Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coming back into fashion again

When I wrote about coming back into fashion back in January, I didn't say much about how I got into it in the first place.

The course I was on was in Dress and Textiles.  Most people on the course had either or both of Art and Textiles "A" Levels.  I had neither, (having done languages at "A" level) but I did have a Housekeeper's Certificate.  This was issued from a wonderful institution called Eastbourne School of Domestic Economy (which seems, unsurprisingly, to be no more.)  The course was three terms long and we had five main subjects: dressmaking, needlework, cookery, laundry and housework.  Yes, really.  And in the seventies, not the fifties.  The observant amongst you will have noticed a distinction between needlework and dressmaking.  Needlwork involved children's clothes, nightwear, embroidery and smocking.  Dressmaking was everything else.  But you can tell from the tone that precision and method were of prior importance.

Fast forward a year or so and you find me on the Dress and Textiles course, still imagining I would get good marks for precision and method.  My grades went down termly.  Eventually we had a half-termly module on jewellery and my life turned a corner and I found myself on the path I'm still following today.  The jewellery module was something completely new to all of us.  We were encouraged to make use of a wide range of materials and just go for it, so I did.  I received my first A grade and finally understood:  the point of it all was to be creative, express my own ideas and come up with original designs.  I applied this to the next fashion garment module and never looked back.

So having come back into fashion earlier in the year with my silk scarves, it's not really surprising that my latest product launch is of earrings.  I have discovered friendly plastic, which, put simply, you soften and cut to shape with metal stamps.  I've made my own stamps by and large so that I was able to make earrings to co-ordinate with my scarf designs.  I've also moved on to some other designs since.  As soon as my new website is built, you'll be able to buy them directly online, but in the mean time they're for sale here in Stroud or in By Local in Cheltenham.

Enjoy.  I am!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not all doom and gloom

Well, actually, the weather is all doom and gloom.  Not only is it the worst summer weather I remember but more people than I can remember are getting cheesed off with it and saying so.  So here, to cheer us all up and because I've been rather lax in posting pics of what's around, are two photos from two weeks ago, just to remind us all that we have had some nice days and it's always possible we'll get some more.

Friday, June 8, 2012

More new pots

As promised, some more of the recent lustred pots.  I'm making these more or less individually, in other words some might be similar but I'm not recording the colours and shapes so they are all different.

These are small mugs.  I've done more of those than any other shapes with underglaze and lustre decoration.   I'm very fond of these serving bowls, though:

Monday, June 4, 2012

New pots

I've recently come to the end of a batch of firings, ending with two lustre firings, and these plates were a long overdue order.  I've said for a long time that plates decorated with lustre can be ordered but this is the first time anyone has done so.  Usually cereal bowls are decorated with stars but this customer wanted one each of the four designs to go with the mugs and the same in large and small plates.  I think they do look pretty stylish.

I've been looking back over the last year or two and it seems the pattern of firings works out that I probably only do lustre firings twice a year, but then when I do, I do more than one of them.  I'm not sure if it has to work out this way - it might be more convenient for supply and demand to have them spread out more evenly - but suspect it does because of the way kiln-loads need to be distributed.  In any case it always does feel that lustre firings happen and then that's the end of a big cycle.  I probably don't have enough pots to do another ordinary firing until I've done some making. 

At the moment I'm not making pots, I'm catching up with life tasks, especially getting the vegetable garden planted up.  My health problem seems to have been diagnosed as gallstones.  It's great to feel a step forward has been made but the diagnosis is only the first step in a long wait for appointments and treatment so I'm still not able to work full days or weeks and gossip about waiting times indicates this may continue for some months.  Deciding what work to do in restricted time is tricky, but I think I've decided to move on to the new project I hinted at earlier in the year.  Watch the space for this.  

In the mean time, I was so pleased that the firing cycle meant I could produce these for a "Happy Holly Party" (instead of a christening.)

The beakers are new and seem to have worked out well.  (This shows back and front of the same beaker.)  The firing cycle problem means it's not very convenient to offer as a christening present to order because these are decorated with lustres.  However, they might work ok in the chicken design with the name written in blue.  I'll have to give it some thought.

And finally ...

...  a whimsical idea I had which turned out well.  Heather glaze with purple or carmine lustre spots.  I didn't make many but will certainly make more.  The heather glaze is the most variable according to kiln position so lots of variations to play with.

Next time - more recent lustred pots.