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Thank you!

…for all your recent follows, messages and comments.  I really appreciate your interest in my work.  I also want to apologise for the inactivity on this blog, and my website being down, and to tell you that I update my facebook page regularly – it’s www.facebook.com/katrinmoyepage if you want to head over there and see loads of photos of recent work..!

Since Christmas I’ve been taking some time away from my normal making routine, which is partly why I’ve not updated much online recently (plus I can’t keep up with all the Instagram/blog/twitter/etc, I can only seem to do one at a time!) – anyway, I’m planning to write a much more detailed post about this new work when it’s at a stage when I can share it publicly.  I’m in the middle of a course on developing practice for makers, which focuses on making work in response to collections and public places.  My project is about peoples’ relationships with special objects in their lives, and I’m really looking forward to sharing more about this when I’ve developed it a bit more.

In the meantime, I’m always more than happy to make work to order, so please do get in touch if you would like to have more information about this.  My price range is from £10 for printed bone china mugs, to £28-£35 for handmade mugs, £45-£185 for handmade jugs and £40-£195 for handmade bowls.  The platters and other larger pieces are £160-£350.   Here are a few examples of work I’ve made over the last year or so…

Thanks again!

A couple of things…

frosty branches platterHello there … well, without wanting to get too Christmassy on the 7th November, I just thought I’d share a couple of things here with you.  I delivered this ‘Frosty Branches’ platter along with a nice big selection of other pieces to Gallery Nine in Bath yesterday, for their Christmas exhibition, which opens this Saturday 9th November and is on until 24th December.  Here is their website: www.gallerynine.co.uk

I also delivered lots of new work to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – www.ysp.co.uk – for a craft showcase alongside the exhibition of Angie Lewin’s (www.angielewin.co.uk)work that is on from 16th November to 23rd February 2014.  I am so pleased to be there at the same time as one of my very top favourite artists!

I only just managed to get enough work together for these two shows – my kiln broke down after a power cut four weeks ago and I’ve only just managed to get it fixed, after much toing and froing – it needed a new set of elements, a new controller and then a new thermocouple … I’ve just turned it on now for a test firing, so if that works out I will be extremely relieved!

My kiln problems resulted in an unusual amount of seconds.  So my other piece of news is that I will be having an open studio event on Saturday 14th December, which will feature the work of the lovely Teresa Green (www.teresagreen.co.uk) as well as lots of my work plus seconds, bone china mugs, greetings cards, prints etc etc.  We will be open from 11-6pm, and will serve mulled wine and mince pies throughout the day.  Here is a copy of the amazingly tidy and high tech flyer I have just made:IMG_3641So if you are in the neighbourhood, please drop in and say hello!

My next post will feature images of new work that has come out perfectly from my newly renovated kiln….!

four mugs in a row

Well, here they are…I’ve been going on about getting a collection of manufactured mugs made with my designs for about a year, and now I finally have the first batch!  They came on a massive lorry from the manufacturers in Scotland last Friday, and I am really pleased with them.

There are two patterns – the ones on either end of the image are ‘Sunflowers’ and the middle ones are ‘Herb Garden’.  They were adapted from drawings I did of various plants in my back garden.  I thought it would be nice to have a ‘daytime’ and ‘night time’ version of the same design, for early morning cuppas and evening cocoa time, so that’s why the ‘Herb Garden’ ones have the sun and moon on them.

They are a nice and generous size – 9cm high by 8.75 diameter with a capacity of 350ml.  I have sold quite a few already this week to visitors to my studio, which is good news!

Now I keep thinking of more mug designs.  In fact I am itching to get on with making more!  I should have 3 or 4 more designs ready by Christmas so my plan is to expand the range in the New Year.  Updates coming up…!

If you would like to place an order for these mugs, please email me here: katrin.moye@ntlworld.com – or call me here: 07854 244412

Bovey Tracey Time

work benchHello and good morning, well it’s that time of year again (where did that last year go?!) for the wonderful contemporary craft fair at Bovey Tracey in Devon, on 7-9 June.  (www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk) – and this year it’s a special one, as they are celebrating their 10th year.  This fair is a really lovely one, set in marquees in the beautiful park of the little town Bovey Tracey, with such a lovely friendly atmosphere, and, of course, a magnificent selection of the UK’s top designer makers on show.  Above is an image of my work bench, with some of the hand drawn and cut paper resists that I use to make the decorations on my ceramics.  I can sometimes use them more than once, so I keep them there – plus it’s quite a nice record of the patterns and motifs I’ve been using.

I’ve been really busy over the past few months, mostly thinking really hard about my creative development- more of which in another post!  But also I’ve been making new pieces.  This one is one of a pair that I did in early spring.  I wanted to reflect that time of year with the colours and bare branches in the design, and the bird in the centre is a wren.There is a jug in the background with the same design in a vertical format.  It reminded me of Elizabethan embroidery and plasterwork when it came out of the kiln.  So it’s called ‘Elizabeth’. Wren Platter

Here are some more pictures of work that I’ll be bringing to my stand at Bovey Tracey.  I’ll also be giving a talk on my creative inspirations and development, on Sunday at 1.45pm.

Little wren jugs

Little wren jugs

Little wren bowls - 14cm diameter

Little wren bowls – 14cm diameter

 

studio shelves, ready to pack up!

studio shelves, ready to pack up!

fair isle tree and border jugs

fair isle tree and border jugs

 

wren and deer platters

wren and deer platters

and not forgetting, the tiny hoops!

and not forgetting, the tiny hoops!

I hope to see you there, it’s a lovely place to visit.  And the weather forecast says….Sunshine!

Next time, I’ll describe my creative development over the past few months, as I feel that I’ve had a bit of a mental breakthrough…and I’m very pleased about it.

'laurance jug and red berries' january 2013

‘laurance jug and red berries’ january 2013

Hello again….I’m writing this on a cold and misty February afternoon, waiting for a courier to come and collect nine boxes of freshly made and painted ceramics and watercolours to take up to Inverness for an exhibition at the Castle Gallery, (www.castlegallery.co.uk), which opens on the 2nd March.  I’ve had to leave my family in the swimming pool at Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest to come back and wait for him, so I really hope he turns up soon!  Well, at least the cat was delighted to see me again, so that I could give her some extra holiday food.

The show is called ‘Inspired to Design’, and features my work and that of Janine Partington, a maker who has long been a favourite of mine.  Here is her website: www.janinepartington.co.uk – as you can see from her site, she is a vitreous enamel artist and is also inspired by natural forms such as branches, seed heads and leaves, plus native english wildlife such as rabbits and birds.  She has been making scalpel cut line drawings for this show as well, which look amazing.  I just wish I could hop on a plane and go see her work when it’s up in the gallery!

I spent the first three weeks of this year painting watercolours for the exhibition, and then the last month has been spent flat out making ceramics for the show.  So there is a nice selection of 11 paintings, 65 various pieces of ceramics and 18  books made by Heather Dewick going on a long, long journey this evening.  I do hope that some of you can make it to see!  The show is on until 27th March.

As I spent three weeks concentrating on painting in January, I had the chance to really think about my 2d work, and how I would like to progress with it.   Having made about 8 new paintings in this time, I have decided that I would really like to  loosen my drawing and painting up a bit, and introduce a little bit of spontaneity and life – as I feel that although I have made progress technically, there is something rather static about my work that all the detail I concentrate on forces on the end result; and I’d much prefer it if there was a little bit more discernable joie de vivre going on, such as I feel there is in my ceramics.  I’m sure this can happen before too long, with practice – painting is still rather new compared to ceramics for me, which I have been doing for about 15 years now, so I should have cracked it by my mid 50s!

With this painting development in mind, I asked my good friend Sofie, who teaches life drawing, to come and give me an intensive ‘lose your inhibitions’ class in drawing, in exchange for a commissioned plate for her little boy.  She got me to do all kinds of things with charcoal that were designed to break me out of that teeny tiny detail thing I’ve been doing, and although I absolutely hated some of the exercises, I did enjoy some of them, such as drawing with the hand you don’t usually use, and I think that it will help me next time I am ready to do some more still life painting.

Anyway, meanwhile, here are a few of the watercolours that are going to the Castle Gallery (which are still nice I think, even though they demonstrate the above niggles!):

'succulents and checks' january 2013

‘succulents and checks’ january 2013

'birch tree' january 2013

‘birch tree’ january 2013

'snowdrops' january 2013

‘snowdrops’ january 2013

I quite like the non accurate slight wobble on the rim of that baking dish there.  That annoyed me while I was painting it, but I’m glad it’s like that now.  Maybe I should just relax a bit when I’m painting!

D71186 wax flowers

That one is called ‘Wax Flowers’.  I got them from the local flower shop, they reminded me of large scale heather, which I thought might be appropriate for Inverness!

There will also be a nice little selection of my ‘dandelion’ and ‘tiny hoops’ pattern tableware, plus some of the ‘fox and hens’ range, together with tree, deer, fair isle and paper cut border decorative ceramics.  Such as another one like this:

three trees long platter

three trees long platter

and some of these, although no dotted stripes:

hoops dandelions and stripes tableware  Well, I’ll finish now, to go and wait impatiently for that poor courier man (he’s going to find me jumping up and down with impatience when he turns up!), and then it’s back to centre parcs hopefully by nightfall!  Maybe I will have some photos to share soon of some nice, spontaneous and lively still lives…here’s hoping anyway!

 

Season’s Greetings!

Hello, I just wanted to share this watercolour that I did in the week before Christmas, as it’s quite nice and seasonal (it’s called Tordis Jug and Snowberries)…and also to say thank you so much for reading my blog over the last year – I’m always so delighted when people tell me that they are reading it.

I’ll be updating with a much longer post in the new year, when I’ve organised a few things coming up… fingers crossed I’ll have some exciting news to share!  Meanwhile, have a fabulous new year’s eve, and I hope to see you in 2013!

tordis jug and snowberries

Hello, just a quick post with pictures of some of the new work that I’ve been making for ‘Made London’, the show I’ll be attending this weekend, 26-28 October.  Have a look here for more details: www.madelondon.org.

I’ll be exhibiting on a group stand, called Fig 1, with five other makers including my printmaking mentor, Sarah Young – I’m really looking forward to it!  The show looks like it will be pretty amazing, with some fantastic makers there.  I hope you can come and see!

One Year On

Exactly one year ago, almost to the day, I can very clearly remember writing the blog entry about embarking on my year of creative development. The boys were just back at school and I was filled with a mixture of  excitement and anxiety about embarking on my creative adventures, and all the unknown things that lay ahead.  Today is the second day that both of the boys are back at school, and even the weather is exactly like it was on that day last year – a late summer tinged sunshine filled day, where it’s nice to feel the sun when you go outside, but its also good to be wearing woolly socks!

So, I’m going to write a review of the past 12 months, and there will probably be too many words and not enough pictures in this entry, so if you are not using this document as a useful item in relation to your own work, it might not be worth soldiering on with all the woffle…although of course you are more than welcome to if you feel like it!

Just before I start the review though, I have a little update on ‘Bovey Tracey’ – as my last entry was written just before going to this show, so I thought I’d put a picture up of my stand there:There is ‘Teresa’s Plate’ and ‘Crab Apple Blossom’ on the wall.  Teresa herself had  a stand right opposite mine (www.teresagreen.co.uk), and we shared a tent for the weekend, which was lovely!  I don’t see her all that much now she has moved to Exeter, so it was a good chance to catch up with her.  And ‘Teresa’s Plate’ got sold, so that was good.

So – the weekend went really well in terms of sales of new work, and this was the first time I had brought a decent amount of mounted and framed prints along, so I was interested to see how they sold compared to the ceramics.  I was very glad that I had brought them, as I sold 10, and it was very good to find out that I am not painting into a void, so to speak.. I also sold quite a lot of the new ceramics, and lots of the dandelion and hoops range as always.  I was also delighted to find that I had been given the show’s ‘best ceramics’ award!  Unfortunately the certificate got totally mashed up on the way home, but it’s up in the studio.

And now here is my review of the past 12 months.

OVERVIEW:  I think I can sum this period of time up in general by saying that my attitude to my work has changed enormously, and that this is really the major change.  My approach is now much more serious and thoughtful compared to the pre-development days, and this really had to happen in order for me to develop creatively.  Whereas before this time I was visited by flashes of inspiration on a quite random and ad hoc basis, now I have a much more focused approach to this fundamental aspect of my work. This has meant that I analyse what I am doing very carefully, and plan my next steps accordingly, which really helps with developing creatively and technically, in both ceramics and painting.

ART AND LITERATURE:  Since my discovery of, and strong feeling of affinity towards the work of Robert Tavener, I have developed a wider interest in 2-d artists from the period of time that I am interested in aesthetically – very roughly the first 50 years of the 20th century – and have also been reading a lot of novels and other writing set in or written during this time, such as the biography of Edward Thomas by Matthew Hollis, ‘Mariana’ by Monica Dickens, ‘The Stranger’s Child’ by Alan Hollinghurst and books by Patrick Hamilton and Pawel Huelle.  Reading these books has really set the 2d work I’ve been looking at in context – such as paintings by Eric Ravilious, Winifred Nicholson and John and Paul Nash; and it has in turn influenced me with the ‘tone’ of my work.  So I am on the way to combining this sensibility with my pattern making instincts, and my fascination for the structures found in tree and plant life.  The way in which some of these artists highlight the order and ‘design’ of nature in their work really appeals to me, and I feel that my work echoes that approach, and now I would really like to develop this further.  This has been all rather unexpected, but I am very happy about it.

PRINTMAKING:  I was planning to embark on a new direction into printmaking, specifically lino cuts, and this has proved rather a sticking point with me.  I think that my hesitation stems from my feeling that I am right at the beginning of development as a 2d artist, and that I need to sort out issues and problems that I’ve come across with elements such as composition making before committing lots of time to making lino cuts (which is a very time consuming process), plus my unfamiliarity with the processes and techniques of printmaking mean that I have a lot to learn technically, which I feel will hold me up somewhat in terms of developing creatively.  I would really need to spend a solid 2-3 months on lino cuts if I am to get anywhere with them. So this plan is on hold until I am happier with the watercolours and drawings that I’ve been making, and when I have found my way there a bit more, I will block out a good few weeks to devote solely to printmaking.

CERAMICS:  My ceramics have developed in a significant way, and these changes had been waiting to happen for a long time.  I had already been thinking about making work on a larger scale and introducing more complex and detailed decoration for some time before the funded period started, so I was more than ready to start to make this new body of work.   A very significant event happened in the early spring of 2010, when our family had a little holiday in the sherwood forest Centre Parcs.  Staying there in amongst the forest, I felt as if I was noticing the changes in the trees from one season to the next, for the very first time – it was so exciting!  I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the tiny, tightly closed buds on the bare branches, the bareness revealing the perfect structure of the trees, the raindrops clinging to the branches, and everything so hushed and quietly expectant, ready for the changes that spring would bring – and all of this was taking place in a very pearly, gentle light – the way it is on overcast late February days.  I was so enchanted by this discovery, and made lots of little sketches and wrote notes describing everything.  This experience in particular informed my new ceramic decoration – attempting to describe the perfection and delicacy of branches, leaves and buds, highlighting the symmetry and geometry of tree structures in particular.  Here is a photo of one of my most recent plates, called ‘Late Summer Tree’, to illustrate:So I have moved towards a more illustrative approach to my ceramic decoration, but elements of pattern making are still vitally important, and are always included, such as in the border details.   These borders are also a reference to the decorative art and design of the artists that I’ve mentioned above, and which are also echoed in the work of other contemporary artists such as Mark Hearld and Angie Lewin.  Who are both, you will not be at all surprised to hear, idols of mine!  I have also introduced animals such as deer to the new decorations, to keep the Scandinavian feel of my work that is very important to me,  and as a variation on the ‘woodland’ theme.  I am glad to discover that there is a dialogue developing between my investigations into 2 dimensions and my work with ceramics, the one informing the other – which I think will continue to develop.  I plan to continue making ceramics decorated in a similar way, to develop these themes further and to keep looking for inspiration in the natural world.  I am making one off pieces now as much as batches of the same thing, which really helps me to remain interested and excited about making.

DAILY ROUTINE:  The nature of my day to day routine has also changed a great deal, to enable me to put my creative development at the centre of my work.  So now I don’t have anyone helping me, and I work alone.  This can be quite isolating, and has had a big impact on my production capacity, but it has also meant that I can focus completely on whatever I’m doing and I don’t feel at all a ‘slave’ to production that I once did in the days of batch production.  Whereas before I spent 90% of my time making batches of tableware for trade orders, now I just make work for exhibitions, retail shows and direct customer sales.  I don’t take part in many group shows any more, for exhibitions of a general nature, but instead I make work for special themed shows or one or two person exhibitions.  This means that I feel that I am making fresh work for every show, and am at liberty to make what I like so can pursue new ideas and themes each time.  For example, I have an exhibition coming up at the Castle Gallery (www.castlegallery.co.uk) in Inverness in March 2013, for both ceramics and painting – so I can use this as a chance to produce a set of new paintings, which will help to develop my 2d work and hopefully iron out some of the technical issues there.

STAYING ON TRACK:  There was a feature written about me in the August edition of Country Living magazine, and this generated an awful lot of enquiries about the tableware that I’d been making before the development period (there was a nice big picture of me standing in front of shelves full of tableware in my studio) – and since I have made it a rule to say yes to all direct customer orders, I am feeling a bit pulled back into batch production again.  This made me think about how I need to remain in control of what I am doing and how I plan my time, as I could very easily end up in exactly the same situation that led me to applying for the funding in the first place.  So next time I have a publicity opportunity like this, I will be much more aware of the possible results!

Time for a picture break:That is my most recent watercolour, incorporating three of my favourite things – patterned fabric, structural plants and handmade or vintage tableware.  The fabric has been fabricated to some extent, and I forgot all about perspective when I was painting it, which is why it looks a little bit oddly vertical!  But I am mainly pleased with it.  I do like blue and green together.

Right – back to the report!

CHANGES TO THE ORIGINAL PLAN:  Looking back on the original plan for the funded acitivity, I can see that I have veered off from it in a few unforseen ways.  I had rather naively given myself only a total of three to four weeks of actual creative development time, ie, sitting down and painting, drawing or designing – which has turned out to be very far short of the time that I actually need in order to progress.  I hadn’t been expecting to get so consumed by my new direction into 2d work, which now feels as vital to my creative development as making ceramics, and so my plan for the future now is to spend half of my time producing ceramics, and the other half on painting or other 2d work.  And this feels like a life time decision, since I think the challenges that painting and printmaking present will continue for the rest of my life.  As I mentioned earlier, my attitude to my creative work is very different to how it was previously, and as the plan was made before all the changes took place, I hadn’t bargained on the realisation that creative development is a continual thing, and that there isn’t an end point, or destination at all – so to allocate a finite time such as four weeks to this, is no longer right.

DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURE PLANS:  In the original plan, half of the year was to be taken up with creative development, and the other half with research into working with a manufacturer to produce tableware and other items such as stationery from my designs.  This no longer feels quite right, after my experiences of the last year.  For one thing, I had vastly underestimated the time that I needed for creative development (I extended the period from one to two years about six months ago, when this became apparent, and now I know that it is an ongoing process), and for another, since the nature of development is unguessable in terms of the final results, I couldn’t forsee that I would be so totally taken up with the creative development that I can’t really see how I can make any time for design for manufacture now.  The original plan was to spend next year on research into manufacturers and possible retail partners for a new collection of tableware and other homewares.   I would still really like to do this, but I would have to put all of the work I have been doing this year on hold in order to give it the attention that it would require, and it feels at the moment that this would not be the right thing to do.  So I am hoping that I’ll get an opportunity to work with a manufacturer or retailer  at some point, but that this will arise from joining organisations such as Design Nation, who exist to bring designers and manufacturers together, rather than that becoming my full time occupation.  After a few tentative forays in this direction, I also know that I am very inexperienced at spotting potential pitfalls that arise from working in this way, and that I could really do with some expert help in this area.  So I will look out for this rather than trying to tackle it from scratch myself.  So I suppose, if it happens that I get an opportunity, that would be fantastic, but in the meantime I am quite happy to continue working in the same way that I have been for the last 12 months.  I have been discussing a publishing arrangement for my greetings cards and prints with a fine art publisher, which could set me on the right path if anything comes of it, as they have contacts with big retailers such as John Lewis – but as yet nothing is definite, and I’m feeling quite relaxed about the situation.  In the meantime, I’m more than happy to continue on my creative development, which feels more than enough to deal with in many ways.

There – that’s it for now.  Thanks for listening!  Just to finish, here is one more picture, taken on my birthday at Holkham Bay in North Norfolk.  Just my kind of place – pine trees right up to the edge of a huge, wide, sandy beach, fringed with salt marshes where little low growing succulent plants had prduced millions of tiny purple flowers.  And massive skies of August blue…here is my oldest, Ewan, in a rare moment of contemplating nature…

Bovey Tracey

studio shelves
Here is a picture of my studio yesterday morning, just before I started to pack everything up to take to the Contemporary Craft Fair at Bovey Tracey, which opens on Friday 15th June – that’s in three days! Here’s a link to the show’s website: www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk
I’ve been very busy making ceramics of the new variety for the show, plus a small selection of tableware in dandelions, tiny hoops and dotted stripe patterns. Also coming with me are giclee prints of the watercolours I’ve been painting over the past few months, so I’ll be interested to see how these go down as this is the first time I’m bringing work like this to a show…Plus, some of the gorgeous books that Heather Dewick has been making for me. Although I have to admit that I don’t want to sell any of these, as I love them too much to part with them!

Here are a few more images of the pre packed ceramics…now they are all in boxes ready to go, my studio looks really bare, and the huge amount of dusting I need to do has revealed itself…
studio shelves 2two fair isle jugs


fair isle tree bowl
long tree platters
border tpot and jug
fair isle tpot and jug
Bovey Tracey fair is a highlight of my year. I always have such a lovely time there, whatever the weather…! I hope to see you there this weekend.

Hello there – time for a little springtime update!

My main focus during the couple of months since my last post has been working towards the exhibition at Ainscough Contemporary Art gallery (www.acag.co.uk).  This was a very important event for me as it was all about showcasing my new ceramics and 2d work that I’ve been doing since the funding period started 8 months ago.  It was a very good opportunity to see what people were going to think of the new direction my work has been taking, as there are two Ainscough galleries, one in Chelsea and one in Dartmouth – so this was a good way of reaching people over a large area.  Plus, I have had a long and very happy relationship with this gallery, which was a big factor in me asking to have the show with them.

I did a proper pr campaign about this show with Mel Harris, who very kindly agreed to help me with this for the arts council funded activity plan.  We sent a press release and images out to about 50 selected magazines, newspapers and blogs, and I was so delighted with the results as it got picked up by about 10% of them, including the Sunday Times magazine and the fabulous print and pattern blog (www.printpatternblogspot.com).

I had about 60 pieces of ceramics, five original watercolours and two lino cuts (plus a collage of the two lino cuts mashed up together with some watercolour painting and pencil drawing on it, which I really enjoyed doing and plan to do more of some time!).  There were also 25 hand bound books that were the results of the collaboration between myself and Heather Dewick, a fantastic bookbinder from Sheffield.  I’ll put some photos of these on a page here.

The ceramics included large platters, small platters, large and small bowls, jugs of various sizes and a few cups.  Some of these can be seen on the previous post…

I drove everything down to the gallery in Chelsea, as I couldn’t trust a courier with all of the new work – it was basically everything I’d made since the funding period started, so it was extremely precious!  I had a great time driving through London with my pots – I have never done this before, and it was so interesting to see how quickly the view changes between the end of the M1 and the middle of lovely leafy Chelsea – something I completely miss on the Tube.

I was feeling quite nervous about the reception my new work would get, imagining that people were going to be disappointed not to see much tableware (which is what I have been making since I started my ceramics practice in 2005).  So I was very glad that my mum came up on the train to meet me on the afternoon of the private view!  But I needn’t have worried, as the private view was great and lots of pieces were sold.  Now the exhibition has moved to Dartmouth, and nearly everything has been sold, and I have quite a few commissions to make for people that wanted items that had been sold.  So it couldn’t have gone better really, and I feel very happy that my new work has had such a positive response.  Here are some images of gallery in Chelsea, and the private view.That’s me in the flowery dress, talking to Linda Bloomfield, who makes beautiful porcelain tableware (www.lindabloomfield.co.uk) – I was very glad that she came as I was feeling rather like a lemon at this point; I never know what to say to people at these things!One of the front windows of the gallery, from the outside..Some of the books I designed and Heather Dewick made, together with some tree bowls.

One of the most encouraging things about my exhibiton was that four of the five watercolours I had brought were sold within a week of the show opening, so this has made me feel very positive and keen to do more.  Ken’s Jugs and Succulents are on older posts, and here are Apple Blossom, Rowan and Branches, the other three:This is Apple Blossom, one of my first watercolours, and it’s interesting to see that already my paintings have changed and progressed a bit since then.  (This was painted almost exactly a year ago).  I wouldn’t do those black outlines now, for instance.That’s Rowan, and below is Branches:

I had a call from Potterton Books (www.pottertonbookslondon.com) just before Easter about my watercolours.  They had seen my work at Ainscough Contemporary Art, and invited me to send them a collection of  watercolours for a display to coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show in May.  I was very pleased about this, as they have work by some of my favourite artists and printmakers in there – Mark Hearld, Emily Sutton, Angela Harding and Ed Kluz…so I feel quite honoured to have my work with them!  So this is what I have been doing during the Easter holidays, while the boys were home.

I did a set of three paintings of primulas in pots on plates that I really like – doing these paintings has helped me to identify what is working and what needs to be ironed out with my compositions etc…I really love the theme that is developing of putting handmade or patterned (vintage or contemporary) manufactured ceramics together with various pieces of patterned fabric I’ve collected and including plants or foliage/flowers with them (as leaves and branches etc are very much what inspires my pattern designs), and I’m very much enjoying playing around with different borders. But the thing that always stumps me a bit is the background and the overall positioning of everything –  as I have the pieces on the fabric in front of me, but the background is just a random view of my living room beyond the kitchen table (where I sit while I am painting), so I have to make that bit up, and this is where it all goes a bit woolly, and the endless possibilities of this sudden trip into the realms of imagination leaves me a bit floundery.  So when I have hit upon a good solution for this I will be very happy…anyway, here are some of the paintings I did for Potterton Books (a bit scrappily photographed on my drawing board unfortunately!):This is a plate I bought in my local Oxfam shop as part of a lovely tea set.  The back says ‘Barratts of Staffordshire’ and the pattern is ‘Lilac Fayre’.

I bought this beautiful little square plate from my friend Teresa Green’s new shop and cafe in Exeter (www.belgreen.co.uk), which she has recently opened with her friend and chef Isabel Davies.  We stayed with Teresa for the Easter weekend, and had brunch at Belgreen on Easter Monday.  I can totally thoroughly recommend it to anyone who might be passing nearby!  Teresa has been scouring antiques markets, car boot sales etc, and has collected a gorgeous array of vintage kitchenalia for the shop.  And Isabel makes the kedgeree I have ever eaten.That is one of those tiny little camembert plates that come in sets of four.  I’ve only got  three though, after an unfortunate washing up incident.  See what I mean about those backgrounds?

I am nearly finished with another one, which is of bright green brand new birch leaves from a tree in my garden, in a large Melanie pattern jug.  I just have to finish the detail on the branches and leaves… and maybe put a border around it (maybe not though, I quite like it with the space around it at the moment)So I’ll finish this one and then I had better get on with making some pots for my next big event…which is the contemporary craft fair at Bovey Tracey on 15-17 June (www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk) – which is always fantastic and a highlight of my calendar!  I also have to make some platters for the Bowie gallery in Hay on Wye (www.hayclay.co.uk), who will have them on their stand at the Hay Festival in May.