Jenny Bell Harman
Jenny’s worked with us on Expecting Something as part of the Lochgelly group and was thrilled to be asked to bring a springtime feel to welcome new members to Expecting Something in Wester Hailes.
At important moments in our lives we often use flowers to create an atmosphere or to express a feeling – be it love, joy, empathy, sadness – flowers have something of a universal appeal and maybe connect us back to nature, to simpler times or with powerful memories. I was invited along to Expecting Something in Wester Hailes to make flower crowns with the group – and as the seasons shift, what better time of year to have fun with and adorn ourselves with flowers?!
Last year I had a wonderful time working with Hazel, Maria and the Expecting Something group in Lochgelly making hula hoop dens, sensory bottles, exploring everyday objects in play, experimenting with clay and contributing to a magical beachy installation. I loved my time with the mums, dads and babies there and was really excited to be trying something new with the group in Wester Hailes. I’ve always been inspired by nature as an artist, and interested in ideas of growth, renewal and the environment. Lately I’ve been really hands on with flowers, learning new skills and expanding my creative practice, and becoming a bit of a florist, really.
As we were hoping for lots of new faces coming along, Katy and I planned for the session in Wester Hailes to be really laid back, with a mocktail fountain, snacks, music and a tropical, playful party-time vibe!
I was excited to see how the babies would react to the flowers – to the colours, smells and touch of them, and how they might feel about wearing them! Together, we looked and selected some beautiful blooms, choosing our favourite colours and textures. I demonstrated how to wire the flowers into a crown, and we got stuck in (as much as possible while looking after a wee person too)! When we were working with the flowers, conversation flowed easily, its nice to have your hands busy while chatting. We talked about dreams and plans – of going to college, learning new skills, about how childcare and support is important to enable all of that to happen. This chimed with my own experience and brought to mind the idea of how we change and grow as people through our lives, as we experience new things. New challenges, such as becoming a parent, or studying, can give us new ideas about ourselves, even new identities. I wonder if sometimes it’s hard to keep growing if we have labels we feel a bit stuck in? Wouldn’t it be great to have the freedom to grow, to discover new things about ourselves and let go of the labels we give each other and ourselves? I love that babies are so in the moment, they don’t worry about what’s happening later or tomorrow. They don’t have labels for us. They don’t judge. Being with them, we can just be, and have fun! To be in the moment with them, to laugh, to look, to share an experience, to go with the flow . . . we can learn so much from them I think.
Anyway – back to the flowers! Making a complete flower crown is actually quite tricky, so we also put together some buttonholes and wee baby sized posies. We had fun taking photos of each other and the babies wearing the crowns and holding the flowers. It seemed like working with flowers made everyone feel relaxed and happy. My mind is already thinking ahead to more flowery baby adventures – wouldn’t it be great to make a wild space for the wee ones to explore? A flowery world? A magic garden . . ?
It really is wonderful this group exists to bring people together, and to support new parents to grow and explore new things. Thank you for having me.