Friday, 29 August 2014
I taught a Stamping on Fabric workshop on Saturday. I love teaching workshops. It really is the best job. Helping people get their making on never gets old! I love watching people's quiet concentration as they are carving a block or printing a stamp. It proves to me what I already know, that making is good for the soul, and that we all need a bit of it in our lives.
I'm always surprised that some workshop attendees haven't done any making or art since high school. I really believe everyone has a creative streak, that everyone can be taught to draw, and that everyone benefits from getting the chance to be creative. And so I love enabling that process.
Its not even the finished product that is the prize, its also the process of making which is a mindful meditation in itself (even that endless unpicking can be a time for daydreaming!)
It is lovely watching people relax into creative work. And it is wonderful to see their happy faces when they hold up their finished tote or tea towel at the end with pride and accomplishment, and a big smile on their face. Thanks to the lovely bunch of girls who were such a nice gang to hang out with on a rainy Saturday.
Thanks to Melissa and Pepper (pictured) for another great day at SewMakeCreate. We haven't scheduled a new date yet (!) but email Melissa (email@example.com) to be notified about my next class which will probably be in October.
I sewed this piece of stamped fabric I shared on instagram a while ago into a zip purse to show people what you can make with a small piece of hand stamping. Its such a quick, cheap and easy craft this one, and so adaptable.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
This week is brought to you by chartreuse and her sister saffron. These favourite colours are obviously dear to my heart because when I chose yarn colours for my granny hottie along with Kate they were the first ones in the pile.
It might have something to do with this Posie embroidery sampler which is my official car craft. I think you've seen it before, it comes out for road trips but is neglected a bit in between. I'm quite proud of that 'O' which I finished last. I think my embroidery skills have definitely improved as I've been sewing it.
My crochet skills and confidence have grown with the hottie too and I was brave enough to chance a scalloped edge to the top opening (quite easy actually with the help of Ms Google). It is my first finished crochet project (that bullseye blanket is a longterm wip I might just pick up again after my enjoyment of the hottie, a bit shamemaking when I look at the date on that post!).
The other green in my life this week is this stash of bottle green Chrysanthemum tea towels in cotton I found while cleaning my work space. I spent some time the other day packaging them up and they are in the newly refreshed shop with all the other stuff I found in the clean up. Good for the present cupboard these ones and only $10 this week.
The other yellow is this little pot which is the only one of my ceramics makes I'm using. The others are still too precious to actually handle! Is that a bit dumb do you think? It makes me very happy anyway this little yellow bowl. I feel pretty clever and crafty everytime it holds actual stuff. I think that pretty much sums up my love of crafting - I get such a kick out of making practical objects that become part of my day, or someone else's.
That other yellow is the radar map which shows our weather week, mad rain for days, which we need, but thank god for those spots of sun that come in between that make it bearable.
My other wip this week is a new baby quilt. New baby (so cute!) came early though so must get back to that very soon! Would help if I didn't cut all the blocks in half on a whim and start making the pattern up as I went along!
Happy week everyone. I am teaching a stamp carving and printing class on Saturday at SewMakeCreate. I think its too late to get into this one but I'll be doing more this year. Just ring Melissa if you want to come play. Its lots of fun!
p.s. I love this blog I came across this week, lovely photos which will make you smile.
Thursday, 7 August 2014
The light is changing here and spring's vanguard have arrived. The jasmine and the daphne and the magnolias are all showing off their delicate shades of pink and soft perfumes. And although its cold again at night there's something in the air, a warmth, a light, a feeling. I love this pretty spring light and the way it slants into the garden.
I have been working away, head down, lots of projects in the making, lots of different creative thought processes fighting for attention in my busy brain. I still haven't got my kiln wired in, but I am still making and still decorating clay pieces. I am uncharacteristically patient with the slow progress on this front. As long as I can keep making while I wait I'm happy.
We have plans, literally, and hopes that these will become reality soon. I'm hoping the stars eventually align... I'm pretty sure they will.
The other day I signed up for an online discounted Illustrator course and I've had fun playing around and learning some new tips and tricks for this favourite program. I've also joined in with Kate using up some of the colourful yarn stash crocheting a Granny Square hot water bottle cover. Its not the first hot water bottle cover I've made, but it will be the first I've kept.
I like crochet, I'm not great at it but it is so much quicker than knitting and these little granny squares are such a great way to play with lots of different colours. I'm a bit behind though, I better get to it!
I've also had the screens out again, for something I hope to share quite soon. You'll have to wait for that one, but not too long.
I had such a fun weekend last weekend. It started with dinner and a sleepover at my sister's place on Friday night. Such a delicious dinner and it was so nice to have time to natter and catch up properly. I've been coveting her vintage style scales she brought back from Vietnam for ages so it was a lovely surprise she brought me my own set on her last visit.
On Saturday I had dinner with friends, a really nice and interesting bunch of women, more fabulous food and this moreish cocktail of Aperol and Prosecco. Worth drinking just for its looks I think!
Sunday the boys soccer team won against the odds (header goal from Master D), another team lost against the odds and so we made it through to the finals.
A grab bag of pictures again this week. Its the best way for me to blog at the moment, and I always enjoy it when others share their weeks, I hope you do too!!
The last picture is of the wonderful guinea fowl feathers that Jenni sent me, just because. Aren't they beautiful.
Friday, 4 July 2014
Hoorah! After a long wait I finally got a phone call the other day to say my glazed ceramic pieces had been fired. (I can't wait till I have my own kiln wired in so I don't have to wait so long for firings, but its also nice to know my pieces are in safe hands being fired by the nice people at Pottery Supplies.)
Its so exciting and nerve wracking driving out to see how they had fared!
These are the first pots I've made completely at home and fired twice to completion.
There are a million options for decoration in ceramics which is one of the really inspiring things about it. I've been trying to experiment with different techniques and materials. I've been a bit like a kid in a candy shop.
I've posted some before and after shots for those who are interested. Previous blog posts tell more of the history and show photos of my ceramics journey so far if you're interested, like this one and this one and this one. Looking back I see some of these pieces were thrown back in March. Sigh. It feels like that long.
I'm still a newbie. Its only been about six months that I've been making with clay. These pieces were the first I made with my new/old wheel way back when. Hopefully I am slowly learning more and improving slowly.
Oh, and can I ask a favour, if you have time can you leave a comment and tell me which piece or pieces you like. I'm so interested to know which shapes/designs/colours you like. Including any I haven't shown here, I have a limited palette of underglazes but hope to keep expanding my collection.
I'd like to make more pots and maybe offer some for sale down the track, so it would be great to hear from you guys who have such great ideas.
Friday, 23 May 2014
I got my first batch of 14 pots and bowls back from bisque firing a few weeks ago. I get them fired out at Homebush at Pottery Supplies. I was pleased with how they turned out after this first step. And the good news was I didn't lose any.
Sometimes it can be a bit of a disappointment this stage, especially when you begin, pots shrink a lot and the wonky ones look even wonkier after firing. When I first started I wouldn't recognise my pots after their transformation. I'd come back looking for my swans and find these funny little ugly ducklings.
Next step is the glaze firing. I have been slowly painting them with brush on glazes and decorating some of the pots that hadn't had any underglaze. I'm experimenting with lots of different techniques, incised designs, stencils, painting & scratching and tissue transfer. Its fun! It takes time though which I haven't had a lot of lately, so I've been doing them piecemeal as the inspiration hits.
I've been feeling a bit torn with my making recently, trying to squeeze it in between busy stuff and feeling guilty about it or frustrated about having to get it out and put it away unfinished.
So yesterday I called a making day and crafted for the whole day, nothing else! The freedom of having uninterrupted time to play and experiment was so satisfying and I'm going to make this a regular thing. It makes more sense than the stop start way I've been doing it. So while it feels indulgent its probably more practical.
I had time on the wheel throwing which I haven't done for weeks, and then I played around with hand forming, pinch pots and slumping some clay into an existing bowl to form a duplicate.
I made some christmas stars and these little birds, and this funny little round pinch pot vase with all the holes. For those of you who are keen to try some ceramics without investing in a course or a potting wheel you can do this with just your hands and some clay.
I will fire this vase and then glaze it, hoping it survives the process, but there are plenty of oven dry clays and no fire versions which would work as well if you didn't want to go the whole hog. If you do want to though, outside a course, then you just pay for the weight of the clay you fire. Its very doable. I have a couple of books from the library that have loads of info in them and photo how tos which have been invaluable.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
If you follow me on instagram you will know that last week I accidentally bought a secondhand pottery wheel.
I was browsing on Ebay one day, looking up wheels and how much they cost when I found a Venco wheel like the ones I've been using at my ceramics classes. This one stood out because it was a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than all the others. It got me daydreaming about how nice it would be to have access to a wheel at home to practice on!
I watched that listing for a few days and when the price didn't go up I thought I would try to bid on it. There was a slight problem in that it was in Wollongong, but I thought I'd work that out if and when I bought it!
Well luckily at the last bid I missed out on that Wollongong wheel, it went for $225, still cheap but over my self imposed limit.
Suddenly fate stepped in, as the screen refreshed Ebay suggested another Venco wheel listing for me. This wheel and drying block had only been online for two hours, was in Sydney and had a buy it now price of $117.
So I accidentally bought a wheel.
Ceramics is a hands on skill that builds up from time on the wheel, making simple shapes over and over until your hands learn what to do. I love the idea that I can now work on it whenever I want, that I can practice things at my own pace. And if my love affair with clay dies out I can sell the wheel on to someone else.
A quick trip in the rain to the Pottery Supplies shop (candy store) and I had the basic tools to start. I came home and with my gang standing around asking questions and cheering me on threw some pots. My new wheel, which I found out was born in May 1981, works beautifully.