had noticed me crying.  I went and sat near a door with a view to the gardens.  The venue was utterly stunning and I wish I had had a good walk around them.  My newly adopted friend came and hugged me and asked if I'd spoken to any of the leaders.  I hadn't.  It all felt so busy and time seemed tight and I didn't want to hold things up or get in the way of the schedule.  She went and told someone that I was feeling distressed and a few others came and sat with me and offered support.  I missed the workshop.  I spent it talking to one of the group leaders, and then another, and then another.  All had words of encouragement and advice.  All were lovely and supportive and the offer was made for them to support me bit by bit throughout the day so I could at least stay for the next yoga session and teachings in the evening. All wanted me to give the whole weekend a go before I made the decision on whether to continue with the course.  I was told to go and catch up on some sleep, as the yoga session had already started by this point, and maybe after some more sleep and lunch I would be able to continue.  

I went and sat up on my bunk bed and knew that I wouldn't be able to sleep.  I called home, I chatted to a friend online.  I was wrestling with that nasty little voice telling me I was useless, I was wasting an opportunity, I'd wasted money, asking how I could possibly bail out after one measly night... Family and friends back home had all been so supportive and excited for me and I felt a little like I was letting them down.  Reassurances from them and words of support helped, and I realised that I wasn't doing this to prove anything to anyone.  I had chosen this course and path as I'd thought it would be good for me.  I thought it would be fun.. hard work.. but fun, enlightening and transformational.  So far I hadn't really felt fun, or happiness, or peace...  Again I found myself judging and comparing myself to others.  50 people were enjoying it, or at least seeming to enjoy it.  I was not under any illusion that I was the only one struggling, but I was the only one openly showing how difficult I was finding it.  I couldn't even put my finger on it... was it the lack of sleep? was it homesickness? was it because I'd felt more like I was in a church singing praises to someone else's God/Guru/Deity?  was it because I was in the white uniform?  was it because I just felt lost, or unworthy of having time to myself to follow my path away from the family and home?  So much was running through my head.  I must have lost pints of tears.  

After another hour or so of hiding in the bedroom I looked at the clock.  1pm.  If I'm staying I need to sort myself out and prepare myself for another 8 hours of work before bed at 9pm.  I was already fragile, the tears wouldn't stop, the thought of another night of no sleep and the lack of energy made me realise that I couldn't stay.  I didn't want my hand held through every class, or my absence being noted.  I had been told I could sit out, attend or not attend... whatever I needed to do was OK and everyone understood.  I had shared some of my story and personal battles and that maybe, it was too soon to be trying something this intense. Despite everything, I made the decision to leave.  I immediately felt some relief.  Sitting with conflicting thoughts, with two choices and not knowing what to do is uncomfortable, once one path or the other is chosen there is relief the battle is over.  I packed up my things, stripped my bed and found the lady I'd been talking to.  She understood and with no judgement said she would help me to my car with my things.  I hugged all the lovely people that had in such a short time felt like they'd become friends, and gave a couple of them my email address.  I didn't feel like a failure, I just felt like I'd made the right decision for me in that moment.  I couldn't wait to get home and hug my husband and daughter, be on home ground and have my own bed.  I was worried about driving home so tired, but it wasn't too far and I knew that I just had to get home.

I felt relief and a touch of sadness that it hadn't worked out.  Again the voice in my head was trying to pipe up with negative thoughts.. oooh.. what will all your online friends think?  you were so excited and told everyone what you were doing.. how embarrassing it will be to share that actually you couldn't hack it and didn't even stay the whole weekend... I shut that voice up quickly and thought about what I had learned about myself in my short stay there.  I had learned a LOT about myself.  It had been a valuable experience even if it was not in the way I'd hoped.  I have learned that there is a reason I've always stayed away from organised religion. Kundalini yoga is not a religion, but it's hard to separate the religious aspect from it.  Maybe religion is the wrong word.. let's call it organised spirituality.  I turned away from witchcraft many years ago for the same reasons (although I actually felt much more love and support from the Kundalini Yogi's than I ever did when I was in a coven).  My spirituality is a weird eclectic mix of beliefs, it's always been pretty solitary, and I'm fine with that.  I understand there are processes and techniques out there to speed up or enable your connection to the divine, but as I stood at my back door looking at the stars I realised that I was in my church, I was already doing OK.  I have a strong faith, a strong connection to the divine.  It's my own little mix of things that allow me to feel it, it's my own journey and experiences that have brought me to this point, and I don't NEED anything else to make me feel more spiritual.  I love yoga, but I felt this course was far more than just yoga.. I mean, that's why I chose it!  Unfortunately, the other stuff included on the course, the spiritual side was too much for me...  I had already worried about not feeling like 'me' by the end of it, and I wasn't comfortable with certain aspects of the experience.  I was strong enough to know quickly that this wasn't for me.  Strong enough to leave and not feel pressure to stay to try and prove something.  I was strong enough to make a decision on my own and despite the embarrassment, strong enough to walk away with no regrets.  It made me realise how much I love my life, home and family just the way it is, how much I loved and trusted my close friends and my own judgement to know what's right for me. I would still love to train in yoga, but training the Kundalini way was not for me.  

Everyone says the course is transformational.  They are right.  In less than 24 hours I learned so much about myself.  I left feeling stronger, not weaker.  I left appreciating what I have and already know.  It was not a waste, it was not a failure.  There are some times in life when you need to push through the fear and persevere, and there are times when you just know in your heart and soul that something is not right for you.  This was one of those times.  I am gutted it didn't work out, I am sad that the path I had though was right actually wasn't, but it's not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last.  Turning up, being present, being open to knew experiences and cultures, new ideas and ways of living is not a bad way to be, but being prepared to listen to your gut, your soul and intuition to keep yourself safe is recommended.

I got up this morning just before 6am. The MotoGP was on and my husband and daughter were already planning on an early start to watch the race.  I got up and joined them.  I felt safe again at home with my own bed and the people I love around me.  We went for a walk to catch the sunrise and as I stood looking around the gorgeous countryside I realised again that I don't need much more.  My connection to nature, the trees, the stars, the Moon, the Sun.. walking with the family and watching the leaves fall off the trees is enough.  The whole world is my temple and I have no rules about what time I need to honor them or for how long.  I walk in my own way, dancing to my own tune.  My art, my crazy weird mixed up set of beliefs, my selfless service to my family is all I need.  We are all spiritual beings, we can chose to follow others, abide by rules, chose an established path or follow our own.  Freedom is blessing, and if one thing this weekend showed me, it's how to count my blessings and feel good about what I am and already have.  I have already transformed my life massively from how I was just a few years ago, and maybe continuing on this course would have led to further transformation.  Maybe I'm not ready for that just yet, maybe the Kundalini yoga path is just not right for me and maybe it never will be.  I can accept that with loving gratitude and feel at peace with the fact I tried it, first hand and made my own mind up.  Who knows what's next for me?  For now, I'm happy with what I've got, and happy in the knowledge that my life is just fine.  I like the freedom of choice, I like who I am and right now, I don't really need to change a thing.

Kali 2014

I finally finished the Kali painting I was working on.  

This was a spontaneous creation started just before the Virgo New Moon last month and finished under the Aries Full Blood Moon Eclipse this week. 
I've certainly felt her energy with me, the fire, the transformation, and the shedding of the old. The timing also coincided with the Durga Puja festival.

I am also about to embark on my first Kundalini Yoga teacher training weekend this weekend, so it feels like the transformational energies are still around me.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Acrylics, Oil Pastels, Ink Pencils, Gold pen. A2.


Kali

I find myself in a state of transformation.  Big things are changing, opportunities presenting themselves.  This article on Kali and the Equinox really resonated with me and inspired some deep work.  Spontaneous creation.  Allowing myself to be free and experimental...

Work in progress.

10599201_583834818394932_2203448898684273726_n.jpg
 

“If you prefer smoke over fire
then get up now and leave.
For I do not intend to perfume
your mind’s clothing
with more sooty knowledge.

No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
and a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.

For God is in a mood
to plunder your riches and
fling you nakedly
into such breathtaking poverty
that all that will be left of you
will be a tendency to shine.

So don’t just sit around this flame
choking on your mind.
For this is no campfire song
to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with.

Jump now into the space
between thoughts
and exit this dream
before I burn the damn place down.”

~ Adyashanti

(http://www.rebellesociety.com/2014/09/19/fall-equinox-brings-kali/)

Merry Equinox!

Merry Equinox to all!!

These pendants are all still up for grabs in my shop, https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ShaktiMandala

To find out more about each pendant, please visit my Shakti Mandala Blog.

Tawit Tawoo

This little guy's name is Tawit Tawoo.  He was a custom order.

Custom orders start at £30 for a repeat design.

I will happily repeat my own designs to order. You can specify colours and request small changes. I can also include whatever date you'd like on the back i.e. birthday (if no change is specified it will be the date it was created) and you can also add up to two words.

If you would like me to create something from scratch to your specifications, or combine symbols or designs the charge is £40. 
I'm always happy to discuss ideas!  Message me via Etsy or email me at chaoticat@live.com

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ShaktiMandala

Happy Birthday Phil!

My brother is an amazing artist.  It was his birthday recently, and as he gave me a wonderful original piece of art for my birthday, I felt I should create something for him in return.

Phil works a lot with the concepts of healthy and safety in the environment, and creates amazing dazzle graphics while experimenting with shapes and geometry.
You can see his work here http://www.fineartphil.com/

As we often find inspiration in each other, I experimented and prepared some watercolour paper using yellow and black paint.  I then began adding details using fineliners and more of the same coloured paint.  I worked using the zen mandala or zentangle principles, of just allowing doodles and images to flow out, continuing until I felt the image was finished.  I am very happy with the results and so was he!

It speaks of creation, the energy resonates outwards.  There is a tension, and a harmony. There is light, there is dark, busy-ness and balance.  The organic meets the organised.

Who'da thought it!!

About 3 weeks ago I ordered some blank sycamore pendants, just for the fun of it and to see what I could do with them. I sit here now completely gobsmacked... I've sold 8 out of the 13 pendants I've created so far and am now writing commission guidelines as I've had so many requests.

4 of those sales came through my new Etsy store that's been open 2 weeks. I can only thank everyone that's supported me and embraced what I'm doing. It feels so good to create original pieces that are affordable and completely unique. Thank you Sun in Leo, Thank you Universe...

I've got so much more to come, and as the wheel turns, winter seems more bearable already as I look forward to creating autumn and winter Shakti Mandala pendants. If you haven't already, please come and support my page www.facebook.com/shaktimandala

For more information on my Shakti Mandala pendants please click here.

Flamingo Queen

Flamingoes are social animals. Bright and cheerful, innocent and family orientated. The flamingo signifies balance, resourcefulness and teamwork. Flamingoes are symbolic of flirtation and fun, yet as parents, both sexes help look after the young. I think the most amazing thing about flamingoes is some, like the lesser flamingo in Tanzania, live near salt lakes. Most animals and plants avoid these lakes as they are potentially lethal. Many animals fall in the water only to die and become calcified. Flamingoes eat the algae in the water, which is what gives them their pink colouring. They survive in situations where most cant, and they look beautiful while doing it!