Time for change.

I have some plans that I’ve hinted at over the past couple of weeks. I’ve decided it’s time to give up selling my work through shops and galleries and slow down a bit.

Time is the most precious thing we have and I never seem to have enough. I have deliberated over this all year wondering what changes I should make. I’ve decided that it’s time for me to slow down my pace of work. I will still run my business, selling online but I need to relax the pace and find more time for other things in my life. I still have fells to climb and places to see before the old knees give out.

Of course it goes without saying I will always be making and  probably selling.

It’s time to try out all those techniques, and new media that I have wanted to try but can never find the time.

I am looking forward to the changes, my first action once Christmas is over will be to make a list of all the things I have wanted to try making but they have just been pushed aside as I never find the time. Firstly there will be more textile art, and I want to explore different methods for ceramic surface decoration. Then there’s the tools and materials that I have bought but not used much like lino cutting tools and a punch needle. I bought a printer to make my own decals, but I have only tried it once. Then there are all the art and craft books with techniques that I need to try out as well as ideas in my head for makes that have never come to anything.

Exciting and relaxed times are ahead I’m sure, I think I will have lots of fresh ideas to share on my blog next year, I’m looking forward to it. That’s how this blog started, it was about sharing my experiments.

I don’t seem to have any photos to add to this post so I will leave you with the contents of a parcel I got in the post today from Bath potters, it contains pattern rollers, a wooden tool and a green rib. China clay and some stains. I plan to make some wall plaques using multiple techniques including drawing with ceramic pastels but first I need to make the pastels.
Clay toolsNow I just have to work out how you fit the rollers onto the handle tool.
Clay tools

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Christmas Gifts From Kiln Fired Art.

It’s that time of year when life as an Etsy shop owner gets hectic, I have worked on getting my shop fully stocked this week, I hope to get to 200 listings.

Here’s what you can find over at Kiln Fired Art. I have reduced my prices on many items as I need to make some space in my stock room / spare bedroom for my family coming home.

Raku bowls

Christmas gifts raku ceramic bowls

Succulent planters and ikebana bowls.

Succulent pots and ikebana bowls

Rustic stoneware pouring bowls. 
Stoneware pouring bowls

Raku jewellery.

ceramic pendantsCeramic pendants and brooch pins.
Christmas gifts jewellery
Raku clocks.

Ceramic clocks with raku glazeMoon gazing hares.

Christmas gifts ceramic

Raku art tiles.

Ceramic wall art

Christmas gifts ceramic wall art

There’s still some raku leaves left.

Ceramic leaf wall artEco printed silk scarves.

Eco printed silk scarves

And my ever popular  fish wall art are still in stock, and a lot more besides.
Ceramic fish bathroom wall art

So if you are stuck for a gift idea you might just find something in my shop. I haven’t quite made 200 listings as things keep selling. 🙂

I will tell you about my plans for next year next weekend.

 

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My Last Raku Firing Of The year.

The weather forecast was good so we decided it was time to fire the rest of my raku pieces. The morning was bright and crisp with a thick white frost crunching underfoot. The sheep in the adjacent field seemed reluctant to rise but eventually as the sun came over the fells they rose leaving bare patches where they had been lying. With a start like this I just knew it was going to be a good day.

We wrapped up warmly and once the sun came round to the garden  it was the perfect day to raku.

There were leaves, lots of copper colour this time. I do wonder why you seem to get a lot of one colour effect in a firing but there are so many variables.
Ceramic leaves, raku leaves, wall art
There were lots of fish.
Raku fish wall art

Hanging ceramic fish
This spotty one is rather textured, I thought of firing it again but I like it as it is.
Raku ceramic fish

Trinket dishes too.

Raku ceramics
Phases of the moon with moon gazing hares, these got snapped up when I made the last lot. I have some more but I’m waiting for some cord to arrive. Shout up if you want one as they aren’t on Etsy yet.
Moon gazing haretI hope to have everything else listed in my shop by the time this blog post goes live.

Then I will get my notebook out and start planning for 2020. Changes are afoot for next year, but more later…….

P.S. I will have more work to add to my shop next week so come and have a look next Sunday and I’ll tell you about some of my plans for next year.

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The Be-Ro book revisited.

Last week I had cause to do some baking, I decided to make my Dad his favourite, “Maids of Honour “ from my Mam’s old Be-Ro book.

I learned to cook as a child with my Mam and Gran from this book, it was THE cookbook.

I have 2 old copies of the book, both were my Mams, one is really quite old and in sepia, it’s lost the cover, after a bit of online research and what I remember the cover to look like I think it dates back to 1930. The other one is in colour, it’s the 34th edition from 1974. I decided to buy the 41st edition to add to my collection.
BeRo books through the agesI  did more research online, I didn’t realise that Be-Ro was a North East company, but that would explain why every household I knew as a child had a Be-Ro book. All my family baked from this little book for the weekend, the cake tin was rarely empty. The recipes are straightforward and economical too. I enjoyed reading about the history of Be-Ro flour and why the cookbook came about, you can read about it here.

It’s interesting to see how recipes have changed over the editions, to suit today’s palate and pocket. For example the Dundee cake is smaller now, it has less almonds.
Dundee cakeThe lemon meringue pie has more lemons in it and they are now individual pies.
Lemon meringue pieMargarine has been swapped for butter in the Victoria sandwich cake.

Victoria sponge

In most recipes salt has been reduced.

Some recipes like my Dad’s favourite Maids of Honour have gone but there are some new recipes like Smoked Trout Tartlets which sounds rather grand for the Be-Ro book.

Today I’m baking for friends coming, I’ve made a start with a Victoria sandwich cake (to fill later) and coconut tartlets. OH can’t resist these.
Baking from the BeEo book
The new book has some very useful conversion charts (useful when using the old books) And helpful tips for when things go wrong, as ever this really is a little jem of a cookbook  and unlike a lot of cookbooks the recipes are easy to follow and ingredients don’t cost the earth. At under £5 a copy I think every home should still have one. Now I think I will go and make some Melting Moments, I bet you can’t eat just one 🙂

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Working with the seasons- dried leaves for Raku.

I had a raku firing last weekend, if you follow me on Facebook you will know already.          I had a bin bag full of dry fallen leaves so I used those in the combustion bin. They crackled and sparked like a bonfire, and I am sure someone of the swirly iridescent colour was a result of using dried leaves but I can’t be sure.
Raku ceramicsThis leaf has some lovely swirly colours, which doesn’t usually happen this pronounced.
Raku ceramicsThis trinket dish has the swirly effect too, don’t you just love those colours?

Raku Dish by Jill of Kiln Fired Art
I did some with sawdust to compare, but I think I will have to experiment a lot more to find out if dried leaves makes a difference to the colours.
Raku ceramicsThere were lots of fish.
Raku fishThese are my favourite fish.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramicsSome jewellery components.
Raku ceramics

There were some art tiles to hang on the wall.
Raku art tilesAlso hares and moons, which sold out but I am busy making more this weekend.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

Which is your favourite?

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More Silk Scarf Bundles

Just a quick post today as I have a lot going on as we are raku firing but I do  have some eco printed silk to show you.

These are different from the others a couple of weeks ago as they are folded in half lengthways before being rolled up without a barrier. This means not only are the prints mirror images, but the leaves also give ghost prints. The silk is thin so the dye from the leaf can go through several layers of fabric in the roll. I like doing these as the results are a bit abstract and hard to predict.

This is a pretty, delicate pattern with some well defined veining, the scarf was steamed. The prints are delicate, they remind me of leaf skeletons, and frosted leaves.
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The next 2 scarves were bundled without a barrier and boiled, the last time I did this ( using the same foliage) I got dark purple and green prints but this time they are Autumnal shades, maybe I over did the onion skins.

UntitledDo you see the cicadas?
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I’m old enough to remember those “magic eye” pictures, these prints remind me of those.

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Well I better get out there and do some raku firing before the rain returns, enjoy your Sunday.

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Grey Mares Tail, Black Bob, And The Three Brethren

I love walking in the Scottish Borders at this time of year. The weather didn’t look so good at first but it’s Scotland, you have to expect some Scotch mist. We both love this walk, we’ve done it before, starting from the beautiful waterfall called Grey Mares Tail.

UntitledThe steep path takes you up above the waterfall, then it flattens out and opens up.
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The sedges were beautiful, glowing orange in the sunlight but the camera didn’t really pick that up.

This is looking up to the top of the stream, at the rise there was something that took us by surprise on our first visit.

When you get to the rise it opens up into a loch which was unexpected as there’s no view of the loch until you are upon it.

We traced our steps back down, taking a moment to look at the silver thread of the river below.
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Click to read about my last visit to Grey Mare’s Tail 

The next morning there was a frosty start to the day, but frost seemed to heighten the leaf colours, I’m not sure if that’s a fact or if it’s my imagination. I gathered some to print with.

We set off on a ten mile circular walk to the Three Brethren, which are 3 cairns dating back to the 16th C. But first we had to investigate Black Bob.

If you are of a certain age and you read ‘The Dandy’ comics you may remember Black Bob the wonder dog from Selkirk.

IMG_5921The wonderful illustrations are by Jack Prout.
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The stories were written by John Hunter, telling of the adventures of farmer Andrew Glenn and his dog. The Black Bob trail has some display cases showing exhibits relating to the stories and farming in the area, it was lovely to be unexpectedly transported back to childhood.
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Then it was onwards and upwards following the way markers through woods then up to the summit. We saw lots of deer tracks in the woods.
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A slight detour took us up Foulshiels, we had to battle through bracken, then we had to find a way of getting over a dry stone wall and a stream to get back on the track but it was worth it. The views were spectacular, you can see the Eildon Hills  in the distance, we climbed those on our trip to Etterick Bridge a couple of years ago.
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Finally we made it to the summit and the Three Brethren.

Untitled The views were spectacular.

It was such an enjoyable few days break and I recharged my batteries 🙂

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Eco Printing – Autumn Colours From The Final Leaf Flourish

I am making a push to complete my leafy journey this year before the leaves are gone, I do enjoy working with the seasons.
I went out gathering leaves on Friday as the wind was getting up and they are starting to fall. There’s an acer tree in the village that has lovely small palmate leaves, it’s in a garden but near the wall, I’ve waited for them to start falling over the wall onto the path so I could gather some.

Whilst collecting leaves around my garden I couldn’t resist taking some photos of the trees, Sorbus Cashmiriana is colouring up nicely, and you can see the hosta leaves are golden now, soon they will turn to mush and be gone until next year so no more hosta ceramics until late spring.
UntitledI decided to try a new dye blanket as the iron blanket gave such great results, this one is myrobalan also known as harde powder. The other bundle at the back has the iron blanket. I could see colour forming around the leaves as I rolled my bundles so I couldn’t  wait to unroll them once they had been steamed and cooled.
Eco printed silk scarvesThe colours looked great as I started to unroll the bundles.
Eco printed silk scarvesThese scarves didn’t have a blanket, the leaves were dipped in iron water (for comparison).
Ecoprints on silk

The little acer leaves turned out nicely.

Ecoprints on silkI love the lovely rich amber colour from the myrobalan, in reality these scarves are much brighter than they are showing on my computer screen. The whole scarf is a warm amber colour, some areas deeper than others , the leaves left delicate but beautiful prints.

Ecoprints on silkHere are some closeups of the leaf prints.
Ecoprints on silkThese are the scarves with the iron blanket, these are my favourites.
Ecoprints on silkSome of the leaves were dipped in myrobalan, they are the ones that printed orange. The leaf prints are very detailed, I love the dark outlines on some of the blackberry leaves. The spleenwort printed orange from the myrobalan. I wish it wasn’t so dark today as the colours are richer than they are showing here.
Ecoprints on silk I will be boiling some bundles today, I will tell you how it went in my next post.

Enjoy your Sunday.

 

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Art Elements Theme Challenge – Foliage

I was delighted when I saw the September theme challenge from Art Elements was foliage as I was already working away with some leafy makes. So this was the perfect opportunity to push my makes a little further.
First let me apologise for forgetting to take WIP photos, I was so in the zone and feeling I had to get things done that I forgot.
I have been working with the seasons for much of this year, just now I seem to be working frantically before the leaves have gone.

I made some more of my hosta leaf succulent  pots / ikebana bowls.
Ceramic leaves home decorThen I decided to go a step further and make incense stick holders, my daughter likes burning incense.
Leaf ceramics for a Zen homeI thought some tea lights holders would  be a great complement to the incense holders.

Leaf ceramics for a Zen homeThen I got thinking about spas and relaxing Zen bathroom style so a soap dish happened next.

Ceramic leaves home decorThen a larger leaf to use as a candle stand.

Leaf ceramics for a Zen homeI can just imagine if I ever had the time to lie in a bubble bath with candles, tea lights and incense burning but it’s probably never going to happen.

More tea lights, incense holders and trinket trays happened. I’m glad I got them done because I noticed yesterday that the hosta leaves were going over very quickly.

Ceramic leaves home decorThen I turned to eco printing, if you read my last blog post you will know I have been gathering leaves, like a nesting dormouse.

I decided to stitch some scarves myself from beautiful fine merino wool gauze, the fabric is expensive so I was hoping not to spoil it. It took ages to find a technique that gave me an edging I was happy with, there was a lot of fraying, and not just the edges, I said never again!

The first one had a double neatening on the long edges but the fabric kept sliding, the stitching is like a dog’s back leg so this one is a keeper. I will look forward to wearing it.
UntitledThe fringed one worked well but it was very time consuming to make. I do love how the printing turned out though, I know I said never again but that was before I saw how it turned out.
Ceramic leaves home decorMy next blog post will be about my ecoprinted silk scarves.
Now I am heading over to see what everyone whose taking part in the blog hop have made, my favourite part of the challenge.

AE Team
 
Lesley  
Marsha  
Claire  
Jenny  
Niky  
 
Guests
 
Dawn  
Hope  
Alison  
Laurie  
Kathy  
Sarajo  
Tammy  
Divya  
Karen  
Alysen  
Mary  
Cat  

 

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New Eco Printed Silk Scarves

I have been working busily to get my shop stocked with ecoprinted silk scarves before the leaves have gone.

I have some listed in my Etsy shop now, there are more to follow. My plan is to stock up  early for Christmas so I can spend more time with family in November and December.

These are the scarves that I have managed to list so far. There are a few more already printed and I plan to print another batch this coming week. I want to play more with blankets, to see what happens, watch this space.

Eco printed silk scarvesI got some lovely rose leaf and geranium prints, also some pretty light greens on this scarf.

Eco printed silk scarvesSuch a contrast with these strong bronze green and dark purple brown prints, you wouldn’t think these were processed together.

Eco printed silk scarvesA pretty scarf with delicate prints from geranium and onion skins.

Eco printed silk scarvesThe veins are prominent in these leaf prints.

Eco printed silk scarves

Mostly olive greens on this purple scarf.Eco printed silk scarvesThe cotinus leaf usually prints very dark but this time it’s almost a shadow leaf.

Eco printed silk scarvesI have saved my favourite until last, this one was printed with an iron blanket, the prints are well defined and the scarf has rusty speckles which I love.

Eco printed silk scarvesEven the fern fronds printed green, thay have always come out very pale in the past.

Eco printed silk scarvesHopefully I will be boiling more scarves this week, I have been collecting leaves around the village, I think everyone might think I’m crazy . 🙂

What are you planning on making this week?

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