Monthly Archives: October 2009
Now that the festive season is looming ahead, I wanted to prepare some natural decorations for my stall at my Christmas craft fairs coming up. I dried out these oranges and limes yesterday, the smell was delicious! I think they will look great with a few displayed in bowls here and there. I’ll also be using my usual natural decorations such as pine cones, shells and holly.
I couldn’t resist using these frosted red berries to display in my vases, they give off a real Christmassy feel. They are displayed in one of my vases at home when I’m not using them as props at fairs, and Molly (the cat) has just discovered them so I don’t think there will be many berries left soon!
My new selection of work will finally be going in the kiln soon, so watch this space!
I’ve been busy preparing these sets of magnets to go into a new sample box concept, run by Belinda of Shop Handmade UK.
Each pack comes with 3 different magnets, wrapped up in cellophane with my card and sealed with my stickers. This should be a great promotional concept and will hopefully get my products noticed more. I believe the first batch of boxes will be for sale online via Folksy within the next couple of weeks – Keep a look out! Not only will the purchaser of a box receive some lovely gifts for themselves, but also some little potential Christmas gifts for family and friends. All items will be visible inside the boxes so the purchaser will know exactly what they will be getting.
I’m really excited about seeing my magnets alongside other designers work in these boxes. Let me know if you buy a box and receive my products!
To read more about the new 2009 Sample Box Launch with Shop Handmade UK, click here.
The evenings are slowly starting to draw in now, its definitely scarf and glove weather for me! I’ve noticed a change in the drying process of my work, each item takes twice as long to dry completely out in this cold weather. I suppose thats more of a good thing though, because the slower the clay dries out, the better – it gives me more control over it. A lot of my new work in progress is very seasonal. I get a lot of my inspiration from the natural world and the change in the weather this year has given me new design ideas. Since I can’t show any of my finished work yet (watch this space!), I thought I’d share four of my favourite autumn finds from Folksy.
I have noticed a big change in the weather whilst out in the workshop this week, it has been sooo cold! I’m lucky to have a halogen heater which soon heats up the small space, making it feel nice and cosy. I’ve noticed someone watching me from outside while I’m working… he’s small and fat with a red chest – Mr Robin is back! I think he’s waiting for the mealworms, although all the greedy starlings eat them all.
I’ve had a busy couple of days in the workshop and thought I’d take a few photos while its looking tidy(ish). Above is a selection of new vases, sculptural vessels, a pile of coasters and some new Christmas tree decorations in the shapes of stars and trees. I’m glad to be getting ready for Christmas early this year, I hate rushing at the last minute.
Here’s my main workspace where everything gets prepared, with the big Christmas tree right outside the window in the garden. You can see some of my vases in the moulds which were cast earlier today, they will be ready to take out tomorrow.
This is a shot of my wall full of inspirational images and photos, with pieces of work drying ready to be smoothed with finished edges. I do this when the clay is leather-hard (not too soft and not too dry). I’ve made a few trial letter racks, not sure how they will turn out as its a new idea but I hope they look ok.
These sheets of paper pinned on the wall are full of new design ideas that I’m currently working on. I also use them as a noticeboard to jot down ideas when I’m making batches of work. They are also handy for writing down the time when I’ve poured casting slip into my moulds for each item so I know how long they have been in, its sometimes hard to keep track of time when a few things are on the go at once!
I got given loads of unwanted bags of different glazes a few weeks ago. I made test samples for each glaze, and these are my favourites. You can’t quite see in the photo but the top left sample has little cratered bubbles on the surface, and the bottom left has lots of tiny brown specks in it. The glaze on the bottom right is a deep brown with exploded red patches, I think this one will be nice to use on some of the Christmas decorations as its got a warm Christmassy feel about it.
Other new work on the go is a range of smooth pebble shaped keyrings, candle shaders, bowls, wall plaques and lots more mini sculptures as I’ve sold my last batch.
I’m really pleased with my work in progress so far, so I’m off to treat myself with a chocolate eclair now!!
Many artists, designers and crafts people struggle for inspiration and creativity at some point during their design processes and thoughts. With me being one of them recently, I dug out this book by Carolyn Genders – Sources of Inspiration – a brilliant visual source for applied artists working in any medium.
I usually find that looking through my collection of books gets me going, and new ideas begin to flow. After having a good flick through the pages and taking in all of the influential images in this book, I’m starting to feel really inspired and excited to start making new work again, which is about time considering I need to get a move on with my Christmas stock! Look out for my latest work over the next few weeks.
Carolyn Genders is a ceramicist herself, so I can really relate to a lot of the things she writes about. What I am most impressed by are her sketchbook pages, which she shares in snippets and shows how images can be visually abstracted and then refined and developed to create other beautiful patterns, designs and forms. The result is not only a useful guide to how the creative process works but also a glourious sourcebook of images, of both natural and manmade objects.
I really like these pages below, full of colourful observational drawings of pumpkins and gourds, all generated using different drawing techniques.
Talking of pumpkins…!
These 3 beauties were taken off the vine last week. They weigh a tonne! Does anyone know why 2 of them haven’t turned orange? I think it’s because they didn’t get as much sunlight. They are now in the conservatory so will still get some sunlight, but I’m not sure if they can still turn orange at this stage? Pumpkin soup will be on the menu in a few weeks, and 2 of the pumpkins are going to be carved out at Halloween. I found this site for pumpkin carving ideas which looks quite interesting.