Welcome to my blog! You can find out about the influences and random thoughts that feed my ceramic work. Comments are most welcome.


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Here we go ..............

The countdown is on . . . the big one . . . we are off to Japan!!!! at the end of July.  My posts leading up to departure date will show some of the memories and memorabilia I gathered last time I was there.

O-kunchi festival, Karatsu

O-kunchi is a fantastic festival in Karatsu, Kyushu.  It is an autumn festival that takes place over 3 days, usually in November.  The photos above are from the third night of the festival when teams dressed in the traditional uniforms of Edo Period (1603-1868) firefighters pull huge floats through the town.  It's a wondrous sight with lots of colour, activity and music.  A truly Japanese experience.  There was a great atmosphere in the town.  I was lucky enough to stay with some local people who invite all their friends to stay for the festival.  They put on a hugh banquet and lay countless futons out for people to sleep on.

Penguin cups - awaiting firing
Here are my new penguin cups waiting to be fired.  I'm going to take them to Japan and leave them as hidden gifts along our tourist trail.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Lost in New Zealand

'A young Emperor penguin took a rare wrong turn from the Antarctic and ended up stranded on a New Zealand beach - the first time in 44 years the aquatic bird has been sighted in the wild in the South Pacific country. (June 21)'

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Erie's Rest - part 3

Raindrop with  ceramic transfer

Cutting out the ceramic transfers

Soaking the ceramic transfer - the backing sheet peels off allowing the transfer to be slid into place on the raindrop

The ceramic transfer applied - the blue background fires transparent

The finished raindrops

Caspian Nicholson and Ingrid Hu installing the bench

The ceramics set in the bench

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Erie's Rest - Part 2

'The 'Unlocking Salford Quays' project reveals the hidden history of The Quays - from industrial hub to one of the country’s most prestigious waterside developments, home to Mediacity, The Lowry and the Imperial War Museum . Little evidence remains of the once thriving Docks, or the people who lived, worked or played here during that era. Now visitors can follow the sculpture trail to discover a multitude of memories and stories.'    Unlocking Salford Quays

Salford Quays - the site (right side)

The site (left side)

The site (showing both sides)

The images above show the former Dock 9 on the Manchester Ship Canal. This is the site of Ingrid Hu's artwork entitled 'Erie's Rest'.  Many parts of the redeveloped Salford Quays are named after areas of Canada where the Manchester Liners would sail to and from, with imported and exported goods.

The artwork spans both sides of the canal basin. The shape of the sculpture echoes the ebb and flow of the Canal. The artist was inspired by stories of an ancestor who claimed to have walked on both the Canal floor during its construction, and the Canal surface when it froze to ice.

Ingrid asked me to design and make the ceramics to be inserted into the artwork. I used water as a theme.  Water links the Manchester Ship Canal to the rest of the world,  without it trade with different countries would not have been so vast.  I chose a raindrop shape that would reflect memories and images of the past within it's bulbous form.

Sketch of raindrop idea on bench

Raindrop prototypes

Raindrop prototypes - glazed
Relief tile prototype
I designed and made some raindrops with relief detail.  It was decided that due to safety and maintenance issues ceramic transfers should be used instead.  The transfers show drawings of dockers at work. Their job was to unload a ship’s cargo and load it onto rail wagons lined up along the Docks. The task was heavy and demanding and took place outdoors in all weathers.

Unlocking Salford Quays Exhibition

Design Board - Erie's Rest



Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Erie's Rest - Part 1

Erie's Rest - larger part

Erie's Rest - smaller part

Porcelain tiles with ceramic transfers

long view of larger part of the bench

long view of whole bench - smaller part across the water

Porcelain tiles with ceramic transfers

Porcelain tiles with ceramic transfers

Information board re: Erie's Rest

Close up of information board with my name credited
Last year, I was contacted by Ingrid Hu to design and make some ceramics.  The ceramics were to be inserted in her commissioned art piece, as part of the Unlocking Salford Quays Project. I was pleased to be asked to work on her commission and given the opportunity to develop work in a different area than usual.  It has certainly been challenging and a completely unusual way of working for me.

Here are some images of the finished work.  In subsequent posts I will explore the design process.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Birch Room

I have made some much needed panels to go above a door in my house.  Originally, the door had an old fashioned glass panel above it.  I took umbridge to the lack of design and four years later came up with my own design.  The theme of the room is birch, therefore, I designed and made porcelain tiles with birch decoration to be fitted into the panel.  I am happy with the finished piece.  It is very much in keeping with the birch theme and has the added advantage of letting less light into the room at night.

Empty panel

Porcelain tile with handrawn detail

Porcelain tile with ceramic transfer

Porcelain tile with blue slip

Porcelain tile with handpainted detail

Wooden frame

Door Panel - hall

Door panel - reverse

Detail - hall

Detail - reverse

Whilst working on the tiles, I designed a tile with handrawn birch detail.  I used ceramic crayon and drops of my aqua glaze.  I thought this piece worked really well.  It has a delicate quality to it and could be a lovely gift.  I now sell these pieces as personalised porcelain pictures through my shop on 'Not on the High Street'.

Personalised Porcelain Pictures

Next Bird Room - hope it doesn't take another 4 years!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Origin 2011

The exhibitor list for Origin is now live.  Here is a selection of work that I find interesting.



Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Volcanic Lightning

Carlos Gutierrez

Daily Mail Online

Pat Taschler