Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Year new skill - Playing with Porcelain

So have you ever thought of learning a new skill? or refreshing and old one?
or want to try something completely different?

If so the new 'Beginners Porcelain' starts a 5 week run from Wednesday 14th Jan 7-9pm £85 per person includes basic materials and firing.
You will learn how to handle porcelain, slab building, coiling and other techniques including a throwing session. 

Each week learning a new skill to create your own piece of work in this versatile and unique medium.
A opportunity to make your own personalised presents or create something special just for yourself or your home.

Please email info@juliemiles.co.uk for more details or see below for details. Places limited to 8 participants.
Workshops will take place at Higherford Mill, Gisburn Road, Barrowford Lancashire BB9 6JH. The workshop room will be heated but be aware to layer up as too warm a room dries the clay to fast to be pliable to work.

More details…….

For the first 3 week sessions I will demonstrate a technique and you will be able to spend the evening exploring how to create your own piece in porcelain. The following 2 weeks you will have the time to explore the techniques learnt and develop your own style experimenting with surface textures, colours and basic glazing techniques.
All materials are included including one firing week to with bisque or high firing. There will be an opportunity to buy collectively jewellery finding etc if needed to keep costs down for anything made.

The first week we will look at habndling the material and rolling slabs thin enough to create tea light holders or a vase.

*Please note Intermediate courses will start in March but you need to participate in a Beginners class with me before booking Intermediate or Advance classes

Below are some of the comments from the first series of workshops. 

"I think anyone who wants to learn something new, have a good evening and decorate their house with homemade crafts should definitely do this course."

Ann Rycroft

"To anyone considering this, it is a fantastic workshop/course. By the end of the first session we had all produced a lovely piece of work and after 3 sessions, we were throwing pots on the Potters wheel. Highly recommended."

 Gill Wallace

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The making of Dildrum King of the Cats

Maquette for actual piece.
head no.1
This post is to give a little bit of background into the making of Dildrum, the King of the Cats. 
I have never made a cat before and to be honest I am not sure I want to make one again. It was a hard one with at least 3 or 4 different heads. Working on the body first so it was firm enough to hold its shape before adding the head/s. The body is a flat slab of clay 12-15mm thick rolled around a small roll of bubble wrap to help it keeps its form, left to dry for 2-3 days to harden off before attempting to stand it upright.  The slabs are pushed and pinched from underneath creating textures of stretched clay on the surface, with the head moulding around my clenched fist to start the process.  The 3 or 4th head looked more regal (see below)

head no.4 with Patricia Ramsden working on her boggart heads in the background
Attaching a regal ruff to the neck added to the snooty stance of a very splendid majestical pose but then what is important to a cat? How can I make a crown that reflects the important things in a cats life? a cushion to sit on, food in their bowl? having never owned a cat or do they own you? I really didn't know so I asked the other artists in the studios.....fishy treats maybe

The fish have been made and decorated separately so choices could be made when creating the crown once fired and also stains and underglazes have been used to recreate Dildrums blue eyes and plum coloured ears. I have used gold as that is quite a recognisable symbol for wealth and royalty and also adding a velvet cushion for Dildrum to sit on  in a rich sumptuous red to reflect his regal status. 

So here he is Dildrum the King of the Cats and here is his story below. You can go and visit him at Bury Art Gallery, Moss St, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0DR
opening times 
10am - 5pm Tues-Fri Sat 10am-4.30pm  
til March 7th

Go say hello to Dildrum in the exhibition he likes to be talked to and you can also follow him in Twitter at KingDildrum

Dildrum, King of the Cats
From Lancashire Folktales

Frederick Grice 1953

One evening an old gentleman who lived in the middle of Lancashire sat reading in his parlour. Outside the wind was beginning to growl like a dog that smells strangers and every now and again the rain was dashed against the windows like a handful of gravel; but the curtains were drawn, the wet inclement night was shut out, and inside all was cosy. Spectacles on his nose, the old man sat back in his winged chair, and rested his slippered feet on a little footstool. He was reading, and the room round him was quiet. A big grandfather clock ticked away in the parlour, swinging its pendulum backwards and forwards with great solemnity; the stiff paper of the book rustled as the man turned over the pages; and from time to time the ashes in the grate fell with a soft crash and sent a few sparks up the chimney. the room was warm and still, and the flames of the candles burnt brightly and steadily.
Suddenly upon the wide hearth there began to fall a little rain of soot drops, and as they pattered down, the old gentleman put down his book and adjusted his spectacles.
'Ah,' he said to himself, 'that's the worst of these old-fashioned chimneys. They let the smoke out but they let the rain in too. It must be beginning to splash down outside.'
Thereupon he put up his spectacles again, and turned back to his book, but before he had read two sentences there was a fresh fall and the fire began to hiss.
'Umph!' he said. 'We must have a starling in the chimney after all. Drat those birds! the house is never quiet when they're about.'
Back at his book he turned again, but this time before he could even find his place there was a fresh fall of soot. The fire dimmed strangely and went down, the candle flames began to flicker and to shake-and then from out of the mouth of the chimney there sprang a great grey cat. He was wild outlandish cat, with fur matted with the rain, a long lean body, one green eye and one brown one, and a quick eager look on his face. Resting his paws on the footstool, he looked up searching into the old man's face, opened his mouth and the, in a perfectly clear and intelligible voice said, 'Tell Dildrum that Doldrum's dead!' - and then leaping back into the chimney, he kicked down more soot, and vanished.
The old man could scarce believe his eyes. Surely the cat had been real. there could be little doubt of that for there on the hearth were the patched of fallen soot, and there on the footstool were the marks of two sooty paws! But had the cat really spoken? had he really uttered those strange words about Dildrum and Doldrum? The old man blinked with confusion and wondered if he could trust his senses.
Just then the door opened. In came the old man's wife and after her, Julius their own cat. Julius was no ragamuffin of a cat. He was handsome from top to toe. His fur was a lovely quaker
'Here's your tea, Matthew,' said the old woman.
'I've brought you a dish of your favourite china tea, and two little.....Why Matthew, I declare that you aren't listening to a word that I'm saying.'
'I beg your pardon, my dear. I wasn't listening, I must confess.'
'What has happened to you? You look as if you'd had a shock.'
'Not a shock, my dear-but something has happened tonight that has made me wonder if I can trust my senses anymore.'
'Then first take your tea,' said his wife, 'and tell me all about it as quietly as you can.'
'Well, my dear,' began the old gentleman,'I don't know that I can expect you to believe me, but this-I take my oath on it-this is what happened tonight i this very room. I was sitting here in this seat, with my legs crossed on this footstool, reading my favourite old book, "Robinson Crusoe". I remember I had just got to the point where....'
'Yes, Dear, you can omit that detail. Go on.'
'Well just as i was reading, down that chimney, believe it or not, came a cat, a great grey creature, with one green eye and one brown eye, and a body as lean as a rake....'
The old man paused in his narrative for as he came to the description of the grey cat, Julius pricked up his ears, got up, and turned so that he sat facing the old man. Then he fixed upon his master's face so intent and human a look that the old gentleman could not go on with his tale.
'Just look at old Julius! What's the matter, old pussy? Do you want to hear, eh? Well, I'll tell you.'
So half forgetting his wife, the old man began to talk to the cat.
'Yes, down the chimney came this great grey messenger. He leapt out on the hearth, put his two feet upon my footstool, opened his mouth and said.....'
'Said, Matthew?' interrupted the old woman. 'Do you mean to say that this cat spoke?'
'Yes, he spoke as clearly as you or I. "Tell Dildrum," he said...'
At this Julius opened his wide blue eyes and he looked more intently than ever.
'"Tell Dildrum," he said, ' went on the old man, '"that Doldrum is dead." well I never heard anything so funny in all my life! Dildrum and Doldrum! Tweedledum and Tweedledee! "Tell Dildrum," he said-why, what's the matter, Julius?'
Julius had leapt with all four feet now on to the footstool. In his eyes there was a queer look, half of sorrow, half of excitement and triumph. then suddenly, he too opened his mouth, and in a rich and princely voice, he said 'Alas! is Doldrum dead? why that makes me the King of the Cats!'
thereupon the flames of the candles began to flicker again. The fire sank and dimmed. Julius-or Dildrum-leapt on to the hearth, and with one prodigious spring vanished up the chimney.
when they had recovered from their shock, the two old people ran out and looked up; but there was nothing to be seen. The great sagging clouds were passing over the sky. The fringes of the trees were scratching at the roof of the house; but no Julius was to be seen. He had gone to his kingdom and was already sitting in state with a golden crown on his princely head.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Higherford Mill Artists Pop Up Shop

Julie Miles
So a peek at some of the fabulous works on display at Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford. 

Come and have a browse, have lunch in their cafe and select that unique handcrafted gift knowing you are supporting local businesses and local arts.
It will make your Christmas shopping more worth while knowing you are supporting the local arts community and a charity as 10% of all sales got back to the Heritage Centre
which is run as a charity to preserve local historical buildings
and the industrial history of Lancashire


Wendy Clarke Jewellery
Anita Burrow
Julie Miles
Matt Riley

Joejoe Hesketh

Helen Oxley

Julie Miles

Anita Burrows

Kath Redmayne

Anita Burrows

Joejoe Hesketh

The address is Pendle Heritage Centre,
Colne Rd, Barrowford, Nelson,
Lancashire BB9 6JQ

We are open Thursday and Friday 12-4pm 
Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm
and Christmas week 10am-4pm 
Christmas Eve 10am-2pm

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The C word and other things

Well it's nearly upon us the festive season and thoughts are going to the dark nights drawing in and getting festive with decorations etc. I am not doing a lot this season as I need to ease myself back into full time work so won't be out and about at fairs this year.

I am on the other hand curating an exhibition with Anita Burrows at Pendle Heritage Centres gallery space. Formally the Pendle Art Gallery which we are hiring out to showcase a few of the artists who work at Higherford Mill and of course ourselves.

So come along and see for yourselves. There will be traditional skills such as printing, glass and ceramics on display to purchase and take away with you and there will also be some surprises and some weird and wonderfulness as expected from a Higherford Mill production!

We are opening at the end of each week from the 27th Nov till Christmas week 
where we are open daily until 2pm on Christmas Eve
with a gift wrap service for those who play Christmas present chicken!

See you there :-)

Will blog some images nearer the time too.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Art Sale and Otters on their jollies

Well Sunday was fabulous. Meeting new customers and friends in a fabulous and in a relaxed atmosphere with coffee too. Thank you to all who came to visit, browse and buy.
Mungo, Frank, Finlay and Jessica have now gone to their forever homes too.

and after the sale I was asked to take along Clarence and Claude to a new gallery in Clitheroe who have not had ceramics before

it was lovely to meet Sarah and Andy the directors of the Longitude Gallery
and I think Sarah fell a little bit in love with Claude the Otter.
So they are now on their jollies in Clitheroe for a bit so I do hope they are behaving.
Go see them and say hello from mum ;-)

So the rest of the works including the very new owls and sheep Betty and Burt 
will be in my online shop as soon as I can get them in there.

I am actually back in the studio this week after how long
I couldn't say so tidying ready for me to create some more new work!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Art Sale at the Fence Gate Inn, Fence, Burnley

So tomorrow I am setting up for my first Art Sale ever at a bar/brasserie/restaurant. 

I was approached by Kevin Berkins owner of the Fence Gate Inn to create something a little bit special 
for his refurbishment of the 
Fence Gate Inn pub/restaurant a few months ago and 
Fitzroy now resided over the bar surveying his manor so to speak. 

There is also a drawing of some hunting hounds and Duncan now sits proudly above the fireplace in the Restaurant area too. 

So tomorrow you are invited to come and say hello and have an exclusive preview of my new drawings and ceramics from noon to 5 pm in the function room off the bar area.

Framed by Richard Davis of Dysons Framers in Nelson 

and some very new ceramics too 

So hopefully see you there 
come and say hello, 
have a browse at your leisure 
and maybe purchase your very own piece of art 
or have something commissioned from me for your home.

Wheatley Lane Road
BB12 9EE

Thursday, 16 October 2014

New work, exhibitions and more.....

Angus and Neville

 So some of you may know I exhibit in at The Cross Gaits Inn, Blacko on a regular basis. Selling quite a lot over the last few years, this time with an Autumn theme with a mix of landscapes and animals all in very autumnal colours. 

The animals do go down very well and I nearly sold a few as I was setting them up. The landscapes are mainly birch trees as at this time of year they are stunning in actual fact I am a bit in love with birches and they have been a continuing theme throughout my work since college. 
They will be up for a few months till I get more mobile as still in a leg cast but seeing a surgeon next week. The theme of Winter won't be far behind.

Cross Gaits Inn, Blacko

And along side this exhibition I have some work at the Winter Warmers Exhibition at Towneley Hall, Burnley and also this week delivered a mix of new trophy heads and parian slip cast cow parsley vases to the Christmas exhibition at the Platform Gallery, Clitheroe. 
Quite pleased with the new heads they are very cute and high fired to stoneware give the ears more strength as they have been the most vulnerable of late. I hope you like the sheep I think I now have an excuse to buy a book on different sheep breeds now and play!

Baabara the Sheep

Bonnie the hare

Gertrude the cow

Orford the Otter

New in my Etsy shop

I am currently uploading work into my Etsy shop as my laptop has died after water damage and I can't access the back end of my website...