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Friday, 11 April 2014

My painting table, spring flowers and Pearl met a tiger!

Hello everyone. It is so nice to finish all my work before dark on a Friday! I have glazed and loaded the kiln full, and even had a tidy up of my studio space! Ah, lovely!

The last three days, I have concentrated on glazing and painting bisque-fired figures. This has somehow made me hungry for high calorie food. I am a bit concerned if I am going to be a piglet at this rate!

I have three tables for my ceramics. One is for making, another is for painting bisques; they are in my studio. The third one is for packing  in my office.

My painting table has had these ones. A view of my painting table - yesterday.



Rolling heads!

The hair of this boy might become blotchy because I didn't mix enough colour at one go. I was making the colour under artificial light at night, so I couldn't tell the nuance of the shades. I guess he would need at least a second firing.



They will be in my Etsy shop, if they come out fine. 

This is how the heads were held.




This afternoon, I started loading the kiln.

The lower shelf

The top shelf
I hope they will come out fine. The kiln will be opened on Sunday morning.

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In our garden, there are so many flowers at this moment. I can finally enjoy them this weekend. We will put the garden furniture out.

Oriental poppies -very early!

Lily-flowered tulips. 
Our eating cherry have lots of flowers! But birds will have most fruits! :D
This afternoon, I took Pearl the whippet for an ordinary walk around four blocks. At the farthest end, we were chased by a tom cat! Pearl became bonkers, and started barking at him. The cat made himself large by arching and putting all fur spread, and chased us! I ran away as I dragged Pearl who was ready to fight. Then when I looked back, the cat was behind us, still chasing us! And when I hurriedly crossed the road, he came to the closest corner of the other side, and did a wee! I picked up Pearl and held her as if she were a child (heavy and cumbersome with those long legs) and whispered her 'Don't make a mistake. That's not a cat, it is a tiger!' 

Bluebells near us
 Have a great weekend!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Another bisque-firing and the British Museum

Hello everyone. I have just started the kiln for bisque-firing.

The lower shelf.

Mike made a pair of little owls as tests. Do you remember we bought a bead rack? They are the first ones to hang from it!


The top shelf
I wanted to make another piece, but after a few hours' trial, nothing came out of the clay. So I gave up, and made an anteater for fun. The anteater we saw in the Zoo last weekend inspired me. He had gentle eyes and cute ears, so does mine!

My first anteater!


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We went to the British Museum for my research on Saturday.  I needed to look at the Lewis chessmen again. They are in a new bright display. I could see them in detail.

The Lewis chessmen
We had stayed there until we became hungry. There are always so many interesting things to look at. These are Roman brooches. One is a rabbit. The orange one is a sandal brooch! Why? I thought it was a pickled cucumber! :D

Roman brooches. Rabbit and Sandal! 


Then we went to Soho to have dim sum. We found a restaurant recommended by the Time Out as well as Japanese expatriots. Yes, it was delicious!



Then I came across the Chinese stationary shop I had wanted to visit for years, by chance.  I did some shopping!



After that, we went to Mayfair. After some shopping, we came back. What fun we had! It was also my monthly day-off. I usually have a half-day off each weekend. Once I take a day-off, it would take a few days for me to get back to the rhythm. so when I have got a project or two, I prefer to keep working.

I hope you had a good weekend, too!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

My brain clicked.

Hello! Yesterday evening, my brain clicked. I finished the body for this boy. He will have wings. He is an angel. I had struggle with both the body and the head for several hours. Unlike some ceramic sculptors, I don't use moulds, so each piece is totally original and unique. It takes lots of thinking and trial and error. I create something different each time and that is the point of me creating. It is not going to be any easier for me.



I love his lips! :D
 In the meantime, The rabbit girl became this. As I removed the ears and hair after it became too dry, I can't smooth the surface much. I am still trying to find who she really is.

Once she was a rabbit girl. 
This is an ancient Japanese child. I liked the way the head is over-sized, but not completely sure about the proportion of arms. As faces are the most important parts to me, I like to emphasize them. But when you add hands, hands start telling a story, too. Getting the right balance is important.

Ancient Japanese child


Monday, 31 March 2014

Mike and Midori go to the ZOO!


What a fun! We went to Howletts wild animal park yesterday. This animal park is focused on breeding and conservation of rare wild animals. So you won't see ordinary zoo animals here. There are no giraffes, no zebras or no hippo. They are world leading institution for gorilla breeding.



Luckily we live about 15 minutes' drive from the Howletts. I wanted to visit there last year, but due to the murderous schedule I had then, I couldn't find time to go. If you visit once, it is expensive, about £24.  But at the same price you can get an annual pass. So we bought passes, planning to visit at least twice more!

Zoo has been one of my favourite places to visit since I was young child. To be able to see animals close is so exciting!  It was a warm day, up to 21C (70 F) and Mothers Day! It was fairly crowded. There were loads of toddlers on buggies. I had never seen so may little ones in one place before!

Mike's back. English (and Japanese) are so used to queuing up! 

First we went to see Black rhino.  Each one is in each paddock. This one was the farthest end when we arrived. But soon it started coming down, I shot a few photos with zoom.



 
Woah, he is coming!

He came to the gate to a next paddock where another rhino is in. 
 Then he stopped and sniffing around the gate.
We witnessed live action of marking! 
Then he did marking! This was the first of many markings we would see on that day! 


Close- up - the white line is his... mark! 
In the end, we saw him marking backward several times.  It is such wildness or what!

Then we saw young elephants, sleeping wild dogs and several monkeys.

We walked to red river hog enclosure. They are so sweet. They have bodies like little barrels. Their ears and tails  have tassels. The spooky thing about them, though, is that they have human like eyes! I just imagined each has a human inside!  
Their noses are always on the ground.

Red river hog
Meal time! Eastern Javan Langur are more peaceful than macaques.


I have got an itch eye. 

I like eating alone in peace. 

I have got an itchy foot! 

But the highlight of the day was the Anteater! We were completely taken back!
 

What an unusual animal he is! I had only seen one once in London zoo from a distance a long time ago. He was busy looking for something. Putting his long nose into the soil here and there. Incredible animals! The eyes are so gentle. I talked to him, and in the end, he came close within 1m. The he sniffed at me with his nose in the air. Snif snif snif, you live with nasty dogs.... snif snif snif.  How delightful!



A half of his nose is under the ground! 
The estate has a mansion and and vegetable gardens as well as large greenhouses. A small walled garden was very colorful!




We had such a good time. We only stayed there about three hours, but our legs hurt! We are thinking to visit  there before Easter to see baby animals!

Howletts Wild Animal Park

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Creation and destruction

It has been a strange week. Creation and destruction are going together in my studio.

Today I did bisque-firing. Before loading yesterday I had to do mock-up to make sure that it all will fit.

15 minutes of puzzling.
 They are all tall pieces, except for this important being, Ice Baby.

Ice Baby
The female figure is as high as I dare to make. There is no much space above her in my small kiln.  That's why I have to make heads and bodies separately!


This it one of the tightest loading ever.


Regarding destruction, I have removed ears and hair from the rabbit head. She returned to a round head. I decided to fire her as it is.

Over the last few days, I have made five heads, and destroyed two of them. And one became a small mask. Something is not right, and I can't get into the groove.

She will be fired as a mask.
Despite my frustration, dogs are lazy and happy. It has turned chilly, so they don't want to get out of their beds. Pearl has never been early riser. Look at her. :D

I don't like cold.

Tomorrow morning, I will see if all is fine in the kiln.