variety

I’m excited!  I’ve started work on some new pieces that build on the work I’ve been doing around the Intrinsic Extrinsic concept, particularly the idea of decorative interiors and turning functional into non-functional by decorating the functional space.  You can clearly see a lot of my previous inspirations like seed pods and sea life but there also seems to be a definite femininity coming into these pieces that has surprised me.  In the past I’ve thought about most of my work (particularly the figurative pieces) as masculine so I’m intrigued by this new direction and wonder whether it’s because I now have a daughter… I still don’t think it’s ‘pretty’ work but that’s never what I intend.  I prefer to make something that  inspires a reaction in the viewer whether it’s curiosity, wonder or dislike.  I don’t mind what the reaction is as long as it’s memorable and maybe, just maybe, makes them wonder why such a piece makes them feel that way.

I’m trying out new ways of finishing the pieces (well, new for me anyway) as well as returning to an old favourite.  I’m working with slips, printing onto the surface of a slab before building and layering with sgraffito. Layering up glazes and oxides then adding metal leaf to glazed pieces for a further depth to the finish.  I’m playing with melting glass into pieces to add jewel-like surfaces into pieces and exploring the single firing method too.  So many things to try and so little time! It’s fabulous fun to feel free to create!

There’s still a long way to go with these pieces.  I’m going to look towards lighting and still need to consider the textiles and beads which I think could work really well with this idea but I’m loving the start of the journey and will have to continue to make sure I set time aside to develop and make new work for galleries.

It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post and things have been super busy.  I’ve been teaching classes at my studio, as well as classes for Cambourne Village College and the Wellcome Trust social club; working with schools on mural commissions and curriculum inspired workshops where the children get to follow the process of clay from malleable beginning to the beautifully glossy, glazed finished piece; making a few small commission pieces; and making some of my own work.

You notice how making my own work is at the end of the list…well for 2017 my goal is to move it up the list a bit and to get my work back out into galleries and shows around the UK, and further afield if the opportunity arises.  I’m going to set time aside to develop my current work and turn some of the ideas swimming around in head into test pieces to build and develop new pieces. I have so many ideas about hidden beauty, layering up and using lights more…  I’m super excited to get started so I’m going to have to work super hard to make sure I don’t get caught up in the day to day work too much (two school murals, a beautiful greyhound commission and 7 classes a week starting January…).  I do have two lovely studio assistants who have started helping me out so I should be able to find some time with their help 🙂  Look out 2017, here I come!

I need more space!  Studio shelves full of work

I can’t believe I’m saying that!  I only moved into my beautiful, big, spacious studio in October 2014 but I really need more space.  Not for my work so much as for the fabulous pieces my students are making and the hundreds of tiles that are currently in my studio at various stages of making for the Over school commission.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing but it has taken me by surprise.  It’s great that I’m saying it as it means I’m very busy doing what I love too so I’m happy.  I’ve gone from two regular weekly classes to running five as well as Saturday workshops, parties and face painting…I’ve reached the point of having to say no to opportunities and how hard is that!

Studio table full of workI subscribe to the Design Trust newsletter and Patricia’s current question is ‘What does success look like?’ It has popped up on my screen at a very good time for me and what with being so busy and growing so much faster than I thought it would, it is a really good question!

I’ve always dreamed of making my living from my clay work. I want to sell my work through prestigious galleries and events as well as pass on my passion for clay to students.  I would like to have an excellent reputation for making unusual pieces of high quality ceramic art. I also want to work in a way that fits with my family with a degree of flexibility. I would like to be recognised by my peers and wider industry for pushing boundaries and making unique pieces. So I guess for me, success would be making my living from a balance of selling my work in selected galleries and events and teaching while still having the time to spend with my family.  It is also about being featured in industry magazines and doing demonstrations at shows and events.

Kiln openI suppose all of that does also come with a need for a fabulous studio space kitted out with all the facilities needed so a sign of success would also be getting a bigger studio with separate glaze and kiln rooms!

Wow! I’ve been super busy lately, so sorry for not getting back to my blog sooner. Reaching1 It has made me realise that my restless creative soul thrives on the variety of creative activities I work in.  I’ve been making new work ready for exhibition during Cambridge Open Studios (always great to have a reason to prioritise making new work), making a commission and designing a mural for a possible school commission, teaching my regular classes, hosted lots of crafty parties in both clay and crafts as well as lots of face painting events…and I’m looking to do some training in henna painting too!  I’m exhausted but happy 🙂  I can’t imagine having a job where I did the same thing all the time.  For me that just wouldn’t work, although I know it’s perfect for others.

I think it’s technically called a portfolio career where you work across a range of skills (making, teaching, event organising and face painting).  I know most of my creative friends tend to make/sell their work and do at least one other job. I think the principle driving force for this variety in most cases is finances although I’m sure most also enjoy the variety the same as me.  Having said this, I have a small niggling little voice that pops up now and again which says “don’t you want to be expert in something, just that one thing that everyone recognises you for?”  I believe I am good at lots of things and certainly am a confident ceramicist but am I expert?  Do I need to be?  Or is it just recognition I’m seeking, some official someone to say “This is great!”? I’m still pondering this but at the moment I am too busy to find the time to give it any more serious thought and enjoying being ‘good’ too much to worry 🙂

I’m loving the fact that in my little business I’ve been able to incorporate so much of what I love to do.  All that and fit it around having time to spend with my lively, lovable little girl.  Here’s to a fabulous future of creative fun and business!

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