Tuesday, 14 August 2012

We have a new QR code for our website

Apologies again for not posting recently, we have been busy bees and have done 9 local fetes since May, despite the bad weather! To make it easier for people to contact our website we have created a QR (Quick Response) Code for our website. Technology is unbelievable these days. So, if you have a smartphone or iPad/iPhone you can scan the picture with the barcode scanner and it will take you straight to our website...if you would like to know more about these codes and how to create your own check out this useful information site What is a QR code?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Crochet bunting just in time for the Jubilee

A few weeks ago I posted a photo of my first crochet triangle for my Jubilee bunting. Here it is just to remind you.....

And here is the finished bunting, just in time for the Jubilee weekend.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Happy Birthday plate and Patriotic plate ideas (before and after)

It is easy to take for granted the amazing difference the firing process makes. When you are painting, glazing and firing on a regular basis you get used to the transformation. So I thought I would take some time to record how things look before they are fired in the kiln and then how shiny and pretty they look when they come out of the kiln after 8 hours at 1000 degrees!

This is a cupcake bisque plate from Duncan which has the cupcake design embossed onto the surface already so no design work needed. Just start painting straightaway!

I started by painting the cupcake case in Mayco Stroke and Coat Blue Yonder (SC11) and Toad i lily Green (SC52). The icing is painted in Pink-a-Dot (SC70) and highlighted in Rosey Posey(SC18). The candle is these three colours SC70,11 and 52) in stripes and the candle is Orange-a-peel (SC75) and Sunkissed (SC06). I just added a couple of straight lines aroung the flame to add some detail.

For the rim I diluted some more Pink-a-Dot (SC70) and used a sponge brush to cover. I gave this a good three coats so as not to see any brush marks. Using carbon paper and EZ Stroke I added the text and then dots and swirls with my Kemper tools. Just to finish off I put a small row of Sunkissed dots around the inner edge of the rim. And all done....

So this is how it looked prior to glazing and firing. I use Hobby Colorobbia glaze as it never lets me down so dipped the plate in that and fired at Cone 06 for about 8 hours.

And this is the finished result........ Ta Da!

This particular plate will be used as our demo piece and will be displayed in Catering Compliments in Maidstone as part of the Art Trail along with a couple of other pieces however it can be personalised and ordered as a commission piece at any time. If you would like to order one just get in touch.

Below is another example that my Mum painted. She started with a plain bisque heart plate from Country Love ceramics and marked it up in felt pen (which burns off in the kiln) with the Union Jack pattern. Then using a Rubber Tapestry Poinsettia stamp and Potters Pads in red and blue she stamped the pattern in alternate colours on the plate.

Again the plate was dipped in Hobby Colorobbia clear dipping glaze and fired at Cone 06 for 8 hours and came out like this. A pretty, floral interpretation of the Union Jack. Just right for the Jubilee celebrations.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Flash Fiction

A colleague at work has just introduced me to something called flash fiction and although it is different to what I normally blog about, I was so amazed by it I thought I would share the information.

Flash fiction is 'a style of fictional literature of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction'.

'It can be whatever you want it to be. A moment in time, a conversation, a flit between different memories, times or places... Or simply one narrator's brief experience'.

This makes flash fiction sound terribly boring but here are some examples that will help to demonstrate how powerful this form of writing can be..................

'Black Hole'

by Daniel Carpenter

There is a black hole above her house.

This swirling cosmic nothingness, ever expanding, tendrils reaching out across the sky. She does not know how it got there. She knows it's taking her things. She does not remember last Saturday. When she tries to explain it she can't. She wants to say, "There's a black hole above my house and it's stealing every memory I have ever treasured," but it is not the kind of sentence people understand.

The black hole expands, time collapses in on itself.

She discovers her twelve year old self in her attic.


'The Worst Head in the World'

by Angela Readman

Liam gave me his mother's head. I guess he was sick of carrying it around.

'It's just for a while,' he said, placing the jar on the drawers. In the dark, lips made budgie-like kissing sounds. We had a reason to screw loud.

Come morning, the head tutted, 'I WANT a doily.'

It frowned if I wasted chicken bones, or didn't ask Liam if he'd washed his hands.

When he went, Liam left the head behind. It wavers in the water, tells me I'm not good enough, nods when I iron seams in jeans.


I think these two are the most thought-provoking though, this one by Jenny Adamthwaite

'New Shoes'

Dad wanted trainers.

"I'd like to know I could run away," he said.

When the hospital bed lay empty, it gave us a moment's hope.


and this one by Ernest Hemingway using only 6 words, incredible!

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Rachel Carter describes flash fiction as making her feel 'breathless  thoughtful and wondering what just happened'.

I agree with her and really enjoy rereading them and feeling the impact sink in.

If you would like to read more on Flash fiction this is the site that the examples above came from

and they are running a competition just for today at The Write -In

so if this is your thing, have a go at this amazing style of writing.

Also, if you like the flash fiction above some of the authors have their work free to download to Kindle just for today.

Go to for your free download but only available today.

If you take part, leave a comment and let me know who you downloaded and what you think

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Jeremy Houghton at The Grove

Thanks to the generosity of my brother and his wife, we stayed at The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire to celebrate my Dad's 70th birthday this weekend. We had a wonderful time in the beautiful surroundings (despite the weather!) and made full use of the superb facilities including the decadent buffet in The Glasshouse Restaurant. As you can probably guess these photos were not taken this weekend!

As we approached the hotel from the road, we noticed a number of sculptures in the gardens around the hotel and discovered that this was the second year they have used the 300 acre estate as a 'gallery' for the 'Sculpture at The Grove' Exhibition. Guests can walk through the gardens and view the sculputures from 1st May - 30 September and there are children's sculpture work shops in June, July and August with Stephen Charlton. The sculputures are also for sale.

This year's sculptural work can be viewed on The Grove Hotel website but I found the British contemporary artist, Jeremy Houghton's, paintings (displayed inside of course!) particularly inspiring. They are beautiful watercolour studies of man and nature but particularly human relationships with water.

The paintings are just incredible and he uses photographic negatives as a starting point for his work. The pictures have a stunning way of reflecting light and many are related to this year's Olympics as he is also an official BT artist for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

I think these two are my favourites


 Just amazing!

Father's Day, Jubilee & Olympic Pottery ideas

I can't believe I only managed two posts for April. I really must try harder in May!

We are preparing for our summer events (hopefully it will stop raining at some point) and a schedule is currently listed on this blog under the Events page. We will be bringing lots of pottery to quite a few different locations so if you feel the urge to paint for Father's Day, the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics please feel free to come along and create your own masterpiece.

Some patriotic ideas  .......................

Friday, 6 April 2012

Introducing Charlie & Grace

These mice are Charlie and Grace, hand-knitted by my Mum recently.

She made them to feature on our website and help us model our pottery pieces. They will also be accompanying us at our outdoor events as Doodlebugs mascots. So, if you spot them leave a comment and let us know where you saw them.

Pottery Easter Egg Cups and Easter Knitting & Crochet!

Suddenly it is almost Easter so we have been busy painting pottery for our Easter events.

I posted pics of some of our Easter bisque on here a few weeks ago but it looks so much better painted, so here we go......

from bisque to this with Mayco Jungle Gems glaze

A plain car egg cup

transformed into this with Mayco Stroke and Coat

We also have standard egg cups

and chick shaped egg cups

And of course hand-knitted egg cosies to go with them....

Join us if you can at Priory Gardens, Orpington, Kent for the Easter Fair on Monday 9th April 2012 at 11am-12.30pm

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Granny Squares - beware they are addictive!

Thanks to a fantastic series of you tube videos by Bethintx I have managed to teach myself how to crochet my first granny square.

I have used a lovely yarn by Gedifra which I found at a bargain price of £2 a ball in a charity shop in Brighton  (unfortunately,I think it is now discontinued). I love the different colours in the yarn and how they blend in and out.

The only trouble is they are totally addictive and enjoyable to make.

Any suggestions what I should make with them?

Crochet Update - Yorkshire Cowl

I have now finished the Yorkshire Cowl that I first posted about back in November last year. It was a great  beginners project and has helped me move on to more adventurous things. I would say that it is quite loose around the neck as I added more stitches so if you want it to fit tighter round the neck then stick with the number of stithes the pattern suggests.

This is how it looks (thank you to my daughter for modeling)...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Quick and Easy Mother's Day Card

It is Mother's Day here in the UK tomorrow and I wanted to give my very special Mum a homemade card. I think the simplest designs are the best so I adapted an idea from one of Marion Emberson's tutorials.

As this is only my second handmade card I hesitate to call this a tutorial as I don't feel qualified to 'teach' what I did but here is how I made it!

Firstly, I bought a blank window greeting card and recycled some clear plastic film from a box of cakes and taped it over the window part of the card.

I then cut out these daisy shapes from an embossed piece of pink card that I bought in Hobbycraft but you could use a flower punch which would be a lot easier!

To make a feature of the centre of the flowers I stuck on some pearl gems from this set

 so they looked like this

I then used some carbon paper to write a draft of my message inside the card and went over the words with a black pen. I couldn't trust myself to write it straight on to the card!

I then stuck the pink flowers around the edge of the window with some double sided adhesive from one of those rollers which worked really well.

I continued to stick the flowers on until I felt the card looked busy enough and this is the finished article........

I would love to hear your comments so please feel free to leave me a message..

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Eggciting New Easter Pottery Pieces!

Our new delivery has just arrived and I wanted to show you the new pottery pieces we have for Easter. They are lovely and will look great when they have been painted. These little assorted bunnies are really cute and great to paint with a faded paint technique. For this the chosen paint colour is applied and then it is lightly wiped off so that it appears to have faded from the main part of the piece but the colur stays strong and dark in the creases of  the piece.

I also love these Hareball bunnies.

I think they will look really good painted with Mayco's Jungle Gems glaze which contains glass frit crystals and specks that melt during the firing process. As these crystals "bloom" and spread they produce dramatic, colorful effects like this.

And our beautiful Henrietta Hen (which can be done with or without legs)

We also have egg holders, egg cups, egg shapes, egg shaped pots and lots more (see below) so check our our website to attend one of our events or arrange your own painting event.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

My first entry for the Sketchbook Challenge

This has been great fun to do. The Sketchbook Challenge was a site I found whilst on the internet looking for something else and I thought I would give it a go as I had bought a sketchbook about a year ago and never used it! See Sketchbook Phobia post dated 2nd Feb.

The Sketchbook Challenge is a way to encourage you to open up your sketchbook and discover what you can do and that the sketchbook can be one of the most valued tools in your artistic tool box. At this point I wasn't sure if the Challenge was for me but then I read 'Wherever you are on your artistic journey, whatever medium or style you work in The Sketchbook Challenge is for you!'

The theme for February was 'Close Up' so I decided to use some photos of marine fish that I took last Easter and do close up observational drawings of the Blue Saltwater Neon fish

and the Longnose Hawfish.

Using a viewfinder (I just cut a rectangle out of a piece of paper and laid it over the image to visually crop the picture of the fish) then everything I saw within the frame is what I drew. This method really helps you to zoom in on what you want to see rather than seeing the whole image.

The first picture I did was of the Blue Saltwater Neon fish and I used a normal pencil to draw with and then added blue stripes with a coloured pencil.

For the second picture I used Letraset Pro markers to draw the pattern around the fin area of the fish.

For the Longnose Hawkfish I used a bright orange coloured pencil for the repetitive pattern.

As I enjoyed doing these I then went on and found a picture of a Lionfish

and painted a close up of this with vibrant watercolours and felt pen.

So hey presto! The first page of my sketchbook is done!

When you are done you are invited to upload your photos onto the Flickr Sketchbook Challenge group and you can not only view your photos but everyone else who has entered too. If you tag the photo with the monthly code you stand a chance of winning a prize.

Look out for the new theme which will be out on the first of March!