Thursday, 2 October 2014

How to choose artwork for your home online

I get a lot of messages from people who are unsure of how a piece of art will look in their home, and are struggling with ideas of placement or scale. Luckily, I was an interior designer for nearly a decade before I started my ceramics business, so I have a trick or two to share!
So, what is the best way to choose art for your home? Well, let's imagine that you have found an image, a print or a photograph that you like on the internet, and the artist offers that in either one size or a choice of sizes. Simply stick together paper ( recycling newspaper will often suffice ) and cut it out to the correct size. Simply tack it onto your wall, and there you have it - the issue of scale is resolved. It will either look good or it won't.  If you can see the image at the same time, on a screen for example, then that's all the better - this combination of factors really gives you an idea of how a piece will feel in your home.
If you find that it isn't the right scale for you, consider asking the artist if they could do it in any other size. I am always happy to work with a customer to get the perfect number, scale, personal touch or special colour to suit their room, and I am sure other artists are too.
Often, people ask this when choosing my Grace wall art. It's really simple - just cut out circles of paper to approximate sizes and tack them on. It's a great trick when you're arranging them after a purchase too, to make sure you get them in the right place.

In terms of colour, it is an incredibly personal choice. I always find that a contrast to your wall colour is best. So light things on mid tone or dark walls and vice versa. Picking out colours from your decor scheme is often a good idea too, although it might be that you're going to own the art for longer than your current decor scheme lasts, so picking colours you love is the main thing. I like white for artwork, because it just looks fantastic on such a wide range of coloured walls, but it really is a great opportunity to introduce colour to a room too.
Above all, the best advice I think when choosing art is that you absolutely love it. You're going to see it most days if it is to be in your home, so make sure it is special to you.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

New ceramic wall art

Here are a few new pieces from my ceramic wall art work. I hope you'll enjoy!
Some are from my swallow project, and the ceramic wall flowers are from my Grace series.
All are handmade, all are made from English porcelain, and all are unique.

I have really been enjoying making more art lately. There is more to come for sure.
You can find all of these and more in my online shop, or get in touch about a commission!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Upcoming ceramics workshops

I am going to be running two separate two part ceramics workshops from my Manchester studio in September and October.
The first one will be ceramic bowls, where you can come along and make small bowls, suitable for storing jewellery, candle holders, as dipping bowls, gifts or whatever you'd like! In the first session, Weds 10th Sept 6-8pm, we will make the bowls, and you'll learn some really easy and effective ways of forming them and creating textures in the surface. The second session, Weds 24th September, 6-8pm will be for glazing the bowls. Don't worry if you can't get through rush hour for 6 - if you'd like to start a touch later at say half past, and finish at 8.30, that's fine too!

The second sessions will be ceramic jewellery making. Again, we'll make the forms in session one, and will glaze them in session two. Please note that we will only be making the components for the pieces, unless of course you choose to make one piece items like bangles or rings, so you'll need to stick on brooch backs and thread up pendants after you collect your treasure. As it is going to be coming up towards Christmas by the time we run these, you will be welcome to make a couple of Christmas tree ornaments too!
 Session one: Thurs 9th October, session two: Thurs 23rd October, a flexible 6-8 pm as above. You might find some inspiration for the jewellery here.
For both workshops, just bring yourself and some clothing that can be washed easily. All materials and firings are included in the cost, and you can book online here, and also check out the many other craft classes run at Ellie Magpie, where my studio is based.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Some images from our pottery workshop last night

Lots of fun and people making some really effective pieces with some great techniques. Looking forward to the next one! Like my facebook page to be kept in the loop about future workshops!

Monday, 26 May 2014

New pieces from my swallow project

New swallow wall art pieces with moorish and Moroccan designs. Part of my swallows project, these pieces look at the journey of the swallows as they migrate from the United Kingdom to South Africa every year, passing over France, Spain, Morocco and down through Africa to their destination.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Swallow project research - Andalucia and the Alhambra

I thought I would share some images that I took on my recent research trip, following the swallows to Andalucia in southern Spain.

Even the manhole covers had interesting textures and shapes! I loved this one in Cadiz!

There were very interesting shapes and textures in the Catholic architecture.


Flooring in Puerto Santa Maria

Detail from a church door Puerto Santa Maria

Spanish tiles and ironwork

Traditional Spanish costume and lace

And of course - the highlight of the trip and a longtime ambition to see - the Alhambra in Granada

It is just incredible

Intricate Moorish plaster reliefs and ceramic tiles

And, incredibly, swallows actually nesting in the palace of the lions, swooping over my head whilst I looked around :)

Words cannot do justice to this incredible place

I hope my work can do justice to the research!
Travel is such a rich source of inspiration for me. I took hundreds of photos, and there will be more work based on this research coming over the coming months.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The swallow project

I have been working on a new project for a while now - the swallow project. I know some of you have already seen some of my swallow wall art, but these new pieces focus on the migration of our native British swallows, and the ideas that raises. I find it incredible that these tiny birds make such an epic journey each year. They leave us at the end of our summer and make the journey to the south of Africa where they stay for the winter, before returning to breed here in Spring. Everyone loves the idea of migratory birds, but I find it interesting and quite sad that human migration is not always held in such high regard.
On their journey, our swallows firstly pass over France and Spain, before they reach North Africa. Most will then fly over Morocco before flying straight over the Sahara, whilst some will skirt around it by flying over east Africa, the Sinai and Egypt down the Nile Valley, whilst some travel down the West of Africa. Some will travel over Nigeria, Chad, central African jungle, Congo, Cameroon... the list is long. These are well travelled birds. They travel about 200 miles per day, and can complete their return journey in as little as four weeks. They can fly places you and I would not be able to pass through, for reasons of war or just un-hospitable terrain.
The cost to travel through all these places would be huge - visas for all these countries alone would run into the thousands of pounds. For these lucky little birds, there is no passport control, and they are welcomed wherever they go!
I became fascinated by this journey, and began researching the patterns and textures that are seen in these places. Indeed I will be travelling to some of these places in a couple of weeks for further research into the designs and patterns that are seen in Spain and Morocco.
For now, the first of my series is ready, and here is a little taster - swallows over Morocco.

The design is inspired by Moorish and Moroccan tiles, and similar designs are found in Spain and other countries, because of the migration of the Moors and their influence. Indeed, similar designs are now incorporated into what is thought of as traditional Spanish design. 
I carved the design by hand into the porcelain for this set only, so they are a particularly special set. Firstly, I drew the design on in pencil, and then gently, slowly carved it out. 
Keep calling in to my shop see more designs as they become available!