2018 A Bit of a Blur....

Whilst updating photos on my website it occurred to me that most of 2017 and ALL of 2018 had passed by without me writing a single blog post. For someone who loves telling stories so much this was not a good sign……

This post was going to be a quick round up of 2018 - partly as I am aiming to be much more regular with this blog in 2019 and didnt want a whole years gap in the chronology plus, aside from some sad moments personally 2018 has been a great year for my ceramics and I wanted to remember the fun parts.

In January I optimistically began my “Pour” project in which I made a teapot. The plan was to make a pouring vessel ever month but I am not sure I got much past January….. best laid plans……

My teapot when it was first made.

My teapot when it was first made.

Fired and amongst some other vessels

Fired and amongst some other vessels

I was fortunate enough to go to Fforest to teach at Glow in March 2018. I taught house building and took part in activities such as printmaking with Kathy Hutton , paper clay ceramic spoons with Katie Robbins , axe throwing with Leah Parkyn, yoga with Lynsey, Words to Live By and singing with Lizzie Everard ,foraging with Jade, floral art with Alice Calcosa and lots more besides. I cannot wait for this Spring when I return.

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Workshops in Printmaking with Kathy Hutton and Ceramic Spoons with Katie Robbins.

Workshops in Printmaking with Kathy Hutton and Ceramic Spoons with Katie Robbins.

Axe throwing.

Axe throwing.

Houses made in my workshop.

Houses made in my workshop.

Foraging with Jade.

Foraging with Jade.

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The next exciting thing to happen was when we went on holiday to Suffolk where I have been holidaying since I was born and we visited Snape Maltings gallery . This gallery is somewhere I have been many many times throughout my life and was one of my Dads favourite places to buy paintings or my Mum jewellery. We went there for a visit and tea and cake and for me to see the gallery as it was on my list of “ambition galleries” to exhibit in. When we went in I knew immediately my work would fit in there as I loved most of what was on display. We had a good look round and then I said quietly to Matt that I was going to speak to the lady on the desk to see who I needed to approach about possibly selling work there. I have been working with galleries for four years now but until this point I had never approached a gallery myself, everyone I worked with had contacted me having seen my work on Instagram so I had no idea really what to say. Lucky for me I hadn’t long started talking when my daughter came and sat in the chair next to me. I was stuttering through showing photos on my Instagram and rambling on about stories to the lovely gallery manager when Anna suddenly pipes up “ My Mum is very fussy about where she sells her ceramics you know!” ………… I went bright red and Matt swooped in to usher her out of the way but luckily the lady who I now know as Michelle thought it was hilarious and soon we were swapping email addresses and selling through Snape Maltings has been one of the best things that happened to me last year. Exciting news for 2019 with Snape is that I am to be “Artist of the month for March.” where I have my own area in the gallery where I will be showcasing some new pieces.

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May bought the Royal Wedding which was significant for me as I had been asked to make a piece of pottery for Meghan and Harry to celebrate their happy day. This commission was from a lady who was from my town and who had been invited to the wedding with her husband who is a friend of Prince Harry.

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In June I had a lovely weekend at The Ceramics Festival in Barnstaple selling my work and staying with my dear friend Donna.

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June was also the first time I exhibited with Twenty Twenty gallery who were another of my “ambition galleries” I was so in awe and excited when Mary contacted me through Instagram. I went on to exhibit in the Christmas exhibition and am delighted to share that I will have work in the gallery in Much Wenlock once more in March for their Spring Greens exhibition.

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July was another first with my studio being open for Cambridge Open Studio. This is an event that goes on all over the country but each region does it a bit differently. Some places hold Art trails, others ask artists to be open at Weekends. We were open for two weekends out of four and we did have a steady stream of visitors. We did raku firing demonstrations and Anna did some throwing on the wheel with children. It was busy and fun but we have decided not to repeat it this year as I will be at Craft festival in June in Devon. Also as my studio is in my home my family found it quite intrusive to their comings and goings. Personally I think the opening hours are too long (10-6) which means you cant leave your studio at all for the whole weekend. It would be ok if you could choose to open on Saturday or Sunday for that length of time or open 11-5 or something that leaves a little more leeway for dog walking and meal times……….

In August we took our Raku kiln to Fforest Gather. We also joined in with many other workshops including Indigo dyeing……

In August we took our Raku kiln to Fforest Gather. We also joined in with many other workshops including Indigo dyeing……

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Raku firing at Gather. photo by Emma Donnelly

Raku firing at Gather. photo by Emma Donnelly

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In August we went to Fforest Gather In Wales for a week of family time and Crafts. We were doing raku firing workshops but were also excited to take part in all the other wonderful things Fforest has to offer such as woodland wood craft, spoon carving, smock making, tree climbing, bread making, cheese making, indigo dyeing, drawing, letter press printmaking, Plastacine model making with Jim Parkyn of Aardman animation and much more……

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Amy of  Bug Clothing,  Seabass and Anna at Fforest Gather.

Amy of Bug Clothing, Seabass and Anna at Fforest Gather.

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Raku at Fforest Gather photo by Emma Donnelly.

Raku at Fforest Gather photo by Emma Donnelly.

James Greenwood and I at The Good Life Experience. September 2018.

James Greenwood and I at The Good Life Experience. September 2018.

In September Matt and I took my ceramics to The Good Life Experience for the third year running. We love this annual event of good food, great music and wonderful sellers. I was next to Ewe and Ply who are total babes with their wonderful Lucy and Yak dungarees and checked shirt “uniforms” not to mention their delicious wool and acerbic wit.

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All the while amongst all the monthly excitements of 2018 I have been working with some wonderful galleries and I feel proud and privileged every day to have them sell my work. For a full list of the people who stock my work please look at the stockist page on this website.

All the while amongst all the monthly excitements of 2018 I have been working with some wonderful galleries and I feel proud and privileged every day to have them sell my work. For a full list of the people who stock my work please look at the stockist page on this website.

I also teach children and always feel so lucky to be able to do so. I love their creativity and enthusiasm and above all their imaginations.

I also teach children and always feel so lucky to be able to do so. I love their creativity and enthusiasm and above all their imaginations.

More beautiful work by Children at Clay Club.

More beautiful work by Children at Clay Club.

Raku Firing Houses….. the orangey glow of the kiln.

Raku Firing Houses….. the orangey glow of the kiln.

Raku firing on the beach at Dunwich in August.

Raku firing on the beach at Dunwich in August.

Clock making Childrens Class Summer 2018.

Clock making Childrens Class Summer 2018.

In the Autumn I was also asked to do a very exciting project with a school in Ashdon, near Saffron Walden. This was to make ceramic poppies to celebrate 100 years of the end of the first word war. The headmaster of the school contacted me to ask if this could be possible as a whole school art day and I imagine he had got the idea from the ceramic poppies at The Tower of London which to my shame I didn’t see. We decided that in order to have every child make a poppy from reception to year 6 we would make them so they laid flat on the floor rather than on stalks. The total was 83 poppies which was an enormously fun day and then took a couple of weeks to dry and fire them all.

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Photo credit Julia Perry from the Facebook page of Ashdon Parish Council.

Photo credit Julia Perry from the Facebook page of Ashdon Parish Council.

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During December I had a couple of online sales and attended a few fairs which were great fun. One was at Hill View farm in Buckinghamshire with the lovely Natasha who I look forward to working with next summer for her retreat.

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If you have actually read this far then thank you and I look forward to sharing my adventures with you next year. It all begins in earnest with a window display take over at Cambridge Contemporary Crafts in February followed by an exhibition at Twenty Twenty Galllery in March and Artist of the Month at Snape Maltings. Along the way I have had an influx of orders for people who wish to have their own houses recreated in clay….This is a recent commission I did for some one of their house. I am now taking commissions for 2019 of real life houses. They start from £150. If you are interested in having a raku fired replica of your house please email me: hello@clay-club.com