In January, I decided to make at least one clay piece per month, and here they are! I don’t love all of them, I’m particularly unsure about the mushroom ones but as always I had a lot of fun making them start to end.
Last year I tried a few different air dry clays – FIMO Professional, DAS, and Claydium – and this time I used Scola clay, which is definitely the best of all so far. It is a clay that can be both air dried and fired – although it is not designed as a firing clay. The clay feels like a really good quality clay, with the right amount of moisture and great pliability. My only complaint is that they don’t have natural white or cream toned clay – I would really love those! They only have terracotta and buff clays, and the latter comes out quite dull in colour. The terracotta one is really lovely though especially when being varnished with a gloss sealer. I am pleased with my terracotta pots and dishes – I love their simple patterns and they look lovely together!
Because this clay has a better consistency than others I’ve tried, I finally mastered the coiling method and while it was time draining, it was enjoyable and a good way to make flat bottomed pots.
This mushroom pendant is made with FIMO Air, which after a lot of experimenting I really love. I also used it for my clay jewellery that I sell on the shop.
I am ready for my next batch, and I will try to post work-in-progress pictures over on Instagram before I finish them! This is more of a personal project than business, so I keep forgetting to share.
I hope you like them, and if you have used an air dry clay before I would love to know what you made!
This year, I am selling Mother’s Day cards for the first time! I have designed it so it is suitable for all year round, because of course, mothers around the world are awesome every single day, not just on Mother’s Day, and should be celebrated all the time!
I am starting with why my mum is simply amazing, with the most recent example. The other day, I made a mistake ordering new greeting cards, and accidentally bought 250 cards instead of 50. I contacted the printing company to amend my order and they wouldn’t let me because they had already started production. I had a mini-meltdown over how much I had just spent, thinking I wouldn’t be able to sell that many new cards.
While moaning to A, I received a how-are-you type text from Mum, and I replied to tell her what had just happened. Without question, and even with my assurance that there was no amending the order, Mum gave them a call and in the next few minutes I received an email that my order was cancelled and would be fully refunded, and I could reorder my cards in the correct amounts. I was gobsmacked, and of course very pleased! She just saved me a lot of money. How?! My mummy is magic.
This is just one of the many small things my mum does for me. More importantly, she raised me to be a strong woman and good person. I had difficult times during my teenage years due to the death of my father, who I was really close to, and she was always there for me. Even now with the ups and downs of my business, she is very supportive and gives me advice whenever I need it.
I am also grateful that she learnt sign language for me and my sister, who is also deaf, so we could communicate fully and have full access to education. We struggled to learn to speak from an early age and we wouldn’t have been able to learn without a language.
All of which is to say: you are lovely, mum!
My heart rate quickens when I start to think about what my goals will be this year. It is both exciting and scary. A new year gives me an opportunity to reflect, improve and push myself but I have that not-so-little fear where I feel I can’t do it and worry that I will do badly this year and ultimately, embarrass myself in the process.
But that is just a fear, I must face and overcome it as best as I can. It has taken me a while to really think about what I want to achieve this year. I know I want to keep improving and exploring my art. I also want to take my business to the next level. Here are my goals of 2017:
Paint every day
Like my 2016 goal, I want to continue painting (or drawing) daily and being accountable to myself on Instagram, with one change: I want to not feel guilty if I miss a day – it is not productive or necessary to be so hard on myself. In my last post, I mentioned that I am making this goal my lifelong project because during my daily art adventure in 2016 I realised how important it is to practice every day because it is simply the best way to improve at it over time!
Make at least one clay piece per month
I have always wanted to have a monthly project. There are a few things I want to do but I had to choose one due to my workload and that would be making something with clay. I will aim to make at least one piece per month, to a finished state. I will be sharing progress here at the blog and across social media. I have thought about painting a flower per month with oil or acrylic but I am incorporating this into my daily art goal.
Improve my social media presence
I am rubbish at social media. While I understand how it works and what needs to be done for small business owners, I just don’t act on it. I want to be more intentional – posting on the go, promoting my services whenever possible and making the most of scheduling tools that are available to us. Basically, I need to put myself out there and take my business where I want it to be!
Now, tell me yours! :)
My creativity in December has been fantastic, apart from when I felt too ill to draw for few days at the end of the month. There was a spike in my confidence for some reasons, I guess I was inspired from all the festivity, and my weekend trip to Lincoln. Sometimes a change of scenery is what you need to get yourself out of a creative rut.
You would notice that I did a lot of line drawings – I replaced my fine liners with lovely new Sakura Pigma Micron drawing pens and I love them! They feel a lot smoother to draw with and the result is crisper. I don’t have the heart to chuck my old ones in the bin yet though, I’ve had them for years – no wonder they are really worn out. I really like my little drawing of thistle but I realise that it needs to be more spiky!
I also took on another challenge handlettering every day from #winterletteringchallenge prompt provided by Mhelaine, Joy and Lynne. It is really nice to go back to handlettering daily since my 100 day project – I’ve found it tricky to come up with what to write and having a prompt to follow along always help me continue developing my handlettering skills.
This will be my last monthly round up, but I will still be painting every day this year. Because I am making my daily art a lifelong project, in the spirit of exploration I will focus on just doing that and sharing what I do every day on Instagram. Of course I will still share my best work here from time to time. Thank you so much for following along and I hope you enjoyed following my art journey in 2016!
2016 has been great in many ways, and bad in many ways. The bad was mostly shocking political news and my endless self doubt, which I feel had hindered both my creativity and business in small ways. As always, I am staying optimistic and I want to share my highlights of the year. This reflection makes me realise how I was oblivious to my own achievements, small or big so this year I intend to reflect more regularly – maybe every few months – to list my achievements, and remember that I am not doing too badly at all!
What are your highlights of 2016? I would love to hear about them in the comments! I also want to say a big THANK YOU for reading my blog and leaving comments, which are always lovely to receive. I wish you a beautiful 2017!
In November I was all about mushrooms! I started a watercolour painting series of British woodland fungi. I researched the most common ones found in UK and then painted several of them. I will be turning them into a print like my British Butterflies and Culinary Herbs, if they go together well, that is!
I also did an oil painting and experimented with looser style. I am not very good at painting flowers (in my painting style especially) and this frustrates me ever so slightly because I love flowers so much that I want to be able to paint them! I like how it looked in the end but it doesn’t feel ‘me’ due to its departure from my usual style. But it is all about the process, right?
Again, like in September and October, I didn’t paint as much as I wanted – I was busy prepping for Handmade Nottingham winter market event where I was on a reserved list and got called to join with very very short notice. (It was worth the effort as my stall was a triumph!)
I try not to beat myself up for not committing to painting and sharing every single day as per my 2016 goal. My commission work and other business related committments do get in the way and sometimes I just had to pritorise them over my personal goal. I want to keep looking forward, and try to do better and better.
Follow my daily art over at my Instagram.
As you may know already, I moved to Nottingham from London quite unexpectedly in late February this year. After being informed that our rent in Lee was going up, Aneurin and I decided that we would like to be able to save money and Nottingham was the best place we could live in. I especially was a little sad due to having to leave my family (including cats!) and best friends behind but I was also excited for a new chapter as well as curious what it was like living in another city because I’d lived in London for 15 years.
The room of my studio was meant to be living room (because it is in ground floor and next to the kitchen) but we decided to put our living room in one of our three bedrooms in the loft, because it was the coldest room (and we soon discovered – hottest in the summer) and we would be less likely to be found in the living room. It is very cosy up there with a projector as our TV with ton of blankets available though! We just avoid being there during summer.
As Aneurin was using the smallest bedroom for his new office and it was inappropriate to put our bed in the ground floor room, especially because that there is no hallway leading to kitchen/dining room and there won’t be any privacy. So, my studio ended up being downstairs and I was cool with it, because it is the biggest and maybe brightest room of all. But in comparison to my previous studio, this studio is actually smaller and has less light – as always I am so thankful to even have a dedicated space to myself, enabling me to run my business and do what I love full time so I try not to let it bother me at all.
When we moved in, there was a feature wall I really didn’t like and we agreed to redecorate after getting a yes from our landlord. Naturally I went for white walls. Dreams come true! I bought some new plants to add greenery and happy to the space. I also recently added hanging planters for an oomph. My love for houseplants is out of control! For an everyday inspiration, I slowly add beautiful art on the wall in front of my desk and I love it. It might be not clear to see in pictures that I have a ‘painting table’ in the middle of the room where I work on bigger and messier pieces. As it is drop leaf style table, I fold it down if I am not needing it to make more space.
There are a few things I would change – removing the fireplace, replacing the curtains, and wall lights but since we are only renting, except from curtains I don’t think I can do anything about them.
I only started to feel attuned to this new studio (and Nottingham, hurrah!) few months ago and while Aneurin and I plan to stay here as long as we can, I am trying not to get too attached. I think I was gutted to leave my old studio more than I thought and I was only there for little less than a year.
Send me links if you have your own ‘studio tour’ post, I’d love to have a look!