Ceramic Update

It’s been a while since I last wrote about my ceramic journey. Feeling deflated about my last unsuccessful glaze fire, I hesitated to start decorating my new bisque wares and left them sitting in a box gathering dust. Then recently when I had a bit of free time, I thought it was a good time to face it and get it done. How else would I know what was wrong? I had to investigate. The glazes were not cheap to buy, I may as well use them up!

I used a different local kiln firing service to see if the outcome would be the same. Happily I found out that this was not the case. Yay!

The ceramic shine I’ve always aspired to worked on every single piece. The decorating glazes look better than the last batch, although not as vibrant as I hoped for but I think it is just the brand of the glazes. I was literally bobbing with delight when I saw them laid out on the table, looking back at me all shiny. In the words of the ceramicist who did the firing, they turned out “really charming”!

I will be using this kiln firing service from now on. It helps a lot that they have electronic controls on their kilns so they can fire quite accurately to what temperature my choice of overglaze needs. It’s also more convenient because that place is closer to get to.

In hindsight, I think I also applied a little thicker overglaze this time so it may contribute to the success of this fire.

All the research and experiments I’ve done for the last two years have at last paid off. I feel really inspired to carry on developing my ceramic collection and hope for a string of successful fires. I have some lovely ideas floating in my head I want to execute in the near future and I will keep sharing my stories here on the blog.

I am not quite where I want to be in terms of style and technique (still a newbie here!) but I felt ready to sell them and want to work hard on finding my style while I continue making things out of clay. So for the first time I sold them on my stall with Paperdolls Summer Market two Saturdays ago and I was elated to receive lots of positive comments and four of them were sold to very happy customers.

I’ve listed the remaining ceramics on the shop for very good prices, do check them out if you fancy getting your hands on a quirky ceramic – and thank you for enduring my ups and downs on this ceramic project of mine!

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Bristol Botanic Garden

Last week I took a week off and headed to Bristol to visit my sister and 8 months old nephew. The UK heatwave hit at the same time, so it actually felt like a holiday. Some of the architecture in Bristol has a seaside feel that enhanced the holiday feeling! I had a beautiful time getting to know my nephew, who is, of course, growing up so fast, and going out every day in the sun. My highlights of the week were babysitting Victor for a day while Erika popped out to her BSL teaching duties, a ferry taxi round trip, and a botanic garden.

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My Plant Story

When I was younger, I went to B&Q with family and the plant section quickly caught my eye and I brought home a tiny Venus Fly Trap and red Bromeliad. I was clueless about looking after them (I can’t remember that I was actually worried about keeping them alive, and I’m not sure that I had watered them!) and they slowly died.

 Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides) & Inch Plant (Tradescantia Tricolour)

I didn’t buy any more plants until I moved into a London flat with Aneurin 4.5 years ago. I visited a local garden centre I had never been to and bought a few plants, which scared me a little but I was determined not to kill them! After a while, I saw succulents in a plant stall on the high street and bought some. I was delighted as I’d wanted one for ages.

Despite my best efforts I eventually killed them most of them! I think I have 4 out of ten or twelve plants that are still with me to this day, which are the Madagascar Dragon Tree plant (which is so hardy!), an Echeveria kind of succulent (which survived several near-deaths) and couple of cacti.

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Our Engagement & Commissioned Portrait By Natalie Harney

Look at this beautiful portrait of us I commissioned Natalie Harney to illustrate.

On Valentine’s Day, Aneurin proposed to me with a emerald ring and I said yes! Well, I didn’t say yes immediately, I actually thought he was kidding. I had to pick up the ring and inspect it first! It was dark, we’d just finished watching an awful romantic film with a good cheeseboard but rubbish red wine. Once I realised he was serious about wanting to marry me, I said, “yes, I will marry you!”

He meant to propose on our 5 year anniversary in Edinburgh two weekends before, but the ring wasn’t ready then. Looking back, I am quite thankful that he didn’t propose in public somewhere in Edinburgh – I am very shy and I probably would be a little peeved with him for putting me on the spot!

The proposal was a complete surprise. We’d agreed quite early in our relationship that we would not get married. But Aneurin changed his mind after five years for the tax benefits, but after some prodding I got him to admit he is a little bit romantic after all!

Back to this commissioned portrait – I’ve always loved Natalie’s illustrations and her minimalistic style so when I needed an anniversary gift for Aneurin I knew where to go! Working with her was a breeze. I asked her to base the illustration on this picture and because some parts of us are cut off I sent her few more photos of us. She captured us so well and I can’t wait to frame it and hang it in our forever house (we’re currently house hunting and hopefully will find something perfect by next year!).

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GROW Tote Bag

I recently launched an exciting new product in my shop: my first tote bag! I picked my GROW design for it, because out of all my work I believed it will work really well as a tote bag.

I originally designed this GROW piece for my collaboration with Brynn & Co on an embroidery design and embroidery kit / PDF.

When I started researching suppliers, I established that I wanted a good quality, thick, 100% cotton, landscape, long handled shopping kind of bag. After several days searching and contacting potential suppliers, I finally found the bag that is exactly what I am looking for. Asking for samples so I could inspect the material and printing quality really helped me to make a decision of choosing a supplier.

I am really thrilled with the end result, and I hope you like it too!

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