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Thursday, 19 October 2017

The report on Studio sale weekend.

We had a good time at my Studio sale weekend. I have heard that from artists of various disciplines that studio sale or Open studio is the most relaxed way to sell works. An artist told me she did gardening whils waiting for visitors! No travelling, no staying in hotels, and no suaul hassles. I hope I would be able to do it again next year. Timing is a bit difficult to decide as I have to have enough whorks in stock, but no rush orders to make. I am usually very busy from autumn up to Christmas. And also up to and after shows as I tend to receive commissions. We have also considered the specific traffic situations in Canterbury. When students return to universities, our small city could be gridlock.

Here are some photos of how it went and also links to video.

Mask room
Mask room

I named it Studio sale, but mind you, there was no particular discount on works, except for the odds and ends corner. All my works are priced same at shows, in galleries or in my studio.

Here are links to the videos.
Mask room

Monday, 25 September 2017

Studio sale weekend 30/9 & 1/10

Mirror mirror

Next weekend, Saturday, 30th September and Sunday, the first October, I'm going to have my first studio sale.

There will be the latest works as well as test pieces, sample pieces and other things, which you don't see at shows. There will be, of course, little animals from Etsy shop, too.

Heading at south

My studio is in Canterbury, Kent. Our nearest station, Canterbury West station is less than one hour, with a high speed direct train from St Pancras, London (direct trains run hourly). My studio is 12 minutes walk from the Canterbury West station.

If you come by car, there are ample free parking spaces close by.

Owl finch

Canterbury boasts three World Heritage sites, Canterbury Cathedral, St Augstine's Abbey founded in the 6th century and St Martin's chruch, the oldest in England still in use as a parish church.  There are also lots of historical sites, from Wat Tyler's revolt, Archibishop Thomas Becket to Canterbury Tales. So you could combine sightseeing if you are visiting Canterbury for the first time.  

I hope you could pop in.

Pugs will be there. 

The studio:
1 Foxdown Close
CT2 7RR 

30 September & 1 October
10AM - 5PM

A card payment facility is available.  

 P.S. Hello, the lovely lady who purchased the Alice mask at Hatfield. I am afraid but the newsletter subscription didn't go well. I was unable to send you newsletter. I am sorry! Please contact me if you are still interested in subscrition. Here

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Yuki-onna and Spring flowers

From late August, I completed one commission, made several masks,  and did one interview in the studio. Also I have been busy with sales. Thank you so much.

Yuki-onna - Sold

Yuki-onna, Snow Woman, is such a special mask. I am so glad that she went to a lovely lady.  A funny thing is that Japanese told me that she looks scary because of her long black hair. Well, we Japanese have mostly black hair, don't we?  British people told me that she is beautiful. Now she lives in a lovely hotel, in England. A happy ending.

Spring flowers -sold
Spring flowers has gone to a lovely lady, Japan. She has red camellia, blue hepatica, a pine tree and hazel catkins. All plants are in the garden, except for the pine, which used to be in the garden. She was one of several Spring flower themed masks. Now only one, Primula, is left.

Large works like these masks are available from my website, www.MidoriTakaki.co.uk You could also see most works I have made in 'Gallery' section. If you find the work you really like, but already sold, please drop me a line. I would be probably able to make a similar one for you.  

There are 20 animals who have found good homes from Etsy shop in the mean time. How lovely! I am adding more daily. Do check the shop once a while.

I am going to make another post, later, but I am going to do an Studio sale weekend on 30 September and 1 October, in Canterbury, Kent. Do pop in if you can. The details are here.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

How did we get on with Art in Clay at Hatfield? Marvellously.

It was cold. We didn't expect that cold in August. But we finished the event with a warm glow. We had a great result. It was a roller coaster ride. Friday we did extremely well. Saturday was a bit disappointing. Then Sunday was again good. So by Sunday mid afternoon. Mike and I were very happy. We were glad that all efforts we had put in for the preparation had paid off.

It was a physically tough one to prepare. Any first time at an event requires more thinking, more planning and more efforts to prepare than those you have done before. This was also first time outdoor event for me. Stands are on an uneven field. Mike took literally several months to make the stand display. I also had no idea what would sell. So I took/made four times the stock I usually sell at CAL. (I always take three times of the stock I expect to sell to avoid the stand looking bare on the last day.) We both had virus a few weeks prior to the show. I also tweaked my back; I had not been able to work for 3 weeks in studio. We both felt the pressure.

Being outdoors had worried me a lot. I am not an outdoor person. You won't see me hiking or sleeping in a tent. Imagining me standing in the field (ok, in a marquee) for 4 days really made me apprehensive. Then I heard about the biting insects. Agh, the last things I would like to see! But it was so cold and wet on Friday, we didn't see the well-known biting insects during the show. Instead we saw a toad during take down on the last day!

Bot large and small works usually sell well at CAL, but not at Hatfield. We sold mainly large works, but relatively fewer small animals.

Two Angels have gone to a lovely lady who already owns one of my large pieces and another Angel.

Angels - two Angels from left -sold

Then Alice went to a lovely lady from Surrey.

Alice - sold

Another lady had two masks. Flower girl in Patras and Spring garden. Flower girl was one of the three works inspired by the image of the skull with ceramic wreath in Patras, Greece.
Flower girl in Patras - sold

Spring garden - sold

Here is my stand. The photo was taken just before the show started.

My stand.

On Saturday, quite a few animals and spoons went. The lovely two ladies came. One lady went home with Ancient oaks after a long deliberation. She said she should choose very carefully as she is going to live with the mask all the rest of her life. She is right!

Ancient oaks - sold
Sunday was usually not the best day for sales in our experience, but that Sunday was great!

The spell pod went to a lovely ceramic artist. She held her in her hands, and told me that she chose her as she felt her heart beating faster. How wonderful!
The Spell pod
The youngest fairy god mother - sleeping beauty - sold

The details

    '...but, instead of dying, she shall only fall into a profound sleep, which shall last a hundred years, at the expiration of which a king’s son shall come and awake her.'

Then a gentleman from New York spotted Cherry. She is now in NY waiting for the delivery according to tracking information. How exciting for Cherry to be able to live in such an exciting city! She had known only a quiet part of Canterbury.

Cherry - sold

Then a lovely lady came and chose Dawn chorus.

Dawn Chorus - sold
Thank you so much! We had a great time to meet you, and to have a chat with visitors. We were also lucky to be surrounded by lovely exhibitors. We made good friends. We are keen to return next year, this time with winter clothes, just in case.

P.S. Hello, the lady who bought a Giant Anteater. You pound will go to Sittingbourne Greyhound rescue next time they come to Canterbury. I will add mine, too. Thank you so much!    

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Art in Clay at Hatfield

I will be at Art in Clay at Hatfield. 18th - 20th August.



Here are some of my new works available at the show. 
Child with dog

It is a great opportunity to purchase ceramic art in all forms at the largest ceramic fair in Britain. Hatfield is only 22 minutes by train from London King's cross.

I can't make enough Alice.

Ancient oaks

You can't come? Shame. But don't worry. I will update both my Etsy shop and 'Available works' on my webpage on the 23rd.

And my work is on their poster at King's cross station. How lovely!  Would you like to see it? Here is the link. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Confirmation mask for a young lady - commission 4

She is my second confirmation mask to create. It was commissioned by the family friend for a teenage girl in Norway. My first confirmation mask was for a gentleman. I made his mask from his life story, so far. This time my focus is current and future. I made the mask for her to look back when she reaches her important points in her life. And I hope she would show it to next generation.

After discussion, the client sent me several photos. I also checked the place on Google. From there I imagine what kind of life she has. I also check the types of trees and plants growing there.

This time, I made a face slightly similar to the girl. 

Until the mask is finished, I needed to concentrate. I also have to work quickly. All parts are thin and small, so they dry quickly. Drying was difficult when the thickness of clay varies so much.  I usually dry masks very slowly in a cool storage room. 

The first bisque firing. As it was a secret gift. I made sure that it was not on the images I shared on social network. 

Bisque firing was done. There was subsidence around the building. After sanding, she went to another bisque-firing. Buildings are not easy to add as the surface of the mask is curve, but the bottom of the building is not.

The second bisque firing. 

Colours were added. She is ready for glaze-firing. Her expression changes in different lights. 

Glaze-firing went successfully. 

Now the last process. I added porcelain paint. After firing she was completed. 

It took me four months to complete her. I had to stop working on her for a month while I had prepared for CAL. The client was often somewhere exotic, but despite that, we had good communication over emails.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Freedom of speech - commission 3

The client visited CAL. After discussion a smaller version of Freedom of Speech was commissioned.  
Freedom of speech

The client requested a black wood base mask stand. This type of masks would look great on black stands. 

Here is the large Freedom of speech at CAL. 

I am careful when I scale up/down the work in size. I make sure that the essence of work will not be diluted in the new work. 

As it has more depth than my female masks, profile is important. 

After the client was happy with it, it was bisque-fired up to 950C. Then, colours were added. 

Then it went to glaze-firing up to 1240C.

I use crank clay for this type of masks. Materials often inspire me. Other two masks were born with the commissioned mask.

Now the mask lives in the house with stylish intetior, London. Thank you so much.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Girl with quince flowers - commission 2

Another commission for the first half 2017 was a Girl with red shoes. You have seen them before, but this time she is large, larger than my usual big masks.

The lovely client has spotted smaller Girl with red shoes at PikaPika, organised by Creative Clerkenwell, last year.  Then she visited me at CAL, and and we discussed her commission.

Here is the comparison of shoes. The red pair is ordinary one


Retail shows like CAL and Hatfield are great occasions for visitors to see all ranges of artists' work. Especially if you are interested in a special piece to be made just for you. You could see the size, colours and other details in person. 3D work looks bigger in person than on the photos.

Ready for glaze-firing

She also requested the girl will either have quince flowers or a ribbon. I thought the flowers would suit her best.

Ready for glaze-firing on a different background

These two images were sent to the client. Different backgrounds give different impressions.


As I had several commissions at the same time, I was able to do frequent firings.  After the mask and shoes were fired, I got a mask stand made for them. The larger the mask, the taller the stand.

Girl with quince flowers

She was packed carefully and posted to the lovely client. Thank you so much!