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

12 June 2016

Japan here we come 3: NUSHISA

Whilst we were in Japan, one place that I longed to visit. NUSHISA

Some may remember my blog post (→here) about children’s cutlery set. Sabrina absolutely loves these, saying “special spoons”. Indeed they are very special. Individually handmade, beautifully curved wood and softly finished with lacquer in unique colour variations. They are made by Keisei Takemata, a master of NUSHISA

NUSHISA is located in place called Yoshikawa, less than an hour train journey from my parents. It’s a small cafe where you can eat family meals with organic vegetables and fresh fish, whilst you can also enjoy his handmade tableware and furniture. As soon as we walked in the place, we could feel the warmth from the wooden furniture and surrounding. Each wooden furniture shows different faces with different characters but all look happy. Especially the chairs. So fun to choose from, my daughter alike.

Main menu changes weekly. The photo shows what we had for lunch on the day. These homemade Japanese meals are far beyond my forte. It was delicious! We certainly enjoyed it but I wish I could cook like this! 

Eating with wooden tableware gave me a fresh sensation. So light, so warm. It comforts the users. Something totally different from ceramic ware, it was an exciting experience to me. When it comes to Japanese lacquer ware, I usually imagine traditional shyu-red or black shiny ones, which has somewhat a snobbish look. Keisei’s lacquer ware, instead, gives us gentle and calm feel, and the most of all the warmth. Unlike traditional shiny lacquer ware, Keisei’s ware has the texture of wood and rustic colour variations. They have rather “down-to-earth” look, no gimmick or no snobbishness, just genuine honesty. You can tell that not just by looking, but also by touching by hands and your own mouth. (When you eat Japanese food, unlike us placing everything on a plate and using a folk and knife, we lift a bowl to eat with chopsticks, sometimes it touches our mouth directly, so each ware becomes more close to us.)

My daughter also enjoyed her meal, which originally came with that special spoon, but she picked up much large wooden spoon from the table. She certainly enjoyed it, opening her mouth so big and wide! That’s the way you do it, girl! 

We have brought two of his handmade plates home. We loved those quirky shape and lovely texture on the surface. It’s fun to think about what and how to display food on them! 

You can view more of NUSHISA (→here). Hope you enjoy it, too. m x 

7 June 2016

Japan here we come 2: celebration time

Visiting family in Japan is always special, but there was another special opportunity for us. 

Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3). 
In Japan we celebrate children’s growth and good health at the age of three and seven for girls, five for boys. Shi-Go-San is traditionally on 15th November and we often visit a shrine for blessing, but we wanted to do it during our stay as my daughter turns to three this summer. 

I guessed it would be pretty hard work for a toddler to get dressed in kimono, have her hair done, and walk to shrine all in one go, so we had two separate days to do the blessing at our local shrine and to get photo taken. Thanks to the professional photographer who has this super magic to turn a wiggly toddler into a photo-shooting mode! It was brilliant! 

Both days were lovely and we enjoyed it very much. My baby is growing fast! mx

3 June 2016

Japan here we come 1: family time

We went on holiday in Japan last month. It’s been nearly four years since we last visited and first time for our daughter. Thankfully she was fine with her first long flight. Pretty much everyday she was just full of beans. We had a wonderful time. 

We didn’t plan a lot this time, as we wanted her to get used to Japanese family. I was rather worried how she would react to people, but there was no need for that. She was happy as soon as she saw her grandparents. It was the same for my brothers family, she was giggling and smiling. Good job we’ve been doing Skype so often. The power of Skype cannot be underestimated. Especially to one of her cousins who is the same age as her, holding hands and walking around together. What a lovely sight it was! 

Weather wise it was stunning sunny early summer. We enjoyed picnics and visiting animal park. Spent our spare time at so many parks, running around, playing with slides and seesaws. Picking strawberries at her granddad’s allotment, getting excited with origami jumping frogs made by her cousin. Every moment was precious.

Mum’s food is always the best but everywhere you go you won’t fail in Japanese food. We certainly enjoyed it and Sabrina did too. She ate well, played well, slept well. It was a lovely three weeks. mx

27 May 2016

coming soon

Dear blog readers, 

Just to say hello from sunny Japan, having a great time with family. I’ll post more from holiday when we get back home, so watch this space!  m x 

22 April 2016

precious ordinary

My heart goes out to people who were effected by the recent earthquake. 

Ordinary day. 
Nothing special but everything special. 
Even with hustles and bustles.
Grateful to have today, here with my family. 
m x 

14 April 2016

Drip drip drip little April flowers

Lovely cherry blossom tree in our front garden was full last week but April shower (and hail stones in that matter) has made the end of it. Even though it starts with proper sun-shining picnic weather, we still get a sudden and nasty changes in the sky. Well, that’s the English weather for you. Can’t pack up my winter coat yet. 

Nevertheless Spring is here. When the sky is in a good mood, we enjoy walking a lot. New buds are shooting on trees and flowers are out everywhere. It just makes me so happy. That must be the same to my daughter, as we approached the park last week, she suddenly ran to the grass area and picked a white daisy, saying “Sabrina wants SHIRO (white) HANA (flower)!” My, it was the moment that I was totally moved. 

  • Because she wanted to do so by herself and did it without prompting, up to now we did this together. 
  • Because she is able to see such small things within the big field. 
  • Because she enjoys nature. 
  • Because she has spoken some Japanese. 

All of these facts tells me that she is doing so well. I was too moved to throw those flowers away, so currently they are in a press. 

The above photo was taken on the same day. She collected those sticks and told me, “Stick-Daddy, Stick-Mummy, Stick Children and Stick Sabrina!” 

Happy days :) m x

24 March 2016

march-ing to spring?

March has been and is about to go. So here is a quick update of this month.

It’s been another warm winter here in England, but we had snow early this month. It was very first time for my little one to play in the snow. From that experience, she was super excited on the second day we had snow.

World book day. Like any of those ‘fun event’ days at the nursery, children get asked to come in thier favourite character gear. I am a mother who is rather reluctant to buy a new outfit for my child. So I asked my poor child which story she like the best, wishing somethings not complicated, and the answer was “Stickman”. So there I went, stitching brown felt bit by bit on to her old T-shirts after she’d gone to bed. Costless but not sure which was actually the easiest choice after hours of sleepy night work! At least she loved it, so worth it. 

Our new light in the dining room. We are always a bit dubious to buy something from IKEA but this dandelion seedpod light was a hit of this month. Makes all of us smile! Can’t wait for spring now. m x 

6 February 2016

how do you decorate a wall?

Some of you might have already known that I have a birdie mind. (see this post) Birds are ace, but also things with “wings”. I have great tendency to fall in love with them. My collections have been displayed on so-called “wing wall” in between our kitchen and living space, where people often gather around. 

It all started with a small part of wall like this photo in 2011. 

But soon it expanded to the entire wall by 2014, which filled with my love of wings, from my favourite artists work to more casual ones like postcard from friends, gift tags, charity shop find, my students drawing etc. They are all precious and special. 

The good thing was that I enjoyed every time I pass this space, but the hindsight was that once fixed you can’t change. I am not a very good cleaner either, so this was becoming a problem. 

So my clever and kind husband took his DIY cap on again, whilst I was putting my “designer” cap on. We often work like this… I get an idea, sketch, sketch, sketch, plan, plan, plan and then gently nudge my husband. Thanks to him, we have upgraded our wing wall to a more fresher look!

Now I can change the display whenever I want, add things or swap around. I can place sculptures as well as 2D pieces. I can clean easier (if I wished to). When it comes to Christmas, we can simply put cards here. Plus, when I ever do open studio, I can display my large platters and print work. So many great use.

The line of shelves were made deliberately the same height and thickness of the book shelf in the living room. They look like continuous flow and neat in an open space. Mmmm… we love it! m x

1 February 2016

may i excuse myself muttering my matter?

As some of you might have already noticed this, my official Facebook page is currently closed. My website is still accessible but you can see nothing has been updated since 2013. There are several reasons that I did this (or didn’t do at all), but mainly up until my daughter’s operation, my priority was obviously her and I wanted to omit my task of checking and updating things about my studio work (and there isn’t any!) 

Apology for those who kindly check these or even contacting me about work. I feel bad for letting you down.

You know I’ve got back to work for over a year now. Why I didn’t resume my studio work, instead of my teaching job, you may think? I suppose I was not confident enough to manage just the studio work, but I needed regular income, this works without too much worries and I get to home on time to gain family time. So the studio door was kept locked. Hope you understand. 

But, a big but, those days may be over. Time to go back in the studio will hopefully be coming soon when spring arrives. I have to start with tidying up, not actually working in there yet though. Nevertheless the door will be reopened. Yes, it must! I may start booking an event! Can I dare? This is rather a crazy thought, because after such a long absence, does anyone really show any interest in my stuff, I wonder? 

Why am I saying this here? Well, I need a goal to work on! You are the witnesses. 

Above image is totally unrelated to my studio work, but we just upgraded our two year old daughter’s work display space. looking great! i must learn from her! m x

13 January 2016

LONDON break, I mean, break?

We just got back from a short holiday in London.

It was the first time for us three to be away from home and stay over somewhere, other than hospitals! Everything was the first experience for Sabrina - first train trip, underground, hotel, English breakfast (!), museums etc. It was all exciting and fun. She must have said “what’s that?” for at least 100 times in three days! 

It was also exhausting! Yes, taking a two-year-old to a trip is exhaaaaausting!!! In the past, I have seen those kids who are lying on the floor and screaming in public, but I've never imagined that I am the one who to deal with my own child in that situation! 

Well, the good thing was that all in all she had a good time and also realised that she loves being back home. We are all ‘home’ people. We love home as much as we love London. And that’s very ok. m x

9 January 2016

wishful thinking

happy belated new year to you all. 
thank you for everyone who visits my ‘inconsistent’ blog.

new year. new start. 

i have never done new year resolution. 
simply because i have never managed to keep up with it. 
nevertheless, this year i am wishing to re-enter my studio door. 

so fingers crossed. watch this space (quietly).
x m

13 December 2015

so i did it!

I mentioned in my last post that I haven’t tried baking with my daughter. Well, that has came to the end! This weekend, Sabrina and I managed to make our first gingerbread man together! Hurray!! 

Just a little thought on what we should take to her friend’s who invited her next week. I must have been very positive (or rarely overconfident?) to think about baking. 

You know, baking is not my forte. 
No, get it right. Baking is not what I am good at. 
No, be precise. Baking is what I do not like. I CANNOT bake. I fear for baking. 

All those measuring, mixing stuff together accurately, unlike cooking where you can “wing it”, and I get it always wrong, stressed and never get the good end result whatever I have baked in the past. Surely it is similar to measuring and mixing glazes? Aren’t kneading and rolling similar to clay work? Every time the pastry stuck on the surface and breaks the shape of gingerbread man, I cried. Why isn’t this working for me? Why is baking so haaaaaard???

Anyway I did it! I am so proud of myself :) 

Sabrina enjoyed rolling and cutting small pieces herself. (Gingerbread man became my task in the end, but anyhow!) Obviously she enjoyed tasting. Yum! 

Her highlight of the weekend was actually the Christmas tree. Once her dad brought it into the room, she was delighted as you can see in the photo. Not so long now, darling. Time to enjoy! x m 

3 December 2015

how do you spend a rainy day with a child?

Rain, rain, rain and more rain and storm! 
What’s going on with this winter’s weather here?? So miserable and it’s putting me off going outside, even driving. Apart from my working days (= my daughter’s nursery days), I simply stay at home mostly. Therefore it’s a challenge for me to keep my two year old daughter’s mind and body active for all day without outdoor play. Otherwise she cries, becomes clingy or worse. 

Due to the nature of my work, people say things like, “Has she played with clay with you?” “You do lots of arty fun at home, don’t you?” Embarrassingly I have not. I get stressed when I think about mess afterwards. Those wonderful mums who bake with kids at home, do creative stuff at home, I admire them. Me, instead, laziness comes before creative mind. Bad mum. 

Nevertheless, I still do have a duty to turn a crying child into a happy one as much as possible. So I then put a very quick & easy creative-ish hat on at times. The latest hit was a centipede made out of a clingfilm tube. She loved him instantly and walks him all around the house. Although she seems to prefer climbing on me, doing a slide or horse riding. I suppose she still likes to have that sort of closeness. Mum’s energy will continue to decline. 

How do you spend a rainy day with a child? x m