Searching for inspiration in the wettest place in England

Borrowdale is the wettest place in England, it’s also very beautiful. Fortunately it was dry when we headed out for a walk, and as always I was in search of inspiration. The colours were amazing, rich russets and vibrant greens, well that’s what you get when it rains a lot.

P1360482Castle Crag was our destination, it’s not that high but it’s a walk not for the faint hearted as it involves a bit of a scramble over a spoil heap to reach the summit Hey if Julia Bradbury can do it🙂

I felt quite emotional at the summit, not only were the views breath taking but I was moved by the memorial to the men of Borrowdale who died in the Great War.
P1360636We started our walk from the NT car park, then took the stepping stones across the river Derwent, they are still working on repairing the bridge which was devastated by the floods.

P1360488So what did I find to inspire me?

Lots of leaves

The Herdwick sheep, they have such cute faces, I’m going to needle felt one one of these days.

P1360658The ever changing light was amazing.
P1360558P1360517And the views speak for themselves.


P1360625Some of the views were almost oriental in feel, I half expected to find Mr Miyagi looking for bonsai trees growing out of the rock crevices.

P1360648Borrowdale has some stunning scenery, I will definitely be exploring further. It didn’t start to rain until we got back to the car.

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The Art of Ikebana – less is more!

I bought some flowers yesterday so I have been photographing some ikebana bowls. I set up on the table in the garden room, the light is great in there unless the sun comes out, which it did, but the blinds do a great job of filtering the light.
photo shoot

I bought an inexpensive mixed bouquet and picked a few bits from the garden , including some sorbus berries, I think this one is called Kashmiriana.

I just ad libbed and didn’t bother with my ikebana book, I soon realised less is more so I started removing some bits and pieces. It’s much better when you can see the bowl don’t you think? And the container and floral arrangement should harmonise, I chose these flowers to compliment the copper lustre on the pot.
copper turquoise ikebana bowl

Also these chrysanthemums echo the design on this pot. Small pom pom dahlias would work well too.
Ikebana dish from Kiln Fired ArtI also had a play with my small pot which is intended to be a succulent planter . I’m not sure if it follows the tradition of ikebana but I thought it worked well as a container.
Ikebana potIt’s surprising how effective a couple of flowers and some foliage from the garden can be.

I’m really enjoying learning about ikebana, so much so I think I might have to get a dedicated console table for the hall, to place a Zen greeting when you come indoors.
Ikebana bowls

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Haycock – a walk from Ennerdale

Haycock sits in the Western Fells, it’s in a part of the Lake District which is fairly inaccessible by car. I look at Haycock every day, weather permitting, so I thought it was time I walked it. Monday was a glorious day so we dropped everything and headed out on the Fells.

We parked at Bowness Knott, he first part of the walk is  very gentle along the shore of Ennerdale Water

Ennerdale looking towards Haycock

Ennerdale looking towards Haycock

At the end of the lake there is a path off to the right which crosses a stream, the path  goes through Lingmell Plantation and starts to climb.

The light coming through the larches and shimmering mosses made everything look so magical.

Haycock from Ennerdale

Lingmell plantation

Haycock from Ennerdale

Ennerdale Water peeping through the trees

Looking back towards Ennerdale Water

Then the path goes up Tewitt How, there seems a long way to go still.

Haycock from Ennerdale

Trewitt How with Haycock on the right

But the views are spectacular.

Haycock from Ennerdale

Looking towards Steeple, ( the pointed fell ) and Pillar

This view is looking up Ennerdale with Pillar on the right and Haystacks in the distance.

Haycock from Ennerdale

Looking towards Pillar

It was clear enough to look across the Solway Firth to Scotland.

Haycock from Ennerdale

Looking across the Solway to Scotland

Our slog continued past the very dramatic Mirklin Cove, Steeple and Scoat Fell.

Haycock from Ennerdale

Mirklin Cove, Steeple and Scoat Fell

Ennerdale and the car park seemed such a long way away, we parked just around the promontory on the right.

Haycock from Ennerdale

Ennerdale Water

We didn’t pass another person on the entire walk, until we got to the summit, but we did have the company of a few sheep. Herdwick’s  have such lovely faces, they were brought here by the Vikings so they are very hardy, they need to be.

Haycock from Ennerdale

A Herdwick sheep

Onwards and upwards!

Haycock from Ennerdale

Not too far now

The views from the summit of Haycock were spectacular, every way you looked it was awesome.

Haycock from Ennerdale

Scafell range from the summit of Haycock

Haycock from Ennerdale

View from the summit


Haycock from Ennerdale

Looking towards Ravenglass and the sea


Haycock from Ennerdale

Haycock from Ennerdale

Haycock from Ennerdale

Grasmoor peeping over the top

It was too windy to linger at the top , our descent  started, going past Little Gouda Cragg then down an unnamed ridge, past a waterfall and down to the woods. The sun was low in the sky when we got back down to Ennerdale.
Haycock from EnnerdaleThe sun was just about to vanish behind Angler’s Cragg as we returned to the car park, it was a long walk, 8 or 9 miles but  well worth it for the views.

Haycock from Ennerdale

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Preparing for Autumn

Well Autumn has actually arrived, it was a misty start to the morning but now we have blue skies and sunshine so I’m heading out to work on the herbaceous border in a short while.

It’s much colder in the evenings, the snuggly crochet blankets are out and the log burner will be lit in the next week or so. I have my knitting to keep me busy in an evening so the dark nights aren’t all bad.

I’m really busy just now making ceramic decorations for the gallery. I did a stocktake yesterday and started stocking up my shop. I have new ceramic jewellery components, a kiln full of ceramic beads to photograph, and I found a box of silver and copper jewellery  which will be listed at a reduced price as I no longer make metal jewellery. I have some watercolour ACEO’s and some textile art to list as well so I intend to add at least a couple of items daily to Kiln Fired Art on Etsy. Here’s a taste of what’s to come.

Autumn jewellery and jewelry making

Kiln Fired Art

Enjoy your Sunday, whatever you’re doing. I’m off to get my wellies on!

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Using Lustre For A ‘Faux Raku’ Effect

I’ve put together a little video showing how I use copper lustre to create an effect similar to raku.


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Staithes – a great place to unwind.

We had a couple of days away last weekend, staying at Dotty’s Vintage Tearoom B & B in Staithes.

This is Dotty’s Vintage Tearoom.
P1350756Our accommodation was above the shop, the B&B was perfect for 2 couples as it had a cozy lounge and dining area. The bedrooms were unique, very cozily decorated with French beds and lots of vintage finds.

Staithes is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, since I took up watercolours years ago, Staithes screams out to be painted, it’s very quaint with narrow streets and red pantile roofs.
The next morning we had a walk after a delicious breakfast, be warned Trudie loves to feed you🙂 she is a great host and looked after us really well.
The weather wasn’t so good, but actually the mist and dull sky muted colours, flattened things out, and there were some great reflections so from a painting point of view things couldn’t have been better.
It was a short visit but I will return one day, until I do I have some lovely photos to paint over the winter months. I am determined to get back into watercolour painting this winter.


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The Slow Art Of Kiln Fired Art !

I have 2 kiln loads of bisque waiting to be glazed, and while I was unstacking the kiln I was thinking it would be great if  things could happen more quickly, but good things are worth waiting for so I came up with this slogan……

The slow art of Kiln Fired Art – good things are worth the wait.

It’s true because I have some pots that came out the kiln yesterday that I love, they were fired a third time to add copper and platinum lustre. Thinking about all the time involved from rolling out a ball of clay, and forming the pots. Then the wait of a week or so until they are dry, with some time spent cleaning them between. Next they are fired, slowly, I usually get up early to put the kiln on so it’s finished before I go to bed. Then the wait until the kiln is cool enough to open and unstack. Then time spent adding 3 or 4 coats of glaze, and drying time before firing and cooling again.

Usually this is the end product but if I want to add overglazes or lustres there’s more time painting and firing and cooling and waiting. Overglaze painting could be another 3 firings at least.

So you see why I need to learn patience but good things are worth waiting for don’t you think?
Ikebana bowl

Succulent planter

succulent planter

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Some new clay work

It’s September again, and so it’s time to step up production. I thought I’d try to be more organised and get all my clay work done and out of the way before I start painting lustreware again, it needs a dust free environment, which means the studio will need a thorough clean as clay work is very dusty.

The gallery has just about sold out so I have quite a lot to be getting on with just now. I’m also trying to stock Etsy and Folksy for the “C “word. I know it seems too early to think about Christmas but every year I feel I’m in a mad dash in November so that’s why I’m trying to get organised now.

This is meant to be a clay post so I better show you some of my new makes from the weekend. I’m so impatient with clay, waiting for it to dry takes time and patience. The new slab roller is making things easier for my hands so it was well worth the investment.

So what have I made……

Ceramic coasters.

I was just thinking that it’s interesting that my clay work is mainly influenced by textiles (my background growing up) and what I like to call ‘clay fossils’ ( I’ve always had an interest in geology).
Clay coasters

Beads and pendants. 

My stock of ceramic beads and pendants is quite low so I was determined to make more over the weekend. I have used 4 different clays here, but they are all in the stoneware firing range. I have some new glazes to test fire, beads and pendants are a great opportunity to try out new colours.

Ceramic beads and pendantsRobins, hearts and hares.

My  new Christmas decorations for the gallery are robins, I like to have a new Christmas decoration each year.  My first attempt was more like a budgie, but I think these are more robin like.
Porcelain robins
Ikebana bowls and succulent pots.

I needed more of these bowls and planters, these are made in a new clay, I really liked the way it handled, so I’m dying to see how they glaze and fire.
Ikebana bowls and succulent planters

More coasters.
Ceramic coasters in the making
Ring dishes and soap dishes.

I needed a soap dish so I then thought they would make great little gift ideas for my shop.
ceramic ring dishes and sopa dishes

And even more coasters.
ceramic coastersSo you can see I’ve been pretty busy the past few days. Some test pieces are having a glaze firing today so I should have some pretties to show you soon. Remember the ‘patchwork planters’, they are bisque fired now and waiting to be glazed, but I want to test out colours first.

Today I have started photographing Christmas decorations and dichroic jewellery to list in my shops soon, it’s all go!

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Going “Orff-Piste”!

I had plans yesterday to start my Christmas makes, I did make some coasters but the sun was shining and that’s when my plans went ” orff-piste”, we headed out for a walk.
P1350074It was a lovely day, we only planned a short low level walk but we did actually go off-piste and headed up a fell we hadn’t walked before. There wasn’t a path most of the way and the ground was quite wet and spongy as it was covered in sphagnum moss, it was worth the effort for the views.

We had the place to ourselves.
P1350107Grasmoor, (on the RHS) is one of my favourite fells although it’s been awhile since I’ve been up there. Yesterday the lighting showed up the truncation caused by the last ice  age.

The moss and lichen textures were beautiful, and there were a few bleaberries left , a little treat to keep us going.
PicMonkey CollageIt was so warm I had a much needed to cool off at the beck.
00029We had a rest on Roy’s seat and took in a very special view, it’s one of my favourites, I never tire of it.
P1350171The rowan tree was looking at her best in her Autumn jewels, the bracken is turning rusty bronze now and the larches will be turning golden very soon.

P1350153Once home although I was tired I had to finish making piccalilli with the veg I had already prepped, so all in all I had a wonderful mixed day, I love a bit of spontaneity, it makes life fun.

Today it’s raining so I will get on with my Christmas makes, or that’s my plan.

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The Last Sunny Days Of Summer

I’ve been making the most of the last warm sunny days with walks on the fells, lakes and woodlands, and my special, spiritual places.




P1350035Although there are still some lush greens about in shady glades and damp places there are small tell tale signs that autumn is just around the corner. The fells are taking on the purple mantle of heather, but soon that will be replaced with bronze tones of the bracken.

The swallows are gathering, indeed the parent birds have already left for sunny Africa.

I wasn’t alone in enjoying the late summer sunshine.


A darling little baby woodmouse fattening itself up for the winter.

P1340978There seems to be an abundance of  rowan berries this year, does that mean it will be a harsh winter? Only time will tell I suppose.

P1350008I love the changing seasons, and I have loads of inspiration for those long dark nights to come, but I’m making the most of the sunshine while it lasts.



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