Friday, 18 December 2015

And then it was Christmas ... again.

So, that's me, pretty much done, 
except for a few last minute bits and bobs.

Turkey ordered.
Food bought.
Presents wrapped. 
House decorated.

Baking done. 
Gingerbread Christmas Tree bought from Ikea
just because I liked the name .... Pepparkaka Julgran.  

A few very unholy words muttered
 whilst untangling the fairy lights ... 
who put them away like that last year??

And of course, the annual trying on of the giant Christmas stockings. 
What can I say ... it's a tradition!

All that remains is to thank you all
for your support and your friendship over the last year.  

Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!  
See you all in 2016!

x Cathy

Friday, 27 November 2015

Creating and Hibernating

The dark days of Autumn 
(or is it now Winter now that December is nearly upon us?)
always bring out the creative urge in me. 
And they don't feel gloomy at all. 
They feel productive and happy.
Leather hard stage - drying before first firing

Staying in and playing with clay 
whilst listening to my favourite podcasts
is bliss.

Detail - birdies, houses, hearts, autumn leaves

On days when I haven't been for a run,
I'll take a break and go for a walk round the country lanes.

Fired once, glaze applied and ready for second firing
Then back to work, sitting in the warm, 
glazing pots and daydreaming, and drinking tea.

Opening kiln. Three layers, sometimes four, packed to the hilt.
Excitement comes on those days when I open the kiln.
Oooh!  Wonderful.  Just what I hoped for!

Detail.  The colours just sing out!
Let's have a closer look .....

Some favourite motifs
A beautiful Autumny piece with all my favourite things on it,
from apple trees to sailing boats.

Yep.  Pleased with this one.

No ... I don't mind a few months of dark days,
when I can hibernate and create.

What about you?

x Cathy

Friday, 30 October 2015


There's so much Orange everywhere at the moment. 
 Orangeness shouts out from every corner, 
and orange is already a very shouty colour!

Autumn leaves right outside my door
Halloween orangeness is screaming from every direction.
Halloween gets more horrifying each year, on so many levels.
But we won't go into all that!

My very un-scary pumpkin.
Been doing a bit of sculpting today, 
and came up with my own antidote to the horror!

I love Orange as a colour in its own right,
 but I can honestly say that I have never
 worn anything orange in my life.
Yet, I love using orange glaze on my ceramics
 - it has a zesty zinginess about it.

Ceramic patchwork panel - in orange hues.
I really want you to appreciate the sacrifices I made
 in bringing you my friendly pumpkin today,
 so please keep your eyes 'peeled' (sorry!),
as you look at the next picture!
One broken potato peeler!
Lots of pottery in the making but nothing finished as yet. 
 Just got back from a week in Cyprus, 
so yet another interruption to routine. 
 This little fella was wandering around the grounds of our hotel
 - he was about as big as my hand! 

Perhaps the least scary picture ever! 
He looks terrified!  
Maybe he knew Halloween was round the corner!
  Too much orange!

Cathy x

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Back where we started ... the best laid plans!

The reason for the deafening silence on the blogging front is that having moved to Scotland a year ago, as some of you know, we have now moved back to Norfolk! 

We had the best time in Edinburgh but our family is here and the distance proved too unmanageable in practice.

It will remain in my heart as a very special time when I made some very special new friends, one of which was through this blog. 
Thank you Penny for your company in and out of all those galleries and charity shops! 

Work in progress - looking forward to glazing this one!
So, with no regrets whatsoever about our little mid-life gap year, I am now making pots in yet another workspace and feeling just a little disoriented!

Have pottery - will travel....

The experience has made me wonder what the word 'home' really means. Is it different for everyone.  Is it 'where the heart is'?  Is it in a landscape which inspires you?  Is it something you feel inside, no matter where you are?

Kicking through fallen acorns on my runs this week ... and so the oak leaves.

Life is a journey and it's not always linear.  
As one Scotsman once wrote:

"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley"
Robert Burns, 1785.  
To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough.

Drying out before first firing....

I have had the chance to explore a beautiful part of the country and a fantastic city and it has been a joy.  But, as another chap wrote:

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time"
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets.

Thing is though ...... I'm not sure this is the end of my exploration .....  but one thing's for sure, life's never dull!!

What does 'home' mean for you?  

x Cathy

Saturday, 22 August 2015

What I did in the Holidays

Just a few pics of bits and bobs to emerge from the kiln 
during this very sunless Scottish summer ....

Experimenting with different shapes for bowls.

Ceramic bowl with windmill pattern and wheels.

Collecting driftwood, green glass, and just about anything else. 
That's twenty year old Joe 
getting over-enthusiastic with the size of the driftwood!

Small hanging sail-boats.

And a little tribute to my love of Scotland,
its mountains, its lochs, its beaches, its cities, its people.
More of all that in my next post.

Ceramic hanging heart with Scottish thistle emblem

Apologies for the very short and sweet post this week.
Too much non-pottery related stuff going on at the moment!

x Cathy

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Wedding Favours - part two

Just a few pictures to give a flavour of the wedding 
and the finished ceramic wedding favours . . .

Cotswolds country church wedding and the sun shone!

Home-made confetti - real dried flower petals

The flowers were the palest blues, peach and ivory.

The finished ceramic wedding favours glazed to tone in with the flowers
Gorgeous colours - so delicate and so pretty.

Pale blue, pale peach and ivory - all set off with a blue ribbon
The little ivory satin bags contained sugared almonds,
and they were nice too!.  

A lot of work had gone into making it a fabulous day
- my efforts were but a tiny part. 
But it all paid off and everything was stunningly beautiful, 
especially the bride!

x Cathy

Monday, 13 July 2015

Do me a Favour ....

... well, 85 favours to be exact - wedding favours!

As you can see from the date, 
this special day will be happening very soon.

This post shows the first half of the making process, 
up to the point before I apply the coloured glaze.

I didn't think it fair for you to see them before the wedding guests, 
so my next post will show them glazed,
finished, in situ, on the tables at the wedding reception!

It was decided to go for something different
to the usual heart shape, 
so I made the elegant oval shape 
by pressing out the clay with the plastic top from a fabric conditioner bottle.

Laid out flat to dry out.
I thought the repetition might get a bit boring,
but actually I just got into the zone and it was quite relaxing really.

Some special ones, for the special people!
I did vary it by changing the design a bit from time to time.

Once dried out, they need the rough edges sanding away.
The 'fettling' process above is the  part
where they are likely to break easily.
  Only one casualty this time!

All dried out, neatly stacked and waiting to go into the kiln.
They will be tied with ribbon 
matching the colour of the flowers,
 to little satin bags (above) of sugared almonds.

All out of the kiln, (bisque-fired), and ready to glaze and fire a second time.

So, next time, the pictures will be so much more colourful!
With frills, and flowers, and sunshine (hopefully, please!).

See you next time.

x Cathy

Friday, 19 June 2015

Here comes Summer ...

Well, that's the theory anyway!  
So here's a sunny post to mark the longest day, which is this Sunday.

Messing about making ceramic letters and words 
and bits and bobs and boats and buttons.

Ready to be mounted onto driftwood, 
and threaded with wire and beads for hanging.
ceramics on driftwood from

This one below was ordered especially for a beach-hut. 
The dimensions had to be right so that the sign 
would screw into its spot on the hut.

The 'beautiful little view' is somewhere in Southwold.

Personally, my favourite views are usually of the land ....

'The Devil's Beeftub' in the Scottish Borders

...  whilst Hubby's are usually over water, 
and if there's some amazing engineering to be admired,
 so much the better.

Over the Firth of Forth - the road-bridge in front - the rail-bridge behind

If I had a beach-hut When I get a beach hut,
I have decided to call it "At Last!". 
I shall sit there in the sun with my cup of tea,
breathe out a big satisfied sigh,
and murmur "at last!".

Enjoy the longest day of the year, whatever you do ...
and what are you calling your mythical beach hut?

x Cathy

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Apologies to all my Readers

Hi Everyone

Please bear with me whilst I re-upload pictures into my blog.

It would appear that Google has taken all the pictures off my entire blog going back to its beginning.

From the research I have done it seems that this has happened to others and there is no quick resolution to it other than to put all the images back one by one.

I may just re-instate the past few months' blog post pictures, and not bother with any further back.  Life is too short!!  We'll see. 

Kind Regards,

Cathy x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Special Commissions

A while ago I was asked to make a unique 'family tree' plate as a birthday gift.  The customer was quite specific as to the kinds of themes and motifs to be incorporated into the piece. 

I tend to make quite decorative pieces and they are mostly bought by women for women.  So it was refreshing that this piece was for a Dad and Grandad.

Themes to include were 'clock-work/cogs/wheels', as the recipient was an ex-engineer.  Never made a piece for an engineer before!  Oh, and it also had to incorporate flowers, leaves and have an embroidered feel, and be mostly blues and greens.

Wet clay slab stage - ready to be lifted into mould to dry
  I decided to make the overall shape of the piece resemble a cog.

Once-fired, glazed and ready to fire again
Chain-like bits got added, along with other bits evocative of nuts and bolts and, basically, things from a world totally alien to me. 
I've heard of 'rivets' and 'sprockets' and such, but no idea what they look like!

So, yes, it was a bit of an unusual one!  But enjoyable all the same.

The challenge of these one-offs, made to individual requirements is exciting and daunting at the same time.  

The finished piece.  For more images of commissions

The customer obviously has some image of the finished piece in their imagination.  The hope is that my version will at least correspond to their expectations, and at best, exceed them.

I did get some feedback that it went down well and that the ex-engineer was pleased with his birthday present.  Phew!

x Cathy

Friday, 22 May 2015

Work : Life Balance

I seem to have got my Work/Life balance, well, off-balance.
It's been weighing down in favour of Life, not Work!

Which way next??
We seem to be always on the move.
Exploring, wandering, gazing. 

Dunrobin Castle - beautiful!

Up the east coast of Scotland,
taking in a few little houses on the way. 
This one's back yard looked out over a glistening sea - beautiful!

Spectacular abandoned beaches on the northern coast of the UK.

Saying Hello to the locals!

  He was completely oblivious of the wonderful
 snow-capped mountains in the background.

Balnakeil Beach near Durness on the north coast

Saw a mad woman doing a highland fling on a beach at sunset.
  Dunno who she is??!

Braemar Castle

 Down through the Cairngorms and a few more wee houses.

Scone Palace

 Up to the top of Aviemore where the weather
was distinctly chillier than at the bottom.

Felt privileged to sit and watch this bottlenose dolphin
bobbing up and down in the Moray Firth.

No ... it's not a shark!
And for some reason,
the pottery that I have got around to making
has come out with little boats
all around the border.

available from
Maybe a good work/life balance
would be to make pottery indoors all winter
and then go out and have fun all summer. 
Sounds good to me!

x Cathy