Landing in London on the 29th of May with my best friend in tow.
Leaving my kids with friends for 3 days and hoping they are fine as this is the first time I have ever gone so far from them. A plane ride away.
I felt anxious for a few reasons , but mainly I was concerned about leaving my kids. Not because the people who were caring for them were not able or willing. But because that's how the mommy guilt is.. You worry.
All was fine.
I hadn't been in Central London since 1997. So it had been a few years.
The glass was being exhibited at the London Glassblowing Gallery and the opening was on the 30th May at 6pm.
My best mate and I had a few plans for the night before and went about getting ourselves ready for a catch up with good friends and great music.
(Lankum from Dublin with Andy the Doorbum, Cafe Oto, London 2019)
(Andy the Doorbum, Cafe Oto, 2019)
It was an incredible night at the Cafe Oto and so great to hear all the amazing things happening for these hard working musicians. There were lots of hugs as always and many times I was asked about the glass and how things were going.. It felt so real to be in London and there as a maker and artist..
Thursday was the BIG day..
The 'Inspired' exhibition opening at London Glassblowing Gallery.
I didn't feel too nervous. I knew I was proud of the work I had produced. I suppose there is that niggle in your belly that your peers may not grasp the concept of infusing human milk in glass, or why I do it.
(View from Tower Bridge, London)
Well there was no going back. We were going to the opening night and that was that.
First we caught up with another Irish friend who suggested we go to Spiddlefield Market. A beautiful vibrant old market that offered so much. But sadly no glass. Plenty of handmade products from Origami to Ceramics and Metalwork. But not one piece of blown glass to be found in the vast market. Hopefully that will change soon.
The 3 of us made our way to the gallery for 6pm. I knew a new mum with her small baby was going to meet us there. Another Irish lady living in London who I had supported through her breastfeeding journey. She had also had her milk infused into glass and was keen to see the large glass milk infused breasts.
We were a little late arriving and the place was packed.
(Peter Layton, London Glassblowing Gallery 'Inspired' 2019)
I suddenly felt nervous.. So many people and the reality of having my glass on display hit home. I wasn't just here to view, I was here as one of the many artists who had been chosen to exhibit.
While chatting to a few of the staff that work at the gallery about how the human milk is infused in the glass, suddenly I turn around and there is my friends and Cuidiu tutors Fiona Rea IBCLC and Ger Cathal IBCLC.. along with Fiona's daughter Megan.. I nearly passed out..
Tears were shed. I was so overwhelmed to see them all.
They'd flown in from Dublin and they were standing there beside me.
The wave of absolute joy that washed over me was euphoric. I honestly don't know if I have ever felt such love and support in that way before. So many incredible women that I love and admire in one room and there to support me.
(Megan Rea, Fiona Rea IBCLC, Me, Ger Cathal IBCLC, London Glassblowing Gallery 2019)
(Talking about raising awareness around Breastfeeding at London Glassblowing 2019)
The night was a huge success, so many people intrigued about the glass and why I make glass using human milk. I was so grateful to have my breastfeeding counsellor skills to be able to answer their questions. I was so proud to be standing there with 2 of the tutors who had taught me so much in my lactation learning. Reminding me of why I make the glass I do and how proud I feel when I see it there for the whole world to see.
But mostly I was grateful for the bond I have with all these women that were there to support the person I am. xxx
Glass Infused with Human Milk..
(Human Milk Infused Glass Breasts, showing until 15th June 2019 at the 'Inspired' exhibition, London Glassblowing Gallery)