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Blocking magic

Sorry for the long absence, I’ve been a bit busy getting married and starting a new full-time job! More of the first of those another time but for now, here’s a picture of me finally wearing the shawl I made back in April and only just got around to blocking because it was already too warm to wear it by the time I finished knitting!

Little Arrowhead Shawl, pattern by Pam Allen

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Welcome to 2012 – I’m still here, although still without pottery classes. I am finally getting round to making actual jewellery from my left-over beads and pendants, like this necklace made from emerald clouds glazed beads and silver effect spacer beads, which I just need to attach the fastener to.

I’m so pleased with it that I’m thinking I’ll get some more of the silver beads and do another one – I think I have enough blue beads for a chocker and the silver should set them off nicely.

Aside from jewellery making, I’ve been trying my hand at knitting, something that I can handily do at home unlike my beloved pottery. I’m making a little bag in King Charles Brocade stitch at the moment, to practice knitting and purling and reading a pattern. I’ve managed 3 pattern repeats so far:

I’m really quite pleased with how it’s turning out given I haven’t knitted since I was 12 and then I only made garter stitch squares for blankets.

This year looks to be a year of more varied crafts – I’m not going to be back at pottery classes before April at the earliest from the looks of things, I’m determined to master the knitting enough to make some wearable garments, I have fabric offcuts and want to learn to use a sewing machine, and I have a big event coming up at the end of the summer which is also calling on my crafty skills (these silk flowers may well give you a clue on that front).  So now I’m seeing the drawback of intending this to be a specifically pottery-based blog. I don’t know whether to give it a make over or just start again from scratch since I can’t change the name. If there’s anyone still reading this, what are your thoughts?

Check out what everyone else was making yesterday as part of Making Monday on Natalie’s blog!

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Apologies

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’m snowed under with my day job at the moment. I’m still around on email if you’ve seen something you like on my stock page though, and this blog has fan page on Facebook now so you can contact me there too (although I’ve removed the link box from my sidebar so you aren’t tracked when you visit because I’m not comfortable with their new sharing policy).

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Apologies for the lack of a Making Monday post this week, check out everyone else’s contributions here. My stock page is approaching up to date though, so if you liked the look of the porcelain pendants or buttons in my last post, check it out. I haven’t listed all the 1″ diameter ivy leaves because I’m still musing attempting wirework again and making something with them, but if you had a project in mind for them, feel free to drop me an email and I’m sure I could be convinced to part with them 🙂

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Handmade in Britain

The BBC and the V&A announced a major new year-long partnership yesterday; a series of new programmes on BBC4 exploring the history of British craftsmanship, covering things like woodworking, textiles and metalwork. And it’s all going to kick off with a 3 part series on ceramics this autumn.

It should be fascinating and I’m looking forward to seeing what the V&A’s ceramics collection is like because I keep intending to go and see it but London is a bit of a trek from Dundee!

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I was going to post an example of my creative process today, from inspiration to finished product(s) but then I read a comment left by Sharon on my first Making Mondays post about how she loves using the pots her Dad has made for her, and remembered something Ros said in her craft debate post;

“I’d like to see crafting as a normal part of pretty much everyone’s life… it doesn’t have to be beautiful and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It has to be functional and personal.”

And decided to post about my teapot instead.

This is one of the first things I made at my college class back when I started evening classes in 2006. It’s slip cast (made by pouring liquid clay into a plaster mould, leaving it for about an hour and then pouring out the excess and leaving the mould to dry, before opening it and then trimming and smoothing) and ‘glazed’ in Norwegian Blue. As you can see, I hadn’t quite got a handle on how much glaze to use, so it’s patchy and mostly black where the glaze isn’t thick enough. But it’s perfectly functional as attested by the fact it gets used more or less everyday and, loose leaf tea addict that I am, I even take it on self-catering holidays with me (although we have yet to actually stay in a cottage that didn’t have a teapot despite the prevalence of tea bags). It might not be perfect, but it pours well and my tea making ritual is so much more special because of it.

The thing I actually made this week (aside from multiple pots of tea) was a Facebook fan page for this blog. You can find the link in my righthand tool bar now I have eventually got it to work!

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My plan to post all the stuff I made before class finished kind of fizzled out as you may have noticed. It’s hard not to be disheartened by the lack of a class and people making comments about education priorities like pottery was just an excuse for a middleclass social club. I agree that colleges need to be helping young people but community hobby classes aren’t a middleclass luxury – we had retired people, people with learning disabilities, and people who couldn’t work due to other health conditions who came, and it was an important opportunity for them to get out and spend time with people.  One of the lovely things about pottery is that everyone can do it.

Anyway, enough politics. I’ve been inspired to return by ‘Making Mondays’. It  originated with this post by Natalie of the Yarn Yard, although I heard about it through my knitting friends. She writes;

We all make things. We knit. We sew. We bake. We write. We paint. We make a home for ourselves and the people we love.

So I thought that we could, collectively, make Mondays our day for blogging about it.

So my plan is to (attempt to) post every Monday, we’ll see how it goes!

Today’s make is these thrown bowls, which perfectly illustrate one of the things I love about pottery – it can be pretty and practical! They are stoneware clay decorated with velvet underglazes and then clear glazed, and one of them has already graced my table holding homemade apple sauce when my partner & I had guests to dinner a few weeks ago.

Handpainted thrown stoneware bowls

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