Skip navigation

So I finally got a firing. Kazuri Beads let me use their kiln. Although confusingly they will not tell me how much they are going to charge me before the event. I have relayed this story to others and they tell me this is a peculiarly Kenyan approach to a transaction. We shall just have to see I guess…..how much could it be?!?
Anyway in goes 28 pieces. (Only one made by me!)
As we loaded up I am reminded how much I like technicians. The practical people that work away behind the scenes. They are the problem solvers and genuinely want things to work well for others. Lacking in the ego required to be the front man I am naturally at home with these types. And I feel confident that Nicholas is going to see us right!

20141201-125808.jpg

Dry clay vessels, being loaded into kiln at Kazuri Beads

20141201-125824.jpg

The steady hand of the technicians

20141201-174236.jpg

Me and the fellas at Kazuri Beads

20141201-174252.jpg

All loaded up and good to go….

2014-10-24 11.50

wedging reclaimed clay

I realised later why I found it so enjoyable, so happy, to have the children in the studio.

I was integrating my different lives, and it felt really good. I packed up my studio midway through my children and so my Eldest is the only one who ever saw ‘what mummy did’, and that was an awfully long time ago. In allowing my children into that world, something has changed. Perhaps they understand me a little better, perhaps they are a little impressed at my skills, or maybe they just loved getting their hands on some clay. But I know that I certainly feel better and Jung would be pleased I am sure. The integration of the self, peace of mind.

My Middle child made a short film of me wedging up some reclaim clay. It struck me that this was the perfect metaphor for the experience of integration. But I can’t upload it so you will have to make do with the picture and imagine the rest……

So it’s half term and I changed the habit of a life time and let the children in the studio. It has been really lovely actually, as they are all of an age to enjoy it too. Little LB made a coil pot and a mug on the wheel. C made a mug and a vase, and P made a jug and a mug.
A little family of pots now sit in the studio drying. And we are all quite tired!

DSC01088 DSC01091 DSC01096 DSC01097 DSC01098 DSC01099 DSC01101 DSC01107 DSC01113 DSC01115 DSC01116 DSC01119 DSC01121 DSC01123 DSC01124 DSC01125 DSC01126 DSC01128 DSC01129  DSC01133 DSC01135 DSC01136 DSC01137 DSC01138 DSC01139 DSC01144 DSC01148DSC01158

We went for a walk in the woods this weekend and I (unknowing) stood astride a boomslang. My husband shouted ‘move’ with sufficient emphasis that I knew I was clearly in trouble, but gave me no indication as to what the trouble was. Consequently I did a little panicky jig over the snake before deciding to run, as did my youngest. The boomslang was unruffled by the dance above and slid off up the tree, to eye us from a safe distance.
I watched and cursed the fact I did not have my camera, this snake was an emerald beauty.

On returning home after this adventure I resolved to clear everything out of the studio. The class this week had been crowded and a little chaotic. My nice demo-jug had got broken. I realised I had been putting off making decisions, or rather not acknowledging how much space and time the students needed. I needed to rejig and rethink the studio, as a shared space. Not my haven alone.
We went out and bought a new table and some checkered PVC to cover the big black one. And I stopped dancing about and got on with it…..

20141014-103000.jpg

Clean Empty Studio

20141014-103157.jpg

Albert Lends a Hand

20141014-103210.jpg

Decorative Slips

20141014-103220.jpg

Students work drying in the sun

20141014-103030.jpg

Covering Large Table in Check PVC

Sorry been off radar for so long! I heard a radio programme recently (BBC world service), the lady (very clever business women) told me never to start with an apology. But there you go, I am regretful as much for myself as for you!

So my studio ladies are back. Today’s lesson; Jugs. And finishing techniques slips and glazes. Next week we shall attach handles and paint these with slip. I managed to find some ball clay here and can get going on a few slip recipes tomorrow.

20140924-174354.jpg

Jugs for the ladies, and my new tools.

In other news I have a lovely bunch of bananas which I wanted to draw whilst green. Too late already!

20140924-174429.jpg

My Lovely Bunch of Bananas. Already turning from green to yellow

And lastly I am volunteering at school, with year 8. Cubism. So much fun. Trying to pack it all in…..the machine age, Freud, Einstein’s theory of relativity (I struggle with), painters and their motivation. They set up this still life to draw. Next week we get all cubist.

20140924-175528.jpg

Still Life in Blue and Red. Yr8 Hillcrest

20140618-201157.jpg

Pictured here throwing a jug, as a demo for the Ladies. It was a real pleasure to get behind the wheel with a bit of purpose. I think they enjoyed their turn!

20140618-201427.jpg

Happy first attempt!

Open for Business

So today I held my first open studio. Not a ‘come and see what I make’ type event, but a ‘come a try something new’ event. Five lovely ladies rocked up and it went well. I hope. Everyone had a go, pinch pots, coil pots….Next week we will try throwing, (so I better practice!) Coffee and a chat over my portfolio. It was so nice to get on the old overalls clear out the studio and get some people in and making!. I know I am slow but here we are…..

chocolate

Broken Chocolate, Drawing, Pencil on paper, detail

Chocolate was surprisingly hard to draw. It is mostly geometry and so easy to get wrong. Perspective skewed. I was drawing it whilst fasting, the smell of chocolate so strong in the room, it was hard to concentrate. Tortuous almost, wanting something you can’t have, today at least. It is no bad thing, certainly no big deal, to not have today. Especially here, where so many are going without, all the time, no choice. I have been going without drawing for a while too, fun though they were the Easter Holidays got in the way, then getting everyone back into the rhythm of school seems to take an age. This drawing is rather ‘school’ like. Perhaps that is appropriate, a childish image.
So here I am back from the chocolate holidays.
Phew.

20140314-165248.jpg

Still life, Coloured Pencil on Paper

20140314-165400.jpg

Still Life, Drawing Coloured Pencil on Paper, full page

DSC00507

A larger pic so you can see the detail…hopefully

I worked longer on this one than I have on any thus far. My cousin asked for more so I got very enthusiastic at the fruit stall. And why not! Here is the most colour filled beautiful fruit I have seen. Apart from in paintings by Frida Kahlo and others of that ilk.
So here you go Cuz this one’s for you!

20140311-192107.jpg

Bananas, Coloured Pencil on Paper

I love these little bananas. So sweet and perfumed. Much more fruity than the starchy giants back in London.
I find them oddly touching. Huddled together like suckling pups. When drawing them I hoped to convey the tenderness. I felt almost sorry for them, the butt of so many jokes.
So here they are my sweet little family of bananas. Don’t laugh.

20140311-192431.jpg

Bananas, Detail, Coloured Pencil on Paper, unfinished.