More handmade ceramics

It’s been a busy week, making new stock each day and now I am running out of drying space.

So what have I made besides the snowdrop ceramics featured in my last post?

There are raku fish, including the ever popular mackerel and sprats, also some tropical fish including clown fish. There’s raku hanging leaves and ceramic soap dishes and trinket dishes made from stoneware clay.

Ceramics for the home wip from Kiln Fired Art

These all need to be left to dry before bisque firing, then they will be glazed and fired again so it will be a few weeks before they make it into my shops. I’ve no space left to make anything more so I can have a little rest and plan some new work.

Snowdrop ceramics

It’s time to get back to work after a much needed break this month, however the snowdrops are out and they won’t last long so I’ve got a production line going making snowdrop themed ceramic hearts, ceramic ring dishes, and snowdrop tiles to hang on the wall. These items would be lovely gifts for Mother’s Day, or birthday’s or little thank you gifts.

Here they are as works in progress, they have to dry out before they are bisqued, then coloured and fired again before they are ready.
I’m making ceramic snowdrop hearts today in time for Mother’s Day

There are a few cow parsley ceramic tiles and some pulmonaria ones too. Working with the seasons means I have to work with what’s available.

Ceramic plant tilesCeramic snowdrops heart WIP

I do love how these delicate snowdrop flowers transfer to the clay, like a fossil, they will last for ever.

P. S. How do you like my new blog layout?

 

Making Beeswax Wraps

I really can’t get going this January. It’s always a difficult month as I only work in the daylight hours. Also I intend to adopt a slower pace of work this year, I need more time to do other things. I’m taking this ‘slow living’ to heart and really enjoying feeling calm and relaxed.

I’ve been reading, knitting and cooking healthy food, exercising and following my diet plan. I even made a Facebook group called  ‘Motivation and Support for Healthy Eating and Exercise’ click here if you want to join us.

This week I decided to make some beeswax wraps.

I cut some squares of cotton fabric, having washed it first to remove the finish. Then added some beeswax pellets and another square of fabric on top.
Making beeswax wraps

Making beeswax wraps

This was sandwiched between 2 pieces of baking parchment. I decided to do this on an old towel rather than the ironing board.

Making beeswax wraps

When you iron you can see the wax melting and coming through the fabric.
It looked patchy so more beeswax was added then more ironing.

Making beeswax wraps

Making beeswax wraps

I had too much wax this time, it leaked out onto the towel.

Making beeswax wraps

Because there was too much wax I layered up one waxed piece with a new piece of fabric and ironed to transfer the wax. I kept doing this until they looked evenly coated.

Making beeswax wraps

They were laid flat until the wax set.

Making beeswax wraps

I have to say I’m  not totally convinced they will work but I’m certainly going to try them out.

They work as bowl covers.Untitled

Lets try wrapping an apple.

Making beeswax wraps

Success.

Making beeswax wraps

I wouldn’t use them for things like meat but they will have their uses and they will save on some waste.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope you have had a happy and peaceful Christmas, and now maybe like me you are taking it easy and reflecting on 2019.

I’m going through my blog posts picking out some highlights ( click on the images if you want to know more). The most amazing thing that happened last year was seeing otters in the wild when we spent 3 weeks on a little known Scottish island. There was so much wildlife to encounter, seals, dolphins, sea eagles, deer and hares. But the otter sightings were truly very special as they have eluded me my whole life. Seeing them was like winning the lottery.
Otters
Otters
OttersIt terms of makes, I love my boiled wool jacket which I wear a lot, it gets comments whenever I wear it and it goes with just about any outfit, I can dress it up or look casual.

A jacket in a day

I really got back into sewing last year, I combined my sewing skills with eco printing and made a top which turned out not quite as I had expected but I still love it. I like the surprises that I get when I eco print.

Upcycled ecoprinted top
I made myself a couple of fine wool scarves, I love the prints on these, it’s a pity the wool fabric is so expensive.

Ceramic leaves home decor

I am  still  wowed by every raku firing, I don’t think I will ever tire of the process, smelling like a bonfire is not so good though. Lots of items went off to new homes and I thought of all those folks receiving some of my work for Christmas. It makes me very happy to think I might have made someone smile.

Untitled
Ceramic wall art
Ceramic fish bathroom wall art

Moons and hares
Looking to the future and plans for the year to come I have started a notebook with ideas, including all those things I never got around to trying out last year. I have books and new techniques to try out, I must have a go at printmaking in various forms. I want to paint more too, I find it so relaxing.
Something new for 2020I have made the decision that it’s time to slow down a little so I will no longer sell my work through shops and galleries, the end of an era. But I will still sell through my Etsy shop and my Facebook page, so if you don’t already follow me then you might want to start as Facebook  is where I will be showing new work and selling off ends of lines.

One of my first tasks for the end of January will be to make some more snowdrop ceramics.
Snowdrops ceramicsAlso watch out for those otters because they will be featuring in some new pieces later in the year if all goes to plan.

Here’s wishing you good health and a peaceful year to come.

Love

Jill x

Dealing with the dark days of winter.

I often feel low at this time of year, probably down to the short, dark days of winter.

Last year in the run up to Christmas I felt stressed by my workload, as well as the preparations for the Christmas celebrations. So this year I made the decision to do things differently, I estimated how much stock I would need from last year’s sales, I made it in the summer months and started listing in the autumn. So all I need to do at this time is network, answer emails, do some custom orders, pack and post. This has helped enormously, I feel rather calm and relaxed this year which is a huge difference to last year.

Even if I didn’t have a rush on at this time of year I would probably feel low, not depressed but dulled, I want to sleep all hours of darkness but  when I go to bed often I wake up about every hour or very early in the morning, then my thoughts take over.

I’m reading a book called The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell, which Lesley reviewed on Art Elements .
Untitled
It’s a beautiful book and I’m really treasuring reading it, I take my breakfast back to bed and read a little from this book while I wait for the house to warm up and the daylight to emerge from the gloom. I could happily sit and read the book from cover to cover but I’m forcing myself to read just a few pages at a time and savour them like a delicious chocolate truffle. I found myself running my hands over the cover and feeling like I was giving the book a hug this morning which I thought was unusual behaviour but it’s  such a lovely book.

I  already know and relate to the ‘feel good’ powers of nature, I try to get out for a walk as often as possible. The little things like ice on some rosehips catching the sunlight, or a flock of redwing visitors squawking in the trees, or crunching through frozen puddles can fill me with feelings of happiness and calm.

Today  it’s sunny so I took a short walk in the bitingly cold wind to see the fells covered in snow.  On my arrival home I had a brief inspection of the newly replanted border to see if the snowdrops were coming up, they are at least a cm tall. I got told off by a blackbird, then I went to look at the vole holes in the bank. I noticed a pile of berries from the cotoneaster gathered at the entryway. I thought this was a little odd as it tells everyone where you live, I  might have to read up online and see if this is typical behaviour.
UntitledDuring the short days I no longer try to work in the semi darkness of mid afternoon, I find the energy saving lights really bad, they don’t give me enough light to work. I just accept this now and stop when the light goes. I do sit and knit or crochet in this half light, so long as it’s a simple pattern. I have also discovered this winter that knitting tactile soft fluffy yarn can lift the spirits. Sitting by the fire knitting is pure, simple hygge pleasure, like stroking a cat on your knee.

Untitled
Comfort foods also help, a bowl of steaming homemade soup ( recipe here) is like a hug in a bowl.
UntitledA slice of homemade cake and a cup of tea can make those looming dark skies at 3 pm seem not so gloomy at all,  if I  sit by the window I often see skeins of geese, or flocks of starlings flying in haste to join the flock for their murmuration ballet before roosting.

I think the weather so far this winter has played a huge role in my more upbeat mood. This winter we have had a lot of bright crisp frosty days with lots of sunshine, I know sunny days makes a big difference because as soon as the wind and rain returned last weekend my mood dropped significantly. So if the sun shines even briefly I try to get out for a few minutes and enjoy it.  Every little helps, and once the end of January comes I can see the days starting to get slightly longer, the snowdrops will start to bloom I know the gloom won’t last much longer.

While writing this I have come to realise this is just an extension of what I’ve been doing all year, I’m working with the seasons and not trying to fight against the long evenings and short days. It seems to be working, I feel really quite relaxed and content .

Do you struggle with the dark days, what do you do to combat them?


 

Last Minute Christmas Gifts From Kiln Fired Art

I don’t  know about you but we are so busy at this time of year that sometimes we leave buying presents to the last minute. I have lots of items in my shop all ready to ship. Orders can be posted first class up to the 20th December for UK delivery.

If you would like it shipped to the recipient I can do that for you too, just add a note and the recipient’s address.

Here’s some gift ideas,  I have a lot more in my shop Kiln Fired Art

Click on the images to go to my shop.

Ceramics for the home

Ceramics and eco print scarves

Leaf ceramics and art for the home

Unique gifts from Kiln Fired Art

Fused glass and ceramic gifts

Kiln Fired Art on Etsy