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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Beach walk and Ice baby guardian for Perin's baby

Hello everyone. We are having summer in England. It is so lovely! We took our dogs to the nearest beach, 10 minute's drive, this morning. Even though we got there before ten, it was already quite hot, well, just 23 C in fact, but sunny and no wind. Dogs didn't like it. They panted and didn't want to walk. It was too hot for them!
Whitstable beach

Just behind the beach, there is this house. This house has name, 'Fishermans arms'. I wonder how it got the name.

On the beach there are several flowers. Today I chose yellow ones. 

Probably Brassica family. 

This looks like poppy

Dogs didn't like walking. Topaz kept drinking water.

My black coat soaks up heat!
 Pearl kept sniffing around.

It smells of something here, here and here!

Once back home, they slept until late afternoon. 

Let a sleeping dog lie.

While dogs were asleep, I made this. Perin commissioned me to make Ice baby guardian for his baby. I am going to put some personalized motifs on the body, like plants and animals which have special meaning to him and his wife, Kath. I am thrilled to make this guardian for the new baby. I am putting lots of good wishes while I made him. I felt like I were a fairy godmother!  

Ice baby for Perin's baby, due in January

Friday, 28 June 2013

Studio time and Pearl's 'cookie dance'

Hello everyone. It has been a busy week. It was one of the weeks when I went to post office to send orders every day. A good exercise for me. Thank you very much! I also went to the studio everyday except for Monday. Yesterday I went even twice, morning and afternoon. I have had productive time there.

Today I spent a whole afternoon in the studio. I used three different types of clay, and did throwing, turning, sculpting, and preparing clay. As I can use a whole studio, I assigned each table for different coloured clay so that they won't get contaminated. I found this method efficient.

Here is the vase fresh from a kiln. I call it a vase, but it won't hold water, as it has cracks and holes. I love it. It has a character, and I imagine it starts talking at midnight!

My new vase
The turned pots are waiting to be bisque fired. These will hold water. : ) They are all going to be reduction fired next week.

I have added textures on the two vases.

I usually come home before five to walk dogs, but Mike told me over the phone that he had walked them at lunch time so that they would be alright until he goes back home; so I could work longer. After six he came to the studio to pick me up. When we were back, dogs were very excited. Pearl was swirling and dancing. We realized that she was 'cookie dancing'. She wanted cookies, so she swirls in begging position, which is 'play bow' position with front legs extended forward and lowered and the hip high up. We were impressed that she could swirl in the position! Yes, they both had cookies. : )  After cookie, she stopped dancing, but stayed close to me for a while. ( maybe she wanted to have another cookie!)

I don't mind another cookie.....


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Afternoon in the studio and Paeony

Hello everyone. It has been warm lately. But we still keep our winter jackets at hand. The temperature was only 14 C ( 57 F) on Monday.  I went to the studio yesterday and today. As undergraduates finished their term, I am the only one using it. Jane was there to look after the studio. She has been busy with blitz cleaning, laundry and recycling clay. There are load of jobs there!

I made this fellow for a lovely lady in Australia. I said 'fellow', but it is 'she'. She has delicate appearance, typical of a lady chameleon! I used to make loads of them, but now I make them on commission. But after making her, I feel like making more. They have such characters. It's a joy to make them.  
A lady chameleon
Yesterday in the studio I threw four pots. I have already discarded one. I felt guilty to put it into the now-empty-recycling bin, just after Jane recycled all clay; I know she hates this job. But I must be ruthless which to fire.

This one was thrown and altered before I turned it. With hindsight, I should have turned it before altering.  I will remember this for the next time.  

These two are vases. Left one was altered, and the small one was finished. They are going to be reduction fired with shino glaze. 

Vases. The blue thing is my cup :   )
I threw these two today. I am not sure whether to keep them. I am making larger pieces (for me, that is) about 1.2 kg -1.4 kg of clay. They are fruit bowl size.

Does ceramics studio sound cool to you? But this is the reality. Look at this! Jane is so lovely. She looks so happy putting laundry out. Actually she has just said 'You are going to put the photos on your blog, aren't you?'  To that I replied 'Yes! ' : ) We are really lucky to have her in the studio. She is known as 'a nice lady in ceramics' among MA art students. She makes her ceramic rock sculptures. I describe them as 'thinking rocks'. Her rocks appear in deep thoughts.  

Jane at work

Last, I want to share the paeonies, Sarah Bernhardt, which I cut on Sunday. They are still beautiful. The scent is delicate and elegant. I love them. They also don't need any care except for staking, although they chose where they grow (a sunny and uncrowded place). My mother loves them, and she had some in the garden. I remember my childhood and hot Japanese summers whenever I see paeony. 

'Sarah Bernhardt'

Sunday, 23 June 2013

A great afternoon with bubbly girls

Hello everyone. We had a great Sunday afternoon with two bubbly girls, Claire and Lenka. What a fun! We had sushi (Alaskan wild salmon and Mike's cucumber) as starter, tempura (aubergine, sweet pepper, sweet potato and Mike's courgette) and fried chicken fillet a la Japonaise with leek sauce as double main, and Mike's cheesecake with fresh strawberries picked this morning as desert! I forgot to take photos of food as we were so busy eating!

Pearl is eating cookie crumbs 
Pearl loved all attention. She loves girls! Both girls enjoyed giving her cookies, With the request from Lenka, Mike brought Scooter, the African grey Timneh parrot, to the kitchen. He flew down to the tap over the kitchen sink, and got all our attention. He did a bit of Stevie Wonder dance, and flew up to upstairs again.

What a fun!
They are soon leaving Canterbury to start their new lives separately. Both created fantastic works for the degree show. Good luck to them!

You may wonder what happened to Topaz. She had stayed in the car in the garage. It is somehow her most favourite place to be. She didn't want to come back inside house! Even after she came back, she repeatedly scratched the door to go back to the garage!

But after a while, she decided to sleep with Pearl on Pearl's bed. Yes, the pink bed is Topaz's bed.

'There is something on my head... there is something in my bed.'

While We are having a long lunch, two of my ceramics were sold at my Etsy shop. Thank you so much! I feel the girls brought me luck! My shop has been busy lately. I had three customers from Australia this week, and I had not sold any to Australia before that! It is amazing that my ceramics travels to almost the opposite side of the globe. It used to be unthinkable before Internet was available. The world is becoming more dynamic and I am so happy to be a part of it.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Progress on big chicken, and a lovely walk at the end of the hectic day.

Hello everyone. It has been hectic recently. I start working about seven in the bed, and usually finish about a half past nine in the evening. Of course, I will take lunch and dinner breaks, and I walk dogs twice between them. Yesterday and today I went to studio for a couple of hours. I should slow down a bit. June is supposed to be a quiet month for my day work, but not this year. As the Wimbledon starts, lots of business people go to see it, so it might become a bit quiet. You can see them in corporate boxes in jackets. : )

In the studio, I was assembling my chicken. I had to carry the head on my lap in the car.
A chicken head on my lap! 
Kind James helped me to try different angles.

He has a long  slim arm!

This looks better, but will it be safe?
So, the final attachment will be tomorrow.

I rushed back home just after NYSE opened. Financial markets have been volatile this year. That keeps me busy!  I quickly walked the dogs, and went back to work.

The market closes at a half past four. I needed to relax. I decided to take Topaz for a long walk to meet Mike. I was in such hurry that I only noticed that my jumper was on back to front after I had walked about 100 meters.  Uh-oh. I thought the neckline was a bit tight today. (Hair needs combing, too!)

My back to front jumper
 On the way back, we noticed this.

Balancing logs
 Topaz was very happy. She was hopping and jumping in the long grass. She had a good walk!

'I feel as if I were a puppy again! '

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Perin-papa, Chicken head and Karen's cool film

Hello everyone. England is having a warm spell. People look happier everywhere. I finally caught up with my Etsy shop jobs. I have ordered packing materials, and I am designing my new business cards. I have also listed a couple of my sculptures. I hope I can list more this week. So please check them out.

I had a wonderful news from our friend Perin. He is going to be a papa! Kath and Perin used to come to a ceramic course at Kent adult education before they moved to New Zealand. He asked me to make a guardian for their baby. Do you remember my Ice baby? I am going to make one like that for them. How nice to make something for them and their little baby! They both love children. They will make wonderful parents. Their news made us very happy! Many congratulations, Kath and Perin!

The last two evenings I have worked at home on these.
Two blobs? 

They are going to be a gigantic chicken! : )

A chicken head. It's larger than my head!

Last night, I saw a very nice short film of a ceramic artist, Karen Banks. It was made by Paul Carr. It's so cool. I have known both on Twitter. Karen is a lovely lady; her gentle calm character is reflected very well in the film. I felt her quiet voice, her hands and a short appearance of lovely cats made such nice atmosphere. I was definitely inspired! One day, I would like to make mine, too.

Karen makes elegant smoke fired ceramics. Here is her website.

Paul is a film maker and photographer. His website is here.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

New mask, beach walk and Willow's advice

Hello everyone. How was your weekend? I had productive time in the studio yesterday. I have prepared several pieces for re-firing. It happened to be Open Day. I also played a roll as an exhibit in the glazing room when prospective students and their parents were guided through.

Last night I made another mask. I still don't know why making something in clay helps me go to sleep. But I had a good night sleep!

New mask
This morning, we went to the beach with our girls, Pearl and Topaz. They became very excited. We had walked about one hour, and met a handsome male whippet, a large lurcher and their wonderful lady owner. Both Topaz and Pearl get along with whippets and greyhounds. They probably know!

Grey sky and grey sea.
They were really happy, sniffing everywhere and leaving their visiting cards! We also had a relaxing walk. 

Pearl camouflaged so well. 

There were lots of wild flowers; pink, yellow and white. They looked nice!

There were some funky beach huts.  

One beach hut stood out!
This boat looked in need of TLC. It reminds me of a whale although I have never seen a real one! 

In the afternoon, I started the mother of all spring cleaning, Yes, it's a bit late, nonetheless spring cleaning! Today I did kitchen and windows. I will attack a room a day.

Willow said that I should take time to smell roses! I did! They are heavenly scented. I pushed my little nose into several of them!  I felt much better! Thank you, Willow!

Willow's blog is here.

Friday, 14 June 2013

A cat with a headscarf and our porcelain in California

Hello everyone. A good news! I have submitted the essay today! Thank you so much for your support! I am so lucky to to have you all! Now I am free to create again. What a nice feeling!

I took photos of one of the sculptures I took for assessment this afternoon. Unusual subject for me. A cat.

A cat by Midori Takaki
I used to have a white cat with green eyes. He was the inspiration for me. I made another one, I will show you later.

From slightly different angle.

I had very good news over the weekend. A set of porcelain rabbit bowls and a sushi plate have arrived safely to a lovely lady in California. Mike threw the bowls on a wheel, and I made the plate. I hand painted all of them with Japanese rabbits. What a relief! We are so delighted! The lady soon used them, and did a little sushi party with her extended family. She kindly sent me a photo.

A little sushi party!

She is such a lovely lady. We really enjoyed making them for her. Thank you so much!

Rabbit bowls

Rabbit sushi plate

If you are interested in getting your own one, please let me know.

That's it today. I am going to make a little pinch pot now. I will be in the studio most of the day tomorrow. Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

One down, one to go.

Hello everyone. My assessment went well. I don't know about marking, but it went in peace. The atmosphere was just like you would expect in higher education. That's a relief!

Tomorrow I will proof-read the essay one last time, and probably change the titles! Two copies to be printed, and then I will submit them either tomorrow or Friday. Then, back to normal. Luckily June is the quiet month for my day job. So I have a chance to catch up before it will get busier in July.

I packed this one in the large basket. Mike said it looks like a fish basket! Topaz checks it if it is edible.

Topaz is wondering if she could eat it. 

I spotted this green butterfly, Brimstone shielding from light rain on the rose.
My favourite Japanese acer. Gorgeous lime green!

Pumpkin comes out every day, She has stopped laying eggs now. She potters around, and sleeps under the raspberry bushes.

All her feathers are beautiful now.
Water on the leaves. Mike shot this one. I would have removed the weed leaf!

The world looks much more beautiful once I have finished assessment!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

I'm ready for assessment

Hello everyone. I did more preparation for tomorrow's assessment, and then did some day work in the afternoon. My business newsletters were clogging my email account. I have just cleared to the end of May.

Last night I couldn't get much sleep (Not again!- chorus) I have been yawning all day. Just one now! Is there anyone who has sleep disorder, too? My mother told me that I was a baby who didn't sleep at night. Mike, on the other hand, falls into sleep almost instantly. I am so jealous.

Here is some of  the packing I have done for tomorrow. Only a half is packed. The rest will be done tomorrow.

Bluish bits are blue tack.

Another head buried in papers. 

Trusty Blue Tack!
And here is my essay. I haven't read it through, but all pictures look alright. Now I am thinking to change the title! Typical of me! I will think it later. 

As there is no fun picture today, I will add the one I took last week when it was sunny. Pearl, the whippet, is wondering why it is so bright.

I am just pondering.
So, everyone, I will go to bed early again. I hope I can get some decent sleep. Good night!