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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Durham, the medieval city

Mike and I visited Durham in late August. We went on a business trip, but decided to do some sightseeing on the way back. We had limited knowledge about the city. Mike told me it has a cathedral and an old university. Did I like it? I fell in love with it! 

It is a medieval city, full of gargoyles. I love them! I have even travelled to Northern France to see them on their churches and cathedrals. They take me to an another world. 

After seeing the city centre, we went to see the cathedral. We come from Canterbury famous for the cathedral. Did we get disappointed? No! On the contrary. I was blown away!

We have climbed the tallest tower. The staircase is old narrow stone spiral staircase. It has 325 steps. But what a view! 

I am not scared of height, yet I felt queasy when I looked down. 

Death seemed so close when I looked down from the top of the tower. 

Inside the cathedral, the priest talked to me. He was telling us about the earlier extension, but that didn't happen. He said 'It was subsudence.' I said ' It was the god's will'. He said 'Excuse me?' So I repeated 'It was the god's will. I have just read it in the extended part of the cathedral.' Then he told us about the miracles happening in the chapel. Off we went to see it. It is the chapel for St Cuthbert. The first thing I saw in it was a little rabbit carved on arm rest on a old oak bench. I sat there and held on it. It was the god's will. 

The door knocker  - Durham cathedral 

Monday, 5 October 2015

A storytelling of crows

Canterbury had been blessed with fine weather for a whole week, but now it's back to normal  Mike told me I must go to post office to send packets early if I would like to miss the oncoming rain. I did!

Lately I have made several crows. The first one has flown away to a lovely gentleman. Three different crows are in my Etsy shop now. I have been interested in crows since I read King Solomon's ring by Konrad Lorenz in my teens. When I visited Germany in my early twenties, I even looked for 'the crows', Jackdaws, which I had never seen in Japan. Now I see them several times a week here from my house.
Small crow - sold

As you know, they are intelligent and very social. I love watching them exploring large bins, attacking hawks or just poking grass. They are usually in pairs, but when they are on the ground they are never side by side. They keep a good distance from each other. As I am familiar with finch and parrot behaviours and calls, I often tried to understand the behaviours of crows based on that knowledge. But I can't get close enough. They simply walk away or fly away. They are wary of humans.

Large Crow
 One summer I saw three large crow fledgilings on the ground in a very quiet woods. Parents were calling them, but they were too young to fly. Then later that summer, in a different woods, I saw a cat size chick perching about 2m from the ground. It looked amazingly large. It was not at all bothered as Topaz and I walked underneath. After walk, I saw him again on the same branch. If it was not magical, I don't know what it was. These two incidents are my closest encounter.

Crowing - medium 

There is a green on the way to my post office. People use it for Sunday sports or picnics. It used to be for cattle in the Middle Ages. But it is now surrounded by houses. Anytime I walk there, I usually see a group of crows plodding the ground. I kept observing them. There are jackdaws, rooks and carrion crows. Finally their shapes and postures were etched in my brain. I made my first crows in a weekend, last month.

Shiny beak - small

They are in my Etsy shop
 I am very happy with how they look, so I made more. They come with their own mounts, or plinths. They pretend that they can't move, but I feel they might twitch once a while when nobody is looking. I wish they would tell me about their lives one day.


Wednesday, 23 September 2015


The second glaze firing went well. Storm is now completed the way I am happy with. It is the joy to see her. She was commissioned by a lovely lady. I hope they live happily for a long time.



Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Glazing, firings and Kiln shelfies!

Once we were in September, we got very busy! It's a harvesting time. The hazel tree had a bumper crop this year. We have spent a long time harvesting and processing nuts and crab apples. That's almost finished now, thankfully. The fingers are sore and shoulders ache. 

As I haven't updated the glazing process recently, here are photos of the glazing and firings of this month. 

The Pacific in the morning sun 

Storm is on a commission for a lovely lady.  

First glaze-firing.

Storm is almost touching the top of the kiln! 

And look! She came out beautifully! But she would need another firing. 

Here is a peek into bisque-firing. Notice the Ostrich. :)


Glazing starts on little ones. Pocket Friends pretend to be cupcakes! :D 

And I started the glaze-firing this morning. The kiln is full. Fingers crossed. Result tomorrow!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Biscuit Factory, Autumn exhibition

My work will be in Autumn show at the Biscuit factory gallery, Newcastle. PV at 6pm, the 4th September. There will be a talk and a guided tour. Do pop in, if you can!

Rabbit is in the catalogue.

Here is The Biscuit Factory gallery tweet.

The Biscuit factory gallery