Tag Archives: Calm

Working With The Seasons

Were has January gone?

I have to say I’m glad to see the days starting to get a little longer, and signs of Spring are to be seen in my garden. The birds are pairing up and the snowdrops are in full bloom.

When the clocks went back I didn’t  adjust very well, it took a long time to get back in sync. I think acceptance is the key. I decided to treat the dark hours as ‘me’ time, call it hygge if you like, I think of it as a hug. I have been taking a holistic approach to life, working less, reading more, watching films, exercising more, meditating and eating healthily.

I feel very calm and relaxed now and I’m ready for the longer days, although I will miss taking my breakfast back to bed and staying there reading until it’s light and warm in the mornings.

Back to my work, I’m  trying to have down time, where before I would wake up thinking about making and it would come before everything else 7 days a week. I decided to work 2 days a week, I actually mean ‘make’ as I still do the day to day running of my little business. I have found my mind is calmer, my ideas aren’t running away with themselves, and I have time for Spring cleaning, which is an annual chore I actually like doing, well it’s rewarding when it’s finished.

This year I am working more closely with the seasons, this is something I became increasingly aware of since Autumn when my leaf supply became sparse, but I think it’s a good thing.

Now the snowdrops are out I have been enjoying their ephemeral beauty, and making some clay pieces while they are in bloom. I started this project a couple of years ago but the snowdrops finished before I did, and last year I  missed them. Last time I made an’ outie’ tile, but the 2 part process meant it didn’t have the detail I was hoping for.

I think ‘innies’ give the best print, but I won’t  know until these are finished.



Untitled Hopefully I will get some hellebore pieces made next, then it will be time for the daffodils and bluebells


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.


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 .