Saturday, 31 May 2008

This week has been...

flat out crazy busy! I have had an obsession with making birds and flower head bowls and am very excited to see what they'll all look like when they get out of the kiln. My new pieces for Casa Interiors are ready too and as soon as we have a bright day here they'll be photographed and taken down there. They are stoneware wall panels with lavender rolled into the surface and then glaze rubbed in for emphasis. I also made a matching planter, so the overall effect is simple but stylish. Or at least that's what I hope!

Inspired by this small blue leaf bowl, I have also been making some tiny leaf jewellery with melted glass. It's great to be able to recycle glass in this way- using recycled materials definitely feels good to me! I just love the juicy crystalline effect in the bottom of this dish, and think it will work well on a smaller scale. I've also been experimenting with the same glaze with a little turquoise added to give a Carribean warm ocean colour. With the glass added, and a porcelain clay body underneath... fingers crossed it will work well!
That is not to say that I don't love this glaze as it is though - the subtleties of the one pictured here make it one of my all time faves anyway!
Comments welcome...

Sunday, 25 May 2008

It looks like our days are numbered.

I sometimes work at a community pottery facility close to my home. I have used it for quite a few years now, and it has been running for 23 years under the name of Artbase studios. Run by the council, it provided a warm, supportive environment to anyone who wanted to drop in and make a pot. There was no curriculum and no teaching as such, but if you wanted to know how to do something, skilled instruction was at hand. I once took a friend of mine who fancied having a go, and her quote perhaps best summed it up.
"This place is like something out of a dream," she said.
I couldn't agree more. What a magical place it is. There are professional potters, extremely skilled amateurs, people who've never tried it before and everyone in between. There are people in their twenties through to pensioners.
I have learned so much there, and would never have had the chance to experiment and grow in my own practice without it. I have made good friends and have grown as a person and a potter there.
Sadly, Salford council don't see it the same way and we are closed as of 29th June 2008.
We have formed a committee and a group under the name of Salford Community Pottery in order to try to continue autonomously, but at the time of writing, the future looks pretty bleak.
I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

I heart knowing where my keys are...

My new pieces as featured in last week's sneak preview are now ready, glazed and for sale in my Etsy shop!
Heart hooks, perfect for keeping small keyrings, necklaces and other hangable items safe in the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom or hallway...
I made these from a white heavily grogged clay very similar to T material and fired them to high temperature, so they will be strong.
I'm really excited about these! Very cute. I enjoyed making them so much that I'm working on more already...
As ever, comments welcome!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Hydrangea flower pendant

For a few years now I have been rolling plant matter into the surface of clay to create texture and surface pattern. It began with plant pots which were slab formed out of two or more slabs of crank clay. This gave good results, but more subtle details were lost. Flimsy flower petals for example were barely noticeable. Recently I began to experiment with looking at these subtle details on a smaller scale for jewellery. Today I got my first hydrangea flower piece out of the kiln. I used porcelain, as it shows the subtle details off far better, and applied oxide for emphasis. The sepia tones created give the piece an antique feel which is brought up to date by the clean, simple shape.There's something nostalgic about using an ephemeral object and capturing its imprint in a more permanent material. I am pleased that the colours here fit in with that feel. I felt that a vintage chain would be appropriate for this one, so I used the bronze one pictured. A matching brooch is coming soon. Each pendant or brooch uses one flower for each, and the flower is destroyed in the process.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Some more jewellery...

I made this range for a number of reasons. It was inspired by a vintage lace doily made by my great grandmother. The patterns and designs in the lace itself are exquisite. I was thinking about crafts, and how we are losing many of the skills that were commonplace in our history. For example, I own several pieces of lace that were made by my great grandmothers and their sisters, which would suggest that it was a common pass time at that time, but I don't know how to do it myself. Within a couple of generations, skills are lost. So I imprinted the antique lace into the surface of some porcelain to capture and preserve the delicate patterns and added some gloss black glaze for contrast and emphasis.
I wanted the range to also be contemporary, stylish and elegant, to bring the lace into 2008 and preserve it! I have tried to create something that could be worn (as modelled) with a dressed up dress, but also , in the case of the pendant, tied a little higher around the neck for the office or even with jeans and a little black shirt or vest top.
I added black satin ribbon to tie in a bow at the back of the neck to carry on with the vintage feel, but keep a simple, sexy elegance.
I hope it works.... As always, feel free to comment!

I saw these today...

and was inspired!
Forget me not range of porcelain brooches, earrings and pendant necklaces coming very soon...

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

I am sooo happy today!

Because I made my first sale in my Etsy shop! It was actually the pot I posted a picture of here yesterday...
A big thanks to my very first customer!
She will also receive a free pack of pretty English pressed flower gift cards, which I am offering whilst my limited stock lasts. They have petals from hydrangeas, roses and other flowers on them and are of course handmade by me!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

It doesn't get much better...

than sitting in the grounds of a Tudor mansion on a sunny May day working on my ceramics.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day all over England today according to the radio. It certainly was here; it was wonderful to sit in the sunshine for a while! Days like today make me feel lucky! What a pleasure!

I was working on some small porcelain jewelry pieces and my new range of hooks. Hopefully the first few will be ready and glazed next week, so I'm excited about that!

In the meantime, here's a sneak preview of a few of them...

Whilst I was there today, I took a picture of the roof space, as the building has inspired me in the past to make a small dish...

It's a pinch pot, made from a single piece of crank clay. I pierced holes through it so that when a candle is placed inside pretty patterns are created on the table top.

As ever, if there's anyone out there... comments welcome!

I sell pot

Well, actually I sell pots. Ceramic pots. Not the kind of pot that you get locked up for selling...
Want to see some? Of course you do!This has been the most looked at pot on my etsy shop since I uploaded it yesterday. It's a pinch pot, which means that it is made by pinching out a single piece of clay. It was inspired by one of my favourite flowers; white lilies. I hope that, in some small way, I have managed to capture some of the simplicity and elegance of a lily here.
It's made from grogged stoneware clay. Grogged means simply that it has bits in it. You can see them in the photo above. They give more structure to the pot and that means it has more strength. Stoneware refers to the temperature that this pot was fired at. Stoneware is hotter than earthenware. Hotter firing means stronger pot. For me, that is a great combination because I like to make some of my pots very thin. (But still want them to be strong!)
So if there's anybody out there.... let me know what you think!

Monday, 5 May 2008

Prince Design UK is born

My new shop is now live!!! Check it out!

I made this store banner from a photograph of some cherry blossom near to my home...

The blossom is unbelievably beautiful here at the moment. There's something about it that just gets me. When I was a baby we had a flowering cherry tree in our garden. My Mum told me last week that she used to put me in my pram underneath it so that I could look at that instead of one of those baby mobile things. She's such a cheapskate. (Joke. She's actually very sweet.)
So anyway, it must have had an effect deep in my subconscious, because I've always found that when I walk under a cherry tree in the springtime, and we are lucky enough to have lots of them here, I can't help but stop under it and look up. There's so much of it, it fills your vision and mind with soft, fluffy, floaty, dreamy, calm, cotton wool feeling... So if you're lucky enough to live somewhere you can, stop under a cherry tree and look up!
And if not, just call into my shop and look at my banner!!!!!!!!

Hello world, I think I've gone potty!

It all started quite a long time ago.
I was at school in fact. Someone gave me a lump of mud and said that if I moulded it into a shape I liked, they'd put it in a special oven and turn it into a ceramic pot.
Yeah right, I thought. If you believe that you'll believe anything...
"You're telling me that lump of mud will turn into a rock solid object just by putting it into the oven?" I challenged, precocious child that I was.
"Yes, I am. Good hey?" came the reply from my art teacher.
The mud felt kinda nice, all squishy and slippy between my fingers. This could be fun I thought, because I was the type of child who generally had a scab on at least one knee and loved nothing more than playing in the mud with my best friend Paul at every opportunity. Mud? In school? Yay!
A couple of hours later, my first pot was taking shape. A week or so after that the solid version emerged from the kiln.
Cutting out twenty something years of similar anecdotes, here I am, aged thirty, still playing with mud.
Wish me luck...