Raku clocks

I finally got my raku clocks fired during the week, I was so excited about finishing these.

Some are textured and have metallic flashes; on the wall they catch the light beautifully.

Raku clocksYou can see how the flames have licked the glaze surface.

Raku clocks

Raku clocks

Raku clocks

Others are painted with designs inspired by my sketchbooks, they have crackle glaze, colour(including some copper) and smoke stained lines.

Raku clocks

Raku clocksSome clocks are flat and some are slightly curved, each one is unique.

Raku clocks

Raku clocksThe nature of raku glazes and firing means you get some cracking and crazing, this is part of the process,  it’s ok so long as it doesn’t go right through the piece but unfortunately I had a couple of rejects including this one below,  I really like it so I finished it and will now have to find somewhere to hang it.

Raku clocksThe pointers are very fragile so I had to find a way of protecting them, I got some clear plastic pointer covers off the internet, then I tried different packaging inside the boxes to keep everything in place, rolled up cardboard and a little bubble wrap seemed to do the job best. Problem solved!

I fired some raku art tiles as well, I will show you those soon.

Have a great Sunday!


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A drive through The Lakes and tea at The Ryebeck

We mostly go walking when we are in the Lakes but there are certain times of the year when I like to drive through taking in as much scenery as I can. Friday was lovely,  the higher fells still had a dusting of snow. The colours were gorgeous with the chartreuse green of new leaves, as well as some trees taking on a red tone from buds yet to open, also the sculptural form of the bare trees, and white birches glistening in the light.

Moody skies, sunshine, blossom and hosts of golden daffodils makes this my favourite time of year to drive through the Lakes.

Not in any particular order we saw Thirlmere, Windermere, Bassenthwaite, Derwent Water, Rydal Water, and Grasmere.

Afternoon tea in The Lakes


Afternoon tea in The Lakes

The fells with their dusting of snow.



This fell is commonly known as The Lion and the Lamb, think you can see why

Afternoon tea at the Ryebeck was a real treat,  we had a beautiful view of  the gardens and Windermere.
Afternoon tea in The Lakes

On the work front it’s been rather cold so we postponed the raku firing all week, Saturday was much better so we got a lot fired, they still need finishing so I will show you later.

Enjoy your day 😊



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Happy Mother’s Day And Signs Of Spring

It’s been a strange week with a celebration night out and a funeral all in one week, which means I’ve not gotten much work done.

I find Mother’s Day a bit strange too, as I can’t spend it with my kids, they live too far away.

I thought about my Mam on my run this morning, I found it tough going today due to a little too much wine last night, but thoughts of my Mam kept me on track when it got tough. She would never have dreamt I’d take up running, but I never thought I would either.  Last month I met up with a friend doing Couch to 5K and I decided to give it a go. It’s on the NHS website, it’s such a gentle build up I found I could meet the goals each week, and now I can run 5K, which is a surprise to myself and my family. If I can do it anyone can,  I will have to keep it up now I have started so I plan a run at least once a week.
It’s not easy taking photos whilst out jogging.
UntitledToday was a proper Spring day, the birds were singing, there were lots of lambs in the fields so I had to pause briefly to get a picture.
UntitledThe blackthorn bushes are in flower, hopefully there will be lots of sloe gin made later in the year.

Back in my garden the rosemary bush is providing food for the bumble bees, and the ladybirds seem to be happy there too. I don’t think it should be flowering this early though, but every cloud etc……..

UntitledEnjoy your Mother’s Day whatever you are doing, I think I will pick up my knitting, and maybe have some ice cream, well I have earned it 🙂

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Work In Progress

Just a quickie today, it’s  been a busy week, lots going on at the moment, but I got quite a lot made despite everything.

Lots of little fish drying.

Raku ceramics in the makingRaku art tiles and jewellery.
Raku ceramics in the making
Raku ceramics in the making


Raku ceramics in the makingAnd lots of leaves too.

Raku ceramics in the makingI threw a few raku bowls, once they are bisque fired we will be having a few days raku firing so let’s hope for good weather to come.

Raku ceramics in the making



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No Time For Procrastination When Working With The Seasons

I have come to realise there is no time to procrastinate when working with the seasons.

Remember the snowdrop ceramic pieces? Well it’s taken me a bit of time thinking about the right finish, and now I know what I want (through testing different finishes), however the snowdrops have gone over so no more until next year, at least I will be ready, it’s only taken me 3 years  🙂
Here’s what I have ready to go in my Etsy shop today. I have listed different finishes because we don’t all like the same thing, and I want to know which one is your favourite.

Snowdrops ceramics

Snowdrops ceramics

Snowdrops ceramicsThe finish on these tiles is the one I like best, I like the simplicity. I love how each tile will be unique, both in the layout of the flowers and the hand painted matt colour which picks up the plant impressions really well. Real snowdrops might not last long but these will hang on your wall for ever.

Snowdrops ceramicsI only made one snowdrop ring dish, I wish I had made more, it’s so pretty. This has a blue glaze on the outside. Due to the matt colour on the inside these dishes cannot be used for food, they are for trinkets, keys, loose change, soap or just to look at. I think it’s quite lovely, it will be hard to part with it.

Snowdrops ceramics
I finished the Pulmonaria hearts quickly while they are still flowering, I think these will go down well so I’m off to make some more while they are still in flower 🙂

Snowdrops ceramics
I should have these all listed in my Etsy shop so if you want to see what’s available that’s the place to head for.

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New Raku Work In My Etsy Shop

Finally I have found the time to list some new stock in my Etsy shop.

There’s more to follow but I have made a start listing raku pieces. Click on the images to go to my shop.

Lots of raku leaves listed in various sizes.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramicsThe shoal of small fish are back in stock, as are the mackerel. The fat fish will be coming soon but I need to fire them still.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramicsI made some abstract art tiles, these have a hanger on the back, a lot have sold already. I will be making more of these, I have always loved painting abstracts, they make me feel I’ve injected some energy into my work. Also I have a plan for this year to make art tiles using various decorative techniques in order to push my boundaries.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

There are raku wall clocks to follow, and some butterflies, they need to be fired.

I have some stoneware and porcelain pieces to follow, as well as lots and lots of jewellery components sitting here waiting to be glazed. All I need is more hours in my day and some warm dry weather.

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Liquid Soap and Hair Thickening Shampoo Bars

I’ve made liquid soap concentrate this week, using potassium hydroxide. This one is castile soap made from olive oil, it started out very thin, I had to keep stopping the hand blender as I thought it was overheating. Eventually it got quite thick
Liquid soapI watered some down and put in some patchouli oil which I wanted to use up as I don’t like scent , it makes my nose tickle. I put it in a soap dispenser,  it’s thinner than a bought liquid soap, and it doesn’t lather up much but that can be a good thing. I used some for washing the floor and it worked really well, I also washed a woollen throw by hand and it was fine for that too, two jobs where less suds is a good thing.
Liquid soap

Next I made a liquid soap using coconut oil, this was so thick in no time I couldn’t stir it.
Liquid soap

It went into a takeaway container as I thought if it set solid I could always cut it up into bars. This lathers really well, I  washed some leather chairs with this and the leather remained nice and supple. The instructions I’m following say to combine the two soaps. I watered down some of the coconut soap to look at clarity, as you can see it’s very clear, it lathers much more than the olive oil version so I can see why combining the two would be a good idea.
Liquid soapI found a website with oil based concoctions for thinning hair, I have wanted to try them but don’t want the mess on my pillow so the next task was to make a shampoo bar with rosemary, lavender and castor oil with the hope of adding volume to my thinning hair, anything is worth a try.

As well as being on a mission to use less plastics I’m trying to live more by my Gran’s philosophy of ‘make do and mend’ which was born out of necessity during the war years but I feel it’s so necessary now, personally I hate being caught up in the consumerism trap. So I have taken some old towels and given them a revamp with a washing machine dye, they have been transformed from a shabby looking pink to a nice grey which goes with my bathroom. I might get a couple more years out of them before they become utility towels and window cleaning cloths.

Enjoy your weekend, I’m hoping to fire some raku pieces, hopefully I will have something to show you soon  🙂

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Northumbrian Broth in the Soup Maker

The weather seems to be brightening up a little, we have started decorating and doing a bit of spring cleaning while my clay work dries. There are signs of spring about, my daffs are out. But we have had some very wet and windy days last week so I took the opportunity to make my version of Northumbrian broth as I won’t be making it when the weather warms up.

Traditionally my Mam would make this on a Monday in the pressure cooker using the bone from Sunday’s leg of lamb, some vegetables from the allotment, probably one of my Dad’s show leeks, and a packet of dried broth mix. I wonder if you can still get it, those mixes of yellow split peas, barley, marrowfat peas, butterbeans, lentils.

My soupmaker friendly version is a lot easier using dried legumes and grains that cook quickly. Here’s the ingredients, I don’t weigh anything, just don’t over fill the soup maker or it won’t cook properly.

I usually fry off a diced chicken thigh or bacon in a little oil ( a vege version is good too just add a good vegetable stock). Then add diced vegetables including carrot, parsnip, leek, onion, sometimes turnip ( swede ) if I have some.

I add red lentils and barley flakes as they cook quickly, sometimes I add quinoa just because I like it and it makes a lovely thick broth.

Fill up to the line with stock, sometimes made from a chicken carcass but if I don’t have that I use stock cubes. I don’t add salt as stock cubes are salty but I like plenty of black pepper.

When it’s cooked I add a rinsed tin of butter beans, my broth has to have butter beans, I love them.

UntitledIt’s thick, comforting and warming, a nutritious family meal that costs about 52p a serving, and it tastes even better the next day.



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New ceramics in the making

It’s  been a busy week, I’ve made quite a lot, thankfully my mojo has returned and I think seeing signs that Spring is not far off has given me an energy boost. It’s  come at the right time as I need stock for my Etsy shop and a Spring event.

I made some of the old favourite ‘Ella’s Doily’ ikebana bowls as well as some that are a little different with plant impressions. I am waiting eagerly for the hosta leaves to appear; this working with the seasons takes patience.

Ceramics in the making

Ceramics in the making

Ceramics in the makingThere are hearts too
Ceramics in the makingAnd wrens

Ceramics in the making

Ceramics in the makingAlso a custom order for pendants

Ceramics in the makingThere are clocks and tiles needing cleaning this morning.

UntitledThe tiles are going to have glaze effects.

Also some fish
The snowdrop pieces and little dishes are bisque fired now, I need to consider what glazes to use, more on that later.

Enjoy your day 🙂



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Finding Inspiration On Holiday

There’s always inspiration to be found at the coast, I took these photos on holiday in Sorrento at Marina Grande. At the time I had big plans to develop some sketchbook work from them, to hopefully lead onto something more.

However like the best laid plans things got in the way and it never happened.

I still feel inspired by the colours and textures , my mojo is still on holiday but I will come back to these pictures eventually. I can see me using paint and stitch, and maybe some tyveck, to describe them initially but I hope to progress into ceramics.

But for now I will just look and enjoy. I have always loved abstract marks and textures, and when they are in my favourite colour palette of blues, ochre and rust, I couldn’t want for more 🙂










Who would think there was so much beauty in peeling layers of paint, fishing nets and some chains 🙂

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