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

CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY


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

rakugaki


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 

21 October 2016

mazekoze


Counting down to the next show CRAFTED BY HAND in Masham, North Yorkshire on 5th & 6th November. Prior to that I have been posting some images of my work daily on my Instagram. Thought I’d share here too for those who’s not so familiar with Instagram. (although you can see it without Instagram account) 

Today I’d like to show “mazekoze” series. “mazekoze” means “mixing up” in Japanese. The idea of this series is to mix pieces in many combinations to enjoy at the table as if you are making surface pattern. They come in different shapes, sizes and colours. I worked on this glaze for a while in particular to get this semi matt texture and certain colour variation. I'm planning to develop two more tones but it may take a while again as I experiment with natural materials rather than using readymade commercial colourants, so tiny percentage difference of oxide can go wrong, but I love the moment when you finally achieved what you want like these yellow ochre and grey! 


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

17 October 2016

visiting David


Last weekend we went to Hebden Bridge to visit my late mentor David C White’s grave yard. It’s been already five years this October since he passed away. It was rather emotional day for me. 

Before he died, I promised him that I shall carry his spirit in me. So I did, working hard and actually had a good start of my studio time after the graduation of BA in 2012. Then shortly after that the things have significantly changed, because of my pregnancy and my daughter’s unforeseen medical condition. The priority quickly shifted. As you know I kept the studio door closed for three years. You might think returning to the studio must be giving me a fantastic feeling. Well it was and also it was not. My self esteem and confidence could not keep up, as I struggled with timing and fatigue from working just one day a week plus many night shift after daytime job as an instructor for the rest of the week. In the back of my mind, I felt really bad for not keeping my promise to David and felt like I let him down. Of course I do what I do for me, not for him. But I had this niggly feeling all the time. 

Interestingly since I started my Instagram, I have connected with many fellow potters and potter enthusiasts. They have been a great asset and online community to share the knowledge, skills and more so passion. They encourage each other. Slowly something inside me clicked and started to look up more. I realised I felt much happier showing my work and getting feedback. This helped me to keep my mind focused on what I really like to do. Since I’m getting this solid feeling as I felt happier, that also affected how I speak to my family. The whole thing connected again. 

When we went up to David’s beautiful grave stone, which was made by his fellow potter Jim Robison, I asked my daughter to say hello to David and give him a hug. So she did. She called the grave yard “David’s mountain”. Indeed we went up the little mountain to look down a breathtaking view of Hebden Bridge that he used to long for his ideal studio view. He is up there now, so I guess he’s happy.

After placing a bunch of dried lavender, I quietly told him.
“I’m keeping your spirit, so not to worry.”


Sun was shining beautifully on the hill as we went down. 

m x

8 October 2016

Smile Maker of the Week #13 - ceramics by Florian Gadsby


Hello everyone. I haven’t posted much here lately, as all of the Team Hastings has been ill health one after another nearly for a month! Hopefully we are almost on the mend. 

Today I would like to share with you these beautiful ceramics by the young sensational potter Florian Gadsby. If you love functional tableware, he really is the one to watch!

Florian works at Maze Hill Pottery with Lisa Hammond, one of the most established potters in UK and beyound today. Recently he completed his two year apprenticeship with Lisa, and now he has started making his own work alongside with making work for her. Some of you might have already seen his work and even he has been featured in ceramic reviews for his hugely growing audience through his Instagram. Being a busy mum for a little three-na-ger, sadly my subscription has not even been opened, so I missed the kick start! It’s only been a few months since I first came across his work via Instagram. (I only started Instagram this summer, finally catching up with 21st century!) I then quickly became a regular reader of his posts or rather it’s a bit like an addiction to me. 

Florian’s Instagram is a packed full of delicious images. Just flicking through all of them takes you to a great trip to learn his talent, skills and eyes for beauty. But what makes his Instagram so unique and outstanding is his words alongside the image. Whether that is about glazing or turning, he always writes in so much detail. It’s so informative, so articulate, so consistent. He also shows video too, which is often focused on one small topic, rather than a full lengthy throwing process with time-lapse. I find this much more effective for viewers and certainly captures the detailed skills, that you may want to learn from. I guess many readers, if they are potter learners especially, must have felt so grateful with his online tuition. It has already helped me a lot too, especially since my mentor passed away and I have been off studio work for so long, my self-taught throwing skills has got rusty. 

This week, the order has arrived to our home. Having actually seen his work in reality, I have certainly fallen in love with his ceramic ware with the beautiful white crackled glaze. I have never been familiar with any crackled glaze before. I think I've found the ultimate beauty here. 



Any functional ware we bought from many favourite potters are used at our table. It’s such a joy to celebrate family meals this way and we would like to continue to do so. Sabrina has now officially started to use one of his bowls. I am happy for her to be able to feel the craftsmanship in her little hands. 

Personally, every time I see his post, I truly admire his passion and enthusiasm toward the pottery. This has influenced me deeply and made me realise what I would really like to pursue, so I am very thankful for him more than the pot itself. 

After this years work with Lisa, Florian is planning to work on his own studio. I am so looking forward to seeing him embracing the future. I think he will go beyond anybody’s expectations including himself.

Find out more his work and check out his shop update in his Instagram (→here). 

m x 

3 October 2016

Crafted By Hand


Date for your diary. I am currently working hard toward the show, Crafted By Hand in Masham, North Yorkshire on Sat 5th & Sun 6th November. It’s been three years since I last attended any event, so really nervous but also exciting! 

This week it will be the final stage of making, then next week onward it will be moving onto sorting display and props, pricing and photo shooting. Hopefully in coming weeks I will be posting more images of work for the show, so watch this space. 

Please visit my Instagram where I post almost daily. 

If you are near and about Yorkshire, please pop over to the show. If you would like the details, please email me. Thank you. x m 

2 September 2016

bedroom debut

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Another first time episode. Sabrina has moved into her new bedroom officially last week. 

She did not have her own bedroom up until now. Instead, since she was born, she was sleeping in the corner of our bedroom, where used to be our wardrobe. Some may find this strange or even pity, as most families in UK put their baby into a different room at very early stage, certainly after stopping breastfeeding. It’s a kind of norm to me though, who comes from a culture where all the family often sleep in one room when the babies were young. We did it and my brother still does. But the main reason was the fact that we just did not have time to prepare it. I was working right close to the due day and then we are still working on our bathroom until a few days before she was popped! 

Her bedroom at that time was for her big brother. We planned to move his room into our guest room, which was temporarily used by my mum who was helping us and even after she’d gone home it became a storage room as we were just too busy. So the priority wasn’t her bedroom but providing somewhere she could sleep, hence we shuffled our wardrobe space. I did decorated that small space for her though, as you can see. (and that was done a few days before she popped, too!)


Now she is three, toilet trained, learning towards independency everyday and (AND!) she is going to school next year! Eeeek! We thought it’s time now, so our moving plan began this summer. Shifting stuff from one room to another, moving her big brother to an empty room, then decorating again. Not that straight forward and it took time for us, as everything was done in between looking after her. But finally we have finished it. The result? 

Happy girl! m x

16 August 2016

sand debut official


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Today, my three years old daughter played with sand, officially, for the first time.

What do you mean? You probably think. 
Sand is a ‘must’ activity for babies and children, best to explore the different texture and feels, we all know that. All nursery and kids group offer. Family goes to the beach. Right? So why now? 

My daughter was born blind, with a rare condition called Peter’s Anomaly. (→read past post) There was no cure. Only option to give her eye sight was cornea transplant, which carried a very high risk for baby. Success rate of the operation was told less than 50 %. Many doctors, for instance in Japan I hear, won’t recommend the operation. We were lucky to have met one of the best corneal surgeons in Europe and op went successful. Yet the risk remains high as the rejection of cornea can occur anytime in her life. 

Cut it short, she was band from sand play. It was too high risk for her eye condition. Well, sand itself isn’t but if sand gets into a toddler’s eye, the first thing they would do is to rub, which would probably scar the surface of cornea and can result in infection that leads to the rejection. Doctor also said that can be risky.

Although we did not wish her to be eliminated from other children and opportunities, we did not think it was worth taking the risk at the nursery either, where the staff ratio wasn’t enough to watch her at all times whilst other children might “flick” a spade of sand anytime without intentions due to the lack of control because of their age. Even if you tell your little one “be careful” or “try not to rub”, they cannot quite do that. Certainly when she was much younger.

We might have been over protective. I once thought I was a mean mum for not letting her play in the sand. But weighing between fun exploring and risk of losing her eye, we could not stress any further, especially having considered how far we came from the start. So there was no argue about it. 

So what happened today? Well it was not a planned action, but went absolutely wonderfully. Where I work, henshaws arts & crafts centre, provides so-called urban beach during the local town summer festival. In the middle of our centre garden, once a year, we get tons of sand brought in and beach appears in the middle of Yorkshire! 
(and it looks like this!) 

Our beach has been so popular, particularly for family with children with no doubt. Today I brought my daughter for a walk in our garden, not particularly for the beach, but reluctantly asked her if she wants to try with me. There was no way she was going near the beach. I felt bad again but thought she’s probably learnt not to go near the sand by now. 

Then we came cross the small amount of sand laid near the back gate that probably was the residual from the process of making the beach. She then slowly touched the sand. Then wiggled her hand through the sand, lifted it and sprinkled it. Her face turned into a tremendous joy. “Mummy, sand! sand!” I asked if she wants to try taking her shoes off. Oh, she loved the feel. Absolutely loved it. “Mummy, do it like this!” She tells me how to play with sand. “Come and take your shoes off!” “Look, my feet!” I nearly cried. Obviously I still had to closely monitor her not to get sand near her eyes. But she did very well. She was playing in the quiet small land of sand for a good few hours. I even suggested if she wants to try the big beach with me, but her answer was still no. “Big beach for everybody, this is for Sabrina.” She was just so happy there. So we played in the tiny sand beach, just me and her with two pairs of bare feet. 

Maybe I waited too long. Maybe I was over cautious. Anyway she made a sand debut. A great one.  mx 

6 August 2016

studio day and night


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Summer is here everyone! (well, maybe not for everyone in the world.) We are enjoying lovely August sunshine, making the most of it by being out in the garden and absorbing much vitamin D! 

When Sabrina first increased one more nursery day after the holiday in Japan, she was just absolutely exhausted by Friday, used to crash before tea time and her bed time routine went pear shaped. As result of that we hardly had our night time off. Since she has got used to four days a week at the nursery, her night routine has become a little more easier these days. This means that my night time work at the studio became possible as long as my husband is available. (I have never quite trusted a baby monitor, so even it is possible to take it to the studio in the garden, I wasn’t fully comfortable leaving her in bed in the house on her own.) Thanks to my kind husband who can be watching her at home, I have been working a couple nights a week in the studio to extend my one-day-a-week pottery business. (My studio day is on Tuesday and I work elsewhere as a workshop teacher for the rest of the week.)

I must say it’s not easy. As I mentioned in the previous post (here), you will need to organise well to get the timing right. You cannot possibly do the follow up tasks from daytime in one night, so night tasks had to be stretched to a few nights, which means you need to carefully deal with drying clay. Good planning was crucial. I did make a few mistakes as a result of rushing and getting tired, but I’m learning to work around it. So far I have managed to get some good results in making, decorating and finishing pieces, so I am happy. Here are some images of work in progress and the end result. 


All photos are from my new Instagram, which I’m just having so much fun right now. Please come and have a look if you are Instagram friend! xm

31 July 2016

POTFEST in the Park


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We visited POTFEST in the Park this weekend. 

For those who might be new to POTFEST, it is one of the biggest ceramic shows gathering over 100 potters and ceramic artists from all over the UK and beyond. It is held in the park at Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith. You can see so many variety of ceramic work, get inspiration from, meet makers and of course can purchase some of your favourites directly from the artist. 

POTFEST in the Park has always been my favourite to visit out of many other ceramic events and we try to come every year. We had to miss last year due to my daughter’s operation, so it was very exciting visit for me. We have certainly developed our favourite makers over the years and enjoy adding little by little to our collection each year. 

The image on the top is a stand by Hilke MacIntyre who’s based in Scotland, originally from Germany. I absolutely adore her ceramic relief pieces. They are full of imaginations often come with quirky animals, creatures and human beings that she created. We are pleased that we got a little piece for our friend and a new addition to our collection as the image below. I see Hilke’s work on the wall every day and makes me feel so happy. 


We also stopped and chatted to lovely slipware potters Fitch & MacAndrew and finally met their little one Pippin! (baby in front of the photo)  I can imagine lots of us who may be seeing them on Facebook etc, cannot just resist smiling. What a happy charming couple they are and a gorgeous daughter Pippin is! It must be hard work keeping pottery alive as well as looking after such a little one, so I genuinely admire them. We have taken a beautiful honey glazed jug home and this was the first time for us to have Doug’s piece so I’m quite chuffed. Hopefully it will be one of many to come. 


I usually take more photos at POTFEST but this year it was a bit difficult to get into shooting mode with a threenager around my knees (literally!), so sorry I haven’t got many to show you here. 

There are many more wonderful potters to look for, so if you have missed this year’s POTFEST, you know what to do! m x

27 July 2016

part-timer


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Timing is crucial. 

This is something I was aware of prior to going back to the studio one day a week, but it became so real this week after throwing on a wheel. Throwing pots require turning the base afterward and sometime assembling handles or decorating slip. Mine requires all of these. If you are not familiar with pottery, let me tell you, timing is crucial. If it’s too wet, it’s not ready to do so. If it’s too hard, you’ve probably missed the chance. You just have to get the timing right. Ideally you do things like this on the day after you thrown, but I am currently a “one day a week” potter. Just need to juggle to get it right as possible. With all the other things, like cooking dinner for family, doing laundry, bathing daughter and putting in her bed, or cleaning up her sickness at bed if worse.

Luckily my husband did her bedtime routine for the last two days, so I managed to sneak out to the studio to complete turning and assembling on one night, and slip decoration on the other night. Working night shift is not really my thing, as I tend to rush and make a mistake because of tiredness. But this seems to be the only way at the moment, so I just have to juggle it.

How on earth other mummy potters are getting their work done, I wonder? They must be super women. 

Anyway, enough of moaning! (Thank you for listening.)

I guess I just carry on and give my best shot. One day I may be better at it and be like a super woman. m x