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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Tapir experiments

I can't believe that tomorrow is the end of the year! I thought I could do this and that before new year, but 10 days have flown past! Since I went back to the studio on the 26th, I have been nicely busy. There are several things I would like to finish before starting new works.

Tapir protoype
I have been working on a tapir. I made prototype and dismantled him to see how I would be able to make him in the most efficient way. If you remember, I made three tapirs, but it took me very long time to make them. There are ten people on Tapir waiting list. I have to find the way that I would be able to make tapirs more efficiently. So I would be able to offer a tapir at the affordable price, but also I don't have to work without wages for hours.

I had dismantle him, and tried a few things. I had already recycled legs, ears and tail. But it was hard to recycle the body! I hollowed him out and made a baby tapir with new parts!

After cutting up and all experiments, he shrunk a bit! But here is a tapir baby with gangling legs! :D

New born baby



Friday, 26 December 2014

Our Christmas and Boxing day

Hello! I hope you had good Christmas. We have been watching lots of children's films on TV. (And I cry!) On the eve, I was peeking at the sky, just in case Santa was passing through. Mike was, of course, asleep. In Japan, there are no houses with chimneys. I used to worry how Santa could get into our house. Mother said he would come anyway.

This year I made a wishing list on Etsy and named 'Mike'. I had kept showing what I would like to Mike, but he didn't get any hint. Even after I showed him the list named 'Mike' I could see he was not sure, so I explained. 'I made the list as my wish list.'

The textile art is by Jane Horton, Bath based artist. I found her Etsy shop earlier this year. It is machine stitched. I like the style very much. I like the faces she stitches. They look a bit medieval; simple but spiritual. We will get a frame for it.

He also got me a little glass penguin. The other day, we happened to find the little glass studio in Canterbury. There were a group of cute penguins. When Mike returned to get a few, this was the last one. He is going to get a few more for me when they have more. Penguins need to live in a colony.

Two dried roses were sent by one of my best friends in Japan. I was surprised that they arrived intact. The secret was that they have magnetic at the bottoms and they were stuck to little steel strips inside the acrylic boxes. She also sent me green tea and snacks. How lovely!


I was going to order other things on 'Mike' list for him to give me until one day I went to a dentist and got estimated bill of £300 for simple filling. That blew me away. But I have recovered from the shock. I will place a few orders before New Year's day, anyway.

On the Christmas day, We had Mike's brother, Tony, with us for Christmas lunch. He had been looking after our animal family while we were away when we attended art fairs. He is kind to all our family.

Topaz usually barks at any guests and visitors. She is nervous. So we usually put her in the car in the garage during warmer months or in my office upstairs during winter when we have visitors. So when she started barking at him, we were not surprised. But eventually they settled on the sofa together. Look at this! We were shocked!  She had never done this to anybody else but us.

Topaz found her daemon! 

Our tree looks best in dark. :D

On the Boxing day, we wanted to have a relaxing dog walk. But they were keen and sure that there was a cat somewhere! 

Christmas coloured coats - but they wear them all year around! 

I was going to do more tidy up in my office/packing room, but didn't.

A box room on the boxing day! 

Instead, I played with these two! North Pole meets South Pole! 

Polar bear is now in my shop. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you! Canterbury was drizzly this morning, but the sun has finally appeared. I had to go to dentist this morning. I was supposed to relax and enjoy the day. Mike and I are going to watch 101 Dalmatians to relax. There is nothing better than an old Disney film when you are feeling a bit tense!

This beautiful photo was sent to me on Twitter by hoek @jeanmarron. It is about love, happiness and all things about Christmas, I think.

I hope you have wonderful time.

Copy right: hoek@jeanmarron 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A boxfull of smiley boxes!

As I post ceramics, my first concern is safe delivery. All my work are in different shapes and sizes, I would need various shapes of boxes. If I buy a few of this and a few of another, it wouldn't be cost effective. As the boxes would be discarded after they were open, I decided to use clean recycled boxes as much as possible, when I opened my Etsy shop. Mike and his colleagues in the University collect all sorts of boxes for me, as they all are keen on recycling. But as my shop has become successful, I need more boxes. I'm always on hunt.

We are always on hunt for cookies! 
Yesterday morning, Mike and I went to town for Christmas shopping. We both had been under the weather last week. Nonetheless, Christmas is coming, and very soon!

First we went to Hotel chocolat to get some chocolates for family, friends and ourselves. There I found a shop keeper is stocking shelves. I saw the boxes she was holding. They looked perfect for my ceramics. So I politely asked if I could have empty boxes. She said, 'Of course!'. A male shopkeeper was also stocking in back office, and she told him about my request. She told me the boxes would be ready to be collected after I finish my shopping.

A boxfull of boxes! 

Mike saw me coming back, and he said 'We are supposed to be choosing chocolates.' I knew, but I can't let such good boxes to go to waste. I don't want to charge my lovely customers for packing if I don't have to.

Our chocolates! 
We continued shopping and Mike paid and I went back to the door of back room. There he brought me a boxful of small boxes! Wow! I thanked him and wished him lovely Christmas. He said 'Always. Have a good one!' He didn't know how happy I felt. I was carrying a box full of folded boxes on the High street. They were not heavy, but just cumbersome to carry around. We wanted to get a box of Ricciarelli from M&S. I told Mike that he should go to get it while I would wait with my boxes on a bench. He wondered if it would be too cold for me to wait. I told him 'I'm glowing with happiness. Don't worry!' Then I started removing sticky tapes from the folded boxes. While I was doing I felt a smile on each box! They are my happy customers!

When Mike came back with the sweet, we walked back to parking. These boxes were Christmas presents for me, although it might sound strange to you.

Thank you all staff of Hotel Chocolat! I wish you all lovely Christmas!

I also thank Ellen  on Twitter for sending us reflective tags for dogs and humans. Topaz looks very cute with a frog, as her coat is green. Pink butterfly for Pearl. Reindeer for Mike and I got an angel. :)  They work so well for our afternoon walks in dusk.

Frog is my guardian angel! 

23 minutes ago

Friday, 19 December 2014

Shipping week!

Hello! Is your preparation for Christmas going well? I have been down for last 3 days with headache. As soon as most shipping were done, I got bugs. Typical! It wasn't too bad, but I had to lie down. So I took this as opportunity to read; His Dark Materials by Pullman. My first book of this year! I have just finished Northern lights It is gripping and I enjoyed travelling another world with Lyra and Iorek, my favourite character in it. The headache has finally subsided. I will be back to action tomorrow. 

The little Lamb with a toy rabbit in the pocket went to a wonderful lady in London. She told me there was already space under the Christmas tree for the lamb! How lovely! She would be truly loved.

This week the last crackle glaze whippet and the last chameleon went to their new loving homes. Next summer I will make a few smaller goofy chameleons again!
Chameleon - sold

Largest whippet - sold

Cuteness 100% lamb - sold
I usually pack my work in double box or double box effect with infill. I shake the boxes to check if inside moves. If it does, more packing would needed. If not, I will take them to reliable Royal Mail! And from there, they will travel all over the world. Amazing!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Pockets are full of happiness!

I have received a couple of messages about the arrivals of an anteater and tapirs. I can tell that they will be truly loved! I am so happy!

This morning, I have posted Carrot and Strawberry to a lovely ceramic artist. They will be Christmas gifts for young ladies. How lovely!

Carrot and Strawberry - sold
I have also made their friends, a piglet and lambs! They will be in my shop later this month. These little colourful girls (yes, they are girls.) make me smile anytime I see them. : ) I'm ambitious to make more friends! : )

Lamb with her toy duck, Piggie with her toy black cat, and lamb with her toy rabbit. 
As a lady requested on FB a group photo, here is one! If you would like a particular one, please send me a message. I will hold her for you before hitting the shop window. : )



Monday, 15 December 2014

Tapirs and Anteaters have left the building

What a relief! The firing went well. Thank you so much for those who have crossed fingers for me and lovely people whose presents are in the kiln! I was mumbling 'Please Santa, help me to give them lovely Christmas!' Thank you, Santa!

Tapir mum and babies

'Mummy, I'm hungry!' 

'What are going to do today, Mummy?' ' Something fun!' 

'Listen, we are going to swim in the river today!'

Anteaters are gathering. They are going to do a meeting! 

This crevice looks a good place to explore... There might be ants in it! :D 

We are going to new lovely homes. But don't forget that we are honourable Great anteaters! 

The pale anteater is my mascot. I made him from a different clay. I will need my mascot tapir, too.

I have posted six packets today, and will do two more tomorrow.  When I took the packets to post office, the lady there turned back and picked up a white thing and gave it to me. It was a Christmas card from the staff! How lovely! As I go there so often, they have got to know me well. 

Life is filled with nice surprises! 

A little polar bear on the rock

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Tapirs and Anteaters wondered if firing is too hot for them!

Last night, I loaded the kiln. It took a long time for me to paint white marking on Tapir babies. I tell you it was difficult to make them look natural!

Tapir babies had their first firing and anteaters had their second.

'I heard that we will be cooked!'
'Will it be hot, I wonder.'

This morning, I started the kiln. My kiln is in the cold garage, The last few firings took longer than usual. The kiln had struggles to reach 1200C and beyond.

'Tapir waiting list 2015 the first half' is closed now.  If you are interested in the tapirs for 2015 summer onward, please let me know I will add you on a list.

Tomorrow I will be able to open the kiln and see the result. Fingers crossed! : )

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Little ones went to bisque-firing

Hello! First, if you are in the US and you would like to get Christmas deliveries, please place orders by the 11th, tomorrow. I will send all orders on the 12th to the US 

The little ones were glaze-fired today. I hope they come out fine tomorrow. Please Santa, keep them safe! There are lots of Christmas presents in it. I can't bear it if anything goes wrong!

I have three Tapirs this time. They were already spoken for. As they caused a bit of stir on Twitter, I have made a Tapir waiting list for 2015! If you would like to be on it, please let me know. : )  

Here is the Mother Tapir.

 She and two babies!

Lower shelf has bronze-gold glaze. I can't take any orders for bronze-gold glaze any longer, as it is running out, and sadly I was not able to make same one. 

Top shelf has rabbits, lambs, anteaters, a pig and a tapir.

Little anteater is hiding here! 

Top shelf is a bit crowded! 

My fingers are crossed for their safe firing! I will see tomorrow. I feel a bit nervous, I must say.

Mike caught a beautiful sunset. The Nature is amazing! Keep warm, everyone!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Little ones are great joy

It was another busy week for me. The bell in my shop has kept ringing. I have gone to Post Office every day. It has been too cold to walk, as max. temperature has been 3- 5C, so I have driven. One day a tyre punctured in front of Post office! The air came out with shhhhhhh sound and It became as flat as a pancake! Oh no! When I gathered myself and walked in Post office, their system had just gone down! It came back after about 30 minutes. I was able to post all my works. I left the car there, walked back and contacted Mike at office. He had to walk down to 'do something; about it. He did. :D

Yesterday I had to go to the Embassy in London. I didn't feel very well, and it was so cold. I didn't want to go. But once the business was done there, I decided to go to see Egon Schiele exhibition at Courtauld gallery and to do some Christmas shopping. It was a good day after all. I will tell you about the visit later.

So it was an eventful week, but I have managed to make good progress on my little ones. Here is Mademoiselle Wren. I was going to make a simple mask, but she had a different idea.

Mademoiselle Wren
 Wednesday, I started bisque-firing. Some of them are Christmas orders and others are for the Easter!

Lower shelf

Top shelf. 
Next day, they came out safely from the kiln! This time, there are tapir, piglets, lemur, polar bear as well as the usual suspects!

I made good progress on them today. I will continue tomorrow. Ironically I tweeted a week ago that I would not work on weekends any longer this year. How little I knew! What is a weekend?

 But, I hope you have a good weekend! : )