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Monday 28 July 2014

Were-rabbits and Whitstable Oyster festival

How was your weekend? I had another productive weekend. I made two giant rabbits, were-rabbits. You can see how large they are in comparison with my ordinary large rabbit in the third photo! When I added eyes to the taller one last night, I burst into laughing because he looks so goofy! They will be going to Cecilia Colman Gallery, London.  If you are interested in a giant one, please let me know. I can make any size as far as it fits into my kiln. :D These two should be about 15.5-16.5 cm tall after firing.


We are goofy giants. 

Hello my giant cousin! 

Sunday morning, Mike and I popped into the next town, Whitstable to see my friend, Angela Malone's exhibition. She is showing her work with three artists. Her drawings are beautiful and sensitive. We enjoyed the visit.

It was also in the middle of the Oyster festival in Whitstable. We had a good stroll.

A full of cuties

A doggie dress with a canary belt, anyone? 
Talking of doggies, there are always lots of dogs in Whitstable. 

This greyhound was sad because his mistress was trying on lots of hats. He wanted to go home and sleep! 

This border terrier was looking up his mistress eating crepe, later on.

This shop had a queue for oysters. Whitsatble is famous for oysters!

Oyster bar!

At seafront, I saw this lovely neat bonsai rock garden.

Are you tempted now? Whitstable is about 15 minutes by car from Canterbury. The sea is usually grey due to mud, but there are lots of people enjoying wind surfing, boating and yachting. There are lots of independent shops catering for Londoners who come to stay in their second homes. If you go to Seasalter, which is just along the coast, there is a gastro pub, the Sportsman with a Michelin star. It is casual, friendly and lovely!  

Friday 25 July 2014

Water Girl flew to Norway

I had a busy week. I am currently working on 7 different projects. None of them is too big, but I need to keep them going. A funny thing is that my studio downstairs is cooler than my office upstairs by several degrees. When I think I have to do this and that on PC upstairs, I climb up stairs and sit at my desk. Because of the heat, I forget why I came up. I have done this several times. And then I go down and start making, then my memory comes back!

It has been a good week, too. I have received three commissioned orders for a trio of whippets. They came in a one after another. How wonderful!

Water Girl flew to Norway

Sweet Water Girl flew to a lovely artist's home in Norway. As Norway is not a part of EU, I have done some research on import duty. I found original work of art has 0% rate on duty, just like in US. I have also found lots of other countries have duty free on original work of art. That's good to know. Prior to this, I was reluctant to list my larger works on Etsy. I didn't want my customers to go through paying duty and handling charges. Nobody likes doing it.

Edited (7 August 2014) : I am informed that Norway custom office charged the duty on Water Girl.

She is on the stand Mike was commissioned to make for a lovely lady. It is a travertine base with an acrylic rod. It is well made, and it shows the mask beautifully. I'm thinking to stock the stands for my shop in future.

Here are some recent photos to share from my studio. First, the 3 sets of whippet trios. Height and length will be similar after firing, but they are all different. It is the joy of making original works!

 And more rabbits. The left one was spoken for. : ) They will be bisque-fired sometime next week.

If you would like to have your own trio of whippets, you can commission me at midoritakaki on Etsy.

Saturday 19 July 2014

The worst ever firing

I had the worst firing ever. All rabbits were ruined. All of them. A half month of work became rubbish. Sigh. 
What happened? They had a wrong glaze. How did it happen? Glaze storage manager, Mike, told me the bucket was white one. I pointed at the label saying 'clear'. He said that it was wrong. He had put the white glaze into this bucket. Never believe him. Believe the label!

Now you know why glaze ceramic artists don't become millionaires (reason 2 - the reason 1 is in the previous post). I am making loss! I was cross and disappointed. Some of them were for a gallery. I'm making more rabbits rather than packing them for delivery this weekend. 

Then, after a while, I thought about those who were in Malaysian Airline shot down over Ukraine. The firing was disappointing, but nobody was hurt. There were much worse things in the world. You have to view everything in perspective. I forgave Mike. I started making more.

Although all rabbits will go to a bin, other ones came out mostly fine, thankfully. I have already listed three pieces of works from the firing. 

As I typed this, two are already gone. : ) So chin up and smile, Midori!

Little Anteater - Sold

Monkey -Sold
 Pierre is available from my Etsy shop!



Thursday 17 July 2014

Does anybody like glazing?

I woke up with more good news. The imp has arrived in Norway. That was quick. The lovely Ellen said it took her 5 minutes to unpack him! I make sure that every piece is well wrapped. : )

Now he lives in Ellen's office with Hippocrates. 


I have spent Tuesday and Wednesday glazing. It is sad to see how few pieces you can glaze in two days! No wonder there aren't many millionaires among glazing ceramic artists! :D Well, except for Grayson Perry, of course.

Dipping rabbits in a glaze bucket was quick. Then cleaning and tidying up pinholes, eyes, the rims and so on will take literally hours. This is Tuesday's work.

Waiting for glaze-firing

Then yesterday, these tiny fiddly things took me a day. The most time consuming ones to glaze are the little chickens! I should be charging a fortune for them, but, of course, I can't! Ladies and gentlemen, if the little ones are priced higher than large ones in my shop, there are good reasons.

This little fellow is also on the shelf, if you look carefully. I have used underglazes. The difficulty of underglazes is if I mix colours by myself, I don't know exactly what colours they would be until they are fired. I have seen shocking results before! it was so shocking that Mike banned me from using one particular colour ever! (... blue) I hope he will be a lovely brownish grey.   

Anteater is being fired right now.

The garden is full of blue flowers.
Balloon flowers

Agapanthus with a cat mess protection net! 
 The studio dog convinced me that she is the descendant of Ammonites! 

Sunday 13 July 2014

I had a good productive week.

This month so far I have made lots of things. When I say lots, I mean it. I have loaded the kiln for bisque firing.
Lower shelf

Top shelf
It was a busy but good week for me. Shy and quiet Forest boy I sent to LA on the Friday before, arrived there on Wednesday! That was quick! He went to the loving home of an artist.

Forest Boy - Sold

Emily is also in her loving home now.

Emily  - sold

Thursday evening we went to  PV at the Sidney Cooper gallery, to see the exhibition of old South east seaside photos. We had a good chat with Marianne and Chris who had visited Japan a few month ago.

Having tired from the night before, we went out for dinner on Friday. I had once a month steak-moment. We both got cheerful. :D

Yesterday morning, Mike finally made scones for us, using a recipe by Mary Berry. If you remember, I bought this special jam to try with scones. Even though I asked Mike to get a small tub of double cream, he bought the large one because he said they didn't sell small ones. So we had cream tea for lunch. Ow, it was delicious. Jam was lovely, but I must say I couldn't taste any champagne. And I have just noticed the label saying aristocratic fruit!I Is it from aristocratic soil?


Our dogs had a good walk yesterday. We went to see flowers on the meadow patches on campus.

Pearl found something, and she was very keen.

What's that? 
Topaz found something, too. And she rolled on that! 

Oh, something smells good!
As soon as we came home, we shampooed Topaz in the garden, and Pearl in the shower. Now both smell cheap chemical! :D

As Pumpkin the chicken looked at them whilst dust bathing herself, she thought dogs deserve shampoo and cheap chemical smell!   

Pumpkin the great chicken
   I hope you had a good weekend!

Friday 11 July 2014

Amazing patisserie - Julien Plumart

When Mike reaslied that we were going to Brighton, he did google search for the best possible patisserie in Brighton. He found three, and we went to Julien Plumart Boutique. It was the best I have had in England. Light, delicious and beautiful. What else do we want?

It was about lunch time, but we went for Afternoon tea sets.

Mike is a man of chocolate. He went for seriously dark one. Macaroon was lime lemon. His tea was lemon grass. He said chocolate and lemon grass went very well.

I am more of fruity girl. Strawberry tart, lychee raspberry macaroon and pistachio ice cream were on my plate. My tea was English breakfast. 

Afterward we went to the Royal Pavilion. I though it was the Disneyland at that time. Then we went back to Julien Plumart, and bought two cakes to take home. Ah, the joy of being grown-ups!

A lemon tart for Madame, 

   And Miss franboise for Monsieur.

Yes, we did visit the Royal Pavilion.

And a seagull waiting at the backdoor of Sushi restaurant.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Zorian Artworks, Brighton, has my works now!

Can you remember when you didn't have broadband? We lost connection for one day sandwiched by two days with non-existing uploading. It was like the Middle ages. I couldn't attach a Word file to my email, or the tiniest image for my twitter. Thankfully yesterday morning, it came back. I have uploaded lots of images and files quickly, just in case it goes down again!

Last Saturday Mike and I went to Brighton to drop off my works at Zorian Artworks. We met Zorian at the art fair last month, and he offered me to have my works in his studio/gallery. He is polite, very friendly and very tall, about 2m! I am tiny even at Japanese standard. From me, he looks very far away! :D His gallery is located in front of the beach, 5 minutes walk from the Pier. He is a painter himself, and his marine themed works are no doubt inspired by the view from his place.

I have always wanted to have my work on show in Brighton. Some of my works are either too edgy or funky to be shown with my other works. I have sold some of them on Etsy and at the Sidney Cooper gallery, but I have thought they would fit better in Brighton, the city of of artists, or the edgy part of London.

We left lots of works of all sizes. Among them, this cat is available to the public for the first time. The larger version was in the MA show last autumn. The middle part was reduction fired in a gas kiln. Other parts were oxidation fired in an electric kiln. I assembled them after firing.

Cat - available from Zorian Artworks
A chameleon also went to Brighton.
Available from Zorian Artworks
I also left a medium size, 'The answer was in the box'.  It is larger, about 15cm high and 15cm wide, than the one on Etsy. I tend to sell smaller works, which are easier to ship, on Etsy, as lots of customers are overseas.

Forest Boy is also there.

Just before we were leaving, a lady was interested in my masks. I started talking to her about them, but then I saw Zorian smiling, so we left.

There are more and also colourful Zorian's works as well as other ceramic works. If you are in Brighton, please check out Zorian Artworks at 246 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, right at the seafront.

Thursday 3 July 2014

Countess of Mochi has Japanese DNA

This week, I have been busy with lots of different things. Talk about multi-tasking. One thing I have learnt since I became a full time artist last autumn is that artists have to be able to do lots of things; DIY, working with other materials, driving, running electric cables, to name a few! Besides we have to do accounting, promoting, marketing, packing, posting and creating! I totally give high respect to all artists. When I was an interior designer at Tokyo, I had a secretary to do most admin jobs. Mails were delivered to my desk by another secretary, even drinks were made for us.  Courier came to collect parcels at the doors. What a difference! I am lucky because Mike does lots of things that I am not good at. Driving is my weakness. He is also good at DIY and all things related to electricity. He is IT professional. Apparently, when I lose him, my artist career will be over!

I finally took several photos of Countess of Mochi. This is her debut. If you observe her carefully you can see Japanese DNA.

Countess of Mochi
Countess of Mochi

We have started harvesting fruit and vegetables from our garden. 

Shelling is usually my job. I ended up eating quite a few raw, as they are sweet! Pearl the whippet waits under the table. She knows I drop a few. She loves peas too!

Then she spent her day sleeping with her legs stiffly straight, and an ear curled!