Studio Birds, Heartache and new Challenges…

So, you may recall my two delinquent cocatiels BoBo and BiBi? DSCF5671_edited I rescued them and brought them back to health.  And in return they: DSCF5306_edited DSCF5453_edited_2 ate my art work DSCF5583_edited and crapped all over it. They refused to ever return to their cage and BoBo developed several very strange kinks DSCF5608_edited Mainly involving blue velvet. DSCF5345_edited Instead of setting up home in their nesting box, DSCF5393_edited BiBi laid her eggs in my ceramic bowls and in my packing crates… DSCF5441_edited But I loved them!
In the end I realized that I could never tame them; I lacked the will, and also the conviction. What is wrong with wild? Except, they ate my work. And they were not very nice to visitors. In fact, some of my regular students refused to come to my workshops while they were being shouted at from the top of the curtain rail. They said they found it hard to concentrate.
A friend of mine contacted a Scottish Cocatiel breeder, Mairi, who read my blog posts and decided to do a mercy dash all the way from Clydebank! Together with her husband she packed their car full of lobsters, crabs, langoustines, baby cocatiels and Bobby, their tame pink parrot, who was brought along for moral support.
And they drove through the day and they drove through the night…arriving in Hastings late Saturday evening.
To execute the swap. My wild, beautiful birds in exchange for two hand reared babies with impeccable manners… DSCF5848_edited So in the middle of the night, I suddenly have these two strange baby ‘tiels being affectionate all over me and my radishes. Tame as anything. I took Jeff and Mairi up to meet BoBo and BiBi. They were roosting on a ceramic torso, looking down, blinking sleepily DSCF5835_edited …at Mairi, Bobby and one of the exchange ‘tiels, Jem. We spent the next day getting very, er, happy! on endless bottles of fizz… DSCF5887_edited trying to get the cooking thing into some sort of continuous order. Mairi cooked a fab lobster thermidor and I remember fixing some luscious scallops in saffron, but in the end, we just kind of gave up DSCF5900_edited …and it was a free-for-all. Except BoBo and BiBI who were still in my studio, eating art work.
The really sad thing is. On the Sunday, as I was stood in my studio, all festooned with the exchange ‘tiels, BoBo swoops down DSCF5859_edited …and he lands on my hand. All these months of loving him, tiptoeing around his fears and peculiarities and then, finally, giving up and realizing someone else needs to sort him out – and the damn bird lands on my hand! And then he walks up my arm and on to my shoulder where he proceeds to beat up Josh, the usurper!
I naturally burst out crying. But the deal was struck, the lobster eaten and the fizz a distant headache.
So there we are. I now have the task of trying to learn to love what is tame, what sits on my shoulders and nibbles my ears. When my heart really yearns for the wild, swaggering, foul tempered, beautiful BoBo. Isn’t there a certain irony lurking in this tale?

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Sold, ceramic mermaid sculpture



So the Mermaid sculpture I made in 2009 finally sold, and she is now in Clydebank, Scotland. It is made of clay and smoke fired.
I am so glad she has found a new home.



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Blue Simona, ceramic torso

Collection Low Res 016_edited

Ceramic torso, 53″ x 34″
I just discovered her in the cellar. It was probably made 3 or 4 years ago. It is glazed and then smoke fired, which is where the black markings and patterns come from. I used Indian wood blocks to create the patterns in the clay.

see more at

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Residential Ceramic Workshops

workshop Guillaume and Emilie blog

Hastings is becoming a very popular tourist destination so I have now decided to sign up with Airbnb.

If you fancy a holiday at the seaside with some creativity thrown in! This is one such creative weekend.

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Studio Parrots

I think I may have come up with a new diet for my pesky, sculpture munching parrots!


Here is BoBo this morning, suspiciously eyeing herbs and salad from the garden…


BiBi joins him…


…and we have a result! They seem to prefer rocket gone to seed. Which is great, I have masses growing in the garden. I’m trying to tempt them with wild garlic as well – it might cure BiBi’s upset tummy.

…it does beat having them munch my artwork.

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From the lovely green ferns about to unfurl in the garden or the patterns on my finger tips, the water gushing down the drain or the galaxies high above my head; they are everywhere. Spirals.  People have been incorporating them in their sculpture for many thousand years, and we do so still.
This is Swift, a male ceramic torso

The size of the sculpture is 51″ x 40″ and it can either be hung on a wall, or

…stuck on a plinth. Instead of glazing, I used bronze filler and graphite powder  mixed with matte varnish and painted that on. Then I spent many happy hours polishing back with wire wool to expose the bronze bits

bronze effect finish, detail

To see more of my work, please go to 

fern fox blog

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Black dog ceramic plaque

black dog 2

Self portrait with a v. black dog and a few other thoughts spilling out from my rather fragmented skull. The black dogs still have a flavour of Bali and the wood carvings I saw there.
The plaque is about 12″ x 10″.
It cracked when it went through the…

…smoke firing, but I have managed to fix it. You can find it listed here on my website.
I made another plaque, featuring a similar black dog


This plaque is a bit bigger, though. It is called Bali dreaming and I guess it shows my very ambivalent feelings about the island. It is paradise, yes, but also there is a feeling of menace and madness so strong you can almost imagine Spirits and Bogeymen behind every palm tree.
I guess what is happening right now in Bali with all these people lined up to get shot pretty much sums up the island for me. The sense of occasion, of theater, the mingling and mixing of brutality with poetry (nice coffins, hand carved!) is a heady drug which can confuse and disorient.  I, for one, will be lighting a candle at midnight, and my dreams will be nightmares whether I am asleep or awake.

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Early morning at studio

If there were a pause-button, I’d like to find it.

It is early morning, and the sun is rising behind my apple trees and roses
The pond is waking up
as are the ferns
My raised vegetable beds are in there, somewhere behind the artichokes. I allow the rocket, the forget-me-not and the brassicas to finish flowering as much as possible before I weed them out and collect the seeds. The bees love them!
Back to my studio and the Skittle cat for some work.

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Bronze effect finishes; ceramic torso


I’m playing around with finishes at the moment. This ceramic torso has been bisque fired and then I mixed some bronze filler with matte varnish and painted it on to the sculpture. I then polished with wire wool and poured some acid on top of the torso in order to get the verdigris thing going.

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Studio view and Ceramic Plaques

So in love with the view from my studio window, and the worship continues. I stare at the walls, I dance round the floor, I talk to the parrots – sometimes I make plaques. Sometimes I smoke fire them in my trusty dustbin outside.
Point is, I still haven’t a clue what I am looking at. It is still on the outside of me; the view is a view is a view. It is something I look at but the moment I turn away, it becomes a memory. I can’t seem to capture the essence of what I feel when I look out the window.
It amuses me and it makes me mad by turns.
Anyway, this is a plaque, glazed and ready to go into the smoke barrel.

and here is it after having being smoke fired
It cracked, but getting closer, perhaps.

To see work that isn’t actually cracked, please go to


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