21 October 2016


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


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


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


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


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



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

16 July 2016


Instagram. Just started. Please have a peek if you are fancy. xm


13 July 2016


Once my daughter has gone to sleep, I have a bath and do a quick chore, then off to the studio for a bit, carrying a baby monitor with me. Lucky my studio is in the garden. 

Scraffitto on slip. Oh how much have I missed this sensation! m x

11 July 2016

first firing

first firing since being back in the studio. lovely summer evening. unloading Christmas items (!) (once a week potter needs to work ahead, you see) m x

7 July 2016

good bye terrible twos, hello threenager

How time flies seems to be accelerating even more when you are with a little one. Once a-tiny-baby-used-to-be now has turned into a three-na-ger. I know it’s an old cliché to say this but where has the time gone??? Honestly!

I am beginning to notice some changes in her already, in particular her attitude and way to cope (or not to cope) with things that you may think trivial. Of course, nothing is trivial to them. Silly mum. She seems to be obsessed with certain things, for instance, she bothers about a tiny splash of water or dirt on her clothes, and wants to change them so frequently. Obviously she is bound to get dirtier soon enough, so I’d say bad words like “it’ll soon dry” or “it’ll get messy again when you play outside”. Then she goes ballistic as if it’s the end of the world, demanding to change her clothes, crying, throwing herself and stripping her trousers off anywhere etc. Well, I suppose this isn’t that bad, considering all sort of worst case scenarios that I have heard, and after all I am hoping it’s just another phase. 

Nevertheless, the goodness and loveliness of our little one are still all around, making her mum proud. Her potty training is doing really well and her sticker chart now has gone to the second sheet. She keeps wearing the medal she was given for completing a half-mile charity run she did the other day. She enjoys bubbles like the bestest gift ever. I can still eat up her cute bum and her sleeping face. These are only a few of many reasons that I can still be here with a new three-na-ger. m x

29 June 2016

starting again

Squeezing up our finance by having my daughter started an extra day at the nursery, I have recently gained my studio day once a week. Using last two of these new occasions, each of them approximately 7 hours, I have set myself back into the studio. Last post shows that I was pretty lost because of the state of it. It was that bad. Yes, I was that bad to look after it, or rather not looking after it. This week, however, I finally managed to tidy up to the level that I can actually get back into work. I still need to mend a leaking roof and remake broken moulds etc etc… on going jobs, but I’m back! 
Once a week is a very limited space of time for working with clay, but it’s better than none. The goal is the show I’ll be taking part in November. The first event in a long while. Fingers crossed for making enough items by then. m x

21 June 2016

it’s time

full of spider webs 
accumulated dust and clutters 
broken pieces 
unfinished pieces
piles of unknown boxes and unknown stuff from elsewhere
no surface can be seen on table or floor
what happened in the last three years
only been three years
yet unexpected three years
as if it was an abandon ship 
embarrassingly neglected place
place that I once dreamed of

where to start
I sigh 

c’mon get on with it
a familiar voice from sky high

it’s time to move on
m x