A Metamorphosis – Giving myself a treat!

I decided as it’s my 60th year to give myself a special treat, I have a bracelet of great sentimental value which I was given Christmas 1973.

This was a very memorable Christmas, Slade were number one with Merry Christmas, how could anyone forget.

I can see myself in my C&A dress standing by the fireplace with the smell of turkey wafting through the house, looking at my bracelet and feeling very happy indeed. I was so pleased with the bracelet because when Mam took me to the jewellers to pick my present I could have the bracelet, or a watch on a chain. I chose the watch because I can’t wear wrist watches, they go crazy, it was a practical choice. Then on Christmas morning there was a small package, when I opened it I cried because Mam had bought me the bracelet as well.

bangle
I wore it a lot, the catch broke and was replaced twice, then it got put in a drawer never to be seen for many years, then one day I came across it and had an idea.

I first came across Anna McDade’s work when I saw her dragonfly cuff in a jewellers shop in Keswick, and later I got to know Anna in person. I thought I would ask Anna if she could melt down my bracelet and make me a cuff to match the other pieces of her jewellery  which I wear all the time, my hare pendant and matching hare earrings

Today the postman brought me small package, my cuff is so beautiful and I will wear it  always knowing it is a metamorphosis of my Mam’s silver bracelet, something to treasure forever.
.Thank you Anna 🙂

If you aren’t familiar with Anna’s beautiful work here’s some links:

Website – Anna McDade

Etsy shop

Folksy shop

 

 

 

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A bit of culture in Birmingham.

I was in Birmingham last week, catching up with friends and enjoying some culture which is somewhat lacking in the small northern village I call home.

Finally I got to go to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter which is something I have wanted to do for a while. Everything is exactly as it was in 1981 when the owners of Smith and Pepper closed their doors.
20180410_144836Although the workshop closed in 1981 not a lot had changed over the years, I loved seeing the work benches and all the tools, some were very familiar but I didn’t know about the blowpipes used to blow air into the torch flame to get it hot. 20180410_14540920180410_150525After an early evening pub meal we headed for the Symphony Hall to see Jethro Tull. The music was brilliant but Ian’s voice wasn’t what it used to be and much of the time you just couldn’t hear him. Still, at 70 what a performance, playing the flute standing on one leg.

The following day we went to Coughton Court, a National Trust property.
IMG_0448Then back into Birmingham to see Brighton Rock, (written by Graham Greene) at Birmingham Repertory. I remember the old black and white version with a young Richard Attenborough playing the very troubled Pinky. This performance had all the tension I remember from the film.

We managed a walking day in the Lickey hills even though the weather wasn’t very good.  I called them the ‘sticky hills’ as it was very muddy, and as I forgot my walking boots I walked 8 miles in trainers with very wet feet. It was quite misty so the views weren’t so good but we did see a woodpecker and a Jay. IMG_0466IMG_0473We were lucky enough to see an urban fox in our friend’s street when walking home from the pub, the perfect end to the day.

 

 

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Taking it slow!

I have spent the past week with my Dad so I haven’t been making much, but if you are a craftaholic you will know it’s hard to not be ‘doing’ something.

Spending the week with my Dad has given me time to relax in terms of the ‘creative snowball effect’ and clear my head, I did however manage to fit in some making without realising it.

My Dad is 89, he recently found an interest in cooking. He wanted to learn how to make scones, baking is always very relaxing don’t you think? As he has a MB cookbook we made the scones from her book, he said they weren’t as good as the ones I usually make to my own recipe, talk about a compliment!

scones
While we have been sitting chatting I’ve had the knitting needles out and I managed to complete the sleeves for my next jumper.
.I also had a bit of sketchbook time doing some new pages based on a walk and also browsing through said contents to order some threads for a project. I know this is forward planning, and not living in the moment but it was immediate and my ‘to do list’ didn’t snowball.

I started an online machine embroidery course with Dionne Swift so I had some creative videos to watch and I found time now and then to make a sample or two.
textile samples I did a bit of armchair bird watching, it’s surprising what you can see if you take the time to look out of the window. I spotted a barn owl a couple of times as well as a kestrel and buzzards, then there were my garden friends who visit the feeders daily, as well as the elusive great spotted woodpecker.

You know spring has arrived when the bullfinches turn up to eat the buds off your trees.
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There was a beautiful pair of goldfinches too
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I managed to meditate every day, I get a lot out of 10 minutes, not only is it calming, but it also seems to boost the creative process. I suppose it’s a bit like going to the gym for a work out, the body needs a rest in order to recover and make you stronger. I think meditation does the same for the creative mind.

I’m about to try applique and free motion sewing so let’s hope my creative muscles are up for it. FME is rather like patting your head and rubbing your stomach so I need all the help I can get, and lots and lots of practice. Dionne is an excellent teacher and her courses are very well structured, this is my third, I already have the next one planned. 😊

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Solway Inspiration.

I’ve had a trip to the coast looking for inspiration. The light was just gorgeous, Scotland looks so close doesn’t it? I’m loving these colours, just perfect for paint and stitch.IMG_0277Charles Dickens wasn’t very complimentary when he wrote about Allonby, but it’s really beautiful in the sunshine.
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I love the play of light on the wet ripples, shining like silver ribbons
IMG_0314The little cottages reminded me of a John Blockley painting in one of my much loved watercolour books.
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I feel really inspired by these photo’s, and I have a plan to use some of the treasure that I picked up from the beach in some textile work soon.IMG_0340

I’m about to get my sketching stuff out and put some of my ideas down on paper. I can still hear the curlew’s call, so I must make a note of that before I forget.

I’m feeling very excited as I start another textile course with Dionne Swift on Monday, this time it’s machine embroidery, I have wanted to get to grips with free motion embroidery for a looong time.

Enjoy your Easter weekend whatever you are doing 🙂

 

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New Stoneware Bowls

It’s been a long winter this year, feels like I have been stuck inside for months. But I have been planning new work and dreaming of holidays by the sea.

I should also confess to drinking wine by the log fire and cooking up some heart warming meals, well it’s all in the name of hygge and staying warm and cosy. There’s nothing like a homemade pie when the weather is dreek outside, so it seemed pie dishes were inevitable.

 

These are my individual ‘Pudding and Pie’ dishes, although they could be used in a multitude of ways.pudding and pie dishes

My thoughts of being at the seaside seems quite evident in some of my new work.

These bowls have a lovely turquoise glaze, the one on the right , turquoise and white, evokes memories of sunny days on the beaches of the Isle of Lewis and the crystal clear turquoise water and pale sandy beaches.

stoneware bowls

These bowls reflect the colours of the Norfolk coast, remember my seal trip at Blakeney?  I want to design this range so that each bowl will have a slightly different look, I love to see the contrast of glaze and the warm speckled textures of the clay, each glaze/ bowl is a little different but they all coordinate beautifully.

Kiln Fired Art ceramics

Most importantly these bowls have glazes suitable for tableware and they are high fired so they can go in the microwave and dishwasher.

Once the weather warms up I shall be throwing some more to add to my shop, I’m trying to think of a name for the range, ‘Seaside’ seems to be the obvious choice. What do you think of it?

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Sketchbook Pages – The Shapes of Water

I have spent the past couple of days playing in my sketchbook, the theme chosen by the group this month is water.

I have loads of inspirational photos and so I got a bit bogged down choosing, next month I might put on a limit of 10 photos, which may make things easier.

Here are some of my favourite pages, there are a lot more, maybe I will post some later in the month as my water themed sketchbook grows.

I started off using water in the landscape as my inspiration.

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired Art

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired Art

Then I went more abstract.

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired ArtI love to use my window pages to view my sketches and pick out the areas I like.

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired ArtMost of these pieces are based on my photos from the Isle of Lewis.

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired Art

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired ArtThis is my favourite page, I love the colours, textures, line and shapes.

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired ArtSo many ideas from one little sketch.Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired Art

I plan to follow up on these soon.

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired ArtI can see how I can produce a work using textile techniques, but for ceramics I may need to invest in some underglaze pencils, or have a go at making my own. One idea always leads to something else I want to try.

Sketchbook pages from Kiln Fired Art

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One year on.

What a week it’s been, we haven’t had as much snow as most parts of the UK but it is bitterly cold, and I did experience an earthquake at the start of the week.

I’ve had my wheel for a year now, doesn’t time fly? Thought I would look back through my photos to see how I’ve progressed. This was my first little pot, it’s not great but I’m attached to it, I use it for mixing salad dressing.

P1400367I’ve come to realise I don’t want to throw pots that look perfect, that’s for machine made, but I do want to be skilled enough to be able to throw a perfect pot.

I want my handmade pots to always show the hand of the maker in some way, and these ‘imperfections’ are marks of identity showing the process and the hand of the maker, it says “that pot was made by me”!

P1490311These are my most recent bowls, I had hoped to have them glazed by now but the weather has prevented me doing so.

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I hope you are not having too many snow related problems where you are, I’m spending my time by the log burner as our central heating boiler has given up. Stay warm folks!

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I’m glazed over!!

It’s been a very busy week of glazing and firing.

Also, I started out doing the last week of Dionne’s Drawing for Textiles course but I broke all my felting needles, the textile techniques came to a halt so I went back to drawing. I really enjoyed the course and I have so many ideas to explore when I have time.

I’ve also glazed some of those beads from last week for my Etsy shop.
Ceramic beadsSeeing the weather forecast was going to be good for a few days I thought it was time to get some raku work fired. It’s been frosty but once the sun came up it was reasonably warm, which is good when you are standing around in the garden all day for 3 days.

P1490322Raku has a will of it’s own and can be fickle, some pots had to be refired but that’s ok, some cracked, but I get to keep those, and some blistered very badly so they went in the bin.
I love this one, but it’s cracked in the base so it’s mine.
P1490393This pot is a bit rough but I love it’s textures and colour so I get to keep it.
raku bowl by Kiln Fired ArtThese raku bowls will be going off to the gallery, the first two are quite large, they have some lovely colours and textures
raku bowlsraku bowlThere are a lot more raku bowls heading off to the gallery for a spring event but I’ve packed them up before getting photos.

raku dishAnd there are raku pendants too
raku pendantsSo as you can see it’s been a very busy week, I’m now feeling shattered, that’s why my post is later than usual.

I could do with a rest today so I’m taking it easy reviewing my drawings, the more I look I  find more interesting things to inspire me.

Enjoy your Sunday whatever you are doing.

 

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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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