A Second Day of Calm

I woke up at 4.30 this morning, and it was all I could do to stay in bed, I wanted to go and see how my planter was drying.

And here it is, I’ve taken out the newspaper and it’s keeping it’s shape. I’m not sure how you clean heavily grogged clay, it just gets rougher when you sponge away the finer clay particles. Maybe when it’s dryer I can brush off the coarse bits.

P1260752It’s cold here today but the sun is shining, there is a touch of snow on the Fells, all of this makes me very happy, I love bright cold days when the landscape sings. P1260761

I did a few quick drawings last night when I was enjoying a glass of red in front of the fire, some were cut out using the Cameo to make stencils.P1260754

As well as having a sense of calm this weekend is also about learning some new things, as I rarely get time to play these days, so I thought I’d approach my tiles from slightly different angles, one tile has the design drawn into the clay with a stencil, on another I used the stencil and added some white slip, the third one I took my drawing and traced the lines using a biro so it would leave an indent in the clay. They all have some foliage collected from my walks and some stones and other bits and bobs pressed into the clay.

P1260757The clay was getting quite dry by now but I do like the look of the line and there are no crumbs to deal with, unlike drawing with a toothpick, so I will probably use this method in future, but I would do it on clay that wasn’t quite so dry.P1260758
The edges are trimmed and they are drying now, I’ve kept some tiles plain so I can do underglaze and overglaze paintings on those. That’s me done for today, apart from tidying up the mess I have created all around me.

Tomorrow may be a watercolour calm kind of day, see you then.

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I was delighted to be asked to participate in a blog hop inspired by ‘Calm’; it’s strange how something takes over your thoughts but since Veronica Roth asked me to participate I’ve longed for Friday, so much so I decided the whole weekend would be mine, and devoted to ‘calm’.

I got up early and dealt with emails, parcels, housework etc, then I rushed out to the studio. I had a plan of action, what could be more calming than playing with mud. I have a slab of Jim Robison clay which I’ve never used before,  I do drool over Jim’s work, and regret not having taken a course when I lived in Yorkshire, but I have his book, which provides me with inspiration.
P1260688Before going any further, let me remind you I’m a porcelain painter, not a potter, I’m just beginning to find my way into the workings of clay, but sometimes naivety is a blessing, or in other words ignorance is bliss. So the clay came out, but I found this heavily grogged clay hard to roll, my dear OH came to the rescue and got it rolled out for me. So at that moment in time calm wasn’t in the foremost of my thoughts.

Time for a lunch break with 10 minutes meditation which I thought would help, but no still mind, all I could think about was what I wanted to make so I abandoned the idea and set to work. Eventually, I got a bowl shape , using a new piece of highly technical equipment, a pounce made from a sock filled with a plastic bag full of sand. P1260689Now to make the top part of my vision, I had to take over wedging and rolling the clay and I’m sure I will suffer with my hands but I did finally go to that place where I was totally lost in my creation,  and yes, I felt very calm indeed.

I used ‘Ella’s doily’, to add an imprint into the clay, I had to think on my feet how to form the top as I wanted it slightly domed, a large platter and some foam did the trick.
Now it was time to rest and let the clay firm up, while I watched the birds on the feeders, then I rolled some lovely soft clay to make tiles for tomorrows plan.
P1260713P1260719As I have said I’m just learning clay processes, and basically it’s guesswork, but there is a critical time period to assemble the piece, the clay has to be firmed up enough to hold it’s shape but soft enough to join together, I took a deep breath and turned out the bowl

P1260720So here’s my piece stuffed with paper to help keep the form, I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s drying tomorrow.  If you are wondering what it’s going to be it’s a planter for a succulent.P1260724

I did eventually find calm but there was a little storm first of all, that’s how it goes, no Yin without Yang. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and another day of calm , now I’m going to look at everyone’s day of calm over on Veronica’s blog .

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Christmas is coming!

I can’t believe how fast November is flying by and whether I like it or not my thoughts are turning to the Christmas preparations. Gifts to send overseas, buying cards, who’s coming to stay over, etc. Even the weather seems to have realised winter is really here.
Etsy is a great place to browse for unusual handmade Christmas items and unique gifts, here are a couple of treasuries that I was featured in this week, I’m hoping to share more Etsy Christmas ideas in the next few weeks.

Click on the images to go to the treasury to find out more.

Let it Snow curated by Laura Smith of madebylolly

Etsy Christmas treasury

Christmas Delights curated by Becca of seasonsart1031 christmas treasury Etsy

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Chick-a-Leekie Broth in the Soup Maker

I have a bit of a thing for barley but I didn’t think it would be possible to add it to broth done in the soup maker. Then I discovered barley flakes, it looks a bit like porridge oats only it’s barley. It thickens the broth well and gives it that gloopiness you get from barley.

This is a great soup for using up leftovers and things lurking in the fridge, and it’s cheap and nutritious.

Don’t forget to pin it to your Pinterest  so you can find it later.
Chick-a-leekie broth

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WOYWW – playing catch up

Good morning deskers, just a quickie this morning as I slept in. I’m playing catch up with orders needing posting, and  work I need to do today.

I need to zentangle this trinket box to match the tray.


want to get the clay rolled out so it can firm up a bit while I’m doing the trinket box, the hope is it will be leather hard and ready for cleaning before bedtime. ceramic Christmas decorations in the makingHaving watched the Pot Off last night I really would like to get out some new Jim Robison clay that I’ve not used before and make something big. Well maybe I can do that at the weekend if I do get caught up.

Now I’m off to visit Julia’s blog Stamping Ground during my coffee break

Enjoy your day whatever you are doing.

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Store Cupboard Tomato & Pesto Soup

It’s that time of year when I want to eat soup. A few weeks ago I bought a soup maker, to be honest I wondered why I would need one as a pan and a hand blender can do the same job. So why do I love  my soup maker ?

It’s the convenience of it, I can throw everything in, go out to work in the studio and when I come in for lunch it’s ready. The soup is beautifully smooth, or chunky if you want it that way. Also it goes without saying it’s really healthy and a great way to use up veg lurking in the back of the fridge.

So I’m bring back the ‘Soup of the Day’ posts here on my blog, with a series of recipe cards. Feel free to pin them to your Pinterest boards so you can find them later.

Today we have a soup which tastes amazingly good, I’d say it equals the best tinned version on the market, and it uses ingredients from the cupboard.

Today’s lunch is……..

Tomato & Pesto soup recipe card

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Hard work pays off!

I don’t have much to report this week, except that all the time and effort I’m investing in my Etsy shop is now showing great results. I’ve been working on my shop for a month now and my sales are up 10 fold, and organic searches are up too. I still have a lot to do though.

This week I’ve been working on my photos, when there has been enough light. Before my store looked like catalogue photos with everything on a plain white background, so I’ve been using some props to hopefully enhance the look of my shop.

What do you think?
Gift ideas from Kiln Fired ArtI decided it was time to get an android phone, to make it easier to do social media stuff, I’m working on Instagram, but I still don’t get it, and I’m doing more pinning on Pinterest, so that’s what I’m going to do with this photo right now, that’s why it’s got my shop branded right across it.

One of these days I might use my phone to post a photo, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. Happy days!

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WOYWW -lots to finish off

Good morning, just a quickie from me today as I have a lot to do, but if you would like to snoop further why not head over to Stamping Ground to see what the other deskers have been up to.

Here’s my table from both sides, I’ve a lot of stuff to finish off and get listed on Etsy as sales are starting to hot up now, and all my galleries are stocked, for now at least.

WOYWW 2At the front these are dichroic pendants needing bails, and in the tray are pendants needing grinding, behind are 2 of the Woodland hearts needing ribbons, if you would like to see the finished results from last week just scroll down to my last post.  And some lampwork beads which will be made into fibulae pins.

WOYWW 1On this side of the table there is a trinket box needing a zentangle design to coordinate with the little ring dish, behind are some ceramic pieces needing a colour application, and some recycled glass coasters needing finishing off with bumpers and tying and tagging up.

I hope you have a good day whatever you are doing, I was going to have a day off and go walking but the weather isn’t that good so I might get some of these projects finished off.

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Ceramic Christmas decorations are finished

Just a quick post today to show you the Christmas decorations now they are finished.

I have delivered them this morning, but I hope to make some more later in the week   to stock up on Etsy .

I do have some glass and ceramic Christmas decorations up there alreay.

I finished the porcelain bisque ‘Forest Hearts’ in various colours using overglaze enamels.
ceramic heart decorationsThe ‘Shooting Stars’ gave me a bit of a headache last night, the invisible thread was indeed invisible, and it’s hard tying a knot in fresh air.

Also I hadn’t thought about packaging them, but I got there in the end and put them on a card in a cello bag, otherwise the threads would tangle up. ceramic christmas decsIn the end 4 of the large snowflakes survived, but they look great so I will be making more of those.

Note to self………. clean them before they get too dry!

Enjoy your afternoon.

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WOYWW – woodland themed decs

This is what’s drying on my worktable today, lovely heart decorations made from the bits and pieces brought back from the woods. See post below if you haven’t read about my walk on Sunday.

Ceramic Christmas decorations

I made some tiles and trinket dishes too.  These will all have coloured stains added to bring out the detail.Ceramic Christmas decorations
When I was cleaning the greenware snowflakes more than half of them broke, I think they were too dry and brittle. Oh well fingers crossed they fire ok so I have something to deliver at the weekend.  I will show you everything again when they are finished.Ceramic Christmas decorationsIt’s a dreadful day here today, foggy dark and gloomy so I’m going to brighten my day by painting. I’m going to get the china paints and lustres out and paint some bowls. At least my enthusiasm is back. But first I’m heading over to Stamping Ground to catch up on blog hoppers. I love to see what crafty projects others are doing.

Oh, by the way my printing experiments were a flop, the plate looked better than the prints LOL. I will have to work on this, when I get the time. Printmaking, textiles and ceramics , now that’s something I’d love to combine.

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