Tuesday, 15 December 2009

I can't believe how busy it has been!

The Christmas rush is slowing a little now, as most of my customers are in the US. I had a little help today from a Japanese work experience student Kozue, and finally feel like I am getting up to date... She was great, really lovely, extremely helpful, and an extra pair of hands was appreciated! She helped out with some gift wrapping and sorted out some of my stationary so that I now feel free to actually make something- I haven't touched any clay in weeks!! It has been non stop admin and parcel wrapping round here, and it has been great, but there is some creative frustration bubbling away under the surface... watch out for some new pieces early in the new year...
I have a happy story today! - someone showed me a photo at theknot.com which is of two of my bird bowls which were used as ring bowls at a wedding - here it is...

It is such a huge compliment when someone uses my work for such an important function, and is a rare treat to see them in use. Thanks also to the lovely Ai Ling Liaw of Ling Photography, St. Paul, MN who was their wedding photographer. I was really touched. I have had a bit of a run of this lately - here is an image of a ring bowl I made for a very lovely lady's wedding recently. So recently in fact, that it is on a plane on its way to Australia as I write...


I used a silhouette that they provided of themselves, and recessed it into the clay. A slight toasting can sometimes occur in the kiln around the glaze, and on this one I think it gives a fitting, warm glow around the bride and groom. I felt that it added to the piece, and I hope they will agree. Ring bowls are definitely something I am considering doing more of in the new year! It was lovely to work with them and create a piece that they had some input into.

So with things calming down here a little, I am hoping that I might just get a little Christmas shopping done by the end of the week :)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Wow! What an amazing day!

I cannot begin to say how excited I was today when I found out that my Christmas decorations had been featured in no less than THE GUARDIAN newspaper!!!
For those of you stateside, The Guardian is one of the biggest national newspapers. It is extremely well respected, and I could not believe my eyes when I followed this link to the online version of the article.


My little hearts have a page, as do a selection of other Christmas ornaments that I am staggered and honoured to be placed amongst, including pieces by Cath Kidston, Heals, Habitat, Liberty, Urban Outfitters and John Lewis.
Wow again! I can't think of a greater confidence boost than this, and also at a time when I am having my busiest time ever in my etsy shop. I really am completely stunned. There amongst such great big names in design - lil ole me?! A picture that I took, a little over a year ago, of my little Christmas hearts WAS IN THE GUARDIAN!?!
Fantastic, wonderful, amazing. Pinching myself.

Today was also the day of the Art Ball art auction at Sale Waterside Art Centre, which included two sets of my ceramic flying ducks. It was hosted by no less than Eric Knowles from the antiques roadshow!!! Hilarious!


I was too excited about the Guardian article to be nervous, despite having a few reservations about having to actually be there when my work was sold, rather than being on the other side of a computer screen. (And often the other side of the world!) A few friends turned out at the event to ensure that we had a good time this evening, even if the ducks didn't sell, but I am happy to say that both sets sold!! And also, they sold for more than I sell them for online :)
So I really am pretty stunned, shocked, happy, and exhausted as I write this... Time for a well earned, long sleep :) Goodnight!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Wehehey!

These Christmas decorations from my etsy shop are currently being featured in the etsy holiday ornament voter!
If you have the time, please go over and vote here!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Little bird brooch


Here's another little bird brooch, made from porcelain, with antique lace imprinted into the surface.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Christmas shopping giveaway!!!

I am giving little surprise Christmas treats with your order during November from my etsy or my folksy shop. Just enter the code GONE TO POT in the message to seller box during checkout :)

More lacy birds...



This time with a different texture. I thought I would try something different, and so I opted for a deeper, more graphic looking texture. I think the glaze works nicely, and the pattern is certainly more striking.
I have tried a few wall birds like the ones above, and bowls too...


It has been a great couple of weks in my etsy shop, with the Christmas shoppers starting, a couple of mentions in etsy's storque and gift guides, and a few times on the front page too :)
Fingers crossed that the lucky streak continues...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Christmas decorations

Here are a few images of my new Christmas decorations. This year I thought butterfly snowflakes might be nice, as well as some simple, classic lacy hearts...





So far the butterflies have completely sold out, and are now available and made to order with a slightly longer dispatch time. I like the simplicity of the unglazed creamy clay. It shows the texture of the lace off in greater detail, and can be emphasized with a classic red or gold thread for contrast. Both of these could even be used at weddings, and the thread changed to compliment the individual colour theme. I like to tie them to gifts instead of a bow too!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

TIMBER!!!

For any of you that will be around in London on Fri 13th November, 7 - 10pm, a fab new shop is opening called Timber and it is in the ultra trendy Brick Lane area. It's one of my favourite areas of London, it's being opened by a very lovely lady and it will be the first UK retail outlet that I have my work in. Apart from my own work, Timber will be showcasing some of the best in handmade art and craft. I wish Emma the best of luck with her new venture and am extending the invite to friends and interested parties. There will be the opening of an exhibition by Michael Chapman, titled "The Struggle For Existence" too which will be running in the Timber gallery space.

Timber, 65 Hanbury St, London E1 5JP

Get down there! It's gonna be fab!!

Monday, 26 October 2009

I bought these...


because they are beautiful. I am fairly indifferent to the flavour of the ones we get in this country. Pretty bland really. Good baked with something sweet and alcoholic and served with something creamy. Vanilla icecream or clotted cream. I digress... Bland they may be to taste, but not to look at. The colour of a nasty bruise. Except beautiful.
I thought I would try picturing them with my new colander... I am very easily distracted at the moment I have noticed. I know that I should have made the colander the centre of focus of the shot... How will I sell it if I focus on the figs?! After all, I'm not a green grocer. Which is just as well as I think I'd probably just sit there all day gazing at how pretty it all was whilst the fruit rotted.
The figs are no more. I didn't want to eat them because they were better than flowers to look at, but in the end it had to be done. Cut in half they were more beautiful again. I had kept them in the fruit bowl with some pomegranites for a few days, next to a great big pumpkin, and every time I looked at them the colours were just amazing. Autumn in a bowl. Aubergine and purple black from the smooth soft skins of the figs, and flaming oranges and reds from the waxy skins of the pomegranites with little black marks to make them look like they are on fire... It made me feel like I was living in a Peale still life.
A colander or a fruit bowl can look good. It can look beautiful. But no matter what it looks like, who made it, or what they made it from, it can never compete with the fruit that it will hold.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

I feel honoured this week...

To have had my friend, fellow etsian and talented jewellery designer-maker Kathy from Jewels By Kat use one of my bowls in some of her styling photographs. It's lovely to see my work being used! If you haven't already seen her shop, check it out! She has a wonderful eye for detail, and her creations are really special. I thought I would share a couple of my faves...




I absolutely adore the owl she's used here - I have never seen one like that before! Everyone knows how much I love to wear little birdies!! The colour combo's fab too; I love the blue with the metal colour....


I also love this one. It's called Mother knows best, and has a lovely vintage feel. I think this one would be great for a glam winter night out or worn at Christmas dinner.... They're both on my Christmas wish list - let's hope Santa thinks I've been good!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Lucky week continues...

with my little poppy bowl being featured in this storque article - whoooop :)

Lucky!

A weird thing happened today... A friend called round last night and said her friend was opening a shop in Shoreditch (London) and she thought my work might go well there. So she said she'd send her friend an email asking her to look at my etsy shop. So, true to her word, she did that today... And she got a response straight away. Her friend couldn't believe that she knew me as she'd been looking at my work online and had intended to get in touch for just that reason... It's a small world hey? What are the odds? It made me feel quite positive, as it means that my name and work is getting known and seen. Cool hey? But a wierd coincidence too!

Next on the good luck list this week is that a set of these...



Flock ceramic wall art, in both colours has been accepted into an exhibition and art auction at the Waterside arts centre. I submitted both colours hoping that they'd accept one, so I'm very pleased that they wanted both sets. Whoop! They'll be on display for about 6 weeks and then auctioned off. Fingers crossed that someone buys them. And bids big ;)

Also, as of next week, my work will be on sale through a great online retailer - All about the boys. For those of you who haven't seen it, it's a great collection of stylish children's wear. I love their selection of classic cute outfits for little boys and girls. My work is to be featured amongst a great selection of giftwear under the heading what Mummy wants. I'm working on something else with them too, but I'm keeping that under wraps for now... watch this space...
And last but not least in the lucky list is that my new facebook page for Prince Design UK has been up for less than a week and has nearly 100 fans!!! Which is a great start for that too. I was a little worried that I'd only get 15 of my friends and family to sign up and would feel a bit unpopular, but my ego has escaped without injury. Don't let that stop you from signing up though!
There is one more thing I should add to this list too. That I am very very very lucky to have the friends that I have. They are amazing, kind, loving, trustworthy, fun, genuine, good-hearted people and I love them very much. I have seen some of the best of them this weekend, have spent some great time, looked around me and really felt lucky.
So all in all a great week, and there's plenty more up my sleeve too, with a full kiln cooking as I write :)
Looking at this list, I wish I'd bought a lottery ticket...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Go with the flow...

Here is my new perforated fruit bowl...

It is called Go With The Flow, because I wanted it to have the dual function of being a fruit bowl and colander in one, so water will flow through it. It has holes pierced through the surface to allow you to wash, drain, display and serve fruit.



When I made it I was thinking about water. Not just the water that would eventually run through it; different types of water. Frothy gently curving waves, bubbly water and sails and flags on boats as they catch the breeze. Deep sea green colours, fluid curves and ripples...
The bubbly texture and shape make it good to hold even with wet hands.
What do you think of it?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Facebook...

OK. I surrender. Today I joined facebook... Facebook 1, my resolve to never join facebook nil.

Here is my Prince Design UK page. Call in and become a fan! And I would love for you to invite your friends too!! My fans list is looking er... short... Well hopefully it will pick up soon and stop me from feeling like a loser ;-) It is only day one after all...
I'm not sure why I have had such an aversion to facebook. Perhaps I'm getting set in my ways! Now I've done it it seems silly not to have done it ages ago. I'm going to be doing a few offers to facebook fans in the near future, so it'll be interesting to see how that works out :)

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

A little while ago

I did a pottery workshop in a nursery school. It was different to workshops that I had done before, in that there was a larger emphasis on the experience than on the end product. The first children of the day were for me the most challenging... the two year olds. All my previous workshop experiences had been with older children, and so this group were tricky for me. Working with clay is a very tactile and sensory experience, and this was the main focus of this age group. I was pleasantly surprised at how much they got out of it, they dipped their fingers in water and felt how the clay softened when they added water to the surface, how it became slippery and easier to change. They hit it with plastic spoons and in some cases poked holes through it. Although nothing recognisable was produced, each shild learned that he or she had the power to change the form of the material.
Next up were the three year olds, who on the whole decided to make "cakes." Or should I say one child decided, and the rest followed suit.
Here are some of them....

Each child selected from a range of objects in the centre of the table, stones, spoons forks etc, and made individual decisions about how to decorate their cake. I like how they picked the forks and spoons as candles.

Every child was encouraged to make what they wanted to make, and the nursery owner specified that I should not come armed with any kind of project. The items were not to be fired, and this meant that all kinds of other objects could be included in the pieces they made. Here are a few images of what some of the older children made. The children were aged up to eight years, as the after school club were included too.


I loved this crocodile :) I asked her what she thought might make the texture of crocodile skin and she selected something from a range to create the texture. Good choice!


And this fab catarpillar! Again, here the child himself selected a number of identical milk bottle tops to create the rhythmic form, and this was his idea.


These hedgehogs were amazing too. Again, a great choice with the straws to make the texture of the spines.
There's something fantastic about seeing a big table full of children's creations....


All in all we had a great (if exhausting) day. I really hope they took something valuable away from the experience. I know I definitely did :) A BIG thanks to all the children who were really lovely and very well behaved!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Nature...

Makes far more beautiful things than I could ever dream of. The hydrangeas are in full bloom everywhere at the moment and they are absolutely stunning. I wish I'd had my camera today to capture these - apologies for the image quality, they were taken with my phone...

Friday, 4 September 2009

For a while now...


I have been experimenting with mixed media. It began with little things, colaged birthday cards made with pieces of pottery, found objects, sentimental scraps and bits of thread. I made them for my friends and family, and then began to work on a few small pieces as artworks in their own right. I have always loved textiles and embroidery, so stitching into the ceramic seemed like an interesting idea. Here are the first few that I have produced for my shop....



I have kept the scale deliberately small for a number of reasons. Firstly, the idea began as cards and gifts for loved ones, and so the scale was small for that reason. Secondly, the stitched aspect makes them quite intimate in many ways. To me at least, embroidery and stitching are intimate processes, they require that you are close up to the piece you are working on, they demand that you hold it close to you and tinker with tiny details. Somehow to me, less is more with these. When there are a few stitches, you notice each and every one, whereas with an item that has thousands of tiny stitches, say a piece of clothing, they are no longer noticeable in their own right; they just become a part of a larger whole. I am after all a ceramicist adding some stitch, not a dressmaker adding a couple of ceramic buttons...


I have enjoyed making them, but they have been hugely labour intensive and fiddly, and so I fear that in the future they may again be reserved for gifts for loved ones rather than for my shop, but these ones at least are for sale as a limited range. I used porcelain as I felt that the pure, smooth white surface made a more interesting contrast with the thread than textured clay. I have created texture in the surface of the smooth clay and glazed areas sparingly so that the thread adds another dimension but does not have to fight to be heard.
As always... comments welcome!

Friday, 21 August 2009

For fun...


and because I have smashed so many of my bowls at home, I decided to throw some functional pots for myself. I don't usually use throwing as a technique in my shop, but it really is soooo much fun. It's kind of hypnotic. And the finished pieces are a great place to experiment with a less controlled method of glazing than I generally use. I have combined these glazes before in the distant past, but I had forgotten how well they work together. It was a happy accident that I only glazed the inside with the deep red underneath though, as I didn't realise how much the greeny blue one would slide off. I feel pretty lucky that I'm not chiselling it off my kiln shelves :)



I absolutely love this effect. I only dipped the rims with the greeny-blue one to approx half an inch if that on the insides. I can't believe how far it has travelled and how lovely the swirly patterns it has created are. One of the things I love most about pottery is the surprise you get when you open the kiln and see what's in there. I still get excited before I open the lid!


So... as the great British summer is unbelievably cold this year, and I have new bowls, I think I'll make some hot soup to fill them with!
As always feel free to comment... Love them or hate them?!

Monday, 17 August 2009

By popular demand...



I have made a couple of sets of stacking poppy bowls... I have said in the past that they are tricky to make, and that is true, but I have mastered it at last! When a customer that has ordered from me several times before requested a set I decided I should overcome my mental block. So here's one of the sets... I think they came out really nicely and so I plan to make them a regular in my etsy shop.

As always... comments welcome!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Porcelain...

Is the king of clay.. Or the queen anyway. It is just so beautiful. It is like working with silk - so soft and luxurious, so smooth and delicate, like the perfect complexion. Fragile yet tough, hard yet somehow soft, solid yet translucent when held up to the light, and so pure in it's whiteness that the colours of the glazes applied over the top shine brighter than they do on any other clay... delicious. These are the pros.... As with anything in life, there are cons. One is cost, and the other is that it is more difficult to work with too. It has a higher breakage rate, and shrinks more in the kiln. Despite these however, I have been seduced by it, and having tried a couple of different types to see which works best for me, I have found a type that seems pretty good to work with. So here's a sneak preview of a couple of items from my range that I will be introducing in porcelain!With the lacy imprinted items especially, the tiny particles in the clay mean that the texture if the lace is shown in finer detail than with other clays, and the crispness of the white clay gives all the bowls a more refined look. They'll be coming soon to my etsy shop

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Etsy love...

I have had a bit of a colour obsession with deep greeny blue for a while now, especially when it has a little lime green for contrast... Which kind of made this little wristlet from hollyhawk hard to resist. She has an etsy shop and if you haven't seen it, check it out! It's the perfect size to just hold the basics (phone, keys, cash) if you're travelling light, and I love using it inside a bigger bag to keep the essentials organised. Not to mention that it is beautiful and makes me smile when I use it. And as it's made from leather you can easily wipe off any stray clay/dribble marks... Perfect! Makes me wanna go glaze shopping and make juicy lime green pots...

Monday, 18 May 2009

Free gifts...

are always nice. Especially when they are a surprise! I love it when you get a little more than you were expecting when you order something online, and that is why I often put some little ceramic heart decorations in with orders, sometimes like these ones...


and sometimes little lacy ones. I know that often people buy my ceramics as gifts, and they are a sweet way to decorate a present. Also, it means that the giver of the gift gets a little gift for themselves if they choose not to use them on the present. I have some lacy ones that I hang from deciduous plants in the garden to add a little colour and cheer things up through winter. But I digress...
I was recently approached by British ex-pat Beeb at contest corner and I am running a special promotion with readers of her blog. She offers special giveaways for her readers, and her readers will receive mystery free gifts wth their orders from princedesignuk during May, as she is having a British Invasion celebration month... So, inspired by that, I thought I would experiment with some British-themed little ceramics...
I recently bought a little union jack key ring as a gift for a friend, and I began to think that I could perhaps make some out of ceramic as a free gift to send out with the British Invasion orders, and indeed with other orders from time to time.... PDUK key rings.... I like the idea! The main drawback is that I ordered the metal parts I need for this online, and sadly their shipping seems a little unreliable; I am impatiently awaiting their arrival... However, here are the ceramic parts... what do you think? I have messed around with the colour scheme somewhat, but I think I prefer the pink and cream to red white blue! I think it would be fair to say that I have feminized our flag a little. As always, comments welcome! And it seems a little unfair that readers of contest corner should get a little gift, whereas readers of my blog might not... So if you say you read my blog in the message to seller when placing an order this May, I'll make sure there's a surprise gift in for you too :)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Wearable pottery



I love to make brooches and jewellery. I have to say that most of them get appropriated by my friends and family, but every now and then I manage to upload a few to my shop before they get their hands on them...


There's definitely something lovely about unique jewellery. I have some beaten silver earrings I bought in Barcelona that were handmade and I absolutely love them. It makes your outfit your own somehow if you know no one else has the same thing. I think that's why these are so popular amongst my friends. And besides, a little bright heart or a cute lovebird on the side of your bag or jacket is guaranteed to brighten your day a little.


The only thing I'm not so keen on about jewellery is the spelling. You see in the UK, we spell it jewellery, and in the States you spell it jewelry. So I am always faced with a little internal turmoil on the subject... Do I accept that most of the people who read this blog and who shop in my etsy shop are American and spell it the way you guys do? Or do I stick with the British spelling and risk you all thinking I can't spell? Decisions decisions... I guess if that's the biggest problem I face today then I should thank my lucky stars :) But seriously, I would appreciate feedback on this subject!! Does it undermine your confidence in my intelligence if you think I have misspelled it? Would you have known that we spell it differently over here? Comments please!
P.S. What do you think of the brooches ;)

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Prince Design UK is one year old today!

It is a year today since I opened my etsy shop! Happy Birthday to me! It has been a great experience and I can't believe how much I have learned, how lovely people have been, and that I have sold so many pots. One of the nicest things about the experience has been the support and friendship I have had from customers, other etsy sellers and bloggers. Thank you everyone for helping to make my first year successful, and such great fun. I know it makes me a soppy girl, but I have actually cried happy tears at some of the sweet messages I have had, and I am very grateful for that and for the experiences and opportunities that have come my way as a result of my shop. So I figured it was time to give a little something back!! To celebrate my anniversary, I'm having a birthday giveaway weekend:) All orders placed between now and Monday will get a special surprise free gift!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Get crafty...

I got a little over-excited about this tutorial on etsy the other day.... A friend came over and he and I had a go at it. It was really good fun.
Basically, you get some carrier bags, plastic ones like from the supermarket, cut off the edges, get about 8 layers, put these between 2 pieces of ordinary paper (like an old bill for example) and iron it... I'm excited for a number of reasons. Firstly, I just do not do ironing, and it gives my iron and ironing board a purpose in life. Secondly, the possibilities for this material are endless. It makes a sort of plastic fabric. You can control the thickness by altering the number of plastic sheets you use. It is fully waterproof, and you can stitch it together, or you can join sheets together by ironing them. I reckon you could make strips of it and weave them together. You could make baby bibs, make-up bags, plant-pot covers, sturdy re-useable shopping bags, mousemats, aprons, postcards, flyers, business cards, pen-holders, wallets, peg-bags, hand-bags, purses, things for in the boot of your car to stop the carpet getting dirty, lampshades, passport holders, jewellery..... Loads of things!!!
Thirdly, you can feel like an eco warrior, as you will be re-cycling the bags into something useful instead of creating more land-fill. And last but not least, a friend of mine went on a workshop to learn how to do this a while ago, and said she would explain how to do it but it was a bit tricky and it would take time. IT IS THE EASIEST THING EVER!!! How on earth it took a day workshop to get this across is beyond me... Try it! I hope it's not just me that finds this so much fun :)
But please, watch the tutorial, there's a link to it on this page, don't just follow my instructions or you might ruin your ironing board. I realise that there are a lot of people out there that would be much more upset about that than me...

City chick

I love looking at the architecture, shapes and symbols of the city almost as much as I love people watching whilst drinking coffee in the afternoon with friends. The city chick bowl was inspired by the cities of Manchester and London, their inhabitants, my old life (when I had to go into the city every day to work), graffiti, road signs, road markings, office types on their way to work, angles, geometry, suits and street-wear... She's not as cute as the lovebirds or the spring chicken; she's got a harder edge, a little more street-wise and less naive, but I think she's still pretty cute in her own way!