28 January 2011

cakewalk vintage

Thank you so so much for your lovely messages about the studio. It really means a lot to us. 
Today I would like to share another news that I received this month. At FLARE, the fair that I attended in November last year, I met a lovely textile artist Emma who also owns a gorgeous vintage shop. She kindly started to have small selections of my work (smile :) and recently told me that my rakugaki mug went to a new home! (another smile :) Please have a peek of her shop website here. If anyone come to Yorkshire, do pop over. Her shop is jam packed with ace stuff including her gorgeous bags made out of vintage fabrics that make you smile. Now the studio is up and ready so I must get on with making! (more smiles :)
Have a fab weekend, everyone! xm

23 January 2011

studio story


Oh it’s been a long long time since I dreamt about this. My own studio. It’s finally done! Hurray! Like many of you might have experienced doing up your house yourselves, it takes time and effort, doesn’t it? As much as we love DIY (especially my hub :), sometimes it drives you up the wall as it seems never ending. Money isn’t friendly to us either and life has priority. So the transformation of this ‘old garden shed’ had a bit of a slow start and quite a history by now. But look what we have done! We are so impressed. 

This post is very personal and long to read, but hope the story can be shared with you. Or you can just flick through the images to get a gist of the transformation. Here we go!
2006
This old garden shed was at the front of our house that we had just moved in. The house was lovely but old so lots to do, hence this garden shed was left untouched. At that time, I was working up my career as a senior social worker. Although I loved the job, my creative dream of working with clay was hidden away somewhere behind.
2007
At the back of the garden shed, there was an old coal bunker filled with junk, but it looked to me as a potential space. My hidden dream of having a studio had begun to grow more and more. In winter, we started to design the roof over the garage in order to replace the asbestos. This plan extended to include the shed next to the garage and to build the studio! Yes! We started to design the whole area, lots of idea came and went, but it was exciting to know things were going to become real. 
2008
We did the roof job during the summer. Framed, boarded and felted. Spent many evenings after work until it got dark, sometimes until 10pm. I’ve leant so much DIY skills, how to use tools and how not to fall off the roof.
Next job was concreting the base floor. Also we dug 1m deep between the shed and house to connect the pipe through for the electricity and water. Oh it was hard work. 
Then Britain hit a torrential rain that caused floods in to the shed’s entrance. Going to need a sump. Another job, more digging... :(
But a good news arrived at the end of year. I got a new job as a pottery workshop instructor at the local craft centre. Back to the clay world. Hurray! This gave me a huge positive spirit for all of these hard work.
2009 
Summer year after, we started to frame the studio. Boarded, shiplapped and painted the outside wall. Built entrance doors, placed gutters that collect water so that can be used for gardening and pottery. 
It was also the year of change for me. My new job led me to the need in my self development. I decided to go back to a degree course, along with my job. I was uncertain and this was a huge leap for me to take but I am glad I did. 
2010
It was the year of achievement. We did absolutely loads. Started off with digging sump (still digging!) in late Spring. Yorkshire stone path been laid in front of the studio entrance. In June, another leap for me. I started this blog without knowing much and posted about the studio building. In return, I received kind and encouraging comments, which helped us lots. Thank you so much all. Let’s look back quickly what we did...
Extended the roof above the entrance, no more drizzling rain. Laid insulations on walls and ceilings, then covered the surface some in plaster other in wood panels, all surface a little by a little... took us ages, but was worth doing. My hub’s wonderful handmade window frames x 4 completed. Great! Electricity connected. Water connected. Light fitted. Found old pieces of glass, which we used for the back windows. At the same time, I continued to search more treasures in the back of the garage that slowed me down the main job... but finally all windows fitted.
Meanwhile, I applied for my first ever craft fair FLARE. For that, I was working under the gazebo. By Autumn, studio building had to be postponed as I had to give up working under the gazebo. brrrr....
2011
Back to studio building. First thing we did in a new year was emptying the shed again. Finished off the edge of floor, sealed and painted. Took ages to dry in the cold weather. Walls and ceiling painted. Sink fitted. Made a settling tank. Drain sorted. Extra shelves and a bench table fitted. Right, it’s the time to put things back in, including my old table and wheel. 

Then finally here we are. Slowly but surely we have built the studio by ourselves. I have never done this much ‘labour intensive’ DIY and my husband has been SUPERSTAR for everything. It did not happen without him. I am so grateful. (Now his turn to chase his dream of music room, which is starting to form slowly :) So what’s next? I will be creating again for the new semester and forth coming events. Now I am waiting for a kiln to be delivered. Soooo exciting!

Thank you so much for keeping up with my story. I will continue to post my stuff in this site as much as possible to share our hope, dream and happiness. xm

20 January 2011

counting


2 towers of blue
3 cheese me boards
4 hanetsubo golds
5 bird & building boxes
6 ba ba booms
7 rakugaki mugs
8 tsugihagi (patchwork) brooches
things I’d like to make when the studio is up and ready. 
(numbers are actually irrelevant) but I'm counting the days. xm

18 January 2011

moonlight

Just finished the last coat of paint in my studio. Then I caught the beautiful views from the studio windows. It was so peaceful. 

Have a nice evening, everyone. xm 

15 January 2011

ai-awase

Studio is coming up well. Hopefully I can show you here soon. In the meantime, working on a new idea, collage of Japanese cobalt blue (ai). Still experimenting stage. xm 

13 January 2011

shady expression

windy but bright this morning. bringing beautiful lights into the house. love the way the light and the shadow create interesting shapes that keep changing every minutes as the clouds moving so fast. lovely way to spend a day off. xm

10 January 2011

dinky dishes

dinky dipping dishes. first work of the year. catching up with order. working under the gazebo (yet again!) in this weather is real torture!! the studio is coming up though ... very very slowly.... 
miniature origami paper make the work look prettier :) 
Have a nice week, everyone! xm

3 January 2011

beginning of a new beginning

Back to studio building. Took all stuff out again in order to complete ‘unfinished’ tasks. The empty room contains the memories of where it all started. It’s been so long since I first ‘felt’ the magic of clay. Now I am standing the place where the magic to be created, out of my hand. 

Can I really do it? 

I’m telling myself, be brave. xm

2 January 2011

rabbit the ace

The year of the rabbit, apparently. I tend to lose track as not being in Japan and only get to realise when my folks send a thing like this just before the new year. I am a bit of well known (is there such a thing?) rabbit lover (although I am in a mourning period from the one I used to have) and easily get excited by all sort of rabbit gears at my age. (sadly.) Anyway, this rabbit from Japan looks ever so desperate, worried and frightened... and I have realised that it’s her mouth! I cannot resist guessing (I personally think it’s the fact) that it has been placed up side down. Surely they should make a smile at the beginning of the new year, not ‘quivering’ like her. But they are quivering animals... mmm. Must admit I actually like this one though. BTW, here is the proof. 
(I know I'd better get back to something more important...)  
Happy rabbit year to all! xm