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Wednesday 26 August 2015

Let's count tapirs!

Lately I have made lots of tapirs to catch up with the tapir waiting list, which is now closed. (Don't worry, if you have missed to be on the list. I should be able to offer some on my shop in November!)

Here are some pics.

They are drying nicely!

Large, Tiny and Small from left. 

Babies need to wear baby suits before firing. 

Bisque firing! 

Now glaze-firing. How many tapirs are in this kiln? Let's count them!

 Answer is in my first video! (Serious warning! I sound like a 5 years old girl! :D ) 

They are our from the kiln!

Monday 24 August 2015

Mike and Midori visit Rye

It's a cats and dogs with thunder day here in Canterbury. Glad to be indoors. I'm wearing a fleece! But we had a glorious summer day up to 30c on Saturday. Friday was 27C. The last summer days in the year possibly.

Mike and I visited Rye on Friday to celebrate Mike's birthday. We toyed an idea of visiting London, but he chose Rye because he hadn't visited Rye for a long time and wanted to see how it has changed.

Rye, East Sussex, is about 1 hour drive from Canterbury. It is a small town with the medieval buildings. It used to have a defence harbour before the Dutch came and drained marshes.

From the parking on the river side, we climbed the steep hill, and the first thing I saw was this shop! Knoops! Buttons in Dutch, I was taught. A lovely Jane, who and whose mother lives with two of my rabbits and a lamb, works here. I brought her a ceramic brochure from CAL as she has a degree in ceramics. I knew it was her off day, so I was going to leave it there.

 We were also very keen to try their drinking chocolate! They have white, milk and dark with all sorts of strength. The numbers on the wall is percentages of chocolate you in drinks!  We eventually had 70% dark chocolate milkshakes as it was a warm day. 

Friendly owner and staff
Then Jane appeared in pretty summer clothes! Look! We had a chat for about an hour. It was our first meeting but we have known each other on Twitter for a few years. Nice people on Twitter are nice people in person! She is a lovely gentle and quietly funny lady! 

Lovely sandals matching the skirt! 
Then she gave me her handknit Oystercatcher! Wowsie! I was given a souvenir! We saw lots of oystercatchers when used to do bird watching. We loved the sights of the colourful birds among the grey-white shorebirds.

I have no skill of knitting. None. So this cheerful bird gave me so much fun after this!

Jane made the oystercatcher! 

After leaving Knoops, and left Jane with her another boss, we walked to a town. There are cobbles everywhere.

But the first thing I wanted to do was to take photos and tweet my new avian friend. His name is William of Orange. So I asked Mike to get my mobile ready. I have no skill of fiddling with mobile. William decided to take a vantage point. He had a good view of a river. A family walked past him. They smiled at him!

Mike is used to a bird perching on his head. We have parrots and used to have tame finches.

A vantage point!

Rye has so many 'antique' shops, but in fact they are more like brocante.   

On the door
We spotted funny signs. :D

As the milkshakes were quite rich, we had a late lunch at Webbe's, which is a branch of Webbe's in Hastings, we found out afterwards. As soon as we entered, I knew it was a right place. I saw four ladies of certain age in floral and pastel dresses with 15cm high pin heel, lunching with champagne and oysters in the air con. 

Mike didn't drink. I had beer. This is Kentish brew called Curious brew from our favourite local wine maker, Chapel Down.   

I had sea bass.

Mike had sea trout.

As we were fullish, we shared a desert, basil bavaroi with dark cherry sorbet.   

After coffee, we were out in the sun again. I spotted a gate, which used to be a part of prison door.

Then we went to church tower. Last time we came with my mother, we went up. 

A rare view of Midori 
 All the time, William kept me cheering with his red eyes and orange bill.

William of Orange
 Behind the church, there were old buildings.

We didn't know then, but if we walked more, there was a castle! We walked in a wrong direction and found Admiral's house. William rested on the bell. 

The bell at the Admiral's house
   The shopping in Rye.

What are they?
 I found a frame shop, and bought three. If it were a bit closer, I would go back to get more! :D

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Being more efficient!

I have been steadily working day by day. That's nice. I used to work with lots of deadlines. This year, I am finally in charge of my own schedule. This means I am able to work more selectively and efficiently. Last year I crammed too much work in the second half of the year; which I regretted. So this year, as I knew I would be busy anyway with Christmas approaching, I left diary for only commissions. Also I was thinking to visit my mother; as she is getting older and she has had a difficult time lately. But after agreeing to do an exhibition in Tokyo next spring, I decided not to visit Japan this year.

Instead, one day each weekend, I re-organise my work place, establish my system, identify the areas I need to improve as well as do some experiments on my work methods. As I have already met my annual target, I thought this is a good opportunity to do that.

As I have to stay in Japan for about 4 weeks during the exhibition, I know I need to work for next year, now.  Also once the construction work for my studio starts, there would be interruptions. So I am working steadily every day.

I bought this clay a couple of years ago at Art in Clay, Hatfield. I finally had time to experiment with it. I love the texture and colour. I used turquoise blue glaze; it looks great on this clay. It reminds me of Japanese pottery. The little bird has gone to a lovely printmaker. The large one is in my shop now.

Large bird is in my shop.

News for people on the Tapir waiting list! The summer part has started moving. I will soon contact you! 

The waiting list has closed due to overwhelming demand. I hope I would be able to offer some in my shop in late November. But if you like to get this delightful guys for Christmas, please let me know.I might be able to put you in my commission slot. : )

We both are quite busy with packing recently. When time is ripe I should be able to share the pics with you! 

Rolled sushi style

Pie style

If you wonder, our dogs are busy sleeping! They do sleep a lot. 

In shade

or in sun
 Pumpkin the chicken has lost most tail feathers. The last two are still attached as the pride of chicken.

Tail is chicken's pride!

Saturday 15 August 2015

Virtual tour of a Amsterdam gallery by Blue Eyed Night Owl

Do you remember that my works are now in a gallery, Amsterdam? I am so excited to to tell you that you could have a virtual tour of the gallery now!

Laura at Blue Eyed Night Owl visited and blogged it! How wonderful!  After reading it, I wanted to visit Amsterdam again! The attractive city of canals, flowers, bikes and diamond shops! It looks quite different from any other big cities I know.

Do check out Laura's lovely blog! It's here.  


Wednesday 12 August 2015

London wall - our visit to the oldest part of London

Mike and I visited the City of London last Saturday. It is the oldest part of London. Until the medieval time, this small part was London. People also call it Square Mile, due to the size. The Romans built a defence wall around it. 

First we decided to see Barbican centre. It is Brutalist architecture. All surrounding apartments are also made in concrete. The problem of concrete is that it is very difficult to clean it. Grime grows on grime.  When I tweeted these photos, a New Yoker commented 'Pretty!'. I had to tell him that they are the prettiest of the whole building! Careful composition and angles made them look pretty! :D

Then we walked toward Museum of London. On the way, we found this charming building. A lady on Twitter told me it is Ironmongers' guild hall. And another lady told me the lizard like animals are salamanders! Then I remember that salamander are related with fire. 

Ironmongers' guildhall


The museum had more to see than we thought. We saw bones of woolly rhinos, lions and hippos. We only got half way around to the Middle ages. We will come back for the rest. 

Despite numerous visits to London, neither we had seen London wall before. 

London wall remains. The first one in this site was built by the Romans.

There is High walk along where the city wall used to be.  After the museum, we saw a film crew. Cameraman is lying down on the ground. I thought he looks funny, so I was going to take a photo. Then look! 


The lightman was charming! He smiled and showed V sign. If you happen to read this blog, here is the moment you overshined the model with your charm!

Then we found this tower. Magic of London. Old and new things are side by side. Even so, we were curious why it is there in the middle of the road. We found out at home; it was Christopher Wren's church tower. The rest was damaged by the blitz during WWII. I loved it. It has a kind of Narnia lamp post feel to it!  

After we came down from the high walk , we were heading to the Guildhall. Then we saw this. Romans? 

It turned out that the square in front of Guildhall was having gladiator show! We we unable to enter the building. 

The dirty looking church on the left is another Wren. 

As we lost the destination, we wandered around the area. There were lots of nice looking bars, but they are all closed. Then we walked to the back of the Bank of England.  

We walked to see the front. They were cleaning the stones.

Next to it was Royal Exchange. There was apparently wedding reception. They were taking a wedding photo.  

We peeked Threadneedle and Lombard streets where our brokers and pension fund managers work. I have been always curious mainly because of the name!  

We had a good day! Next time we will walk along the Roman city wall with a map!

And if you wonder, of course, we came back with Le Pain Quotidien pastries and Godiva's truffles! (And we ate two pastries each on that day, too!) 

Almond croissant for me, and praline Danish for Mike

They are gone!