Thursday 26 August 2010


It’s all about jugs lately! Last week I listed these little white jugs in my Folksy shop. I call them ‘tip’ jugs because they don’t have handles: instead they fit snugly in the palm and the contents are simply tipped out. So they’re perfect for a spot of milk or cream in your tea or coffee. They measure just over 5cm x 5cm and come in three colour ranges: gloss white (listed), a wood ash glaze and a dark tenmoku.At the moment I’ve only listed the white ones, but the others will follow shortly I hope. (click on the pic to go to my shop.)

In the meantime I’ve also been taking lots of photographs of these jugs. As you may have noticed I usually photograph my ceramics against a plain white background. This time I thought I’d also try out some ‘styled’ shots to show these jugs in context and suggest scale. Although I do like the minimalist look of the white glaze against the white background, sometimes it helps to add a bit of colour to illustrate how gorgeous this glaze really is! Anyway, here’s a medley of photos that came out of the ‘shoot’ showing a 'styled' shot and also the wood ash and tenmoku glazes.

Last week I also put together my first gallery in my Flickr account. I’ve been meaning to try something for ages but didn’t know what subject to choose. In the end I chose a theme of ceramic jugs: I thought it would be a good way for me to think about different design features on jugs and be inspired by what others have made. And I’m really pleased with the result. There are so many lovely photos out there with some gorgeous pots. And now I’ve done my first gallery I’m looking forward to having a go at making some more. Here’s a link to my first Flickr gallery, Jugs.

And finally I also had a couple of lovely Folksy Friday features last week. Thanks to Sam for featuring my tip jugs on her blog A Simple Melody and also to Kellie for featuring my buttons on her blog It’s The Little Things. Here’s a couple of screenshots too!

Thursday 19 August 2010

Garlic Festival Finds...

Last weekend my sister Sue and I shared a stall in the Arts and Crafts marquee at the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival. It went very well and although it was hard work we enjoyed ourselves. It was so busy by Sunday afternoon people were still queueing to get into the showground! So I’m pleased we made the decision to go again this year. Yet again my photos of the event were pretty rubbish and out of focus: too preoccupied with manning our stall. So instead I thought I’d blog about my new purchases…

At the festival I found a fabulous stall selling lots of gorgeous vintage tools and garden equipment. I picked up a lovely enamel bowl for my studio, and since I don’t have a sink in there it's perfect for all manner of uses. I’ve already been using it to do a bit of mid-summer cleaning: washing all my work aprons and tea towels which were long overdue. I also bought a pair of tongs from the same stall. These were a bit rusty and dirty to start with, but after a few minutes soaking in WD40 have cleaned up a treat. I haven’t used these yet but I’m sure when it comes to raku firing again they’ll be useful for finding tiny buttons or pendants in all the sawdust. But at just £2 for the bowl and a quid for the tongs I could hardly resist!

Finally I bought this lovely old metal bin with lid and handles for just £8. Not sure what it was originally – maybe it was an old steam cooker or a copper. But I saw it and instantly thought I could make it into a small raku kiln. So I’m really quite excited about it! I’ll have to do some research and draw up some plans on how it might work – but in theory all it needs is some ceramic fibre on the inside and a hole in the back for the burner. But even if it turns out not to be suitable, it’ll still be perfect as a reduction chamber in raku firing (ie; the bin full of sawdust into which the raku pots go when they come straight out of the kiln).

So all in all it was a successful weekend!

(My sister Sue was also tempted to buy some lovely bowls and pots from the same stall for her natural dyeing process. You can see her blog here.)

Sunday 8 August 2010

Glazes and Garlic

Over the past couple of days I’ve been sorting through a selection of small accessories that came out of the last glaze kiln. These included buttons, brooches, pendants, rings and miscellaneous ‘blanks’. All of these little pieces require some finishing touches. First I usually smooth them all using sandpaper to soften the edges and make sure they don’t snag on clothing or feel rough against the skin. After sanding I add the fittings like brooch backs and ring findings (I use Araldite as a ceramic fixative and the fittings come from my local bead shop). I also thread the pendants onto lovely new suede thongs and individually attach each button onto card in singles or matching pairs to keep them together. All in all it takes a day or two to go through all the pieces - choosing which items go best with which fitting (and also trying not to glue my fingers together). But it’s all worth it in the end I think – especially now I have a new selection of jewellery and buttons (with brand new glazes!) for my next show.

Talking of which…our next show is coming up very soon. My sister Sue and I will be sharing a stall together again (as Osmosis) at this year's Isle of Wight Garlic Festival next weekend (14th and 15th of August). It’s our second year at the festival. Last year was very good for us and we had lots of interest in our work, so we hope it will be successful again this year. We’ll be exhibiting in the Arts and Crafts marquee on site with lots of other local artists and craft makers - and there’ll be plenty of other attractions over the two day event including live music and lovely food stalls with garlic to eat of course! So if you’re in the area, please do drop by: here’s a link to their official site.

And I just wanted to thank Helen again for featuring my bowl on her lovely blog last week: here’s a screenshot, and here’s a link to her blog too. Thanks!