26 June 2010

truly inspirational

Yey, it’s a season of ceramic festival! I just came home and am still buzzing from the visit. Before I go into the withdrawn syndrome (!) ... I am delighted to share with you what I saw today.

In the UK, like other european countries such as Germany, France and Holland, we have various ceramic festivals throughout the year, mainly during the summer or Christmas time. I usually go to three or four locations that I could drive and back in a day. Earth & Fire is at Rufford Abbey Country Park, Nottinghamshire and it’s a beautiful location within the ruins of a medieval monastery, especially when (or should I say if!) the weather was like today. Because of the location, Rufford has a good chance to meet the ceramicists from the south than other fairs I go, where is more in the North. For that I was so excited!

There were over 100 ceramicists' stalls packed with inspirations, including those who I introduced before in this post, Fiona, Steph and Eric. Fiona, oh bless, has got a stand in this event as her first time so she was a little nervous. To get a stand here, obviously you will need to be selected, so I gave her a huge congrats to tap her back.

Today, I spoken to three ceramicists who I particularly admire. Actually taking the work into your hands and listening to their story were truly inspring and great experience. I bought one piece each from them, by extra squeeeeeeeezing my purse. (but, they are going to be my “smile makers” in the house! Oh yes!) There we go! Hope you like them, too. For more info, please click the name of artist to view the website.

Craig Underhill - He builds slab vessels forms and creates beautiful surfaces like painting on canvases. I love his approach to clay, with mark making, shapes, colours and texture in a beautiful compositions. (And he is a very handsome guy!) Today, I was asking him about the colour, and in particular I could not take my eyes off from this red glaze in very matt texture (red is very difficult to achieve in ceramics, by the way) so I decided to bring this work home! LOVE the tactile feeling too.

Jenny Southam - I did not know about her until recently as she was featured in Ceramic Magazine. Since, I immediately fall in love with her quirky sculpture work. As I said before, this was rare opportunity to see an artist from the South like her (she is from Exeter) so it was lovely to speak to her. The display of her stand was also really pretty, like this reclining lady figure surrounded with small trees and birds. (see the image below) Each pieces have a story, which I love about. I picked up this particular story that reminded us. Isn’t that just awwwwwwwwwwww...?
How do you want me to cut your hair, darling?
(I do the same at home with his "left-out" hair!)

Jenny's pretty display

Chiu i Wu - Originally from Taiwan but is based near where I live. Unfortunately I missed the chance to see her in the last open studio so it was lovely to see her today. She is such a sweet lady to speak to. Chiu loves drawings and paintings, (which she also does. check out her website. it’s an eye-candy!) and transfers that on to hand-building tablewares or into sculpture forms. What caught my eyes the most was this simple form of dish with a tall foot. Inside, fish was drawn by hand in the shape of fish (and so tiny!), with a head of chinese calligraphy written as fish. Immediately took me back to my family home.
I didn't get to speak to or manage to buy anything from others, but there were tons of creative people there. Here, two more artists I also found inspirational.

Christy Keeney - somehow reminds me cubist arts in his sculpture. Love the how 3D works in a sense of disfanctional position. Very interesting to see.
Virginia Graham - Love her mix of pattern and form. She gave me a great influence to start my study in printing and transferring. She also produce a range of textile in her design.
Hew... by writing this, my heart kept bouncing with a joy. This is so good. I have two more festivals to go this summer, which will be featured here soon. Look forwards to it!

So, the question is.. when am I going to start the fest for my work then??? Fiona was asking me today. I was actually thinking about that. In five years time I MAY apply the local craft fair, then ten years time I MAY apply for the North POTFEST, then in twenty years time I MAY have built a confidence to try this one..... Gee Maki, you never ever get there if you think like that!!! In the back of my mind, I can hear a part of me saying. With the on-line course I am doing at the moment, I should be carrying positive energy, creative spirit and a total commitment! OK, here is my dream. I can dream big! I work hard toward. I WILL come back here to put my work. I know it’s a long way to go. But this is my aim. It was my back that needed tapping this time.
I can dream big!!!


  1. OH MY! What a wonderful festival!! I love all your photos and you are sooo cute!! So many talented arists and truely inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing and taking us there with you! Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to yoU!

  2. Looks like a lot of fun! What other festivals are you going to? Please let me know as I would like to check them out

    Yes, go Maki, with your big dream!

  3. Go Maki, Go! Love connecting with you.

  4. this is a really lovely post Maki! Of course your big dream is going to fly!!

  5. oh and adding you to my blog roll as we UK based chaps must stick together and all

  6. HI Maki,

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful show!! As a fellow clay person, when do we get to see your beautiful work? It that is your piece in your blog header - I definitely want to see your work!! That looks beautiful!

  7. Loved your festival post...and what a beautiful backdrop of buildings for the festival! I think that THIS year you'll be at the local fair! That's what I think! Come visit my blog for the encaustic exhibit I wrote about!

  8. Oh-I just checked my blog-and you did already! It's like we're sitting next to each other on this journey!

  9. SO glad everyone enjoyed! Next one I go is potfest on 31 July & 7 Aug and a few exhibitions here and there hopefully. So come & see again!
    Kelly, I squeeze time. I work as an instructor at local craft centre during most of the week so I am still practicing mine at home and college. I must kick my bottom to do own work more often but studio is not in situ yet so difficult to do during the summer as I don't have access to college. But it will come. Yes the header is my thrown work with hand-drawn images of screen transfer. I was experimenting with the matt white glaze and the result was a bit blotchy but I liked it so used it here. Glad you like it too!
    Lori, thank you for the big encouragement! This year? wooooooooooo! xm

  10. Gosh I love your blog!!!

    Dropping by to say hello ..
    Will be back!
    See you on the flying pages!

  11. I loved reading your blog and the wonderful pics. I am a pottery nut. I have so much and I love it all so dearly.
    I took a few pottery classes and hope to do more.
    You dream big Maki, we all have to!!
    Let's remind each other when we can
    another mate from flying lessons.

  12. i am so glad you went to the ceramic fair and got so inspired- i don't know if we even have those here? (texas)
    well, i am glad you're letting yourself dream big! you can!!! :)

  13. Hi Maki, I work on clay,too. Love to see your post on the ceramic festival. Love your contagious energy. Trust in yourself, you don't have to wait that much! and... "Enjoy the Ride",