Wednesday, June 29, 2011


More recent work around the idea of 'doodling' from old diaries and meeting notes.  I have made quite a number of these now. At home I use them for pens, paintbrushes and even in the bathroom for toothpaste and toothbrush holders.  I am really enjoying using black and white to decorate at the moment.  The negative and positive in image making has always been fascinating.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blue wonky bowls..31,32,33

Three more wonky bowls...31, 32, and 33. I don't know why I didn't start numbering them earlier! It is such an easy way to categorize them.  This time I used a blue low fire alkaline glaze. (Greg Daly)  Although I pushed it to cone 3, they turned out nice.  Rough around the edges...but nice.  I do not like work that is too perfect.  I like it to look handmade.  The glaze pooled in the centre of the bowls. Melting glass/marbles as part of the glaze process is something I would like to try in the future.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chalk Millie

In a recent studio clean up I found this chalk drawing of my daughter. When I was art teaching at Highlands Intermediate she would come to my classroom after school and take lots of pictures of herself in different poses looking into the computer using 'photo booth'. (This was five years ago). It used to make me feel really cross. This drawing is from one of the photo booth photos. Today she took delivery of her very own mac book for her to take to university next year. This drawing appeals to me... not only because she is my daughter and she is very cool...everything a Mum could want...BUT also because my favourite all time movie is 'Amelie'.  In this movie the main character is involved in a situation around photo booths in the french city she lives in.

I love the energy of working fast and furious in chalk.  It is dusty and rough around the edges.  I like to see the energy of 'mark making' in artworks.
I like how she looks sneaky and 'caught out'..but only I know why......until now!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ash, volcanoes and earthquakes.

Well. It has all been happening lately! Eruptions, earthquakes in Christchurch and many other natural disasters around the world. This is the ash around our mountain from the Chilean eruption, over the last week. As we live on the mountain ranges to the right, it has made for interesting sunsets etc. Along with that the planes have been unable to fly over New Zealand due to the ash.  Hmm, natural disasters galore. Then we keep getting the Jehovah witness crowd turning up to the farm each month wanting to engage me in conversation about the coming 'rapture'.  I believe in being the best person I can be, religion or not.  I don't always get it right.  But I try and live by the motto 'harm none' and seek opportunity to contribute positively.  Does that mean I will not be taken 'on high' in the impending 'rapture' event...because I am not with an 'affiliated' religion?  My head hurts when I think about the state of the world at present, but even more so when I consider the philospical 'scaremongering' that is going on that makes it difficult for our children to grow up secure, focussed in the 'present' and being the best they can be. There is way too much doom and gloom around at the moment to make for a healthy society.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

more wonky bowls..

The 'wonky bowl' project is up to thirty now. Seventy to go!  These ones are in the late teens.  The photos don't do the patterns justice. Nice to have the studio filling up with work.


Man, I love this picture. I found it on the net a while back. The artist 'reworks'/'up-cycles' second hand clothes. I SO want to make a dress like this! I feel a project coming on! The artist was called Ruby...but that is all the detail I can remember.  I remember looking at her site and being awestruck with the exciting clothing.  However I misplaced the details about how to get to the site.  Will have to do some sleuthing and track her down !

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Doodling patterns.

I have been continuing the theme of using old 'doodling' patterns from diaries and sketchbooks to decorate my clay work.  Not alot to say about it.  Just a bit of whimsy.  The candlestick has been in use for about a month now and is working really well.  I would like to try making one of those Jewish candelabra things with the seven candles...or may be it is five they have? I will have to do some research around candelabras on the internet. 

Woolly sheep.

I am sitting on the couch reflecting on the wild night outside.  Lightening and crashing thunder overhead.  The whole works! Bit worried about the horses out in this. Went to the studio tonight and the heat gun blew up! It must have sensed the coming storm and that I am stressed about going back to work full time for 6 months and therefore have the 'impending dooms'!  In this damp and rain it is hard to get work to dry....will have to get another one when I am in town next week.

This sheep has just sold at KINA.  I did this piece at a weekend course last year with potter Fiona Tunnicliffe. I was so impressed by how she would stamp and then rip the clay into strips...and also build her works from the bottom up.  Usually I build from the head down.  Much more stability is gained from starting at the bottom and working up.  Also I loved how she used a butane torch to dry and strengthen the clay as she worked.  The flame was very exciting and effective, but too much for me.  I have stuck to my heat gun but admire her methods.

Initially I did not like this sheep.  It is very different to other works I have done.  However after glazing I have decided I like the contrast between the oxides and the Abbots white glaze.  Also I like how the Abbots clear went a bit green, I presume due to the oxides.  I also like how the teeth worked out in the sheep.  Funny wee creatures. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The big black dog.

The kiln firing has been done! I was very pleased with how all the critters came out.  After much discussion with fellow potters, I fired to cone 3 and it worked well with the underglazes and the abbotts clear.  I even tossed in some low fire alkaline glazed pieces and they did okay too.  Big thanks to Suzanne, Cecily and Barbara for all their advice.  I am still having trouble with finding a good intense red but think I may have that resolved for the next firing.

This is a big black dog.  The markings came from my big black dog on our farmlet.  She is called Jess. I am doing a lot of dogs at the moment. Winston Churchill used to refer to the 'black dog' of depression that chased him.  The idea for the current series came from his words.  I have been having a few issues with 'feeling down'/'blue' lately. I tend to call it the 'creative curse'.  I believe all creative types have the depressive streak to their personality.
The dogs are my response to this.  

This dog sold with in a few days of being in a local art and design store (called KINA). I was sorry to see him go but also excited as he is the first pottery work I have sold.  He represents a shift for me from being a painter to a potter. With pottery I feel like I have 'come home' feels natural.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Twisted toys...etc....

Oh my lordy, there has been a lack of blogging lately!  It is not because I haven't been creating. I have ALOT.  So much so, that getting time to update the blog has been tricky....the creating has been varied......  clay, home, farm (buying horses, cars and floats), finishing the studio, painting, making business cards, setting up classrooms (I am going back to work full time for 6 months)......DO YOU GET THE IDEA?  Here I am trying to simplify things and this place is making our lives even crazier!
I have a love/hate relationship with the farmlet.  It is very time consuming developing this place and being up on the side of a mountain range does make for a lot of rain and dampness and mud.  Tonight I was feeding the horses and dealing with the mud from the rolling frenzy they had engaged in during the two hours without covers on...but the worse bit was dealing with the mud trying to suck me in (and underground) via my gumboots.  It truely had me in a hold and was not going to give up!
But back to the picture above.  I like to get toys from the hospice that were previously loved... and add to them.  I add bits and cut bits off...paint new bits (like faces) and add them on.  Last year victim support complained about what I was doing.  This bothered me as I feel that it is not harming the toy...just helping them be 'loved' again. 
HOWEVER, this has raised issues in my mind about do we have to be fresh and  'new' to be loved/desired/wanted? Does being older and a bit craggy around the edges make us less desirable.

Hey...I suspect this is too big a discussion, for this forum, here and now!

P.S- The dog has taken a fancy to 'snatching' these toys from the studio and tearing them to shreds when I am not looking.  Holy hell! What is that about!?