I took my camera for a walk along the hedgerow this week. Here’s a random selection of berries ready for the birds. No wonder my bird table has been abandoned!
I’ve been playing with a new design over the last few weeks. I’m calling it ‘Berry Tree’ – so appropriate for this time of year don’t you think? As I look out of my studio windows I see all the hawthorn trees covered in bright red berries, so beautiful! I’ve decorated 3 or 4 of these bowls now and each time I add more berries and I think I’ll be adding yet more as the season progresses.
Having shown you around my rather messy studio here is my equally messy Raku area.
My set up is pretty compact and is on the base of an old greenhouse. Everything (gas, kiln, tools etc.) are all stored in the bin at the back and it takes me approximately 5 minutes to get everything out and going. As you can see my Raku kiln is one of those do-it-yourself jobs and suits me just fine. The disadvantage is that it is fairly small and does restrict the size and the number of pieces I can fire at any one time. On the other hand to fire too many pieces in one go would be difficult to handle as you need to transfer the work to the sawdust fairly quickly in order to get the best results. I put up the gazebo in the early summer to shield me from rain showers. It’s fine for spots of rain but I can’t work in heavy persistent wind and rain. I still have to keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan my week accordingly.
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.
The whole purpose of starting a blog is not only to share my creative inspirations and the progression from idea to finished piece but also to act as a spur to actually getting some designing done. I find it all too easy to be lazy and not pick up a sketchbook and put down my ideas. Ideas are constantly buzzing around in my head but very few are actually used and without the external discipline of an assignment most are just forgotten. So I have decided to set myself a project.
I have always found trees a huge source of interest and inspiration. A few months ago as I was coming home on a particularly cold and foggy day I passed this tree…
I think it’s an Ash Tree. A very common species in the UK but also under serious threat from a fungus that causes dieback. Potentially we could lose most of our Ash trees in this country.
I have decided to follow this tree through the year. Photographing it regularly in all seasons. I also thought it would help me with my designing, keeping me on track especially with my ‘Tree Series’ of pots.
Here’s today’s entry :-
We’re still in winter, no new leaves on the tree it’s a bit dull and very cold. There’s a little bit of colour from the ivy on the trunk but that is all. Here’s a little bit of work on my ‘Winter Tree’
And a finished piece, it’s not perfect yet but I’m getting there.
I am hoping that next month there will be a bit more interest. I notice that the birds are starting to construct their nests. I will be out looking for rookeries to photograph – now that will be an interesting subject!