Ceramic plaques, part II

Another smoke firing dustbin billowing throughout the night at Dudley Road studios.
I love the smell of smoldering sawdust and dry leaves! blog smoke firing 2_edited

Not too terribly pleased with the result, though. Out pf 7 ceramic plaques, two cracked and three were really not that great.
However, I think I quite like the remaining two.


I was almost going to throw this plaque away because the red frame was so very red. I only popped it into the dust bin at the last minute because there was an empty space. And now it is one of my favourites.

This is how it used to look before. I love the way the smoke sometimes tie the colours together.


The second plaque also has a red frame. In parts, anyway.


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The view from my studio – ceramic plaques


The smoke firing dustbins have been going all night, and this morning my ceramic plaques were ready to come out.


I use Raku crank because it is so forgiving. It doesn’t warp, crack or break very often…


Instead of coloured glazes, I use oxides and slips which I blend myself


I love the way the smoke help paint a picture…

These clouds are treated with white slip and matte transparent glaze; the smoke and the heat from the smoke firing created all the crazing and the various grey and brown tones.


The plaques are between 9” x  6” (23 cm x 15 cm) and 6” x 4.5 ” (15 cm x 12 cm) so quite small. They have a small hook at the back so are easy to hang.
Find them and many other goodies on my website.




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Hold your Own

This is the full poem by Kate Tempest I quoted from in my last post.
I really would like to post the poem it in full, so here goes.


When time pulls lives apart
Hold your own
When everything is fluid and when nothing can be known with any certainty
Hold your own
Hold it till you feel it there
As dark and dense and wet as earth
As vast and bright and sweet as air
When all there is
Is knowing that you feel what you are feeling
Hold your own
Ask your hands to know the things they hold
I know
The days are reeling past in squealing blasts
Stop for breath and know it’s yours
Swaying like an open door when storms are coming
Time is an onslaught
Love is a mission
We work for vocation until
In remission
We wish we’d had patience and given more time to our children
You must feel each decision you make.
You must hold it
Hold your own
Hold your lovers
Hold their hands
Hold their breasts in your hands like your hands were their bras
Hold their cheeks in your palms like a prayer
Hold them all night and feel them hold back
Don’t hold back
Hold your own
Every pain
Every grievance
Every single stab of shame
Every day spent with a demon in your brain giving chase
Hold it
Know the wolves that hunt you
In time, they will be the dogs that bring your slippers
Love them right and you will feel them kiss you when they come to bite
Their hot snouts digging out your cuddles with their bloody muzzles
Look, nothing you can buy will ever make you more whole
This whole fucking thing thrives on you feeling incomplete
It is why you will search for happiness in whatever stupid thing you crave in a moment
And it is why you will never find it there
It is why you will sit there with the lover that you fought for
In the car you sweated years to buy
Wearing the ring you dreamed of all your life
And some part of you will still be unsure that this is what you really want
Glastonbury, stop craving
Hold your own
But if you are satisfied with what you have and who you are
You won’t need to buy new makeup or new outfits or new pots and pans
To cook new exciting recipes
For new exciting friends
To make yourself feel like the new exciting person you think you’re supposed to be
Happiness, the brand, is not happiness
You are smarter than they think you are
They take us all for idiots
That’s their problem
If we behave like idiots it’s our problem
So hold your own
Breathe deep on a freezing beach
Taste the salt of shellfish
Smile at a stranger and mean it
Lose your shit to your new favourite English rapper
Hold your own
And let it be



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How I won the war and other stories

This video really says everything about what is going round in my head this morning regarding terrorism and violence and fear.
You cannot understand what you are not part of – I do not understand the 5th dimension, for instance – but I do know about hate and feeling entitled to hate. So, being part of the problem, I also have the solution, as do we all.

Kate Tempest expressed it like this in her poem Hold Your Own;

‘Know the wolves that hunt you
In time, they will be the dogs that bring your slippers
Love them right and you will feel them kiss you
when they come to bite
Their hot snouts digging out your cuddles
with their bloody muzzles’
I hope you’ll enjoy Massive Attack. The song is called ‘Angel’
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Ceramic Plaques

So I am looking at the view from my studio window. Again. And I just cannot see it.

I can see my thoughts about it, all right. It is beautiful. The cherry tree is in full bloom/it is autumn and the cherry tree is loosing its leaves.
The English Channel is grey/blue/choppy/calm, the fishing boats are out/they are coming in, and there goes my neighbour.

Anyway, here is a thunderstorm over the English Channel.

I wish I could stop making sense. I’m far too attached to making sense. It stops me from seeing what is there.
How do you learn how to see?


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My pet art critics

I am not even sure how I ended up with these two guys.


I love them dearly – at least I think I do. Cockatiels. Trouble is, I do not like to see them caged so they fly around a lot. Plus, they are Velcro birds, and if I am in the room, they will not be prized away from my shoulder. Unless, of course, they feel they should give me a hand with my work.


They live in my studio, and I am training them not to eat my clay or my sculptures.


Voila, old chum. Aaart. Do not eat


But I don’t think Mouse heard me.



A rather swift and yet robust attitude to art.

It’ll be allright, but I cannot stop laughing. Anyways, enough with the Fat Birds.

I must have another go at capturing the view from my window – I’m still incredibly attached to it.


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Fat Birds


I am having so much fun creating new Fat Birds for Christmas


They are coiled, so hollow inside


but still quite heavy


I forget how many fit in the kiln, but I’m on a roll. This lot has taken me a week to produce. Now they need to get glazed and smoke fired

DSCF5527_editedFat Birds,

To see more Fat Birds, please go here.


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Song for a rainy day…

Sung by Likkie McKechnie. It almost makes me enjoy the rain and the gloom; she shines.

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Scorched White Angel


Ceramic torso, 53 cm long and 62 cm wide, smoke fired….

smoke firing w Emilie blog

..in my trusty dustbin..


…filled with sawdust and dry leaves.
This torso sold the day after it was made, which I still feel rather sad about. I would have liked to live with her for a while.

The wings are made separately to make transport more easy.

To make a commission or see what is in store, please visit my website.


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In Beauty may I walk

This is a Navajo prayer that makes a lot of sense to me

In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk
Beautifully will I possess again
Beautifully birds,
Beautifully joyful birds
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk
With dew about my feet may I walk
With beauty may I walk
With beauty before me may I walk
With beauty behind me may I walk
With beauty above me may I walk
With beauty all around me may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

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