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Monday 31 October 2011

The day after

It was my first exhibition, so today was my first 'the day after' exhibition. I had to go back to a day job. Because of change of clocks, a bit of effort was needed to start in the morning. After work, I wrapped and packed purchased items to be delivered or collected. I typed thank you letters.

Adult plumage. On my husband's hand.
Sadly last night I found one of two surviving owl finch died. He was hatched here in February 2003, and after his mother gave up her clutch, his father and I fed them for a while. Then his father gave up on them. I fed them until they fledged. His name was Coco, and his brother was Cous-cous. They were oOur first owl finch chicks hatched in our house.

I did a funeral today and buried him under a young apple tree. To cerebrate his eight years and eight months of life, long for owl finches, I put some photographs uploaded here. They have given us lots of joy, and I loved them with my soul, just as any mothers did.
Using my husband's nose as a perch!

Chicks have darker tones.

The serets of my DoGoo were revealed.

Mudskipper with fake blond wig
What do you think about her? Is it her? Yes, she is. This DoGoo caught most visitors' attention during Open house, but only one person dared to ask me what kind of story is behind this particular DoGoo on the last day. I hesitated... I whispered her 'It is a top secret.' She gorged on. I said 'Nobody knows this story except for my husband and me.' She pointed a red dot, and asked me 'Even the buyer?' I answered 'No, I didn't tell her'. 

After some time, I ended up revealing the secret to her. She enjoyed it so much that she bursted into laughing. I can't tell you here what the story was because it is a top secret. 

Open House Last Day

Yesterday was the last day of Canterbury Festival. It coincided with the beginning of winter time. We usually gets a sort of jet lag when clocks change. We had an extra one hour before opening, so we had a pizza for lunch. Well, it was before eleven, but it would have been about noon a day before. That's our logic! 

Solar Power front
Backside is also decorated!
We had a nice day at our Open House. Art lovers visited us, and we had interesting conversation. I also heard about other open houses they had visited earlier. I only wish I could go to see them too!

A lady chose 'The sun', which I had called 'Solar Power'. Solar power sounds a bit like solar panels so official title is 'The Sun'. After firing this at stoneware temperature, I used enamel paint, layered several times to gain rich deep colours, and fired it in the oven at lower temperature again. It took me a long time to decorate. It took me even a longer time to clean the oven before firing! I am happy with how he looks. He doesn't show any hint of negativeness.

The image of him has been with me for a long time, about 10 years, I suppose. He is definitely one of my DoGoo.

Saturday 29 October 2011

Open House Day 5

We had a busy day today. We had good chats with old and new friends as well as those people we met today. Talking with people invigours me. A very nice young lady bought this 'fringe' girl pendant for her sister. Every single piece is different. Each item of my face series has a nickname. I hope her sister likes the fringe girl. 

Recently I made lots of faces. After I made 'Jane', I wanted to make more faces. Once I started making, I couldn't stop. I made them into brooches and pendants.They look good on hats, scarves and bags. 

Friday 28 October 2011

Born in the year of the rabbit

I said previously that I was born in the year of the rabbit. Early this year, I received a new year card from one of my dear old friend. Her excitement was obvious from the card, ' It is the year of the rabbit! It's our year!' Another girl also wrote to me 'We should leap like rabbits this year! It's our year!'

Born in the year of the rabbit 1963

Their energy affected me. I imagined their lives in Japan. The girl who sent me the card is intelligent and smart. She has a good stable job and a good income. But she didn't meet a man she loves even though she was popular among boys at high school. She still lives with her mother, and somehow still seems to dream like a teenager girl, as if a prince would appear suddenly, and scoop her up from the ground. I turned her into this sitting girl in a rabbit suit.

After this, I started wondering what other 'rabbit girls' are like, and how they have lived.
There are twelve animals in the calendar, so each animal comes around every 12 years.

Born in the year of the rabbit 1975

Born in the year of the rabbit 1987

Born in the year of the rabbit 1999

After making three girls, an idea came into my mind. What if a rabbit wears this rabbit suit?  I will write about this later!

How I got started.

I have started making clay models about 10 months ago. Before that I made functional ware like bowls and cups for two years. At that time, I had had so much stress from my work that I was not able to go to sleep. After dinner, while Mike watched TV, I started making tiny rabbit figures, just size of a thumb. Then gradually I started making larger models. I was hooked, and able to go to sleep easily after palying with clay.

One night, I was looking at the full moon, I remembered old Japanese story about the rabbit who lives on the moon, and makes rice cakes. This year is the year of the rabbit. I fact I was born in the year of the rabbit. I wondered what those friends who also share the birth year were doing recently. I felt a strong urge to make a spiritual rabbit living on the earth, but never forgets about the rabbit on the moon. Now looking back, I might have seen myself in the rabbit, as I have also lived in this foreign land for two decades. But when I go back to Japan, I am not 'real' Japanese any longer. My imagination expanded, and I felt the presence of the rabbit in my heart. 

The rest was easy. My hands were guided by my heart. I didn't know what it was going to look like, but I knew what it will be. This is the rabbit.

It was the beginning of all.

I made larger and smaller rabbits after this. In the meantime, I wanted to show all things I had made. So I decided to take a part in Artists' Open Houses.
In this new world of clay, I liked to explore possibilities. It was a sort of brain storming. I turned most of creatures living in my head into clay models. Some of them were old residents, but others only joined while I was making another models. Some changed themselves into another shapes while I was making. I also made many of them without any plans, just let clay guide me. After taking a shape, some of them surprised me, but others were like old friends, finally appeared in front of me.

New resident, 'Jane'

Canterbury Festival, Artists' Open Houses

Canterbury Festival is held every October, It has lectures, tours, concerts, dramas and all sorts of cultural events. Tickets of popular programmes are sold out quickly. 

Artists' Open Houses, which is a part of this festival, has Canterbury trail, Faversham trail, Hern Bay trail and Whitstable trail. It is open from 11am until 5pm on tree weekends, starting from 15th until 30th October.

I am, for the first time, taking a part in this event this year. So I didn't know what exactly to expect. I did google open houses events in the past, and also visited other town's open houses to check out. This is three weekends event, and our house is small but lots of animals live in it: three parrots (two Timneh grey parrots and one Patagonian conure), two dogs (whippet and whippet+(plus)) and two aging finches. When I mentioned this event to Mike, he said 'What are you going to do with our dogs? Parrots? Their noise and mess?' 

Topaz, whippet plus, will not stop barking once she starts. She always barks at visitors. Fifi, the Patagonian conure, can scream so loud that our ears start ringing.  They live in the lounge.

Big problems.
I am barking dog, Topaz.

In the end, we moved Topaz and Pearl, non-barking whippet, out of the lounge to sleep. Topaz sleeps in the kitchen, and Pearl on the landing. On Open days, Topaz went to the car in the garage. Surprisingly she loved this set-up so much that she ignored the house door after a walk, walked to the garage door on her own. Last Sunday after we finished Open day for the day, she broke free from the back door, and dashed into the car in the garage, and waited for Mike to find her! We had thought we understood about her, but this proved we didn't know much about her, after living with her eight years! It was our unknown unknown moment.

This is Pearl.
For October in Canterbury, we had warm bright sunny weekends. Here are parts of my display.

The table of rabbits
My favourite face pendant
I couldn't stop making faces!

Thursday 27 October 2011

DoGoo is born.

Hello Everyone! My name is Midori, living in Canterbury, UK. I make ceramic figures inspired by ancient Japanese clay idols used for rituals, praying and other unknown purposes.

This year I am participating in Aritsts' Open Houses, a part of Canterbury Festival. This weekend will be the last open days. Please pop in, if you can! I would love to meet you!