As I sit here thinking about what to write it occurred to me that inspiration is what I’m missing.  It has become such a habit for me to keep my eyes open day to day for inspiration for my artwork that I find this surprising.  I do however recognise that it is quite different trying to think of something interesting to say with words rather than clay, textiles or crafts.  When I consider how I’m inspired for my own work I find that I have integrated it into my regular living to a certain degree (I can see an object, photo, someone else’s work, or virtually anything else that catches my eye) but then  top this up with some dedicated time to explore something that has inspired me in order to take it to a level where I can work with it.  (I’m currently finding Pinterest a great way of collating inspiration online as I like having everything in one place to go back to, a bit like a ‘mood board’.)

My challenge is that it’s very visual inspiration and it seems I need to find some time for my blog inspiration hunt, to search out thoughts, opinions, stories and considering topics being discussed elsewhere on the web.  I would never say I was a writer, although I very much enjoy writing, and I’m finding a different sort of inspiration is needed for words.

For someone fascinated with the infinite variety of the creative process, this is fascinating and has given me something to think more on :-).

It has been a fabulously busy time over the last couple of weeks, not least with lots of face painting!  It has been great to not only celebrate birthdays with some great little people but to be part of an amazing local fundraising event in my village of Longstanton celebrating St George’s Day.  I arrived straight from a party to be kept busy with a queue through the whole event and for an hour after the official finish time ;-). I think we were the last stall to clear away.

Face painting is quite a new skill in my range but I have to say I love it!  The mirror moment when people see their face after having it painted is priceless and very satisfying.  I love how you can completely change someone’s face, almost so you no longer see them but they become someone or something else completely, all with a little bit of paint and a few minutes.

I guess it’s a lot like clay in that the possibilities are endless!

It’s a busy week this week as the summer term courses are staring back and all three are running this term which is great. There’s still time to book on for the Thursday classes (10am – 12pm or 7 – 9pm) or I’m happy if you’d like to join the Monday class a week in (10am – 12pm) so just let me know.

The 2015 Saturday workshops programme is also kicking off this week with a fabulous ‘Spring’ theme.  For this one I’ve split the day in two so you can attend one or both depending on what you’re interested in, how much time you have and your budget :-).  The morning will be making flower tiles and the afternoon we’ll be making clay baskets.

Coil pots

Coil pots being made in the studio

The next Saturday workshop will be the 16th May and is 10am – 3pm to build your own large coil vessel.

There’s also a chance for the children to have some clay fun on the bank holiday weekend with a ‘clay play day’ on Saturday 2nd May.

If you’re interested in any of these please have a look at the classes and workshops page or send me a message/email or give me a call.

I’m also available to teach privately if you prefer and I can take clay out to groups (or up to 12 can come to the studio) if you have a group that would enjoy trying their hand at making something in clay.  Feel free to get in touch with any questions or requests.

If you’ve never tried making with clay before I can highly recommend it.  I am of course extremely biased in my view as I thoroughly enjoy working with clay but it is a great way to make your imagination come to life! Clay is a very malleable medium with an innate strength that means you can make some wonderful pieces with a few techniques and a bit of skill.

There are three basic handbuilding methods that I teach in the first three weeks of the classe. From this basis we then develop and combine the techniques so that students can make what they want and they are surprised how quickly they can make wonderful things. Just have a look at the pictures in the students work album in the gallery to see a few of the pieces made in the first couple of terms – They are fabulous if I do say so myself 🙂

If you’re interested in learning more about working in clay or about the classes feel free to contact me.

Hello and welcome to my creative journey!

I am planning to post a new thought/fact/opinion/story weekly and aim to cover a wide range of topics from what’s happening in my studio and classes, anecdotes and facts about working in clay through to opening discussions on creativity.  I will use my work as both artist and teacher to inspire me. I hope you enjoy the journey with me 🙂

Anita owl 1This week I am inspired by my students and what they make.  This is the beautiful owl made by one of my students.  It was her final piece made at the end of her 10 week course then glazed during her next 10 week course and it is gorgeous.  She hadn’t made anything in clay since school and was looking forward to making but didn’t think she would be good at thinking creatively.  She wasn’t alone in thinking this as another of my students echoed this sentiment exactly.

This started me thinking about several things (including what we consider creativity is and why we think we’re good/not good at it; and the appeal of and barriers to trying new things but I’ll leave these for another blog for now) but mainly it brought home to me what it is about teaching that I love most… the way students almost always seem to surprise themselves with what they are capable of achieving.

For me clay is such a fabulous medium to work in to encourage this because it is both highly malleable, so you can make it into whatever your imagination can think of, while at the same time requiring some basic technical skill.  This means that people are able to concentrate on learning those new skills at the beginning without the worry of having to think of something to make.  They can get a feel for the clay, see what it can do and how they like to work with it before they have to consider what they would like to make.  By then the clay has usually inspired them enough to have an idea of what they would like to make and some discussion can refine that if necessary.  I try to pass on the skills while giving each student the space to express themselves creatively.  I love to finish a workshop and see the variety in the pieces made.  We bring so much of ourselves to everything we do, all I do is bring the opportunity to express it.

It is amazingly rewarding to watch the journey students take during workshops and classes and I am a firm believer in everyone’s ability to make something fabulous 🙂

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