Thursday, 18 November 2010

Day nine in the Uni ceramics dept, Cumbria

new shape


Very productive day today with three new shapes turned on the lathe and two cast moulds. Two more chucks cast for tomorrow one quite large to get some scale in to the work. Am getting on well with the plaster till one of the seams split when pouring this morning just to remind me not to get too cocky with the material as it will bite back.


Alison the star technical demonstrator

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

falling in love with lathe work

So my time on the AA2A scheme is in week long blocks and I am in the middle of my second week, it has flown! I am slowly and quite scarily falling in love with lathe work. I have an adversion to plaster after many disasters along the way but this maybe turning in to love for a material that can be turned into some amazing forms. I turned up on my first day saying I need to work with plaster but I really had a hatered for a material that would always work against me by spilling over cobble floors or on my favorite shoes. Thanks to Gwen, Alison, the ceramic technician and Steve I am starting to make friends with the material and get some very successful forms by turning it on a lathe.

my third form with chucks cast up for more tomorrow  
I have designed some very simple forms that echo my own work but have gentle sloping sides and a slight curve towards the base. I will be cutting and altering the forms once cast but fell I could also cast these quite simply and draw with my copper wire techniques by firing upside down. I can't wait to get back to it tomorrow and start turning again.I think I did actually utter the words 'I love plaster' very quietly to myself and wonder how much a lathe would be. But lets see if I can walk before I can run shall we with the next stage.

ceramic studios, Brampton Road, University of Cumbria

 I would like to say working with the 2nd years yesterday I can't believe that there are only 16 students in their year on the Applied Arts course. The facilities and campus is amazing the workshops are one of the best equipt I have ever worked in and can't believe that potential students aren't tripping over each other to get a place on the degree course. I know I may be slightly biased as I did study here. I am less impressed that the library has moved off site but each student has their own designated space to work in and the technicians and lecturers are second to non in their expertise in their field. If I could do it all over again I would still apply to Cumbria as I was given the opportunity to learn a variety of skills with all sorts of materials that will stand you in good stead as an working artist in the future. I would like to see more students taking up the opportunity to study at Cumbria and keep this course alive and thriving and not see it go the way of most other ceramic or textile course across the country.

Monday, 15 November 2010

playing with plaster and puppy dogs ears

Not at the same time obviously but as I write I have my puppy dog friend Dylan curled up next to me on the sofa so excuse the bad spelling as I gently scratching his ears.

My friend Dylan
Well I am back in Cumbria again at the Uni on the AA2A scheme. Today was really productive as I sat with the second years watching Steve Ogden, the principal lecturer on the Applied Arts degree demonstrating how to turn plaster forms on the lathe. It was a day of mixed emotions as I am not confident with plaster and with some trepidation I created a plaster chuck to have a go myself after being shown how to work safely.

Steve demonstrating the lathe
After trying to produce a straight graduated cone shaped form I gave in to the temptation of creating a more rounded form. I worked all afternoon so the students could get on the lathes tomorrow with their 'rhino' rendered 3D forms very flash but all too complicated for me, pencil and paper was good enough for me and then I changed it in the making. I have to say I was quite taken by the process once I had pared down the form to straighten it up. I am back tomorrow to cast the positive mould and maybe just maybe get back on the lathe second year students permitted. I think I might be hooked. 

my final form of the day








Sunday, 31 October 2010

A week of art, applications and nostalgia

Well this week feels like I have almost had a half term and I keep forgetting I am not a teacher I just like their holidays. My first trip out was to see my friend Stephens efforts working for Stephen Charnock an artist who works on large scale public art works. They produced an 8m mosaic with input from the community which was unveiled at Whitehaven this week.



The weather was against them so the party was taken inside and the ribbons cut after speeches and refreshments in the lifeboat station I think. We did go over it and Stephen picked out the features he created and was really pleased. It looked very impressive they should be very proud to pull off a mosaic of such proportions. Well done to all involved.

My non arty excursions were more girlie and a day in Harrogate for facials and pedicures was in order. I must say the massage has reduced the swelling in my ankle so all good on that front. It was a lovely day catching up with a very good friend and a lovely evening drinking wine and vegging out in front of the TV. Bliss.

More art this weekend when I went to help out at a new event called Nostalgia Meets Design organised by two sisters Gwen and June at Reghed nr Penrith.  A mix of vintage sellers and designer makers with a vintage edge exhibited for the day with vintage tea rooms serving home made cake. It was a good day with a really good turn out I worked for my tea on Gwens stand whilst she floated about and tried on dresses (only joking Gwen I know you worked very hard) I think she had a good day and I sold loads for her so she could buy the lovely things too. Lots of people came and lots of people helped to make the day go smoothly a good effort by all and hopefully another show next year maybe will have a stand too. http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Nostalgia-Meets-Design/103276353054252

Applications are in for three shows next year already the first is the British Craft Trade Fair the first time I have done it in 5 years. A stand in the Design Edge section no. 286 I think, only 2 1/2 metres so will have to be very organised with my space. I am hoping the work from the AA2AC will be ready so new stuff to show. Will keep you updated on the rest of the shows when I hear too. A few more shows to apply for but the forms are not out yet but you'll be the first to know I promise.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Artist Access 2 Art Colleges at Cumbria University in Carlisle..........

Well this week has been eventful and a hard one to be honest. I am working in the ceramics dept of Cumbria Uni which in my world was Cumbria College of Art and Design. It's a fantastic department and the facilities are second to none and the students have soo much space to work it is brilliant.





This is my space to work in which to be honest is more space that I have in my studio! That will be rectified on Monday as I have found it brilliant to work in. The reasons behind the whole project is to make slip cast moulds of my work to help make production easier for me and also to use the processes learnt to create a new body of work to hopefully take to the British Trade Craft Fair in Harrogate next year. Crossing fingers.

After a few false starts and a good talking to by Gwen, seen here showing me how its done properly. I have a selection of moulds and some flat textured batts to take away and experiement with. I also have some parian and bone china slips so my work will be whiter than before. I am very excited about it all and very tired too.

So I should be able to create some drop out moulds this week for the rest of my work and also be able to produce it quicker. I am quite excited about how I can take the techniques further and my head is buzzing with new ideas. Hmmm we shall see. I have put work on hold so far and am back to it next week with orders to go out but they will fly by as I want to get started already.

But first a weekend and also a Chinese takeaway to start it off as I am quite tired now. May get to the Great Northern Caft show by Sunday we shall see.....

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Playing with my sony alpha350


Have been playing with a light cube and some professional lighting today to take pictures of my new work for a couple of websites. I must say I am really impressed with my Sony alpha 350 this was taken with the white balance setting for tungsten lighting. I need to have a paper backdrop though as you can really see the creases. So this weeks job is to upload them on to my Notonthehighstreet page and some on the Green Galleries new website if I'm in time for that one. We shall see. Anyway new work silver and porcelain choker and some crochet and porcelain brooches for Christmas pressies anyone?

Monday, 27 September 2010

work rest and play at the Cymru Contemporary Craft Fair

Saturday was spent exhibiting at the Cymru Contemporary Craft Fair. The sun was out and there was a steady stream of people through till mid afternoon. Lots of lovely comments but not a lot of buyers unfortunately. It was a good show with some very good makers, Gwen Bainbridge, Lisa Edul, Nicola and Andy Cheers, Pricilla Jones, Mary Chappelhow and Catrin Mostyn Jones who was the organiser. Lots of hard work organising it all, stands looked good and bunting strung everywhere. Putting it down to experience, it was a fab weekend spent with really good friends and caught up with some old ones too so I actually enjoyed myself so can't be all bad. Even found a resturant that served me a lacto intolerant summer fruit pavlova and oh how I enjoyed it! With raspberry sorbet oh it was that delicious I nearly proposed! lol!

Next job is sorting out work to launch my Notonthehighstreet page this week. Camera and light box set up in the dining room to get some shots of my work to go on the website. So wish me luck as have never done this before. Will keep you updated on progress.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A weekend off no don't be silly!

Well this week has been different. After a full on weekend last week I have had some nice days this week and then hectic making days as well. Just got a reorder from the Craft and design Centre in Leeds today which is fab, a good selection of vases. I am pleased as I haven't got many galleries these days so it's a start and I will take some photos of my new works too and see what they think. It would be good to get some feedback.

So I almost achieved the full kiln just a shelf off but it was double shelves all the way so not too much of a shabby effort. Will post a pic as soon as they are out. I love them and they will be on my tree this year.

Yesterday I did buy myself a lovely new compact camera which was a treat. I have coverted my mums Canon sx200is for ages since I took an amazing close up of a dragonfly on holiday in Scotland so I am hoping it will influence a new body of work taking close ups of insects and flowers in the very near future we shall see.

First pics taken in my garden

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

So on snowflake duty tomorrow

Yes I am going really commercial for CCC and making my snowflakes. I am aiming for a full kilns worth tomorrow, pictures to follow, as I realised I haven't got any of them. They were a top seller at Manchester Christmas markets lets hope that it's not too early for folk in Wales!

Have made a pact to be in early and have the kettle on for half 9 for our first brew let's hope I am up! Too many lie in this week but working the weekend makes me justify it to myself but need to get a kiln on tomorrow night so I have a lot to do after leaving early after narrowly been missed by a pallet truck full of breese blocks which totalled the pine table we sit at for breaks and also nearly hit Monteeee. If Joe hadn't jumped up to save him from being run over she would of been crushed! Scary or what and doesn't bare thinking about what could of happened but we needed to leave and have a strong cup of really coffee at Joes for the shock! 

It's never boring!
lovely work by friend Gwen Bainbridge who I am sharing a B and B with next weekend

Cymru Contemporary Craft fair prep in 9 days time

Ok so I thought I'd share some musing with you all about my adventure in clay and other bits and pieces. I have another blogg which I use as a personnal diary so I thought I'd make one that I can go public with and share some musing about my life as an artist in Pennine Lancashire and further afield. So here goes

Pet portrait commissions

So I have launched a pet portrait strand to the business with the first few coming through Facebook and Instagram. Here's the late...