That’s how I feel at the moment! I have been working hard but there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. There’s such a lot going on.
First of all a quick update on the studio. It’s up, yay, thanks to my hardworking husband!
The electrics are due to be put in within the next couple of weeks (I hope!) Actually moving in and better still working in it seem to be a few weeks away. Patience!
Meanwhile in the studio …….. trials and experiments are over and now I have to move to ‘make’ mode. Here are some of my favourites.
I will be showing at BCTF (British Craft Trade Fair) in just over a weeks time. I am looking forward to getting some feedback. Fingers crossed for a good show!
Rain, wind, storms, what a winter we’re having! Sadly I’m struggling to get the base of the new studio completed. First of all the builder miscalculated the size and the amount of materials, bricks and stone he’d need. The reason being the slope of the garden made it deceptive and the back wall of the base is some two and a half feet high but level at the front.
So in desperation on Friday my son Sam, Bryan the builder and I shifted 6.6 metric tonnes of stone and gravel and it’s still not full! It still needs compacting and a topping of concrete. The cabin comes on Tuesday. Oh dear!
In the meantime the studio is filling up with pots waiting for their final Raku firing. Yes the weather’s to blame again.
Here are some birds all lined up ready.
Progress on new things like these striped bowls is progressing slowly and they’re keeping me cheerful. I love playing with new ideas and at least here, rain cannot stop my play!
Just recently I have started experimenting with smoke firing again. I love it, it’s such fun and a good antidote to the type of Raku firing I do. Once you’ve prepped your pots, loaded them into the container, popped in the sawdust or whatever you’re using (leaves, sticks, wood, straw, paper etc.) you just light the touch paper and retire. Bliss!
I tend to do my firing overnight. It means that I’m not tempted to interfere with it once it’s set alight. I have been known to poke about with a rod in an attempt to accelerate the firing which ruined the results. I lost all those subtle marks made by the slow burn and ended up with all over brown pots – not what I wanted at all!
Here are some of my recent smoked birds. I love the colours and all those random marks you can get with this type of firing, from pale greys, browns to very dark brown and black. I am reminded of pebbles on the seashore. See what you think.
It’s nine weeks until Christmas Day – I just checked. I’m looking forward to it because if I get there in one piece I will have survived my second year as a maker and boy what a year it has been.
Things took off in April when I rather bravely as it seems to me now, took a stand at BCTF (British Craft Trade Fair) in Harrogate. To be honest I went for the experience, to get some feedback and to make contacts with other makers and galleries. I ended up with a sheaf of orders enough to keep me working through the Summer and Autumn. I drove home after the three days slightly shell shocked, I had not expected the level of interest let alone the amount of orders I received.
Sooooo since April I have been hard at it. Full time, most weekends too and apart from a week away no breaks either. Talk about a baptism of fire! I have learned so so much. In all areas and aspects of the business. Just handling clay day in day out has made me very sensitive to the material and I believe enabling me to get a better finish and ultimately a better result.
Having set myself the project of following one particular Ash tree through the year I discovered that I find the idea of following the seasons really motivating and something that I am getting quite excited about.
I mentioned in my last blog post that I had noticed some crows in the first stages of nest-building. I think they were probably looking over old nests to see whether they could be repaired and used for the coming season. There’s definitely a bit of activity going on. So I decided to go on a bird’s nest hunt. I wanted to get some shots while there are no leaves on the trees to obscure the view. So while out and about I’ve been scouring the tree line for a sight of those tell-tale clumps of twigs. Here are a few shots I managed to get. Sadly no birds in sight.
I also had a look on the web for photos and came across this gem of a site that I feel worth sharing – Peter Lovelock Photography. Lovely photographs and drawings, well worth a look! Enjoy!
Here are a couple of Peter’s photographs of Rookeries. I particularly like the way that the branches are coming into bud.
I feel another Tree-form bowl coming on! In the meantime I decided to dust off my long forgotten throwing skills. I bought an electic wheel from a friend before Christmas but I just haven’t had the time to do any throwing at all. I need to practice! I have thrown a few bowls which I intend to turn in to ‘Bird Nest’ bowls. I found a bowl at the back of a shelf and will Raku fire it next time. Here it is with its slip decoration already applied. I can’t wait to get out there for the firing.