19 October 2014

my favourite season


it's been so mild this autumn. lovely being able to walk in warm wind and sunshine without a winter coat. xm 

13 October 2014

It’s the time of the year...

It’s the time of the year again for auntie maki to get on with her annual task. Numbers have increased as you know, so I'd better crack on! xm

2 October 2014

my first solo exhibition!


From this Saturday 4th October to 2nd November, my ‘mazekoze’ range tableware and original screenprints will be showcased at Ropewalk Gallery (at a space called Box Gallery within the gallery). This is a small but first solo exhibition for me, so I am very exited! If you are near by, please do visit. xm

22 September 2014

new face


New addition to ‘mazekoze’ range, which will be showcased at The Ropewalk next month. More in their magazine here. xm

16 September 2014

i cannot care enough carefree beauties


Being a mother to a little one means that you have to omit some of (most of?) household chores in order to survive everyday. In my case gardening has become one of them. Our vegetable plot is covered with a black sheet and my flower border is completely abandoned. But thanks to those relatively carefree bulbs and perennials, they happily do their own thing. Without me trying to tidy, stake, or anything that need a bit of hands on tasks, they do flower nicely. Like these dahlias that I cut this afternoon, they just add our abundant garden a brilliant colour and even in our living room. 

Hopefully I will go back to do a bit more gardening next year, maybe get my daughter involved. I think I’d still chose those ‘carefree’ flowers. Anyone recommend any? xm

5 September 2014

Fishink blog


Recently I was interviewed by Manchester based illustrator Craig. Now that has been featured in his blog “Fishink” with lots of images of my work. Vey nicely written. I am very flattered! Hope you can hop over to his blog and check it out! Thank you so much Craig. xm

27 August 2014

new challenge


It’s been a month since Sabrina has been prescribed glasses to strengthen her right eye (weak one), and she has now got two pairs of wrap round type glasses. This is on the top of ongoing eye patch training. Baby + glasses? (toddler precisely) Well, put this way, equal really hard work! She takes them off as soon as we put them on. Tried so many ways to distract her, by letting her hold things, our hands, keeping her busy etc, obvious things you can think of. I even put her socks on her hands (sorry I was mean, babe!) and that did last only for a minute. Eye training at this age is mainly to maintain her brain function for the future. If that stops, when she gets older, then even if she did another op, the brian won’t pick up what she sees. So we know how important this is, but how on earth are we suppose to do??? Anyone, any trick? xm

2 August 2014

POTFEST in the Park

Last weekend we went to POTFEST in the Park. One of my favourite ceramic events in the UK. A place that I always find something I adore (and never have enough money to buy all the things I am fond of!) This time, I would like to share three artists work that I very much enjoyed. 


Very distinguish bold and quirky expression of nature, animals and humans in ceramic reliefs by Hilke MacIntyre. I first saw her work at a local gallery a while ago and instantly fell in love. I have a little collection of her work but since she is based in Scotland, I have never seen her in this sort of event in the past. So when I found out that she was at POTFEST this year, I was over the moon. It was lovely to see so much of her work and each story made us smile. I took a little plaque with mum and daughter on her shoulders home as a new addition to our collection. You can view more of Hilke’s beautiful work here.

Another artist from Scotland, Wendy Kershaw creates beautiful porcelain plaques with illustration. Her illustrations contain interesting stories, which makes you look closer. I found the combination of that with some transfers, cobalt and a touch of gold, an absolute gem. Fine needle lines are almost like etching yet the surface was so smoothly polished. "Elegance" might be the word to describe it. I have never seen any work like this before and my heart was particularly stolen by her porcelain book. Stunning! You can view more of Wendy’s work here


Finally Isabel Merrick from Devon. I started to buy her work since I first saw at Rufford a few years ago. Lively and playful colour decoration on her tableware are very eye catching. But this time she was also exhibiting her unique selection of more sculptural pieces. A totally different approach and firing. The way everything was put together with slip, glaze and scraffitto. Its wacky shape. Its dynamics. I absolutely loved them. In particular I adored this vessel with angel like wings. I had to push my limit to take this home! Thank you Isabel. You can view her brilliant work here.

19 July 2014

a touch of clay


My daughter has started to go to the nursery, which means that I have also returned to work. Although this is only my main job as the workshop instructor and I am still not officially back to my studio work. Finding it almost impossible to get that sort of time yet. All I can get is a few hours on the weekend whilst my hub looks after her. She has become more clingy to me at home at the moment possibly due to being separated from me three days a week and even her dad finds it difficult to settle her for nap etc. Nevertheless, we have managed to make a few hours on several weekends so far and these few hours in the studio have certainly given me a buzz. I’m currently preparing for the exhibition (small but solo for the first time!) in October. Hope I can get enough things done in the limited time. I shall keep you posted. xm 

4 July 2014

one year


A year. 
A year really has gone. An utterly shockingly super fast year has gone. 

A year ago, the moment a new life turned us into unexpected difficulties and despair. 
Did I imagine if I could cope? 
No.

I remember that the lady consultant who we saw very first time at Manchester Eye Hospital told me to “enjoy” it. The word of “enjoy” was rather crazy to hear at that time, whilst we were in the middle of all happening to my daughter. But I know now that was exactly why she said it. She really meant it, because she must have seen so many parents who came with new born baby with traumatic eye condition, feeling despair, focusing on the problems they have to face and forgetting to look into the bright side. You know, all about the blissful joy of bringing a child who grows so fast. Really fast indeed. 

Sabrina, like any other babies, did grow fast. On her own speed of course, but there were so many little things that she has developed each day, week and month. Watching it happening was truly heartwarming. 

Sabrina has started nursery training a month earlier than my return to work date. We have been visiting and playing for an hour or so to start with, then gradually made it longer and I started to give her more distance. Sabrina first cried big time but this gradual process helped her to settle. Staff were very supportive all the way. Being in a different environment with different people must have helped her develop not just emotionally but also physically. Before we know it, she has quickly learnt crawling and standing! Off she goes now all over following her visual curiosity. 

Did I ever imagine a blind baby reaches to this milestone? 
No.

Am I smiling now? 
Yes. 
A big fat yes.
xm
Happy Birthday Sunshine Girl! 

12 May 2014

time to let go


Finally she had to go. Ten years we spent together. Good bye, my friend. You’ve been such a great old banger. I am very sad. xm

7 May 2014

everything goes into her mouth whilst everything else goes out of the window


April just came and went. Sabrina is 10 month old. Already. Surely things are supposed to get easier as a baby grows, but it just brings other difficulties, doesn’t it? How does everyone keep up with their time when they have a baby? I used to be a much organised list person. The whole point of making a to do list is to get that satisfied feeling when you have crossed the items off the lists. I can hardly cross anything these days and the lists carry on to the next week, next month… Well, I stopped it. Welcome to the life of motherhood. 

Thank you for your kind advice on the previous post. She is doing better. I am also thankful for how things are with Sabrina. Despite the every day chaos, she has come so far, especially for her eyes. It’s just a miracle. Just grateful. xm

28 March 2014

transition

nearly time to say good bye to winter bear suits?

Can’t believe it’s nearly April! Time flies! Still cold up here in North Yorkshire but spring is just around the corner, which makes my heart sing.  

April was originally planned for returning to my work, but I had to extend my maternity leave to the maximum as Sabrina was not quite ready to go to a nursery physically and emotionally. Firstly, she does not take a bottle at all. Secondly she has huge stranger & strange place anxiety and screams the place down endlessly or makes herself sick. 

Currently we are going through with this transition period, but it is seriously hard! I stupidly imagined that it will take a few days… absolutely no way. We have been training her for months and only just recently started to show the progress. She can now take milk from a bottle sometimes and cries less when strangers are around and visited different places. Still hard work and stressful though… Will she be ready in June??? 

Like I mentioned here, she is behind the curve, so her motor skills are not quite up to normal 8 month old. No sign of crawling yet, but we have made some transitions within the house too. Built a guard around the fire place (not for fire but the marble floor with sharp corners) and covered ‘fluffy’ carpet with handmade activity mat (so that fluff does not end up in her mouth and it can be washed). She does also Skype with her grand parents regularly who are coming to visit her in May. How exciting! Hope she won’t cry too much?


If you are a mother and have some advice on how to tackle baby’s stranger, strange place and separation anxiety, I’m all ears. xm 

27 February 2014

girl’s day


This pair of dolls called ‘hina doll’ were originally given to me from my grand parents when I was one year old. As I mentioned in this post, we display them to celebrate girl’s day (3rd of March) and wish for girl’s growth and health. They have been displayed at home every year and my mum continued to do so for the last 40 years, even after I came over here. This year, my parents kindly posted them to us to cerebrate for Sabrina. Beautiful silk kimono tucked in to carved wood. Individually hand crafted. Tradition and family history continue to a new generation. Sabrina’s great grand parents gift. I feel quite overwhelmed.  
Have a lovely girl's day, Sabrina! xm

22 January 2014

eyes, hands and heart


More than 80% of baby’s learning comes from sight, I read somewhere. From what they see, they learn to use their hands and body, alongside the brain development. For Sabrina’s case, as she was born blind, her development has been significantly behind. Even after her cornea transplant on her left eye and she has started to see something, there was no hand and eye coordination. Without eye and brain development, there was no incentive for her to move her hand, head or any part of her body. Her hands were always just dangling on the side, her head was flat on the ground when she was on her tummy. This lasted for quite a long time. What I did then was to guide her arm to try touching things, move her body to feel the existence of space and make a noise and speak to her to give her the idea of direction of where things are. This was a daily routine of us, regardless of whether I felt any improvement. 

Sabrina is six and half months today. Her eyes now follow things not just the lights, holds toys with both hands, bring them to her mouth and tries to reach to things a bit further. She reaches out and touches my face too. She can also roll over from tummy to back and can sit supported. Although she is still behind the average, this is a huge development for her and I am so pleased to see this happening. 


Her right eye with no transplant surgery is a weaker one and ultimately it has a tendency to rely on her left eye. If the eye is not used, the brain stops developing too. So she has to train her right eye, currently an hour a day by patching her left. She absolutely hates this, trying to take the patch off and crying. It’s been an another battle but it seems that her right eye has started to follow things too. 

There won’t be ‘eye to eye’ contact with Sabrina, but this was my egoistic wish. When she reaches out to my face, touches and smiles, I now feel this is enough. Instead I know ‘heart to heart’ is connected. You know being a mother is really hard work but also you receive so much in return. xm