18 April 2017

Good plan?

Continuing one-day-a-week-potter’s life. 

Even that precious one day is not actually that long. Say you go in to the studio as soon as you are back from dropping my daughter off to the nursery and even leaving any house chores behind, it will soon the time for picking her up before you know it. I also usually prepare for tea as much as I can before the nursery run, as it seems to be working better with her because, one: I don’t need to wrestle with hot pans and a crying child on my knees at the same time, and two: mummy and daughter’s catching up time are suddenly available! (it’s a win win!) So considering the tea prep time as well, my studio time is VERY (please emphasise here!) limited. 

To make the best of time available, it requires really good planning. So how do I do it? Well, my current tactic is 

“not to plan too much”. 

I used to plan a lot in a day, trying to make the most of my studio day. This was actually much worse than not planning at all. Most of the time, I wasn’t able to complete it or ended up rushing. As a result, the quality wasn’t good, mistakes happened, breakage occurred, chaos in the studio and untidied tools left behind (which means I have to start with cleaning tasks when I next work, you know that dreadful feeling!). I became moody and most importantly my self esteem went down.

Due to the nature of materials, timing is crucial. Lots of extra care required too. Wrapping clay work here and there, checking every evening (as I cannot do this during the day because I’m working elsewhere) and sometimes night shift & weekend work comes in, which isn’t really ideal. All of this means very slow progress. 

Nevertheless, I think so far slow progress has been worth while after seeing some productions on my new “mazekoze”. Those layered bowls are much wider and shallower than before. I made them with a much bigger gap in between so that it gives a clear difference across the three sizes and hopefully gives each individual piece its own use, in a better way. 

I have also omitted the scraffitto surface design that I used to apply on plates and jugs. (photo below) Instead, I focused on its shape and glaze colour. Simpler version were quite well received in my Instagram, so I am pleased. 

I am currently working toward the forthcoming show in August and September. It seems to be a long away but it isn’t for a part-timer, so I must plan “reasonably” well and work hard! If you are a creative part-timer / mummy, and have got a tip that you are happy to share, I’m all ears! m x

2 April 2017

The best retreat ever!

My first ever flower arrangement in Sarah’s lovely cottage
Last Friday I had a rather special day attending the Cut Flower Patch workshop by Louise Curley & flower arrangement workshop organised by Sarah from Simply by Arrangement. My word, it was just a fantastic. I mean, everything - workshop, surrounding, food and people - was just perfect.

How it happened? Strange enough, it all started with Instagram. 

Since my daughter was born, our garden was the first thing that was omitted from our to do list. We were just too busy to look after one more thing. So the garden got tired and left to be gone wild. Three years on, as my little girl can possibly be a little helper (even for five minutes!), we decided it’s a time to pull our sleeves up and get back into the neglected chore. I then thought really hard what I really want to get out from our small garden and the answer for me was the cut flowers. I always like the idea of bringing some flowers from the garden into the house. Simple flowers give me a tremendous joy more than what you can buy from the shop. (and expensive!) So we restructured the garden patch last winter to suit for cut flowers and even bought a brilliant book called The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley. Just as I was thinking about how and what to plant, I’ve found this workshop information via Sarah’s Instagram feed just in time.

Sarah’s house in West Yorkshire were amazing, to almost overwhelmingly stunning. When I panicky arrived rather late after getting lost my way in the country lane unexpectedly, being served a cup of lovely coffee and handmade cakes to try calming myself down, my heart continued beating fast because of all that excitement from what I can see in my eyes. It was just breathtakingly awe. (and I wish I took photographs!) Between the workshop, we enjoyed a lovely meal made by Christie, Sarah's business partner. Their hospitality was beyond any arts & crafts workshops I ever attended. 

Louise showing us pricking technique
The first session was Louise’s cut flower patch workshop. As a reader of her book, I really wanted to get my hands on practically. I really liked her approach, very friendly, down to earth and no silly questions to be asked, as I guess all beginners have so many little things that you are not sure (don’t you?) and I had many. Lots of practicing seeding, pricking out and potting Dahlias (yes dahlias!). I must say I do enjoy touching soil, like clay I suppose, more than anything. Can’t wait to transfer these into our home garden. 

Sarah’s effortless flower arrangement
The second session was Sarah’s flower bouquet making. Sarah’s workshop was filled with gorgeous selection of flowers and foliage. She first showed us how to make a bouquet more free and spontaneous way within a hand without using any structural materials. I’ve never done any flower arrangement, certainly not without a vase. Well I must say it is not easy! She did it so effortlessly but I was finding it really hard to keep the shape in the air. Sarah eventually rescued me and my flower bouquet has managed to take a shape, Phew! 

The people attended the workshop were so lovely too. All came from different areas and different background but had a common interest to talk about. Strange in a way to meet people from Instagram but actually quite nice to share what we love in this way. Quite a buzzing experience I think. 

All in all (apart from the panicking morning), it was a wonderful retreat for me to spend such a lovely day with special people. Thank you Louise, Sarah and Christie. If you are interested in any workshop like this, please check out their site - you can almost smell the goodness and I am sure you will love it. 

18 March 2017

Clay College Stoke donation

Hello everyone. Today I donated one of my small porcelain lilypad (as pictured) for the fundraising auction towards Clay College Stoke, which was aiming to be opened this September. As you may know, sadly so many pottery courses were closed down in UK today, hence most of colleges have lost “hands-on” teaching method as they are more focusing on “concept” or simply destroyed “arts & crafts” departments from education as they were considered as “not important” in our life! Well, it is of course! 

Clay College will be a great opportunity to train required skills to a professional level. In order to keep our craftsmanship, those skills and knowledge need to be passed on to next generations now more than ever. (If I were younger with no baby, I would love to apply!) 

If you are interested in bidding, not necessarily my work but also there are so many wonderful work in this site, or even just to donate £10 or so, please go and check out the Facebook group called, Potters For Clay College (Pot Auction). Auction will run up to 10th April. 

Thank you so much for reading!  m x

25 February 2017

February round up

It’s nearly the end of February and I have not written one single blog post this month, so here is a bit of round up. 

Well, life has been busy as always, like everybody else with children, juggling your working days, house, kids and your own creative work, which for me is something has been left to the minimum at the moment unfortunately. Nevertheless, I have been working in the studio one day a week, practicing and refining the existing design of my work to make them more economical and effective to the time I can have now. Designs are now much more simple but still individual as “rakugaki” (spontaneous doodling) originally means. I hope you like my new larger size of mugs and side plates. It is still challenging to refine your skills within a limited time but I do enjoy a lot. 
(more work can be seen in my Instagram and Facebook)

As for my ever growing girl, things are brilliant health wise, all doing so well. Her speech is coming along so fast, in English of course but also in Japanese, which she has never been that pushed but seems to be soaking up so quickly! 

cardboard box is the best!
Keeping her occupied all day is a hard work for mum but I am also learning how to make your day best each day, by listening to her coming out with lots of affectionate expressions and her own story telling. It is such a magical time of her life, I must say. And of course, for me too. 

Spring is almost here. I can’t wait to see those bulbs to bloom! m x

30 January 2017

Thank you for your help!

I just wanted to say thank you again for those who visited my open studio earlier this month and made kind donations. I have recently received an official receipt from the hospital so I thought it’d be only fair to share with you. 

It’s difficult to decide which organisation you choose to donate money to, as there are so many worthy causes. The reason I decided Manchester Royal Eye Hospital was from my personal experience through my daughter’s medical history. It is personal but hopefully will be a little help to many other families like us in the future. 

As some of my regular blog readers might be aware of this, but our daughter Sabrina was born with a very rare eye condition called Peter’s Anomaly, for which there is no cure. She was basically blind. Doctors at the local hospital could not identify her condition, until a specialist diagnosed her later on. Sabrina was immediately put on drugs to control her eye pressure and referred to Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, where specialist doctors and equipment are in place. 

She had two major eye operations including a cornea transplant at the age of three months. This carried very high risk of loss of her eye but thankfully she was one of the lucky one and has developed some eye sight. Sabrina will continue to carry the risk of rejection and pressure controlled medications for her life time, however, with support from Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, she is maintaining her good condition today. 

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital trains doctors in special area such as hers. People’s kind donation will help them bring more doctors on board. Thank you again everyone! m x

8 January 2017

New Year Open Studio & Sale

Thank you so much for those who came to my first ever Open Studio & Sale this Saturday. 

It was lovely to catch up with some old friends and meet new faces. It was such a great turn out. Having been so busy than I expected, I’d completely forgotten to take any photos on the day! Instead, I have collected some images from the day before to share with you, especially those who could not make it. 

3% of sales will be donated to Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and Children’s Hospital, in the hope of helping children who require specialist doctors and equipment to treat rare but severe medical condition, like our daughter.

So many pots happily went to new homes and we have raised lots of donation, so thank you so so much! m x

2 January 2017


A Happy New Year to you all! 

Unlike my usual state, last year’s resolution “reopening the studio door” was happily achieved, so I am well chuffed. 

As for this year, I’d love to say “concentrating in the studio work more”, but this will come with life balance and negotiation with other commitments, so for now let me say “a little more moving forward”. And “good health”, that’s everything! 

How about you? 

Today I emptied the shelf and the cabinet top, getting ready for Open Studio & Sale this Saturday. It'll be held in our home, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. If you are near by, please call at. For more info, please email me to makikohastings@gmail.com 

m x 

20 December 2016

Counting down

Thank you everybody for visiting my blog and support for this year. Wishing you all a lovely Christmas and a wonderful new year! Here are my ever growing Instagram snaps from our household. m x 

8 December 2016

New Year Open Studio & Stock Sale

Here is something you might be interested in after the Christmas rush. 

I will be doing my first open studio & stock sale on Saturday 7th January 2017 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Many of porcelain lilypads (above image) and “hanetsubo” series will be on sale with a big discount, as well as some old stock of tableware, many prints and one off pieces.

Why not join us celebrating the new year with a mulled wine (can’t get enough surely!?) and Japanese nibbles? A unique opportunity to sneak peek my studio too! 

3% of sales will be donated to Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and Children’s Hospital.

It will be held at our home in North Yorkshire. If you are interested in, please drop me an email to makikohastings@gmail.com I will send you an invite soonish! Hope you can make it! m x

1 December 2016

Smile Maker of the Week #14 - illustration by Sanae Sugimoto

A beautifully illustrated postcard by Sanae Sugimoto has arrived from Japan. 

Among many artists with multi disciplines, I truly admire illustrators the most. Their expression and sense of originality cannot be underestimated. Think about it, they use a pen and paper. Ok there are more variety of materials and techniques they must use like any other art of course, but basically they use a pen and paper like we all have since we were kids. Using such basic tools and on 2D, those brilliant illustrators can express precisely their own world, connect us and make us awe. That itself is so powerful skill I think. 

With that in mind, I love following many of illustrators who I admire, and Sanae Sugimoto is one of those wonderful talents. I remember that I was thoroughly excited when I first found her work via Instagram. She uses just black and ‘shu’ red of Japanese calligraphy ink, which creates rather nostalgic images with her distinctive drawing. I fell in love with her work instantly. 

This postcard was from her current solo exhibition in Hiroshima, Japan. I really do wish I could go. You can find out more of her beautiful work in her site. (→here). m x 

28 November 2016

Giveaway Result!

Thank you for those who entered my Christmas Giveaway via my blog (English and Japanese one). My little assistant has chosen a winner out of her santa hat this afternoon. 

The winner for 2016 is 

tuki tuki 12

Congratulations, tuki tuki 12! Please email me your postage name and address to makikohastings@gmail.com, so that I can post to you soon. 

Thanks everyone for participating! m x 

20 November 2016


Hello everyone. I used to do giveaway in my blog this time of year but I haven’t done it for ages, so I thought I’d like to do another Christmas giveaway today. 

The item that I would like to giveaway is my handmade porcelain wreath. Hope it will find a lovely new home in time for Christmas. Here is how to enter!

1) Please leave a comment in this blog post. You will get a draw. 

2) If you follow my Instagram (or are already following), you will get another draw.
3) If you like my Facebook page (or are already liking), you will get another draw. 

We will then put all entry names together in a hat and pick one winner. For instance, if you have done all of the above, we will have your three draws in a hat. Simple!

Please let me know if you have a different account name.  

I will close the entry on Sun 27th 9pm (GMT)
The result will be up on the blog post on Monday 28th. 

Please feel free to share the info. Good luck! m x 

8 November 2016

Post Crafted By Hand

Two day event Crafted By Hand has now finished. I have forgotten how tiring it can be after three years. Today was meant to be my studio working day but instead I was sorting out all those after event chaos and have a bit of rest!

It was lovely to be back in the event like this, meeting new people and sharing handcraft spirit. Nice to see my work have flown to new homes too. 

Next post, I am thinking about Christmas giveaway. So stay tuned. m x 

1 November 2016

C-word is ready for the show!

Ok, it’s November and my next show is on this weekend (yeek!), so please allow me to finally mention Christmas! 

All of my Christmas hanging decorations I make were originally from my annual task for my nieces and nephews in Japan. I have been making different designs each year. This year I added a new face with more intricate design using porcelain clay. I really enjoyed making them, as well as all of the other decorations. I think making even a bit “twee” decoration is also forgiven in this time of year? Hope you can find your favourite. 

All Christmas decorations are available at CRAFTED BY HAND on this weekend. xm 

28 October 2016


One more week to go to the show! Eeek! Am I ready???

Following the last post, today I’d like to show “rakugaki” series. “rakugaki” means “doodling” in Japanese. It's all about everyday functional ware that comes in a simple shape. This hopefully enhances the playfulness of doodling on the surface, which is spontaneous and fun. No two images are the same. 

When I first started this series, I used a ceramic crayon to literally draw images on biscuit ware. Then I wanted to develop a little more bold image, so instead I tried slip decoration with newspaper cutout like stencilling, which was just right for me combining with my fav technique scraffitto (scratching through clay). The process of slip decoration needs to be all done at leather hard stage, so currently an one-day-a-week mummy potter finds this difficult to achieve and lots of night shifts involves... but the result always gives me a smile. Hope it does it to you too.

All “rakugaki” pieces are available at CRAFTED BY HAND. xm