Susie Mallett

Parent blog

Monday 25 November 2013

Conductive bits-in-between to heal the soul and cure a headache

Just by chance

A couple of months ago I was walking in the city with a friend. We had passed Albrecht Dürer’s house and were making our way slowly towards St. Sebald church when my friend attention was attracted by a tiny shop that sells silhouette pictures. While he was drawn inside to look at the postcards on display by the door, I was attracted to and photographed, the poster in the window that was advertising a one-day beginner’s course in November.

A few weeks later I rediscovered the photograph that I had saved, knowing that it would come in useful in my conductive lifestyle. I looked up the website and on the spur of the moment decided to enroll on the course to learn how to cut silhouette pictures. This is something that has interested me since discovering amongst my mother’s treasures my grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s autograph books that are filled with art works by their friends. Some of the illustrations in these books are silhouettes, a very fashionable craft of those times. 

I also have this cut-out cat picture done by my mother when she was 13 years old.

The time was nearing

Last Friday lunchtime I become ill with a migraine and thought that thiss would be the end of my plans to attend the course on Saturday. But after sleeping it off and taking it easy I managed to walk the few hundred yards from my house, through the city wall to the shop for the very civilized ten o’clock start.

I am so glad that I made it

The course lasted for six hours and from the start I was determined to come away with at least one design for a Christmas card, a design that I had drawn myself and not from one of the samples on offer.

Getting started

We were taught the basic shapes and how to cut them. 

So far so good!

Before lunch I had finished cutting my practice sheet and had learnt how to glue it to a white background, with two hat-pins to maneuver the paper and photographic glue to stick it down.

More soul-feeding

During the break for lunch I went for a walk in the fresh air instead of popping home as I had planned. While having a sandwich in a café I got out my sketchbook for the first time in months and designed my first Christmas image.

It was so much more difficult than I had imagined, working out which pieces would be white and which black, and how I would make all the black pieces stay joined together. It reminded me of my early days at art school in the printmaking room, trying to work out which bits to etch out first so that in the end they would be the darkest.

The whole process of tracing the image on to the silhouette paper, then cutting and sticking seemed to take me hours but they were hours when my mind was free of all thoughts other than concentrating on not cutting in the wrong place. It was a very relaxing afternoon. I was lost in my work just like when I paint. 

When my own piece of work was complete I still had time after the coffee break to snip at one of the teacher’s own designs and produce a second Christmas image.

At home on Sunday I had another go on my own and came up with a respectable star in gold and black that I can add to my Christmas images, and I also did a second, edited, version of the church. 

Sorry to all those folks who receive a card from me and look forward to a surprise. Perhaps I shall still have time to cut another new image for those of you who have seen all the previews here.

It is never too late to learn and it is always wonderful to feed the soul

I thought that I had tried just about every craft skill going, I have boxes filled with the materials needed for oil painting, sewing, encaustic, beading, weaving, knitting, felting, crocheting, ceramics, book-making, paper-making, window-colour painting, lino-cutting, mosaic-making, leatherwork, silk-painting, watercolour painting – you name it I have it in a box in the 'Shed' (half the bathroom).

But I have never cut a silhouette. I am sure that I will be doing more of it in the future. It is something small enough for me to take on holiday with me. There is so little equipment needed to get started – just paper, a knife and some scissors. I expect that on my next trip I shall be doing it with my Dad.


Scherenschnitt Studio, Nürnberg

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Évi Bugya's Conductive Cookery Book

Pancakes, conductive style

 Hot off the press!

‘There are as many ways of practising conductive upbringing and lifestyle as there are styles of preparing pancakes!’

This really was a last-minute job, but it arrived this evening and it looks lovely.
Everyone rallied round to help Évi get her first publication ready for the Congress so now we all are breathing a sigh of relief that we have copies in our hands. The book looks and feels, and smells, lovely! 

Congratulations to Évi and the conductive cookery group

The Conductive Cookery Book was compiled with and for people with disability, but it would make just as good a present for people with no disability at all. Just like Conductive Education really. And it only costs ten Euros. 

You can order them through me at: 

As Évi writes in her “Pancakes, conductive style” introduction –

‘Cooking is an activity in which many people feel at a disadvantage, perhaps even find themselves disabled, whether they have a motor disorder or not. How many of us say that we cannot even boil an egg!’ 


'From their enthusiasm, active planning, practice at home, and a wish to share their joy of achievement with friends and family, has blossomed a new project, a cookery book, a place to present some of the recipes that the group have tried and tested.'

Saturday 5 October 2013

Culturally integrated too

'The streets on my N-scale layout'

The wheels on the bus go round and round

‘Come on, who wants to sing a song that you sing at home with Mum or Dad?’

That is what my colleague and I asked our multi-lingual group of 3 to 5 year-olds during the last fifteen minutes of the recent block of sessions in the integrated Kindergarten.

We had five children with us and five languages so we expected to hear German French, Arabic, Russian or Turkish.

Tears in my eyes

We had one hand go up and what joy it was to hear the five-year-old Russian girl sing, in perfect tune, with wonderful English pronunciation and with all the actions, several verses of The Wheels of the Bus go Round-and-Round! We had actually expected a Russian song from her so to get a delightful performance of this popular English children’s song was a bonus to round off another lovely morning at work. It was extra special for us as we considered the difficult start that this child has had in her life. She is now thriving in our Pető/Montessori integrated, and international, Kindergarten.

This group changes each year, children come from the crèche or from home and others go off to school but, however many changes there are, the group seems to get more international and multi-lingual than ever. At the moment there are five Pető children and two conductors, this gives us a total of seven people with seven languages, with all but one speaking German as their second language.

Life is certainly interesting in our work.

As well as disability becoming something not at all unusual for our little ones being foreign is not at all foreign to them either, if you know what I mean.

In the whole group of fifteen children we also have a child with one Mum from Tanzania and another with Dad from South America.

Out of ten members of staff there are also many countries represented. Hungarians are in the majority, with four and there are three Germans. There is a lady who is French, another from Irak, and me.
I think it is about time we put on a show that presents the international-ness of our integration, perhaps we wiill then hear the Russian children's song that we were hoping to hear this week!