31 December 2010

Thoughts on happy memories

This morning I received a surprise post from my friend Taeko in Japan. It was her first photography book that was published last month. I was delighted. Soon my mind zoomed back to mid 90’s. 
Taeko and I were both keen amateur photographers. It was well before the digital era, and I was completely hooked on the magic of manual SLR photography. Taeko was a very wise and informative woman of my mother’s age, in fact I used to call her ‘mum’ for the comfort I felt. We used to spend the weekend often shooting photos or printing in the local studio, otherwise just talking about the beauty of life. After two group exhibitions we did, I departed Japan for a new challenge, finding myself, whilst Taeko continued to shoot great images for the next decade. 
Somewhere down the line from there till now, I have altered direction and chosen the material in somehow more ‘primitive’ way to express myself, but I do believe that I still have that important essence of photography within me that can collaborate with my creativity. It’s the eyes. My eyes, as if they were camera lenses, capture and embrace the beauty in life everywhere. There is also the lovely friendship that we engaged once in the past. Receiving her book on new year’s eve was such a nice reminder. 
Thank you Taeko. I have a great feeling for the new year. Hope that would be shared with you all, too. Have a wonderful 2011! xm  
Her photo collection book ‘Story’ is available from here.  
all images by Taeko Tsuji 

26 December 2010

What did you do on Christmas day?

I hope you all are having a great time. We had a very relaxed Christmas day with easy music and mulled wine, followed by a gentle walk to the riverside for a wee bit of fresh air. So calm and peaceful, just how I like it. Then... guess what we found? A big smile on the river surface. The river was frozen solid that people could walk on to make that mark! My hub told me that he could only remember that last time it was frozen was in 1963. I have never seen the view like this before and certainly never walked on the river! It was awesome! xm 

23 December 2010

Merry Christmas to you

Today was my last working day this year. During the time off from work and the college, I'm planning to finish off my studio building, of course after Christmas that is. Got to enjoy the proper rest first :) Thank you so much for your support. This year has been truly amazing because of you. Will see you again here soon, but for now, wherever you are, whatever you do, I wish you all have a wonderful Christmas and ENJOY! xm

21 December 2010

random spirit lifters

Have got a few more working days this week. Today was my last day off before Christmas. So I have decided to get on with cleaning the house all day but these things keep stopping me from the chore. Oh well, they give me a smile and that’s a good thing, isn’t it? xm 
 pretty shadow of eucalyptus and amaryllis 
 gorgeous handmade decor by Kate. (Thank you Kate!)
 there is no too many nuts and nuts cracker
 tray-full of ceramic candle holders
frosts make the garden looks pretty

18 December 2010

GIVEAWAY result!

Thank you very much for entering to my first giveaway. I was delighted to know many people have joined this from all over the world! Your participation really means a lot to me, so a big thanks to all of you! OK, this is how I did. Numbered everyone first then added continuous numbers for blog and twitter followers, which came up with total of 70 entries. For selection, I used random number generator. The winner is Lillalotta! Please email me your posting address to: makikohastings@gmail.com 
Congratulations, Lillalotta! Thank you everyone! xm 

14 December 2010

portfolio

Finally I handed in all of my assignments for this semester. It’s been hard but all worth it in the end. Thought I'd show you some pages of my portfolio. Last one is my favourite. xm

12 December 2010

one night wish

Sorry for being a bit quiet here, I had a really tough week. But rather than remembering those nastiness and sadness, I came up with rather rational idea. In the middle of snowy town centre, on the first night of late shopping, here I went with a ladder and my angel work. I decided to present my art work to the community just for one night and do giveaway. Whilst assembling, some friends turned up followed by some general public stopped and asked me what I was doing and why. Explaining I was wishing those bullies would disappear from the world, angel pieces representing wishes flying out from the cage, the place where you don’t want to be trapped. People gathered around the work that covered with lights reflected by snow. I gave my angel pieces to people who came as a thank you gift. They were delighted. Rational action that night turned out a happy warm memory. Hope you all having a good week. 
P.S. Didn’t get the ‘wishing’ angel? Why not join my giveaway? Still open but hurry, will be closing on Friday 17th. xm 

6 December 2010

here come auntie’s posts

It seems that I’d always spent an arm and a leg just for posting Christmas gifts to Japan (never mind the cost inside!) at last minutes, so I planned to send earlier this year using a surface mail, but of course I failed again. It’s already the time of year. All my folks in Japan don’t really celebrate for Christmas like people do over here, but I like giving them something little each year, especially for three little ones. Last year, I made a ceramic angel for my new born nephew. Then I thought I'm going to do this each year until they are adult (in Japan we celebrate at 20 year old) so that they’ll have a good numbers of Christmas decorations to put up when they have a future family. I liked this unusually sweet idea of mine, so the other two little ones have also joined my annual project. This year, I made birdies. Hope they like them and their mums would look after them on behalf of my brothers. x Auntie Maki

P.S.
My first GIVEAWAY is currently open. Please enter here if you fancy! Closing date is Friday 17th December. xm 

1 December 2010

GIVEAWAY!

Welcome, December! As I mentioned before, it’s the time for my giveaway to thank you all. I have chosen to go with this HANETSUBO candle holder. Closing date is Friday 17th December and I’ll annouce a winner on the next day's post. If you are up for it, please leave your comment below. If you are already my follower or become one, you will get two entries. Also the same for my twitter, then three. Hope you join me! xm 

29 November 2010

white canvas

I guess many people in the UK are writing about the snow today, and here I am too. It has arrived early this year. I simply love this natural beauty. I find it inspirational. Here are some photos from our garden and on the way to my work that I took this morning. 

BTW my first give away will be on the next post, so stay tuned!  xm 

26 November 2010

thought on the first snow

Yesterday, here in North Yorkshire we had first snow in this season. As I arrived at my work and looked through the small window within the dark workshop room, I decided to go out and shoot some images before my students arrived. I can still remember clearly that I was doing the similar thing at this time last year. Where the heck has the time gone??? Another year gone by. Time seems to be unforgiving the past few years. I am in the middle of the most manic part of my course work, prior to our group exhibition in the local town centre next week, all this interactive installation and expedition sort of wacky (well, meant to be!) event to the public. I really want to sink my head down in the cold snow if possible, that’s how I feel. Well, the good thing is that I had rather a good and productive year over all. So can’t be bad. Looks like we’re going to have more snow this weekend. Wrap up warm and have a lovely weekend, everyone. 
P.S.
My first give away is coming soon! watch this space. xm

22 November 2010

Gratitude

Finally the date has come! Yesterday was my first ever public show FLARE. Despite the sleepless night, I somehow managed to prepare the display pretty smoothly. We had many visitors and I received lovely feedback from them. Thank you so much for those who came along. My aim on this occasion was to gain experience, "if I could cover the stand fee it would be ok" I thought. Fortunately I had good sales over all, plus a commission order and one shop was interested in having my work! How exciting! 
All of this began from here, this blog that I started in June. Without your encouragement and lovely messages, it wouldn’t have happened, so thank you soooooo much everyone. For return, I am thinking about a ‘give away’ before Christmas time. So watch this space. For now, here are some images of my stand at FLARE. Hope you like them. 
Thank you everyone! xm 

19 November 2010

lift-off!

An article about my work and FLARE appears in today’s local newspaper. No pressure for Sunday? (You can click the image and open bigger to read the article if you dare!) xm 

15 November 2010

me & mate

Although I am not superstitious, kind of like the idea of having a good luck charm. I reckon this is part of me being Japanese, having grown up with those from the shrines as we do. Obviously I no longer carry such a thing, but tend to ‘make up’ what suits me. For instance, a piece of terracotta leaf that my mentor made years ago. I started to place it in a kiln since I got my current job. Whether this is working or not, there haven’t been any problem with firing for the last two years, despite the risk that might have had with my students work. This terracotta leaf has gone really dark now and become an important good luck charm for firing. 
So I thought of taking a new good luck charm to the show and found this piece that I randomly made for the colour test. The test was not significant, but I liked his face so saved him. When I ‘place’ him on my finger, I felt like as if he was calling me. If he works, he is going to be the one. If not, hey ho, he can still be my mate. He may become a good use to speak to the visitors(?) You never know. xm 

10 November 2010

large platter

As soon as we returned from the weekend of karate training, my super busy course work days are back on the routine again. Without a proper recovery period, my head and body are still wee bit off the planet. I nearly dropped this large platter the other day. As it’s been saved, I may use the piece for a display at FLARE. A week to go. xm 

5 November 2010

tell us about your golden story

 
Thank you so much for 'get well soon' messages. I am much better now and ready for International Karate training down in London tomorrow! Before going away, here some gold stuff. Have a lovely weekend everyone. xm

3 November 2010

healing power

I was not too well last night and ended up taking time off work. This sickness bug forced me down to the bed all day. A bit frustrated because there are still so much to do before the show, but suppose I'm lucky that I got this now in a way, not on the day of the show. By the way, I received a post from my folks in Japan today, enclosed this beautiful drawing by my niece. She is so talented and look, the pot has wings on! This made me feel a little better already. xm 

28 October 2010

cheese me tonight

because I like to have my own space (not with your gorgonzola). xm 

26 October 2010

doodlepots

working non stop for my course work, more research, more report and more...ah! so I had a little moment of happy doodling with a ceramic crayon. xm