A week of this and that!

I started the week off throwing some pots with a new speckled stoneware clay and I loved it. Some clays just seem to handle better than others and this clay felt wonderful squeezing between my fingertips. Somehow I’ve forgotten to take a photo, but the pots have been covered with polythene to dry slowly. They are now ready for trimming so I will have to down tools and leave my textiles and bead glazing and get them trimmed today.
I have a lot of beads waiting to be glazed ready for my Etsy shop, 4 bowls full.
P1490269I’m really enjoying the second part of the Drawing for Textiles course; the first thing I do in a morning is make coffee then go back to bed to watch Dionne’s daily video, then my head is full of ideas for the rest of the day.

Remember those line drawings from last week?

This past week I’ve been interpreting them with textile techniques on practice pieces and next week ( the last week of the course) I will do more exploration, maybe introduce some colour and maybe make some finished textile art.

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I do want to try some of my ideas in glass, ceramics and enamel as well as textiles, along with stocking up my shop so it looks like another very busy week ahead.

Enjoy your day, I’d love to hear about your creative plans for this week.

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Drawing For Textiles Course

The past week has been very enjoyable and rewarding; I have spent most of my days lost in experimenting with drawing techniques. I’m taking another online course with Dionne Swift, this time it’s Drawing for Textiles.
P1490086I can’t divulge the techniques involved but I can say they took me out of my comfort zone both in technique and scale, my largest drawing so far is 2 metres square.

P1490080I find I like certain areas of my drawings, (shown in these images). I’ve been observing  through a small aperture made from my “L’s” that I use for watercolours. (I’m not sure if we will be doing this on the course, it’s just something I like to do). I have a head full of ideas of how I can interpret these drawings in my work.
P1490078What I find interesting is that each ‘inspiration’ speaks to me in it’s own choice of medium, it might be glass, ceramics, enamel or textiles. Which leads me on to a quote I’ve just read in a book by Pema Chodron……..

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”.

Maybe this is why I have to keep pushing my creativity by learning new techniques, I love all the possibilities that arise from being a beginner.
P1490075I’m looking forward to the second part of the course starting on Monday, when I get to learn about stitching but now I need to catch up on some ceramic work.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

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A week of finishing off and preparation

Not much to blog about this week, it’s been one of preparation to get ahead and finishing off stuff.

I’m thinking about my spring events, I made a list ( I love making lists) of what stock I have left and also what I need to make.

It’s mostly been about bisque firing this week, I now have bowls ready to raku glaze when the weather picks up and OH is feeling up to helping with the gas bottle.
P1480979I also bisqued some raku leaves, and 3 bowls of beads and another of pendants, but I forgot to get a photo of those when I was out in the studio.
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I brought my work into the house this week and made these hearts hares and wrens, the studio is just too cold, hopefully I can work out there in the next few days as having the kilns on every day has warmed the place up a bit.
P1480980And I made an effort to finish my tunic, I thought if I didn’t get it finished soon I wouldn’t be wearing it much ’til next winter . Now I have a problem with buttons, I made some red ones but they aren’t the right colour, so I’m going to use a contrasting glaze and make some that are sort of a metallic pewter colour. Fingers crossed. x

P1480983Now I’m heading off to clean the very messy studio so I can glaze beads next week. I’m starting another online course next week for 3 weeks so you can see my need for organisation. I hope to work in the morning and do my course in the afternoons. I’m really looking forward to Drawing for Textiles  with Dionne Swift.

I feel as I’m getting older it is even more important to me to learn new things.

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Two aspects of the river Tyne

We’ve had a couple of days out to Hexham and Newcastle using the public bus service, I have to say it was a relaxing way to travel.

We took in some art and history, fresh air and a river walk as well as a family catch up.

Hexham is a small, but lively market town in a rural setting on the river Tyne, and Newcastle is a bustling city, also on the river Tyne.

This is the confluence of the North and South Tyne near Hexham.

20180128_120937This is a somewhat different view of the Tyne, almost at the mouth of the river, and the iconic bridges of Newcastle.
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The Abbey dominates Hexham , it was built by St Wilfred in 674 – 8 , it was restored in 19th C, there is so much history, read about it here20180128_103744Tyne Green Park along the river is a good place for a walk. We blew out the cobwebs and watched the rowing club practice.
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Off we went by bus to Newcastle with a plan to take in some culture, first stop was the Laing Art Gallery. Unfortunately they were setting up the Bomberg exhibit and we had missed Paul Nash, but we got to see a few Pre-Raphaelite works including this Burne – Jones painting ‘Laus Veneris’.
20180127_104921For Modern Art we headed to the Baltic, which is the iconic old flour mill shown here behind the Millenium Bridge.

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It took a few seconds for me to decipher the subject matter in these paintings, then I thought………. why? Not my cup of tea at all.
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You do get a fabulous view up the river from the Baltic.20180127_131329

One place I have never visited before is the Castle which gives Newcastle it’s name.

The Romans established a fort here to guard the bridge over the river. Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror built the existing castle,  read about the castle here

20180127_121420The Black Gate, this would have been the main entrance into the castle walls. There would have been turning bridges and portcullis here.

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You go through the Black Gate into what was known as the Garth ( an old name for yard), inside the castle walls . Inside the Garth there would have been many taverns and tradesmen, because it was not under the jurisdiction of the town so traders did not have to be guild members to trade there. It must have been a lively place.

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Evidence of the walls

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The Keep entrance.20180127_122137From the roof of the Keep a view of the Black Gate, Saint Nicholas’ cathedral and Newcastle United football stadium in the distance.20180127_124318The iconic Tyne Bridge and the Sage building
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Millenium Bridge.20180127_124222

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The Swing Bridge on the right, and the Tyne Bridge.
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We ended off our day catching up with family before getting the last bus back to Hexham.

I feel revived after my few days away so I’m ready to get back to work.

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Kick starting creativity with a workshop

I have spent the last 2 weeks getting my creative juices flowing by doing a workshop with Dionne Swift

I chose to do Dionne’s online course Developing Sketchbooks. This is a very well structured course for developing creative ideas using a range of techniques given to you each day via email and video links. There’s also a facebook group to chat and share work with your classmates.

I hope to take another online course with Dionne soon.

Here’s some of my sketchbook pages

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So my challenge now is to think about how I could translate some of my sketchbook pages into finished work, ideas for glass fusing, ceramics and textiles are forming in my mind.

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What day of the week is it?

Since the turn of the year I seem to have my days all mixed up, I think because I’m not going to the gym (since OH’s accident) I have lost my ‘yardstick’ for measuring the passing of the days.  Before it was either the day before gym, or the day after.

So I decided it was time to try and get back into a routine, the holidays are over, there’s work to be done. I was having a glaze firing so at least the studio was warmer than it has been of late, it’s not very inviting to go out and work when you feel you are going uncomfortably numb.

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown anything, maybe a couple of months, I’ve dreamt about throwing, I dreamt couldn’t remember how to do it.

I decided to throw some raku bowls first, everything went fine.

P1480758Then I decided to have a go with some semi porcelain. I have tried and failed with this clay before, it’s a difficult clay ( to me anyway ). I decided a fluid rim would be lovely on these little bowls, I textured the outside, they look and feel very tactile. I think this would be enhanced with a celadon glaze.

P1480756The 2 clays are really quite different, imagine making a pot with cement and compare that to making a pot with butter, that’s how the semi porcelain feels after sanding my fingernails down with the raku clay.

I do love the feel of s p though, it’s like silk between the fingers; honey rich sticky silk, if only it didn’t want to flop when you reach a decent sized pot.

I  have really enjoyed this past week ( if only there were more hours in the day)  I’m doing an online sketchbook course with Dionne Swift, something to keep me busy indoors when it’s too cold to head out to the studio. I have another week to explore the techniques I’ve learned then I can translate some of my work into ceramics and textiles.
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5 Highlights of 2017

  1. I got a wheel                                                                                                                                      I started to teach myself to throw in March, this is my first pot.

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I practiced, and practiced

potsNow I have some tableware that we use every day.

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I also made a raku kiln and fell in love with the results
20170909_1146542. My family came home for a visit                                                                                    It’s unusual for us all to be home at the same time.
P14005643. A trip to Wells next The Sea                                                                                                I think of Wells as my second home as I spent so much time there as a child; fond memories!
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4. Wildlife watching                                                                                                                        Highlights were getting close to seals off Blakeney Point

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Seeing avocets for the first time

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And a close encounter with a brown hare in the Scottish borders.

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5. Walking

We walked in Scotland, NorfolkYorkshire, Northumberland and Cumbria.

The highlight has to be reaching the summit of Scafell Pike, it was long overdue and I really don’t know why I put it off for so long.

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At the moment I am stuck in the house and can’t get out much, I am pining to be out there in the wilderness but I am contenting myself with my view and the garden birds that are keeping me entertained.

My family know me well enough to have given me foraging and identification books for Christmas.  As well as an incredible book that moved me so much I had a tear in my eye reading the beautiful words; it’s The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. A beautiful book to treasure, for those old and young who love wildlife, nature and language.

As for creativity, I’ve done nothing for a few weeks, apart from cooking a bit of knitting. I hope to start making pots again very soon. I’ve also signed up for an online course to get my mojo back in gear next year.

I’ll see you in 2018 !

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Catching up with my glazing

It’s been a very strange week, I have not had a lot of time to make anything new, and it’s bitterly cold out there. So I brought my glazes in to work by the log burner and finish some pots that have been sitting around for a while.

My tableware pieces with the tried and trusted Botz glaze came out fine but I’m getting pinholes with the Amaco Potter’s Choice glazes.

I can’t wait to use my dishes over the Christmas period, although we won’t be having Christmas dinner off them as I don’t have any large plates yet.

I fired the last 2 diet / breakfast plates : )

The square dish was handbuilt, I made it for crumble, or shepherd’s pie.
Kiln Fired ArtThis dish is intended for roasting vegetables, it’s my widest piece yet at 26 cm.Kiln Fired ArtServing dishes or pie dishes?Kiln Fired ArtThis is my first lidded pot, if you remember the lid got stuck while it was drying and I almost lost it but it turned out ok in the end.

Kiln Fired ArtI was really pleased with this large jug when I threw it but it is a bit on the heavy side, I might have to cry about it 🙂

Kiln Fired ArtI love eating off my own ceramics, that’s what they are for after all.

I think this will be my last blog post until after Christmas so I’m wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Xx

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Last minute Christmas gifts ……

Looking for last minute Christmas gifts?

Kiln Fired Art may have something for you if you like giving handmade presents.

We all know someone who is an eco warrior, or loves anything recycled, or someone who drinks wine, beer or gin 🙂
Last minute Christmas gifts

Dichroic glass pendants, a great gift for  Mum, Auntie, Sister, or Friend who like a bit of colour or unique jewellery.

Last minute Christmas gifts

Ceramic succulent planters and ikebana vases are a lovely and unique gift. The oil diffusers are proving very popular this year; and if you hurry there may be some raku leaves left in my shop. Last minute Christmas giftsAnd not forgetting ceramic jewellery making supplies which would make the perfect gifts for a crafty friend.

Last minute Christmas gifts

There’s a lot more to find over in my Etsy shop, I’m trying to keep the stock level at 200 items, but it’s hard work at this time of year.

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Making my own decals with a laser printer

I’ve made a big decision, I’m taking my work in an exciting new direction, finally I got a laser printer to make my own decals. Hopefully I will be introducing a line of functional ceramics with my ‘trademark’ wildlife drawings like the wrens and hares.

I can imagine if you are a china painter reading this you will be shocked at the thought of  me using the ‘D’ word 🙂

Things have changed a lot since I started learning throwing,  I didn’t intend making functional pottery to sell but there is something so lovely about using handmade ceramics on a daily basis,  they are so tactile they need to be handled.

I have already made up my mind that I will no longer buy in whiteware to china paint on, there are many reasons for this decision. The costs involved for one, and the fact I’ve done it for so long I have become bored with it, there are more reasons that I won’t bore you with.
I may paint on my handmade pieces eventually ( and my ‘decal drawings’ will be done with china paints on tiles to keep my ‘style’) but my functional ware will be made using laser decals, which are food safe.

I’m really excited about this new direction, I can continue to improve my throwing skills and have something new and unique for Spring events. I’m planning on expanding my raku range and I will also be using my decals on fused glass too, something I’ve wanted to do for years now.

I believe my work has to keep me feeling excited and evolve to keep it fresh, once I’m bored by something it’s time to try something new. I may come back to china painting but for now it’s on the back burner, until I can throw with porcelain.

Here’s my little test piece with my wren drawing, I have done some other pieces but I can’t show you those yet as they are presents.
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This will keep me busy for a while, but I think I will need some heating on in the studio, it’s freezing in there just now.

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