31 July 2017

Seeing a rainbow

Seeing a rainbow. 
Four years ago I took this for granted. Everybody can do it. I was wrong.

My daughter Sabrina was born with very severe eye condition called Peter’s Anomaly. Her eyes looked white opaque, as opposed to you’d have excited to find out what colour your new born’s eyes are. When the doctor eventually diagnosed it and explained that she was blind, my heart sunk. No family trace. Just a bad luck. It was a very rare condition like 2-3 cases in 10,000. She had a combined developmental problem with her eyes that required attention, as well as high pressure on her eyes risking potential damage. So she had to start medication immediately. She was only three day’s old.

You can read more detailed story in the blog post I wrote in the past. (here) To cut it short, our new family life turned into unexpectedley tough journey. Especially for little Sabrina. She had over 100 hospital appointments ever since, three major operations, after-op life threatening illness, on-going medication, daily activities to stimulate her developmental delay due to her lack of sight. We were just surviving everyday. 

If there is a miracle, I’d say this was it.

We fortunately met a specialist doctor who could offer Sabrina a chance of cornea transplant surgery. It is known to be a difficult one, especially for babies due to the risk of rejection. I was told that it would be less than 50% of success rate, and if fails, she could lose her eyes. 
I still think she was a lucky one as she has gradually gained a sight after the operation. (she had a transplant on her one eye) It was a miracle moment when she first found her own hands, and of course when she first looked at our eyes with her new eyes.

Sabrina started to wear eye patch and glasses when she was still a little baby

We have been watching this little girl learn so much as she grew. I mean, for her sight wise. How she sees is different from us. Her brain needed to adapt her way of seeing. With combination of eye patch training, stimuli training, on-going medication, she has adapted how she can see better in her own way to compensate the disadvantage. (mostly she tilts her head in a certain angle)

Her body did too, as she struggled to follow moving objects due to her limited peripheral vision and Nystagmus (involuntary eye movement). She often used to bump into other children but leant to move more carefully. 

She wears sun glasses outdoor all year as her eyes are sensitive to light and glare. (By the way did you know BONO from U2 are wearing sun glasses because of his eye condition?) This helped her moving around, but seeing moving objects outdoor was probably the most difficult task for her, such as flying birds, butterflies, aeroplanes, hopping squirrels… and rainbows. She could not see a rainbow. I used to explain what it looks like using a picture book, but her eyes could just not work that way for a long time. 

So you can imagine how delighted when she first recognised those things. 
“Mummy, it’s an aeroplane!” Pointed out a little object in the sky. I remember tears came down to my cheek. I think this was when she was around three years old, she gradually started to recognise those things she didn’t before. 

A miracle moment - seeing a rainbow

Then one day she pointed out through the window, “mummy it’s a rainbow”. That moment I felt really magical. It's difficult to see light (rainbow) not an object and through windows that can cause her glare. Despite all the difficulties, she has managed to identify the rainbow by herself.

A happy girl turned to four recently
Sabrina continues to visit hospitals, take numbers of medications and carries the risk of the cornea rejection for the rest of her life. However, she is a happy, caring and confident four year’s old today. For this, we can’t thank enough for great specialist team at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, where they trains new doctors who can diagnose and treat someone like her in the future. 

This is the reason why I choose to donate 3% of profits from my open studio sale. I will be having another one in August. If you would like more information, please email me or visit FEVA art trail. Thank you for your support. 

18 July 2017

long way to come?

How long do you preserve your idea? 
How far do you stretch them? 
How many time do you try and change? 

My pottery work goes through many paths and different stages.
This can mean about the actual process of pottery, like throwing and firing, but what I also mean is about the idea. I mean how the idea becomes the real thing. It goes through the trials and errors, goes back and forth, until it gets to the point that you feel happy with. It may sound like a long winding road. I sometimes even doubt if I am wasting my time. But at the same time, I know it’s important for me to evolve through those paths. It gives me a reflection, direction and in the end, satisfaction. 

Whether you believe or not, the original idea of “mazekoze” series goes back to 2011!  The idea of “mixing them up” , the meaning of “mazekoze”, was already there, but I was struggling with making into the actual shape and colour that I felt right. In fact I was stuck with making more surface pattern with single colour at first. (see in this post)

Then later I started to focus on different colour combination rather than too many different surface patterns. This was around 2012, when I completed my BA. It was a good result and I felt that was much closer to my idea, so I have made quite a lot of batches. (see the post here)

Unfortunately this series has never seem to be well received comparing to “rakugaki” series (blue and white doodle ones). Whether that was wrong colour or the quality was not sufficient, people were not interested at many of the shows.

I was actually very disheartened and almost given up continue making this series. But somehow I kept my idea alive.

When I returned to my studio work after three year break, I thought I’d have to make a change to be workable within my limited time. What I did was to simplify. The whole design. The whole process.

Today I am happy to introduce you my new “mazekoze”. All of images here are new version. Much cleaner and simpler form. No fussy surface pattern. Different sizes that you can layer and stack. Colours you can enjoy different combination. Matt texture of glaze that enhances the food. All of which makes easy for anyone to use. And most of all it’s fun to mix!

Now the latest “sakura” glaze (pink hue) is added, I am really happy with the result. Hope you are too! To celebrate the path of this series, I’ve recently made a short film. The link is here. Hope you enjoy watching it. 

“mazekoze” ware are available at my next show, Wardlow Mires Pottery & Food Festival at the Peak District in September. Please find more details here.