18 April 2017

Good plan?

Continuing one-day-a-week-potter’s life. 

Even that precious one day is not actually that long. Say you go in to the studio as soon as you are back from dropping my daughter off to the nursery and even leaving any house chores behind, it will soon the time for picking her up before you know it. I also usually prepare for tea as much as I can before the nursery run, as it seems to be working better with her because, one: I don’t need to wrestle with hot pans and a crying child on my knees at the same time, and two: mummy and daughter’s catching up time are suddenly available! (it’s a win win!) So considering the tea prep time as well, my studio time is VERY (please emphasise here!) limited. 

To make the best of time available, it requires really good planning. So how do I do it? Well, my current tactic is 

“not to plan too much”. 

I used to plan a lot in a day, trying to make the most of my studio day. This was actually much worse than not planning at all. Most of the time, I wasn’t able to complete it or ended up rushing. As a result, the quality wasn’t good, mistakes happened, breakage occurred, chaos in the studio and untidied tools left behind (which means I have to start with cleaning tasks when I next work, you know that dreadful feeling!). I became moody and most importantly my self esteem went down.

Due to the nature of materials, timing is crucial. Lots of extra care required too. Wrapping clay work here and there, checking every evening (as I cannot do this during the day because I’m working elsewhere) and sometimes night shift & weekend work comes in, which isn’t really ideal. All of this means very slow progress. 

Nevertheless, I think so far slow progress has been worth while after seeing some productions on my new “mazekoze”. Those layered bowls are much wider and shallower than before. I made them with a much bigger gap in between so that it gives a clear difference across the three sizes and hopefully gives each individual piece its own use, in a better way. 

I have also omitted the scraffitto surface design that I used to apply on plates and jugs. (photo below) Instead, I focused on its shape and glaze colour. Simpler version were quite well received in my Instagram, so I am pleased. 

I am currently working toward the forthcoming show in August and September. It seems to be a long away but it isn’t for a part-timer, so I must plan “reasonably” well and work hard! If you are a creative part-timer / mummy, and have got a tip that you are happy to share, I’m all ears! m x

2 April 2017

The best retreat ever!

My first ever flower arrangement in Sarah’s lovely cottage
Last Friday I had a rather special day attending the Cut Flower Patch workshop by Louise Curley & flower arrangement workshop organised by Sarah from Simply by Arrangement. My word, it was just a fantastic. I mean, everything - workshop, surrounding, food and people - was just perfect.

How it happened? Strange enough, it all started with Instagram. 

Since my daughter was born, our garden was the first thing that was omitted from our to do list. We were just too busy to look after one more thing. So the garden got tired and left to be gone wild. Three years on, as my little girl can possibly be a little helper (even for five minutes!), we decided it’s a time to pull our sleeves up and get back into the neglected chore. I then thought really hard what I really want to get out from our small garden and the answer for me was the cut flowers. I always like the idea of bringing some flowers from the garden into the house. Simple flowers give me a tremendous joy more than what you can buy from the shop. (and expensive!) So we restructured the garden patch last winter to suit for cut flowers and even bought a brilliant book called The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley. Just as I was thinking about how and what to plant, I’ve found this workshop information via Sarah’s Instagram feed just in time.

Sarah’s house in West Yorkshire were amazing, to almost overwhelmingly stunning. When I panicky arrived rather late after getting lost my way in the country lane unexpectedly, being served a cup of lovely coffee and handmade cakes to try calming myself down, my heart continued beating fast because of all that excitement from what I can see in my eyes. It was just breathtakingly awe. (and I wish I took photographs!) Between the workshop, we enjoyed a lovely meal made by Christie, Sarah's business partner. Their hospitality was beyond any arts & crafts workshops I ever attended. 

Louise showing us pricking technique
The first session was Louise’s cut flower patch workshop. As a reader of her book, I really wanted to get my hands on practically. I really liked her approach, very friendly, down to earth and no silly questions to be asked, as I guess all beginners have so many little things that you are not sure (don’t you?) and I had many. Lots of practicing seeding, pricking out and potting Dahlias (yes dahlias!). I must say I do enjoy touching soil, like clay I suppose, more than anything. Can’t wait to transfer these into our home garden. 

Sarah’s effortless flower arrangement
The second session was Sarah’s flower bouquet making. Sarah’s workshop was filled with gorgeous selection of flowers and foliage. She first showed us how to make a bouquet more free and spontaneous way within a hand without using any structural materials. I’ve never done any flower arrangement, certainly not without a vase. Well I must say it is not easy! She did it so effortlessly but I was finding it really hard to keep the shape in the air. Sarah eventually rescued me and my flower bouquet has managed to take a shape, Phew! 

The people attended the workshop were so lovely too. All came from different areas and different background but had a common interest to talk about. Strange in a way to meet people from Instagram but actually quite nice to share what we love in this way. Quite a buzzing experience I think. 

All in all (apart from the panicking morning), it was a wonderful retreat for me to spend such a lovely day with special people. Thank you Louise, Sarah and Christie. If you are interested in any workshop like this, please check out their site - you can almost smell the goodness and I am sure you will love it.