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Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Madonna

My plan for December was that I was not going to make any work. I had worked non-stop, not a single off-day, since June when I came back from Tokyo. All I would have to do in the month would be packing and posting. It is a very busy month with Christmas posting. But one commission inquiry I shouldn't decline came, and a few days later another inquiry came. I was asked if I would be able to make a mask. It was mid-November. Time was tight. But as I would have to fire the kiln anyway, I would rather make two. The request was also irresistible. They wanted me to make the Madonna mask.

I am not a christian, but I like visiting churches, cathedral and chapels. I have visited numerous churches in Europe. I like Catholic and Orthodox churches because of the sculptures and paintings as well as the decoration.

The Madonna is probably the most popular female subject in art history. She became famous because she gave a birth to someone who would be super famous. What a fate!




But of course she didn't know of such a fate in the future.

I added the recipient's building on the top of the head with Italian rural landscape. The headscarf is pale sky blue. She wears a narrow gold band which reflects her inner status.

It was great to be able to create one of the most depicted lady in history. The clients send me a photo of the recipients opening the gift in Italy. I was told they were very happy. Thank you so much.





Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Our holiday art project

Mike and I did a bit of linocut printing during the holiday. Last year, I drew a baby tapir, and he made a lino plate. It was casual. This year, he decided to do more! It was Mike's art project. So I drew on lino, and Mike cut it. Somehow he told me that he wouldn;t be able to print well after the first try, so I had to hand pull them with a baren and a spoon.

The first thing to do was for our Christmas cards. A chicken! It is the year of  the Rooster, but as some of you know, we live with Pumpkin. She is so close to us, literally. She moved inside, and her bedroom is under a breakfast table. She is 13 years old, a very grande madame.



 So the right one was our first. Then Pearl the whippet on the left. Mike said he really enjoyed cutting.

Pumpkin the house chicken


Then I decided to try myself. I did my first ever linocut. I made this for the Christrmas card for Mike. Again Pumpkin! ( She is his first wife and I am the second). 






Then he started throwing on the potter's wheel. So I took it over and made two borders, Topaz and a cat wihout eyes. Eyes fell off whilst I was carving around them!

Topaz

Bird border

Pearl and borders


Then Mike developped allegry on his hands from the clay and stopped throwing. He said he wanted to do a cat so I drew one with a tail.


The last was the adult tapir. We haf a great fun.



When I was staring, I used to think that I wish I had talent on some paper based art; easy to carry, to post and to store and less expensive and less risk to make. I noticed that nowadays those paper based artists I was jealous at that time, are trying on ceramics! You never know.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

A dream commission.

One day at the beginning of summer, a gentleman, whom I had made a set of figures before, contacted me to commission a work. I booked a slot for it in autumn. He sent me loads of photos. They were taken during his very special trip to see Northern lights in Norway, which changed his life. He sent me about twenty phrases to go with the photos. I thought they were like flashes of his memory.

He requested me to create a sculptural piece inspired by the photos and phrases with a generous budget, without a deadline. There were no conditions, except for one thing. The piece should be a surprise, so he would only see it for the first time when he would receive it.

Like other commissions, I started thinking about it whilst out walking. What the aurora would look like? How cold was it? What was like to be on dog sleigh? I have tried to follow in his footsteps, reliving the experience. This is the most important part for my creation. Unless I could imagine it, that is, I could re-live the moments, I can't make. So I took as long as I needed.  

After a while, I started researching images of landscapes, aurora and the important places of the client. Finally I got a vision.

Here is a photo record of the making. I usually share the images of my kiln shelves. It was not very easy to avoid any part of the mask being visible in any of the photos. But I managed it, and the lovely client didn't have any idea what he was getting through any images he had seen on social media.



The initial idea. I wanted it to be asymmetrical, to start with. I don't sketch because sketching will limit my feeling. 


However, next day, I realised that it will need a pair of horns. The vikings' bridge has gone, too. I have added more details from the client's life. They have fallen into place naturally. 




After a bisque firing. They all stayed on, thankfully.


I was not sure about the forehead. I took a photo and slept over it. 




I thought a triangle would go well with the theme of the mask. 




In the end, he didn't want the pointing corners. 





The first glaze-firing was ok, but he needed dark bluish tinge on the sky parts. This was taken just before the second glaze-firing.




The third glaze-firing.  It went well. I was happy with how he came out. I told the client that it was ready to ship.

An accident happened.  Whilst packing, a part got broken. Usual repair method failed. I bought a special repair concoction. And it went through bisque-firing and glaze-firing. It was finally ready to be shipped. The repair itself took a month. In total, from the very beginning to the end it took about 5 months.

It was a dream commission. All pieces came in places, and it was like a puzzle. I knew it was a good work because I was happy with it.

The lovely client was also very happy and he even uses the mask as his avatar. Thank you so much for your trust, patience and understanding. I couldn't be happier to create this piece for you.



The client named him  Jeg v√•kner' (I awaken).



You could see sleigh dogs behind.


The details of the church. And a walnut. 

  

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

We wish you all a Merry Christmas! Sweet dreams to children of all ages. 

If you are not going to be with somebody on the day, don't worry. There are lots of people who are with their family and feel lonely. Do spend quality time with your animal family and if you don't have animal family, give some food and water to wildlife. They will make you happy!

 

Have a peaceful time. That matters most. 



Monday, 12 December 2016

Angel, owls and spoons.

My shop has been busy. Thank you so much! As almost all sold works are gifts to somebody special,  I will share what are available.

A few Angels were just completed. I didn't make them particularly for Christmas, although they have been popular during this time of the year. I have a few in my website, 'Available works'. And I will add new ones soon.

Angel 
There are more Angels available in New Ashgate gallery and GalleryTop.

A fortnight ago, I have made 64 spoons. Now eight spoons are left; three tapirs and five cats. They are perfect little gifts for a tapir lover and a black cat lover. If you know someone, please check in my Etsy shop.






Four owls are waiting for you. One Wind swept owl, and two Surprised owls also one Smiley one.
 



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The last glaze-firings for the year were done. All commissioned works have been posted today. Large works will be sent with special delivery, which will be delivered by Next day 1PM. I observe Royal Mail tend to look after them more carefully.



I used to think I was a totally crazy to start selling ceramic sculptures online, when I started. They are heavy, bulky and fragile. But accidents are rare. I have posted about 300 packets this year, so far there have been no damages, thankfully. Now I am glad that I made the decision to open the shop then.