30 September 2010

LONDON LOVE: coming soon!

Been a little quiet here as I was a busy bee with the course work and sorting things from the last minute trip to London last weekend. The place where I lived when I first came to the UK in 1997. Having moved away from there for many years now, I still do LOVE visiting this fab place as often as possible. Weekend was just not enough to see all, but I will share a little bit of my LONDON views in the next four posts. So watch this space! 

23 September 2010

wing matters continued...

9 weeks to craft fair. I am still working things out. The above image is Yunomi (Japanese tea cup) of HANETSUBO series that came out of the kiln earlier this month. As I mentioned in this post, wings had to be ‘tweaked’ to make them stronger than the original version, but I felt like a kind of lost the look I wanted. Maybe too heavy or too much in a way of your hand? Much preferred the original version that looked lighter. As I was pondering and muttering, I saw this small jug that I randomly made as one off piece. Mmmm, quite like the way a single wing attached. So tried new versions in this way. Hope it’s going to work this time.  
Fingers crossed. xm 

21 September 2010

KALLA (colour) my day

beautiful fabrics from KALLA 


Must be coming down with something. My body is aching and head is spinning around. It was my first day back to my third semester but I have no energy left. I’m just damn (sorry) grey. Better refrain from blogging when I am feeling like this, but hang on for a few moments because I’ve got a good news to share. Just received a kind email from textile designer Hitomi and she has just featured my blog in hers. How lovely! Please go and view the post here. Her website KALLA is textile wonderland filled with beautiful colours and designs. She has definitely brighten up my grey day. Thank you so much Hitomi! xm

19 September 2010

thank you

Yesterday we moved a wheel and tools into the studio. Working in the tent has become too cold. We haven’t quite completed the studio yet. Still lots to do. Needed water in a bucket as a temporary sink. The floor isn’t even sealed. But at least it’s insulated and the electrics are ready, so for now building the studio has been postponed and prioritized the working space until FLARE is finished. 
Rainy Sunday afternoon. Back from some errands in the city, I had a quick cup of tea and went into my studio to reclaim clay. Despite the dull task, (reclaiming it is!) soon I felt this unknown wonderful feeling. No more frightening gale attacking the tent. No more darkness. No more freezing coldness. Instead I was surrounded by warm, light and beautifully calm atmosphere. My own working space with clay and tools. This is truly wonderful. I am so lucky to experience this. So lucky to have my husband to help me build this space. I know this is a little personal to say loud here, but thank you so so so much my darling hub from the bottom of my heart. 
My heart smiles this much :) xm 


P.S. (added following the comment below)
‘Reclaiming’ is recycling clay in a way. Any scrap of clay can be reused, but this is quite an unpleasent process with dusts and muds that can get really messy... I don’t think anyone who works with clay like this task. The last image is a pile of reclaimed clay on a plaster board before wedging. 

17 September 2010

what a surprise!

As you can see, I have ever growing lists of inspirational blogs that I love visiting regularly. It’s getting longer and longer (which is becoming a little difficult to keep up with) but I do like to continue adding if I find any site that gives me ‘wow’. Recently started to visit this blog called Through the round window by glass designer Flora, since I found this gorgeous bird piece.
fab staind glass work by Flora

On my visit to her blog post this week, I could not believe what I saw! It was my screen-printed ceramic tile. I was shocked but delighted. Then soon I felt a little embarrassed as it was just an old test piece I posted ages ago (in fact on my second post when I did not know what I was doing!) Kindly she said she liked the design despite the fact, so thank you Flora! 
maki's oldie!

For more images of her work, please visit her website, blog and shop. I’m sure you’ll soon find your favourite too. xm  

15 September 2010

no light no problem?

Gosh, it’s getting dark really quickly now. This year's gorgeous summer has almost made me forget this is England. You do realise that when you are working under the tent! The task of the evening was turing, assembling and making wings of the goblets I threw on the day before. Started at 6pm and before you know it, I could hardly see what I was doing even with a provided light. Ahh panic panic! Knowing it was going to be a mess, I had to go back on the dining table again to finish off. Phew... somehow I completed the task without any breakage.  
Anyway, these are some HANETSUBO goblets going to be fired soon. Next week, I will be back on the third semester. Which means, I will be able to access the studio so that's a good thing. But it's going to be super busy again with assignment work on the top of the preparation for FLARE. That is actually quite frightening. Can I do it? Got to be brave. I think I’m ready to restart now. xm

14 September 2010

a happy print

I was going to post the progress of my work, but have something I MUST show you before.  A pretty art print work by Flora Chang from Happy Doodle Land has just arrived. Isn’t she gorgeous? As soon as I saw this blog post last month, I fell in love with this yarn hair lady and could not bear not to order it. And you know what? So much more! She added a beautiful message and two of her designed badges (and I LOVE badges!!), which are a cute girl in black bob (just like me now, except cute bit?) and my initial M. How sweet is that? Please check out her blogHer work is so charming and I'm sure that gives you smile, too. 
Thank you so much Flora.   xm 

12 September 2010

pastel meets bold

On the way back from Yorkshire Moor, we stopped for a cuppa at a small village. Then I did my usual ‘must-do’ when visiting a new place. Charity shop hunting! (You know me and treasure hunting in this post)

I bought this lovely ceramic jug for just 99p! Swinnertons Pottery is not rare to find but I fell in love with this colour called “chelsea blue”. I often like to decorate things with just white or natural colour. Today I felt for the opposite. A lovely bunch of bold coloured Dahlias from a market to mix with this pastel blue. Placed in our guest room that has a bright red wall. Do you think it worked?? 
Happy Sunday, everyone! xm

9 September 2010

what else do you want moor

Soon after September has arrived, I've started to feel a sense of autumn nearby. In this time of year, there is one place I like visiting. Yorkshire Moor. With just one aim, to see heather. I love the beautiful pinkish purple carpet. We visited at the end of school summer holiday. Out in a fresh air and cool winds, it was so refreshing. Beside my teenage step-son walking in a sort of cool and calm manner, I was dashing around in a joy with my camera. Every time I come up to Dales and Moors, I remind myself that how lucky to live in North Yorkshire to be able to see such a stunning view in a “just popping round” distance.
Beautiful but tough weather up there, all the natures and creatures have strong faces. Following those memories, I began to doodle some ideas. I may transfer this to my ceramics. Maybe using ceramic crayon like these... 
 Thank you moor & see you next year. xm

6 September 2010

is making pots dangerous?

Got some glaze test pieces out of the kiln this morning. They are mini vases of HANETSUBO series. Not too bad texture but I realised the wings weren’t even! Oh well, preatice and more practice. After back from work tonight, I was making some more but really bad gale was shaking my gazebo like crazy so I got really frightened of trapping underneath in case it’s blown! Quickly finished turning and evacuated inside the house. I think I’ll really need to get back to the studio at college soon...  xm 

4 September 2010

harvest

our courgette's flowers before and after


Welcome September! I’m pleased that autumn is on its way. My favourite season. However, this summer has also been great to me. It made me realise that how much I enjoy being out in the garden. Courgettes in our small vegetable patch seems doing well. Today I picked a few flowers and decided to have a go with tempura (Japanese deep fried cooking) for a snack.

Just in case anyone interested in trying at home, here is my ‘rough’ recipe. I don’t usually measure amount properly and guess by eyes & taste when cooking. So bear in mind that...
to make tempura butter : mix plain flower with cold water. then add an egg and a pinch of salt
to make tempura sauce : first make stock using dry fish or seaweeds. (If using dry seaweeds like combu, soak them in water overnight.) heat the stock soup, then add light soya sauce and mirin. (If you haven’t got mirin, you can try sake and sugar) I like adding cilli powder to this, but this is entirely up to your taste.
Ingredients can be bought at China town or even some supermarkets. Before deep frying courgette flowers, make sure you take the pistils off and wash. It’s that simple. Eat with the heated sauce as soon as it’s fried. Taste? Yummy! xm
ITADAKIMASU! (bon appetite!)
P.S.
I’ve just created “Japanese version” of my blog. Except my sweet mother who reads with a dictionary one by one (oh bless!), I guess it’s much easier for people in Japan. Feel free to have a peek by clicking this flag image on the right. (sorry if it appears gibberish on your screen) xm

1 September 2010

window wish


So pleased to tell you about this! My pottery studio (currently under the construction by us) now has got all windows fitted! Hurray! A big thank you to my wonderful hub. The studio has windows on three walls; the entrance doors, the main wall on the side and the back. As much as I wanted the natural light in, too much exposure to the light is not that good for clay work. So the size is a kind of reduced to the minimum but the effect is maximum.

This is what we did. For the main doors, we’ve recycled the glass that was found in the garage. For the back wall, considering the neighbour, only a narrow strip of glass was placed, which is again a found piece. I love this one particularly, pretty retro dotty patterns that looks like from the 60’s. For the main wall, which are facing to our house, we’ve ordered double glazed pieces from a local glass company and fitted in my hub’s handmade wooden frames. I think it’s transformed well from the old garden shed. xm