Tag Archives: kiln fired art

Working with the seasons – trying to keep up

A lot of the work that I enjoy doing involves working with the seasons, using the leaves and foliage available at certain times of the year. Last year I only got a couple of hosta pots made before the leaves fell victim to the frosts. So this year I patiently waited for them to come into leaf. But then we had a couple of trips away so it’s only now that I have had the time to make some more pots. I made some small incense stick holders and tea light holders, or they could even be used as a ring tray.
UntitledI made some ‘fossil’ tiles too, but I missed the buttercups and late spring flowers that I wanted to use so I tried some new ideas like clematis and lavender as well as seed heads.

Working with the seasons

Working with the seasons
UntitledAnother thing about working with the seasons is the weather, it’s been quite hot so I’ve worked in the garden, playing mud pies and recycling some clay.
Working with the seasonsIt’s firming up nicely now.

I took some time in the shade to make some fish, hares, and soap dishes for my handmade soap. I think I need to make a few more for the shop. I had to work quickly in the heat and keep everything damp while I was working. Handling the clay kept me feeling cool, I love playing with mud on a hot day.


I’ve been out collecting leaves for eco printing too, more on that later.


Raku clocks

I finally got my raku clocks fired during the week, I was so excited about finishing these.

Some are textured and have metallic flashes; on the wall they catch the light beautifully.

Raku clocksYou can see how the flames have licked the glaze surface.

Raku clocks

Raku clocks

Raku clocks

Others are painted with designs inspired by my sketchbooks, they have crackle glaze, colour(including some copper) and smoke stained lines.

Raku clocks

Raku clocksSome clocks are flat and some are slightly curved, each one is unique.

Raku clocks

Raku clocksThe nature of raku glazes and firing means you get some cracking and crazing, this is part of the process,  it’s ok so long as it doesn’t go right through the piece but unfortunately I had a couple of rejects including this one below,  I really like it so I finished it and will now have to find somewhere to hang it.

Raku clocksThe pointers are very fragile so I had to find a way of protecting them, I got some clear plastic pointer covers off the internet, then I tried different packaging inside the boxes to keep everything in place, rolled up cardboard and a little bubble wrap seemed to do the job best. Problem solved!

I fired some raku art tiles as well, I will show you those soon.

Have a great Sunday!


New Raku Work In My Etsy Shop

Finally I have found the time to list some new stock in my Etsy shop.

There’s more to follow but I have made a start listing raku pieces. Click on the images to go to my shop.

Lots of raku leaves listed in various sizes.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramicsThe shoal of small fish are back in stock, as are the mackerel. The fat fish will be coming soon but I need to fire them still.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramicsI made some abstract art tiles, these have a hanger on the back, a lot have sold already. I will be making more of these, I have always loved painting abstracts, they make me feel I’ve injected some energy into my work. Also I have a plan for this year to make art tiles using various decorative techniques in order to push my boundaries.
Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

Raku ceramics

There are raku wall clocks to follow, and some butterflies, they need to be fired.

I have some stoneware and porcelain pieces to follow, as well as lots and lots of jewellery components sitting here waiting to be glazed. All I need is more hours in my day and some warm dry weather.

Liquid Soap and Hair Thickening Shampoo Bars

I’ve made liquid soap concentrate this week, using potassium hydroxide. This one is castile soap made from olive oil, it started out very thin, I had to keep stopping the hand blender as I thought it was overheating. Eventually it got quite thick
Liquid soapI watered some down and put in some patchouli oil which I wanted to use up as I don’t like scent , it makes my nose tickle. I put it in a soap dispenser,  it’s thinner than a bought liquid soap, and it doesn’t lather up much but that can be a good thing. I used some for washing the floor and it worked really well, I also washed a woollen throw by hand and it was fine for that too, two jobs where less suds is a good thing.
Liquid soap

Next I made a liquid soap using coconut oil, this was so thick in no time I couldn’t stir it.
Liquid soap

It went into a takeaway container as I thought if it set solid I could always cut it up into bars. This lathers really well, I  washed some leather chairs with this and the leather remained nice and supple. The instructions I’m following say to combine the two soaps. I watered down some of the coconut soap to look at clarity, as you can see it’s very clear, it lathers much more than the olive oil version so I can see why combining the two would be a good idea.
Liquid soapI found a website with oil based concoctions for thinning hair, I have wanted to try them but don’t want the mess on my pillow so the next task was to make a shampoo bar with rosemary, lavender and castor oil with the hope of adding volume to my thinning hair, anything is worth a try.

As well as being on a mission to use less plastics I’m trying to live more by my Gran’s philosophy of ‘make do and mend’ which was born out of necessity during the war years but I feel it’s so necessary now, personally I hate being caught up in the consumerism trap. So I have taken some old towels and given them a revamp with a washing machine dye, they have been transformed from a shabby looking pink to a nice grey which goes with my bathroom. I might get a couple more years out of them before they become utility towels and window cleaning cloths.

Enjoy your weekend, I’m hoping to fire some raku pieces, hopefully I will have something to show you soon  🙂

New ceramics in the making

It’s  been a busy week, I’ve made quite a lot, thankfully my mojo has returned and I think seeing signs that Spring is not far off has given me an energy boost. It’s  come at the right time as I need stock for my Etsy shop and a Spring event.

I made some of the old favourite ‘Ella’s Doily’ ikebana bowls as well as some that are a little different with plant impressions. I am waiting eagerly for the hosta leaves to appear; this working with the seasons takes patience.

Ceramics in the making

Ceramics in the making

Ceramics in the makingThere are hearts too
Ceramics in the makingAnd wrens

Ceramics in the making

Ceramics in the makingAlso a custom order for pendants

Ceramics in the makingThere are clocks and tiles needing cleaning this morning.

UntitledThe tiles are going to have glaze effects.

Also some fish
The snowdrop pieces and little dishes are bisque fired now, I need to consider what glazes to use, more on that later.

Enjoy your day 🙂



Finding Inspiration On Holiday

There’s always inspiration to be found at the coast, I took these photos on holiday in Sorrento at Marina Grande. At the time I had big plans to develop some sketchbook work from them, to hopefully lead onto something more.

However like the best laid plans things got in the way and it never happened.

I still feel inspired by the colours and textures , my mojo is still on holiday but I will come back to these pictures eventually. I can see me using paint and stitch, and maybe some tyveck, to describe them initially but I hope to progress into ceramics.

But for now I will just look and enjoy. I have always loved abstract marks and textures, and when they are in my favourite colour palette of blues, ochre and rust, I couldn’t want for more 🙂










Who would think there was so much beauty in peeling layers of paint, fishing nets and some chains 🙂

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


First Fell Walk 2019 – Low Fell

It was a gorgeous, bright, frosty day on Wednesday so we got the ‘call of the wild’ and headed out for a walk. We chose Low Fell because it’s one of the smaller fells which is good when it’s icy but it’s higher than places like Dartmoor so it’s  still going to burn some excess Christmas calories.

I love a walk when it’s bright and frosty, I love watching the sun melt the white blanket on the fields, and the long shadows where the frost can hide.
I love the bracken, looks like they have been dusted with icing sugar
IMG_2468We didn’t have to climb far before we got a tantalising glimpse of the views to come. This was my first ‘Dr Zhivago’ moment of 2019 🙂
IMG_2463The ground got a little steeper, I was slipping so I had to put on my spikes.
IMG_2505Further on the view got better and better
IMG_2560I spied a painted pebble from Dearham Rocks
IMG_2567There was no wind even though it was cold; we had lunch on the summit with this incredible view for Crummock Water, with a hint of Buttermere in the distance, and the fells behind.
In this video you can see Lowes water as well as Crummock and Buttermere.
Low FellAnother painted pebble on the way down.
The sun was low in the sky when we returned to the car, the frost hadn’t given in the shadows of the fell.
What an uplifting day, just what I needed to shake out the January gloom.

Have you had any walks this year?

My holiday makes – homemade shampoo bars, soap, and other makes

I like to have an easy project to make over Christmas while I’m sitting watching TV with family so I ordered some balls of cotton, more about that later.

My first make ( you may have seen it on Facebook or Instagram) was a throwback from the 1970’s, a macrame plant hanger. I made one all those years ago and seeing they are trending now, and would work well with my own pots I thought I’d give it a go. The instruction book was very sparse on directions but with the help of Youtube it went from a pile of string spaghetti to an octopus, before becoming a plant hanger, sorry I couldn’t fit it all in the photo, all I need now is a spider plant.

UntitledWith the turn of every year I try to be a little greener, I have been using, and loving a solid shampoo bar that I have been buying from Etsy. I thought it would be fun to order the stuff and have a go at making some balms, soaps and shampoo bars, and while I waited I got to crocheting washcloths to replace the wipes which I use on my face.

These are the ingredients for the lip balm / hand cream. I rarely follow instructions to the letter, so I used tangerine oil. There is a link if you click on the bold heading below.
UntitledIt’s simple to make, just melt everything over a pan of hot water.


Lip balm and hand cream  

I’m really happy with these, the taste reminds me of chocolate orange. I had these little pots so I didn’t need to buy any, and I can wash and re use them again and again.


Then I made shampoo bars which are cooked in a slow cooker, you blitz with a hand blender…..


……then cook stirring regularly. I may have over cooked mine as it turned out looking like scrambled eggs ( see what I mean in the photo below)UntitledHaving finished crocheting the face cloths I thought about using an old towel to make some wash mitts. I made a pattern larger than my hand allowing for seams and twice the length I wanted, one end is slightly tapered as this will be the inside as the mitt is double.

UntitledI used the hem off the towel to make a hanger, and having turned it out I hand stitched the opening and pushed this end inside the other to make a double mitt.

UntitledI made quite a lot of these from one towel, I’m sure they will have loads of uses.

UntitledThis is a coconut cleanser with almond oil and baking soda as an exfoliant, I have tried it and it’s ok, I wish I had kept some without the baking soda to see if it works as an eye makeup remover. I did have a patch of dry skin on my face which is now gone so something is working.

UntitledNext I made lotion bars, to replace my packet of wipes, this was another melted recipe which I tweaked. I used takeaway containers as moulds then cut up when hard. I’m not happy with it at all, it’s like candle wax on my skin. I won’t make this one again.


Avocado shampoo bars

These are the avocado shampoo bars, I told you mine came out like scrambled eggs. Click on the heading for the original recipe, I did tweak it, it’s yellow because I used some rapeseed oil in the mix, I have used the shampoo bars and it works really well on my short hair.


Olive oil crockpot soap

This soap is my favourite, I’m using it daily, it’s got few ingredients, I didn’t even add scent to it. I have used it on my face and it’s lovely. I will be making this one over and over again.

UntitledNext I want to try making some liquid soap to fill the hand wash bottles, I’ll let you know how it goes.

What did you make over the holidays?

Update – I bought the soap making ingredients that I couldn’t  get in the supermarket from The Soap Kitchen

Taking Inspiration From A Walk In Dodd Wood

The sky was blue yesterday instead of the usual dripping grey that comes with rainy days so we headed out for a walk. It’s so muddy everywhere we decided to walk up Dodd, one of the lower fells with good paths.

It felt really good to be out there surrounded by nature, it’s been a while since we were last out walking.

The beck was quite full, it’s usually a trickle, but what I was attracted to most were the textures.




The colours and textures of sap  Untitled

Of bark


Leaves and reflections in puddles


Light branches against dark conifers

UntitledRock textures and lichens

UntitledThe view from the summit wasn’t so good as it was hazy but that didn’t matter, my attention was on the details.

I gathered some leaves and ferns from the ground and brought them home to dye with, will tell you more in my next post.