Sunday, 16 December 2012

Up to my eyes in it......

This season has been like no other I have known.
 I have, for the past four weeks stopped packing boxes and packages only to go to work, eat, sleep, and do the school run! It has only just begun to show signs of slowing down and I have finally got the trimmings up and started a bit of Christmas shopping, I even managed the Christmas Work do on Friday as shattered as I was, (never one to pass up a good meal)

Merry Christmas!!!
 to you all and thank you Blogger friends for all your support!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Commissions Progress Report

Im getting used to the plaques now, it seems as though Ive done a lot lately. They are a headache though, getting the damn things to stay straight whilst drying then into the kiln and who knows what shape they will go in there, Ive had a few go bendy which is so disappointing!
Ceramics should come with warning signs which go something like "Not for control freaks" or "expect the unexpected!" because thats all it really is. I don't feel like I have much control after loading it all into the kiln, its just going to do what its going to do, happy accidents and not so happy ones.
Well this is one that didn't come out looking tortilla shaped!
I am super pleased with this one, nice and flat and the leaves are just lovely.
I hope they like it!!

This is the plaque just after scratching the initial lettering.

More house signs, this one is for someones gate

and a larger one for their house.

I thought I had divorced myself from this kind of work,
 but clearly not yet.
A few years ago I made the fish at the top along
 with two others for a lady
who wanted one for each of her children.
Then she had another one and wanted another plaque for Lailey.
Fortunatly I still had the tool to make it and a bit of the clay
used and the same glazes.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Kiln Fresh

I am finished making Christmas things now. 
I scaled down a lot last Christmas and decided to just make a few christmas related items that I liked making and using as gifts and hanging on my own Christmas trees as I was beginning to feel like a christmas making factory, and a conveyor belt of things I got fed up with making came spilling out of my workshop, not to mention how much space they were all taking up.
 So scaling down has been definitely a good decision to make and well, I cope with Christmas orders better and just like it a whole lot more again.

This is what I have been making this year.

White clay stars
Folksy Shop

White clay bird tags
and Not on the high street

Blue print block ceramic tiles
Not on the high street

Terracotta Christmas trees
Not on the high street

Scandinavian Dala Horses
Not on the high street


And this is it!!!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Commisions before Christmas

Here are some of the commissions I have been working on over the past few weeks. They have mostly gone to their new homes now so its a bit of a delayed blog. Here are the plaques anyway.

This is a lace impressed porcelain bowl with the lettering of  a newborn baby girl.

These are room plaques which are designed to hang on doors.

This commission was an interesting one, the lady it was made for was forever being woken up during the day by delivery companies, cold callers and the like and needed something to hang on her door that she could just turn around when she wanted to sleep during the day.
I have made many of these over the years, they are little ceramic tiles measuring 4cm x 4 cm with tiny writing with the name date and time of the babies birth. I don't do these very much now as the frames are harder to source, but this was for someone who bought one before, so I couldn't refuse. I have decorated the inside with patterned papers.
There is a story behind this one, the photo below shows why. Originally I made Sharon's shed but since then Sharon's other half has slowly taken over her shed and now houses Adrian's bike amongst his other things. So Sharon has asked for it to become Adrian's shed, hence why Sharon's name has been crossed out!
Sadly though this commission developed a hairline crack at the bottom which annoyingly just cracked on the surface and not right through.
So aggravating!
For more house plaques and commissions click here.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Getting ready for Christmas Fairs

I don't go out to sell my work much these days, most of the local fairs like you to book well in advance and often won't let sellers book the odd day and prefer a commitment of at least three days. I can't do this anymore as it interferes with all sorts of things in our lives, the children need to be looked after, work would be impossible to re-arrange throughout that week and to be honest I would need to work flat out making, just to get enough stock ready and keep online shops full over the Christmas period and   a generous amount of stock to make a 3 day event viable.
However I do like to still do stalls if I can, the "one day kind" suits me better nowadays. So I have been thinking about how my stall will look next time.
I always tier up my work on different levels and have many shelves, boxes and bowls to put smaller items on.
I picked up this lovely old frame for £1 
from a second hand shop, it didn't
have any glass  in it 
but I didn't 
need any for what I wanted to use it for.
I gave it a good clean and oiled the wood and it came up like this. 

I took out the back and replaced it with 
several sheets of thick cardboard and covered it 
with a stone coloured linen and added some
 lace touches around the edges.  Many of my buttons have

 a vintage appearance and they also have lace imprinted 
onto the clay with some of them so I
thought the lace looked quite good on there.
I think this to be a better way to display my 

buttons, as before I felt they were often
 ignored and lost amongst my larger items, this way 

they can be seen at eye level.

I have used pins to attach the buttons onto the board

These little wooden pegs are covered with patterned papers,
music sheet and Japanese washi papers and I have attached a
 little porcelain disc on each one. Again these are a smaller item that often gets lost amongst larger
items and I have found this little wooden box to keep them in
so they can be stacked against each other.

White ceramic stars hanging from twisted hazel branches.??
They look nice but
whether they are practical on a table Im not sure, 
I can imagine them getting
 caught on things!

I have bought a bulk amount of these little Kraft lidded
 boxes to present my Christmas
decorations this year, they make good sense to me because 
I have to wrap up so much
 and this will save time both with online sales and 
wrapping and also wrapping
items behind a stall.
Thats the theory anyway!

These little glassine bags hold an individual ceramic 
heart in them, as yet Im not sure what to do with them 
or how to display them so that people know whats inside them, so for now they are stacked on the lid of a shoe box!
mmm.. needs some thought!

I have made these so that I can write any info and prices ect...
on them when I have set everything up. They have a flap 
at the back so they don't look flat on the table and they can stand up on their own, I havnt used these before
but I think they will be useful and saves me putting an 
individual price tag on everything.

Thursday, 4 October 2012


I am making more buttons, they are lovely to make, so small and neat and easy to do. They also don't take up much space in the kiln and they look so nice when photographed.
Fuel your button passions here.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Refining Tutorial. Porcelain Heart wedding favours

I have recently made 50 porcelain hearts that have been impressed with vintage lace for a lady who commissioned me to make them for wedding favours.
Here is the guide to the way I made them from the cutting out stage.
First of all I cut out the hearts with a cookie cutter and impressed half of them with lace over the whole of the heart.
 Then I impressed the other half with a thicker cotton lace over just half of the hearts, leaving one side smooth.

When the hearts are at leather dry stage as they are here in the photo above I begin to refine them. I remove all the rough edges and the burrs so I have a smooth heart.
(Leather hard stage means when the clay is firm but not too wet to work with and not so dry you cannot do anything with it and is more likely to break.) 

I also work on the reverse side so that they are smooth all around. 
I use the flat side of a knife to do this and I work all the way around taking off the side of the heart.

The next stage is probably the most time consuming which is smoothing all the hearts. I use a sponge and go along all the edges and then wipe over the front just gently. I also sponge the hanging hole so this is smooth as I don't want to damage the ribbon that I thread through with rough edges.

Here are two of the hearts ready.

After they have all been smoothed I am left with these clay filings, which I recycle as porcelain is so expensive and I don't like to throw any away unnecessarily. It just gets put back in a bag and I do a big recycle when the bag is full at another time.

I leave all the hearts stacked on top of each other to dry out in my workshop.

When they are all dry I check them all for warping, if they are good they go in the kiln, if not they go in the recycling bag as if they warp before firing they will warp more during the firing.

After firing I add the ribbons and they look like this.
Find them in my shop here.


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