Thursday, July 21, 2011


The kiln 'blast' has made me revisit other loves!  Printmaking...such are some woodcuts and etchings drying. Maybe I should go back to printmaking!

I wish!

If I had my time a woman in my twenties (rather than late 40's) this would be the look I would go for.   Recently we had an 80's fashion day at the school I work for.  I went punk and so loved it!  Such fun.  Like the previous 'Ruby' entry...I have no idea where I got the picture but I keep it in my dressing table and it gives me inspiration. She reminds me of the daughter in the 'Californication' programme on T.V.    


More work around the theme of doodles.

Flax flowers and winter rain.

A simple picture from the farm last summer.  It is giving me hope that the rain, cold and wind will stop! We are away visiting one of our favourite places (Raglan)...and we have discovered it is not just us who are having lots of rain and mud at the moment.  On the beach at the headland today I was shocked at the 'drifts' of dead sea birds. I have read about it in the paper (all along the west coast) but nothing prepared me for the sheer number of dead seabirds who have died from the storms (exhaustion etc) over the last few months. So sad. I was very disturbed by it.  

Road trip!

A few weeks ago Millie and I went on a road trip.  We took all right turns on the road and stopped randomly where and when we felt like it! One of our stops was at a farm 22 kilometres off the main road up by Tauranga. They breed miniature ponies.  'Windsong' farm I think it was called. We had a great time looking around the ponies and the crystal garden. I was so impressed by their friendliness. We spent ages looking at the crystal garden and the discussing the various properties of the crystals with the owners. It was one of those pivotal moments in life when you realize that life events have taken you over and you have become a person who is a long way from who you thought you were.  Millie and I stopped at the beach at Awakino on the way home and took lots of photos of shadows.  I really like this photo Millie took of me. The photography she is doing is amazing. One day I hope she will let me share some here.

A couple of strange ones that didn't work.

Don't really like either of these.  But still fun to make and they now live in the outer reaches of the garden on the farmlet.  Aspects of them I will use in future works. 

Pretty blue bowls.

I really like the low fire alkaline glazes.  These are over a range of white clay bodies. The firing temp was pushed to cone 3 (should have been 03). Interesting  pulling effects occurred.

Mouse man

Is it a mouse? Is it a dog?  I really am not sure.  But he is friendly, affectionate and loving.  He is also very loyal and non-judgemental.

Begging dog

This little chappy has sold at Kina. Dogs are such fun to make.  I have noticed that I have started talking to them at a certain point in the 'creation' process.  That is the moment of them coming to 'life' for me.  If they break after that, then I do feel a sense of loss.

New models?!

I am working on a series of bull dogs at the moment. Research on the internet turned up this picture! Just had to share.

Back at full time work...

I enjoyed working part time for the first half of this year.  Making labels for the garden, bottling the surplus fruit from the orchards, making art, developing the garden.... etc. I felt like a real woman/mother! It was such a change from being full on teaching.  I never really had time off with the kids when they were little. I was focussed on the teaching and career path. The last five years or so I have had a shift in thinking.  I am no longer career focussed. I don't think it has made my teaching any has just made me more balanced about what is important.  It was nice to be able to be fully 'there' for them the last 6 to listen..not saying 'Hurry up' all the time. Being back full time teaching is pretty full on but it is nice to have my own class again. They are new entrants.  I love seeing how they change so much over the first few weeks at school. 

The new man in my life!

This is the new man in my life! He is an ex trotter and looks very scruffy at the moment with his winter coat on. His name is Waaka Knight. But for reasons unknown to me he was nicknamed Bud. He is a gentleman. He is 17.

This little pony

Well we moved to the farmlet...and did the 'old MacDonald' thing....chickens, goat, cattle, pukekos, tui, wood pidgeons, puppy etc etc.  Got Ella a pony.  He is called Taffy and is very strong willed. This little pony started another whole string of changes in my life.  New car...pony club...float...
But most of all he has made me face some things from my childhood that scare me.  I used to ride alot but due to events in my middle teens I got too scared to do stuff.  I became very self protective and self contained.  I decided to buy myself a horse too and face those fears.  Has it worked? Yes...but not cured.... I love him to bits but only spend a few minutes on him at a time before I panic. But I have decided that probably that is the point...take it easy, don't go too fast and just enjoy the moment (the ride) for what it is. Wow...time to stop being so deep and meaningful.

Rat's revenge!

Well, opening the kiln this time I got more than I bargained for! An explosion of legs arms and heads! Never happened before! 'Fright' the cat certainly got one and there wasn't much left of the rat (see front right of the picture above). I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Certainly the irony of many late, frosty and wet nights in the studio to work on this firing was not lost on me. Think I will go with the laugh option. 

So now I am left pondering why?
Firing temp? Clay body (Keanes white Raku)? Joins?  It was two sculptural pieces on two different shelves that took out the others...the Rat and the cat.

A happy ending?
Not sure! But it has made me not have any expectations about the glaze firing this weekend. I have slapped on oxides and other chemical concoctions...dribbled glazes and I have no doubt now that when I open the kiln next week, it will be a complete surprise...just like Christmas used to be! 

More images from the next firing...

'Fright' and various candlestick holders in the Kiln waiting for the 'on' switch!

Another image from the kiln loading.

Loaded and ready to go!

Next firing in the kiln and ready to go. 'Fright' the cat at the top certainly looks worried. 'Happy dog' at the bottom looks excited!

A close up of 'happy dog',rat and candlestick cat.
POSTSCRIPT>>>Rat (bottom) and 'fright' (Top) blew up in the kiln.  Rest in peace

New Plymouth Potters Exhibition

Just finished this poster and and invite that will be posted for the Annual New Plymouth potters exhibition. They should be appearing around town about now!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The 'Bach' break

Recently, for a wee mid-winter break we took the kids and the dog to stay at this Bach about an hours drive from where we live.  It is very original and potentially 'romantic'. It has been in a friends family for many years and it really is like staying in a little time capsule.  It was her parents who have passed away.  I was wanting to get the teenagers away from electronica for a few cell phone..playing old fashioned family games like monopoly etc etc.  Get the idea? Sunday afternoon both the older two children (what is the best 'term' for teenagers?) were ready to repeatedly bang their heads on the table with boredom. The 17 year old had been bitten on the face by a white tail spider and was very swollen and sore. It had rained a lot, we had all argued a lot and a number of family games had been played.  The dog was over being inside or tied up.  Both nights she had slept stretched out between Clyde and I in the bed like a third human. We had very little sleep due to her constantly licking our face. At home she is a farm dog and lives solely outside or in the she was in heaven.  
What is the point of this post/reflection?  Hmmm.  I think it is that although it was a tough little break and we were all ready to tear each other apart by the time we got home will be one of those experiences that we will all remember and will contribute to the shared memories and shaping of our family.  Often it not just the cheerful happy times that 'make' a family.  Those times that are challenging and difficult are just as powerful in contributing to the building of the family.

P.S  The white tail bite became infected.  She needed to go on antibiotics AND it was just before the school ball.  That is another story!