Thursday, 5 September 2013

New Website

Dear visitor,

I will no longer be using this blog page. Please visit the link below to see my new website, blog and shop;

Many thanks and see you on the other side,

Kind regards,


Saturday, 12 January 2013

One Year On Exhibition at Sale Waterside

I took part in the Waterside Art Centres 'Open' exhibition last year an exhibition full of many different works of art. It was the second time I took part in the show and its always great especially as I live in Sale and its so local. All the visitors to the show had the opportunity to vote on their favourite piece and my butterfly installation won the 'peoples choice' award. As part of that award I was invited to take part in a show with the other award winners from the 'Open'. I went in last week to install a new butterfly installation (see bottom picture). The show opens today and is on until May, there will be a 'meet the maker' event and I will also be giving a talk along with the other artists in March (see flyer above for details). 

This is the piece I installed for the 'Open' exhibition in 2012. Photograph by Stuart Royse;

This is the piece I have just installed for the one year on exhibition. It is made up of over 300 porcelain butterflies. Each butterfly has antique lace imprinted in into the surface and their wings are propped up at different angles to represent flight and yet they have have been pinned into position. I have painted the backs of the butterflies red, which cannot be seen from the front but when you get a little closer and view from the side you can see the dash of dramatic colour on the upturned wings. 

I love the form of the butterfly but I am also very inspired by the symbolism of it. It is so beautiful and fragile, one touch of its wings and it would be destroyed. Yet its beauty encourages us to want to catch and trap it forever. This desire to covet something beautiful is similar to my own practice I was inspired by beautiful artefacts in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Stunning objects made with such care and attention to detail and an honesty to the material used. I wanted to hold these precious objects but housed behind glass they were protected from my destructive hands. I want to make work that people want to covet, something precious to be held and never forgotten. Sentimental maybe but every time I make I am driven by the desire to make something so beautiful it has to be looked at and held.  

Hopefully this butterfly installation encapsulates the idea of something beautiful being contained but there is also a sadness about trapping these beautiful butterflies. The red represents the death of them as they were pinned into position, but not the death of its beauty that will be there forever trapped in the clay that it was made from. 

The birth and death cycle of the butterfly is a pretty short one, reminding me of the short cycle of life and death. It represents the philosophy of impermanence, that everything changes and in fact has to change and we have to allow it. Therefore ironically I really shouldn't be trapping and pinning these butterflies but letting go and setting them free. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Made by Hand

Still busy getting ready for this show, but I am almost there! Show opens this Friday at Tredegar House in Newport, South Wales. If you're visiting then come and visit me on stand P134, hope to see you there. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Firing Up - Exhibition

I have spent the day putting up the work for this exhibition which starts tomorrow. This is the result of myself and Penny Batley working with 5 local schools as part of the Crafts Council's 'Firing Up' programme. The exhibition is in the Grosvenor Building at MMU and is also part of the Manchester School of Art 'Out of Schools Show'. Preview tomorrow night from 6pm. All welcome.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Pottery Book

Beautiful book co-written by my lecturer from Manchester Metropolitan University, Alex McErlain.

Manchester School of Art - degree show

Just been to see the Manchester School of Art degree show and saw some fabulous ceramics, I absolutely loved Joe Hartley's work and want the full set of bread making tools and storage vessels! Beautiful, functional, subtle and ingenious designs, definitely the creation of a designer passionate about what he does whether that is making bread, eating bread or making pots! The vessels also have beautifully made wooden lids and and some even adapt to become bread making tools tools and bread boards. To complete his product line he has also created a multi-functional apron to wear while baking, that can be adapted to wear as a storage bag for carrying the bread after. So, not only skilled with clay and wood but also textiles. Stunning absolutely stunning!! He is definitely one to watch. All the best for the future Joe! 

Joseph Hartley 

I also loved Marie Canning's work, exquisite objects based on ancient herbal medicine. Marie has created beautiful wearable vessels inspired by Victorian ‘ceramic eye ointment pots’ which she has decorated with minute herbal plants including; flowers, leaves, stems, roots and tendrils. Carefully placed oxides pool in the bottom of the vessels highlighting the stunning plant detail. Subtle impressed text tell a story of the medicinal herb and they are finished to perfection with delicately placed gold wires and lustres, just delicious!! Her attention to detail is remarkable. All the best for the future Marie, hope to see you at the shows very soon!

Marie Canning

My Stand at The Contemporary Craft Fair

After setting off from home at an early start of 5am on the Thursday morning I arrived at Bovey just before 10am to set up. By 3pm I was still attaching butterflies to the wall, leaving only an hour  to put the work out on display! It was worth it though as I received an award for the ‘best stand’ which was an honour especially as there was so many fantastic stands and amazing makers. It means I get a free stand next year, so will definitely be back to Bovey in 2013.
Despite the British weather it was a great show and the rain didn’t halter the Devon folk from visiting the show in their droves, the amount of people really did surprise me. My work was very well received and sales were good. It was a really fun and friendly show to take part in and fantastically organised by Sarah James and Nina Fox (thank you both). I am really pleased that I will be taking part again next year.

Here are some pics of new work taken to the show;

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Contemporary Craft Festival

Just a quick post about The Contemporary Craft Festival, which I am currently busy getting ready for! It starts this Thursday and is on all weekend until Sun 17th. Fabulous work for sale made by UK designer makers, everything from jewellery to textiles, glassware to furniture and ceramics. Come and see me on Stand A32. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Firing Up - Blessed Thomas Holford

life size ceramic heads

portrait drawings in clay

shrunken heads 

Some pictures of the work made by pupils in year 11 at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Altrincham. As part of the Crafts Council 'Firing Up' programme I delivered several workshops at the school, where the pupils made portrait drawings in clay, shrunken heads and large ceramic heads as seen above. They worked really hard and made some great pieces which they should be proud of. 

The work is going to be exhibited at; Local Creations artists studios and galleries in Altrincham from 2nd - 30th June then at MMU in their 'Out of Schools' exhibition from 29th June - 9th July. 

Many thanks to the Crafts Council for the opportunity and the teachers, students and staff at BTH. A special thank you to ceramics technician Lucy Harvey, I couldn't have done it without her!!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Shows 2012

This year I will be taking part in;

The Contemporary Craft Fair - Bovey Tracey, Devon
15th-17th June

Lustre Contemporary Craft Market - Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham
9th-11th November

Made by Hand - Tredegar House, Newport, South Wales
30th Nov - 2nd Dec

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Sale Waterside - Visitors Choice Award

I have just received the Visitors Choice Award at the Sale Waterside ‘Open’ Exhibition for my porcelain butterfly installation. I received £150 prize money and the opportunity to take part in an exhibition at the Gallery next year with seven other award winners. It's a real honour to receive the visitors' choice award, particularly given the strength of the competition in this year’s show. Trafford is a real hub of creativity and I feel fortunate to have been able to celebrate that with so many talented artists at such a great arts venue as the Sale Waterside.

I usually display the butterflies in a circle or flock formation but after arriving at the gallery and seeing the tall rectangular wall space I was a bit flummoxed to say the least! After some contemplation, panic, cup of tea and some sketches I decided on the column formation as seen. Each butterfly has been attached to the wall with dress makers pins. They are also painted red on the back, which you only see when walking past the installation.

Photographs by Stuart Royse

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Crafts Council - Firing Up Scheme

I have been delivering workshops at Blessed Thomas Holford School in Altrincham for the last couple of months. Its all part of the Crafts Council 'Firing Up' scheme, which is a project to get school children fired up about clay. I have been working with 24 of their year 11 art students on ceramic projects. I was given the theme of ceramic heads and we have been making portraits in clay, shrunken heads and large life size clay heads. They have worked fantastically well on all the projects and here are some of the results of the shrunken heads inspired work. A Big thank you to Lucy Harvey for all her assistance with the project and her jewellery making skills for the shrunken heads today!!!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Manchester Antique Textile Fair

I always seem to busy when this event is held, but yesterday I finally got to go and wow what an amazing event! 100 exhibitors selling everything from antique lace, clothes, fabrics, bags, shoes, amazing buttons, jewellery and much more. An absolute fabulous 2 hours was spent rummaging through fusty old boxes of lace and piles and piles of fabrics!! It was an expensive trip though!! I bought some gorgeous pieces of lace, it seems wicked to now destroy them by pressing them into clay!! Info about the textile fair can be found on;

I also found some beautiful Chinese batik fabric; long strips of blue and white decorated fabric that were actually part of a large skirts (I would have loved to have seem them as skirts). I really loved the indigo colour in contrast with the white patterns and would really like to get this shade of blue on my cups.

I have always loved wrapping, placing or just displaying my ceramic pieces on beautiful fabrics. Partly because of a Yuzen dying workshop I took part in whilst at MMU. I had the opportunity to paint a piece of silk in the traditional way of Yuzen, under the instruction of Japanese Master Kimono dyer, Nasu San. It was truly a fantastic and inspirational workshop that has stayed with me. I experienced a eureka moment with the piece of silk when I placed one of my slip-cast porcelain cups on the fabric, they just looked perfect together and ever since then I have loved the contrast of ceramic with fabric.

Original piece of Yuzen dyed silk from Nasu San's workshop;