Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A Change in Direction

Hello! Yes, I realise it has been a very long time! Is anyone still there? I suppose it's just too easy to post a quick update on my Facebook page and forget about the blog, but this time I have more to say than one or two sentences.

Clay time, for me, has been very hit and miss for a long time. Most of this has to do with my ongoing health problems. Yes, as well as now having to take medication for my thyroid, last September I also had to take the drastic step of cutting out wheat and gluten from my diet. It's not as hard as I thought it would be, temptation wise, but remembering to check the labels on absolutely everything has been a challenge. Although I miss some foods, any temptation is quickly eliminated by the thought of the consequences. "A little bit of what you fancy does you good" and "a little bit won't hurt" really doesn't apply in this situation.

So, I have managed to take up swimming again, which I love. I'm trying to slowly build up my stamina and strength, and I'm hoping this will benefit me in other areas of life as well, including clay time. Oh no, never fear! Did you think that by "change in direction" I meant I was going to give up clay? And art? No no no! I've still been thinking over various ideas, but my health problems have led to a serious lack of motivation in every area of life. Coupled with that, after my bad experiences with shows, I've still been left wondering what my purpose is regarding my art. Who is it for? What do I hope to achieve? And this is where my change of direction takes place.

I don't want to make items for sale anymore. I'm not saying I never will, but in the past I haven't found it fulfilling. I mean, it's very exciting when you realise that someone is willing to part with their hard earned cash to own one of your pieces, but I'm not a business kind of person. I've realised that artists have to work very hard at promoting themselves and their art and I'm just not that sort of person. And I always found it very stressful trying to put a price on things. There is definitely more happiness in giving, and I have been inspired by the wonderful Cindy Gilliland (Dirtkicker Pottery) and her "Praise Him" collection. I have decided that besides making items as gifts for friends and family, I want to make pieces for charity. The only question is whether they will want my pieces!

So if you are connected to a charity, and you have an event coming up later in the year, drop me a line :)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The prodigal blogger

It's been a while hasn't it?

Well, now that Facebook is making the new "timeline" compulsory, I may be blogging more often! Why stick with something that is not enjoyable anymore? I hate it!

Also, my doctor prescribed me some Thyroxine, and my energy levels are increasing a little! So I'm hoping to get back to my clay very soon! I have just been too exhausted for a long time to even think about it.

So, am I forgiven? :)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

There's no rush

Time for a little update - I haven't had much clay time, but I have had some!

That bowl/vase/I hadn't decided yet, turned out to be a large candle holder:

The clay has dried out here so it looks very pale, but once fired and glazed the blue slip on here will be dark blue. I've scraped some off, and I'm hoping that it will produce a streaky cloud effect. It's just an experiment really, so we shall see!

I have made more shot "glasses" as well:

The frustrating thing is that despite using a stencil each of them seem to have come out a different size! It probably has something to do with me being extremely impatient and not letting the clay shrink a little after rolling it out or something. I'm also using a different clay at the moment. My white stoneware clay didn't come out quite as white as I wanted it to, so this is from my bag of St Patrick's white. It's quite grainy actually, so I hope that doesn't effect the glazing of the pieces. These each have something different written on them.

And then finally, another unfinished piece:

It doesn't look like much at the moment, but this will be another candle holder. I want to experiment with the shape at the top of this one. I'm enjoying experimenting, and after all, that's what it's all about - experimenting, growing, learning, and having fun.

After doing a little run of shows last year I struggled a little bit with my feelings about my art. Partly because no one seemed to really appreciate it, and partly because I felt like I was just producing it for other people. I've been invited to do a couple of shows this winter, but I think I will give it a miss, continue to work at my own pace, and if next year I have a body of work to show then great, but at least there is no pressure. Art shouldn't feel pressured. So I'm hoping that working at this relaxed pace I may be able to produce something amazing, but we shall see. I shall keep you updated anyway :)

I'm also looking forward to making more tortoises! None of them sold at the shows, although my sister bought a couple, and the rest I gave away as gifts, but I really enjoyed making them! So that may be next on my list, just to keep changing what I'm making to keep it fun.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

"Best laid plans" and all that...

So what happened to this amazing idea I had of making 12 animals over 12 months? Umm... well, I haven't started it yet! I broke the panda into pieces to recycle the clay, put it in a large bowl with water, and then forgot about it. When I finally pulled the bag off to have a look, it looked like this: WARNING: THE FOLLOWING PHOTOGRAPH MAY MAKE YOU VOMIT.

Eew! What do I do with that?? I mean, seriously, if I drain the nasty, slimy, brown water away, can I still use the clay? I think not. This is paper clay by the way, I've never had this happen with any other clay.

Clay isn't the only thing that got left this summer...

I know I should probably cut it down, but it looks so pretty growing on the inside of the house :)

So what exactly did I do all summer? Well, I don't really know. I've had to look through my photos to remind myself!

After my holiday, my family came to visit from Norway for 4 weeks. It feels so long ago now :(

I also went to a classic American car show this summer...

... I went to a party...

... I saw some owls...

... and occasionally took photos of pretty stuff...

... and that was pretty much my summer.

And then suddenly, yesterday, I had an urge...

It's not an animal, but it's clay! Six shot "glasses" and a bowl/vase/I haven't decided yet. For those who are non-clay people, the clay will shrink, so the shot glasses look extra big at the moment! Scott thinks they look really good, I just think they look... wonky! Why is everything I make always wonky?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Back from holiday! Lots of news!

Hello everyone! We're back from our holiday! Actually we've been back for a week, but it's taken me this long to get round to updating my blog!

All week I've been thinking that there is so much news and so many photographs to share that this will be one incredibly long post! So I've decided to cut the waffle, give you the news in brief, and put all the holiday photos in a slide show at the end!

So on with the news...

Umm... yeah. I can't remember it all now! Umm... Oh yeah, well, after sleeping for nearly our entire holiday, I got my blood test results and they are all clear. So unfortunately I have nothing that can be cured with a little magic pill.

About the holiday - we slept a lot. It was so quiet and peaceful - exactly what we needed. It rained most days, but we had fabulous weather on the Tuesday so we went to the zoo! It was incredible. The animals are so beautiful. I wish I was allowed to stroke them! I did get to feed an elephant and a giraffe though!

Despite being so tired, I had a crazy idea this week to make 12 animals in 12 months! I was shopping for a diary, and saw a calendar with a different animal picture for each month, and the idea was borne! What this means is, I will have to scrap what I have made of the panda so far, because I will need to keep each animal at a reasonable size to be able to finish each one within a month. Of course, I suppose this also means that it will be 12 months before anything is fired or glazed, so I won't have any finished work for a long time. I'll play it by ear...

And the final piece of news is that I have lost half a stone in weight! Go me!

Now on with the photos...

Friday, 10 June 2011

Plan? What plan?

The panda is well under way...

Umm... ok, I know it doesn't look like a panda... actually, Scott said it looks more like a toilet! As usual, I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm just sort of making it up as I go along. I usually have a better idea of what I'm doing the second time around... ok, I know that didn't work with the squirrel, but I built the second swan much quicker, and it came out better... until I glazed it...

Anyway! So I wanted to make a smaller panda first, and then make a bigger one once I knew what I was doing, but this one sort of... got big. It's not as big as it would have been if I had decided to make a big one, but it's not really that small either! (You know it's big when I have to wrap it in a black bin bag!) You see? No plan. There's never a plan...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

He's done!

Yep, I finally finished Mr Squirrel and moved him to the "drying cabinet" today! (which is really just a portable green house, but it works just as well)

Last night I hated him - today, not so much. I "tweaked" him this morning, so he looks very slightly different to these photos from last night. Not much, just a little in the wrists, which I think look a little deformed here (well, mostly the other one, which you can see in the 3rd photo).

This is the best I could do with his hands.

He kind of looks like he's sitting down instead of squatting on his feet. I tried to correct this a little by bringing the bottom of the legs in, but he still looks a little... laid back.

And I'm still not really sure about the tail, although it's not quite as flat as it looks in the photos.

I made this one to replace the squirrel I gave away (you see, I don't really want to part with them). In some ways I think this one looks better (the hands and the face, and the ears are positioned better), in other ways not so good (I like the tail on the other one, although it should have been wider at the top, and the other one was rounder and leaning forward more), but I'm hoping overall this one will be better once I have glazed him. Looking back, the glaze on the last one was awful!

The "other one"

I gave this one to my brother and sister in law as an anniversary present, and I must say, they looked very disappointed! Last I heard it was being used to keep a cupboard door shut!

Time for my panda!!