East of The Sun & West of The Moon

Originally from one of the most beautiful parts of Canada I first found myself in the East End of London when I was 19 years old. I had never felt so at home. Here I found a vibrant community that embraces difference and creative expression like no other place on earth. Always a bit of a misfit in the poky little strip mall towns I hailed from, I craved a creative place full of people from absolutely everywhere on earth. People who wanted to express themselves freely. Truthfully, I mostly found them in the vibrant warehouse party scene, in ridiculous fancy dress, having big fun.

These days, instead of nightclubs and warehouse parties, I’m out in East London with my 2 year old and life is unrecognisable. The first two years were emotionally exhausting and enlightening. My son was born with dwarfism and the emotions present due to complex medical worries were an absolute game changer. At times I felt I might just break but I didn’t break and neither did he. I came close though, riddled with anxiety I couldn’t sleep when baby slept. I found the only way out of insomnia was through listening to audiobooks. This is when I discovered Big Magic and started to explore my creativity again, just for the fun of it, not to become a successful artist, simply to play. When I went back to my product development role, like so many mothers in the fashion industry, I wasn’t supported. The timing was abysmal as I had just learned that my little muse would need to go to GOSH for some major surgery and I did not want to let him out of my sight. I was adrift between two worlds, angry and depressed. I started writing children’s books on the tube and at lunch breaks and this creative escapism got me through as I found space to amuse myself and dream. Redundancies swept through the office and I took the opportunity to take the leap and find a way to spend more time at home with my son.

Full of East End Promise

This journey is all about discovery. Many of the medical worries that come from my son’s condition are thankfully not a concern now. I’m excited about helping families in East London get off to a great start. Children under the age of 5 have incredible creative capacity. How do we protect this sense of wonder? How can we learn from it as adults and how can we show children their imaginations are paramount in a world competing for their attention? We’ll be playing with everything from home made slime to Reggio inspired materials and talking about the neuroscience behind messing about. I’m going to try and engage you in local politics to protect our amazing and often outstanding children’s services. I’ll also be sharing curious and inspiring events, exhibitions and places in East London. And finally I’ll be encouraging myself and other parents, to explore our own shifting sense of identity and get creative with it.

Fun has a sacred dimension-Adriana Diaz