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!
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!
A couple of weeks ago I launched my new Christmas cards! This time I have two sets of four different designs.
When I started thinking about my designs for this year, I wanted to pay homage to my first Christmas designs from 2014 and give them a similar feel – the pastel coloured background in particular, which was the most praised feature at that time. The actual illustration on each design is different from the old ones but the style is similar, and better after three years of practice! The most similar design is the robin one, which I repainted because I felt it needs to be updated.
I didn’t plan to do two sets of cards originally, but one day I spontaneously painted abstract trees, which became my Christmas Forest design. I was focusing on green and blue colours and realised it would actually work well as a Christmas card so I carried on painting with more colours and created another three designs with an abstract theme.
I think I ended up preferring this second set in the end but I do still love my first set with more realistic paintings – so I printed both of them!
I also ordered special luxurious gift tags using elements of my abstract Christmas card set, which are available to buy as a pack of four. What makes them special are that they are folded gift tags with rounded corners. I added beautiful different colours on the back to go with each design. I also tied them with pretty green/white and red/white baker’s twines. All the Christmassy feels!
Which design do you like the best? I am loving Christmas Forest, or maybe Mistletoe most of all so far.
P.S. all my cards are also available in packs of 4 and 12 cards! Why not have a look at my Christmas shop?
Christmas time is coming! Every year I try to shop with small businesses for presents for my family and friends. Christmas is always a critical time of year for small businesses, so here are my tips on how to support them over Christmas, and all year round, of course!
Buy from them
The simplest and most direct way to support small businesses is to buy from them rather than from big businesses that mass produce their goods. When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.
Store their business cards
When you get their business cards via an order or stalls, remember to keep their business cards safe so you can look them up whenever you need to buy gifts. I keep and organise all of the business cards I’ve picked up all these years and go through them every time I needed a gift. It certainly helps me to shop small rather than relying on the high street shops you see every day.
Retweet their tweets, share their Facebook page, regram their Instagram pictures and bring them up in your blog or better yet, when you see your friends. Keep them in the know that you are supporting them by tagging them and using their dedicated hashtag if there is any.
Share your purchases
Take pictures of your purchases from small businesses and share on them on social media. Word of mouth exposure on social media helps small businesses a lot, helping to build their brand and creating sales. Don’t forget to tag appropriately!
Let them know
A person (or a team) behind a small business sometimes needs encouragment and a boost of confidence, so show them that they are being acknowledged and loved. It doesn’t take long to pop them a short email expressing your love for their creations. You can even send them a quick tweet too! Don’t be shy – they will truly appreciate it.
Engage with them
Especially on Instagram, where engagement matters. If you can, comment and engage. Tag your friends you think will like the certain products. It is easy to forget that (I am guilty of this!) but try to quote retweet instead of just retweet, or do both! Facebook makes it difficult for small businesses to reach their audience so make efforts to visit their page and comment on their posts.
Do you have more tips? Share in the comments! I’d like to know your favourite small businesses too :)
I had a little collection of art cards and prints to put up on my studio wall front of my desk but there wasn’t enough to fill out the space, so I bought originals and prints from three of my favourite artists – Mirta from Modern Botanics, Cathryn Worrell, and Lily Anya (click links below images to visit their shops). This is what my wall look like so far, but I will be sharing better pictures when I blog about my studio soon. It is really nice to see those special pieces every day, knowing that they were made by genuinely lovely people I admire.
Leaves and Pods Lino Print
Set of Two Hand Printed Botanical Postcards (similar)
Marmite Art Print
Original Hand Printed Feather Lino Print
Mushroom Original Lino Print
Have you bought from small businesses recently?