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Wednesday 29 January 2014

Work in progress

Hello everyone. Mike went to a business trip over night. He came home for lunch yesterday, and I drove him to the station. He asked me if I could look after all animal family; we have a lot. I replied 'I can look after them, but I have to look after myself! That's the problem!'

Everything has been behind schedule by two to three hours. When you take the dogs for a morning walk at a half past two, you really can't take them again for an afternoon walk at a half past three.  So when Mike came home this evening, dogs seemed especially happy to see him. I could see the bubbles above their heads. 'Yay, normal service will resume!'

I have started working on sculptures full on. In order to reduce stress close to the art fair, I am planning to finish all making three weeks prior to it. That's the plan. : )

I will show work in progress today.

Monday night - Left is a child, and the right is a large head.
Monday  night

Tuesday morning - Large head.

Yesterday I worked on the child for several hours. Suddenly the child wanted to become a bird, and then an owl. As I have made lots of little owls recently, I felt it is a good opportunity to make a large one.

Because there will be lots of wall space, I decided to make a wall hanging piece.  I also chose a flat back for the ease of hanging. I made the body, back for the body and head and attached them.

But whatever I did, it didn't look happy. I had a light bulb moment. I felt the owl sent me a message. When I added tears, she suddenly became happy. When I checked the clock it was already a half past eleven, so I decide to leave her as she was until this morning.

This morning

The little ears were removed quickly.

This after noon - Crying owl

Owl foot
 I added ears to a large head, and made a small head.

Small head and Topaz (black one!)

When I finish the head, I often take it to all places to see how it looks on various objects. I quite liked this one. Bizarre but a good proportion!
Large head

Last, as lovely Ilona requested, I took a photo of bunny bums.

Good night, everyone. 


Monday 27 January 2014

An interesting weekend and Whippet Monday!

Aesthetically pleasing whippet! She found a home very quickly!

Hello everyone! I had an interesting weekend. I attended Kent Postgraduate Conference in Aesthetics. Aesthetics in Japanese, which, I am certain, was translated from an European word, means the study on judgement and appreciation of the beauty. It sounds something like the life of Oscar Wild. I had a vague image that it was studied by some dandy people living the most elegant lives, surrounded by the most beautiful things. Traditional Japanese aesthete was this type, as far as I am aware. But all delegates were ordinary people with very long fingers, especially males. How interesting! Why are these male students attracted to this branch of philosophy? I think there is a reason although I can't pinpoint it yet. It is their job to explore the nature of art and beauty although in the conference their focus was more on theories. It is my job to understand the people and to create work out of my understanding.

A different person has a different view. After I came home, I told Mike about my discovery of physiological characters on the men. He was half asleep. You can't imagine what he said! 'Are they like Aye-aye?' Mike, your imagination is sometimes wilder than mine!

By the way, I have also listened to all presentations given by PhD students and professors. I took note, and got some reading ideas from them. They are smart and friendly people from the best universities.  

In the conference everyone had name and the name of universities. I had this. How nice!

It is good to be described as an artist. Most people think that I behave and talk in a strange manner because I am artist. Thus I feel so free! Yes, I am a bit strange...

Yesterday evening, I received a good news. My first ever application to exhibit in an art fair was accepted. How lovely! But I was offered a much larger space than I requested. Mike and I had thought about it, and decided that it is a positive problem. : )  Apparently I have to make more pieces of work for the fair, nearly twice as many. Can I do it? Yes! So I have just started on them today.

Work in progress

For a while, I won't have much time to make my small 'people'. But then I have made a dozen rabbits last week, and I have also a few owls and several masks to be listed in my lovely Etsy shop. The little whippet went to a a lovely lady in US this morning, so I have listed two bronze-gold glazed whippets in my shop this evening. So watch the space. They all should line up in my shop front by March. (As I typed this, the larger whippet was also gone! It's my whippet day!)

Thursday 23 January 2014

Ice Queen

What would you do if your bank upset you at the end of the year, and you had to ring them at almost 1 o'clock in the morning? And you didn't do anything wrong.


I don't get very angry so often. But that night all my body, especially fingers and feet became very cold because of the anger. Some people get hot and red when they are angry. I am opposite. Then an image of ice queen came to my mind. 

When I woke up, I made this mask.  


Did my anger go down then? Not really, although it doesn't surface. A polite letter will be sent to the bank before too long, and probably with this photo. 

Looking on the bright side, over the last three days I have been busy making little rabbits. As all the rabbits are gone and I couldn't make any on the full moon night; I was unwell, I'm making them in the daytime; I can't wait for another full moon night. Then an odd one crept in. Huh? He tried to blend in with the flock. It is sad to reject him. So he will stay. : )  

Lots of rabbits and one disguised
When they are not modelling for a photo shoot, they are resting like this, so that they won't get broken.  : ) 

That's it today. See you soon! 

Sunday 19 January 2014

My new work - masks

Hello everyone. We feel better and better every day. I started enjoying dog walk rather than treating it as a chore. That's a good sign of recovery.

Because of the virus, I didn't have time to share my newest work. I made most of them for my Etsy shop. They are smaller than my other masks. First I made this 'Forest boy' mask for a lovely artist.

Forest boy (sold)

Then I wanted to make a girl. This is Forest girl. I am so happy the way her hair came out. I have for the first time used shiny glaze, oribe on hair , and love it. It shows the texture beautifully 

Forest girl

Forest girl - side view
 This is Water girl. I must say her hair was inspired by seaweed in water and her face by a round sweet fish!

Water girl (Ponyo?)

Water girl - side view
Water boys are a bit larger than girls. I imaged Triton and Peter pan; an eternal boy.

Water boy

Water boy

It is interesting that all faces look different yet they are similar. Once I was told by an artist client.  I don't use any moulds. I handbuild each one.  So all my work are original and unique. It is not 'productive', but that's not the point. I love and enjoy making each one the way it appears. I have dialogue with each character. They tell me something I don't know. It's a bit of a magic moment I take as a privilege. It's the joy of creation.    



Friday 17 January 2014

See my work at Mascalls gallery!

Hello everyone. I hope you are well and perky. Mike and I have come down with yet another virus this week. I have just started feeling better, and Mike was working from home today. I hope we would be a bit healthier this year. Perhaps, we need to do some exercise. We both walk, but that's all we do in terms of exercise.

Last Sunday Mike painted a tin of nasty substance on the seams between flat roof and the house wall. It seems to have worked so far... Nonetheless, the ceilings where the water leaked became mouldy, this despite we had a fan heater on for two days. It is a sad sight.

Today, I will share more images of my work currently available at Mascalls gallery. My work will be on dispay until the 22nd February. If you are near Paddock wood which is near to Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, please do come along! Of course, there is a fantastic exhibition of the 20th century British sculpture in the gallery.

It is rare for me to make male masks. When I make them they somehow become androgynous. He is a poet. I imagined he is a poet of Ancient Greece, Druid or African tribe. It really doesn't matter where he is from. A poet is a poet wherever he is.

 I love his hair and have experimented more on this style. Here is the detail.

Poet - detail

This is Art theory discussion. I have made three masks with this theme. They look all different. Each has a different personality. I make everything by hand, and don't use moulds, so each mask has different size and shape.

Art theory discussion
Conflict- children in Syria. I was upset about the civil war in Syria, from the beginning, but when chemical weapon was used, I had to make this mask. Any wars are bad enough, but civil wars tear the communities in the country apart, and make very deep scars.

Conflict - Children in Syria
This rabbit mask is a friend to another mask that was sold to a private collector. He has beautiful cracks on the surface. I am fond of him.  

This 2' (54 cm) high sculpture stands in the middle of the display. She was made and fired as one piece. I have fired her about six times to get desired colours and depth. I will fire my work several times until I am happy with the colours.

Out of sorts - blues

He is about 1' (30cm) high. I love how he looks. My scary dog, Topaz, is the model. 
Waiting for the next bang I
Last, there are these three little owls. They are a bit surprised! 


Please see the details in 'Events' section in my website

Sunday 12 January 2014

PV at Mascalls gallery

Hello everyone. I had a splendid day yesterday! In the afternoon, we went to PV at the Mascalls gallery. When we arrived, we found some of my work were already sold. How lovely!


The exhibition looked great. Even though we saw it the day before, it felt different when lots of visitors were around. Having visitors is the last piece of the puzzle in a gallery space. We have looked at each work carefully again. I liked Running Bird by Bernard Meadows most. It looks a bit like running chicken to me! It was also interesting to see shadows of Henry Moore among the sculpture. It was probably impossible not be influenced by Moore if you did sculpture in UK in the last century.

Running bird

My space looks like this.

My space

Waiting for the next bang II (Sold)

Empress ( Sold)
And all little rabbits were gone.

Now all went to loving homes! (sold)

Friday 10 January 2014

Dealers' vaults exhibition at Mascalls gallery

Hello everyone. How was your week? I had a busy one. Glaze-firing (it went well!), and lots of desk work, but today was a bit different. Mike took the afternoon off, and we delivered my work to the Mascalls gallery. They have a beautiful white corner for emerging artists. My work fits there so nicely!

A new exhibition, Dealers' vaults, 20th century sculpture, will start tomorrow on the 11th January. It sounds so intriguing, doesn't it? The exhibition is going to show 14 pieces of sculpture rarely seen by public. We had privileged preview of PV this afternoon. They look fantastic. If you love modern sculpture, this is a must!

The team at the Mascalls gallery is so friendly and very nice and we had enjoyed being there. Disappointingly the photos Mike took there are not good, so I can't show you here, but can I tempt you with the invitation card I was given?

Invitation card from Mascalls gallery
How clever! Now I have exquisite desktop Lynn Chadwick in my studio! If you come to west Kent, do visit a little gem, Mascalls gallery in Paddock Wood. You won't be disappointed.

Mascalls gallery's website

Wednesday 8 January 2014

White whippets and new greeting cards

Hello everyone. Last night I loaded the kiln and started glaze-firing. The kiln reached about 600C this morning, and finished firing about 1:30 in the afternoon. I can only open it tomorrow morning, so it is an official off-day for me. I had a couple of desk jobs I was planning to do, but ended up doing other things including listing new work on my Etsy shop. : )

There are currently two white whippets in my shop. I tried a shot with my new mini tripod the other day. I feel she looks a bit seductive! What do you think?

Whippet with cross legs. 

She has white slip with clear glaze. It is an experimental finishing. You can see her here.

This one is a little one. Its glaze became a bit thick, so she looks a bit chubby. Her listing is here

Little whippet

I have also listed a couple of greeting cards of my popular work. It is my new adventure. Last month, I made several designs, but hadn't had time to list them in my shop until now. They are printed by my trusted MOO. They come with white envelopes and cellophane bags. They are blank for your own lovely personal messages! I will list all designs eventually. Oh, Ice Baby is not in the photo, but he is in my shop. £2.75 each. : ) 

New greeting cards!
Lastly here are the peek in the kiln.

Lower shelf
A funny thing was that as soon as owls went into the kiln, the studio felt quiet. They have presence!

Top shelf
 I had taken a couple of photos during firing.

Heat in the kiln

Kiln thermostat,  1221 C.  That's 2230 F.

I hope they all come out safely tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.

And I also hope I can sleep tonight. I was staying up until two in the morning. My enemy, sleeping problem is back.

So I am catching up with jobs for my little shop recently. I have also returned to the financial market in the morning. I was thinking that this year would start quietly, but it doesn't feel like! That's good for me!

Monday 6 January 2014

Moomins and Karen Banks

Hello everyone. La-lala-La! I am in the good mood. First I have to tell you about the funny vision I had. Lasy Saturday I didn't do any ceramic. This often results in me having difficulties to fall into sleep. That night, despite I felt tired, I was completely away when Mike went to sleep. I quietly said 'Pon pon pon' because I was imagining about Karen who visited us earlier that day tapping her vessel. Then I suddenly saw a vision of a pot being made on a whirler; the first coil was placed on top of the round base on a whirler. It turned slowly, and then I saw mini Moomins, just like those I saw on TV program when I was a child, were making it. One was over the top of the coil and attaching it on to the base. The other one was standing on the edge of the whirler. He was joining coil and base from outside! What else would you do but watch them if you see two little chubby Moomins working like that? Obviously I couldn't sleep much on that night. Then Pearl who sleeps in our bedroom, cried about 0:30; she wanted to go to the garden! That didn't help. Too much imagination hinders my beauty sleep!

I was able to take good photos between torrential rains. I am so happy to show Karen's beautiful work here.
She makes delicate smoke fired ceramic vessels. They are just like herself.

They came in this little cute box.

A little bowl and a seed.

You can play with them!
The contrast between subtle colours of the bowl and black seed is beautiful. Inside is burnished and polished, but outside is rough. The holder will also read the bowl with their finger tips. Outside has beautiful brown marks from smoke. Thank you so much, Karen. I will treasure it.

You can see more of her work in her website.


Yesterday morning, I saw beautiful clouds. Not quite fish scale clouds as we call in Japan. Nonetheless, beautiful and dramatic.

Yesterday morning
 There was a hole in the middle. A bit of magic.

Saturday 4 January 2014

Lovely lunch, rabbits and storm damages

Hello everyone. Today, we had a wonderful lunch with ceramic artist Karen Banks and photographer Paul Carr. They came to collect Angel. They are such nice people. We enjoyed their company so much! So far, all of the people I have met through my ceramics are really nice. Mike observed that people who like my work tend to be nice. I agree! I was spoiled by Karen. She gave me her beautiful work as a gift, which reminds me of herself; delicate, sensitive yet fun. I will take a good photo in daylight and share it with you next time!

Karen's website: http://www.karenbanks.co.uk/
Paul's website: http://www.fisheyecreative.co.uk/

A couple of rabbits are in my shop now. Two are already gone last night. They are really sweet. : )

Please look the right..
The big nosed one in my shop is in the middle, and, alas, the other cute one is missing from the photo. She is here. : )

I am looking the opposite way. This is my better side. :D
Bisque firing went successfully. I did finishing yesterday. I hope I can do glaze-firing next week.

It has been very stormy here in UK. We had some leaks from the flat roof to the entrance and guest WC on the New Year's Day. Luckily the floor is tiled so damage was limited to walls and ceilings. In comparison with those in flooded areas, we are lucky. Mike went up on the roof to investigate the next day. He couldn't find apparent problems. It seemed the gutter and rain pipe couldn't cope with the sheer volume of rain. He widened the the rain pipe which had some tar inside. We had torrential rain on that night. But there was no leak. Fingers crossed.

Leak! Soaked.

Smiley Mike goes to the roof with a trowel in hand.
 Pumpkin is as chirpy as usual. She trod water-logged garden, as if she had web feet! : D.

Pumpkin chases any sparrows with bread all over the garden!
 During the walk, we have seen more and more damages. Here at the entrance to University of Kent ground, at first I noticed that tree trunks on the ground, and wondered where they were from. Then all of sudden, ah-ha moment. The tall pine tree at the sign post is gone! It must have broken the wooden fence of the house on the right. The fence is gone, too!

About 5-6 meters of pine tree fell.
 About 30-40 year old pine tree was there when I was a student at the University of Kent. The pavement was designed for the tree.

The trunk is bigger than Pearl's head.
 All over the University ground, there were fallen trees.

It must have made big noise!
 The 'bomb pit' became a pond. It is usually dry hole.

And the leaning Leylandii had a hair cut. There are lots of tree surgeons around here and roofers are very busy. I hope there are a good stock of ridge tiles! 

The city council stopped here... eyesore
I hope you are safe and dry!