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Sunday, 24 January 2010

They like me, They really like me!!!

I just got my acceptance letter for my very first ceramics only show!

Ceramics South East is set in the private gardens of the Aylesford Pottery, which was established by David Leach - the son of Bernard Leach (who, coincidentally was a buddy with Lucie Rie who in turn taught Ray Silverman, my instructor at Rosetta Studios!).
I had been there once before two summers ago, helping out a potter buddy of mine, Jeremy Nichols, and really found the venue very nice.
I'm really looking forward to the show.  What's really great is it is very close to a mate's house down in Ashford so I'm gonna beg for boarding that weekend!
I have another 8-10 shows I have and will be applying to for this wish me luck!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Updated Etsy Shop Sorted!

Now Etsy has my whole new range for view.
Given that, I have to say that I am not relying on etsy very much at all for bringing in sales.
The fact that my wares are ceramic and therefore heavy, shipping rates from UK to the states are astronomical.  (This is one of the few times of recent years I have yearned to be in the states so I could take advantage of national postal rates!).
With such high shipping costs, I'd imagine most people are put off.  I guess posting my wares on there is more of a way of being seen.  I don't imagine it will amount to much and that's why I am pushing Folksy more.  If I was a jeweller or a textiles person, the Etsy world would be open to me, but for now I am just going to have to use it as a showcase.
So, here it is!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The woes of working with a homemade lightbox

As promised (okay, 4 months later - sorry!), I am here to report that finding lamps to fit those darned bulbs, which wouldn't cost the earth, was a painful process!

In the end, I settled on 3 of these beauties!

and one of these:

Ordered from The Lightworks (from one of the only suppliers I could find that confirmed the lamps were suitable for ES bulbs)at the lowest price I could find for £10.97each for the black and £19.97 for the white.

Note: The taller white lamp was ordered for behind the photobox to hover over the top for downlighting.

I gave up on finding the clip-on desk lamps because none seemed to have a big enough shade diameter or none would/could confirm.

Got 3 in total and ended up with this setup (insert picture here).

As for the pictures that resulted from the light box, they left much to be desired!!! No amount of hue/saturation editing in photoshop could get these babies light enough.

So, back to the drawing board. I figured there wasn't enough light.  So, I ended up ordering two more lamps to increase the brightness. Results as follows:

As you can see, they are an improvement, but when I photograph lighter coloured and white objects I still have some serious issues. You can see that the white and light pink suffer the most.

I'm not sure if I am drowning too much light now? 
Would a coloured background paper be better to bring out the object more? 
Where else can I put lamps to backlight the object?  I have such a small photobox, I fear needing to make a larger one!

All the blue, green and yellow items look pretty good for beginner's standards.  I am just not happy with the pink and white.  Looks like I'll be posting updates on this matter in the future!

For the time being, they will suffice.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Making up time

A new product in my range is clocks!!!

I have decided that my swirly slip patterns would look pretty slick on a round clock face and provide a really nice textural effect behind the clock hands - kind of like functional art!

The thing I love about making these, is that they are dead simple to make and fun! The hardest part is finding the appropriate movements to turn it into a clock! More on that later.

So, how do I make these things, eh?

First, I throw a wide shallow cylinder:

Then I wait for it to go leather hard and turn it into shape, cleaning off all the nasty bumpy bits.

Next I apply my slip texture, wait for that to firm up and add the central hole then fire! Vioila! Done!

Making it a real clock....

What movements do you need?

Well, from what I can gather from my research and some trial and error, you need to be certain of the spindle length of the clock movement. It's depth is super important.

My clock faces are about 3/8" thick (roughly 9.7mm) and the spindles (the shaft that goes through your clock face and connects the dails to the mechanism) come in 11, 13.8, 16.2 ,20.1, 26.2 mm lengths. You need to measure the thickness of your clock face and allow for a little length of spindle to stick out in the front of the clock face so you can screw the hands and finishing nuts on the spindle to finish off the clock.

With my clock face thickness, I chose the 13.8 length. Don't worry if none of the lengths seem to suit your needs, as the mechanisms come with rubber washers of various thicknesses to adjust the spindle's length accordingly.

Shop around because a lot of the hour and second hand movements I have been finding on the internet are quite old fashioned. After many hours, I finally found some suppliers who stock a bit more contemporary hands, so they are out there. I ended up choosing the B series hands from:

bude time enterprises ltd.

You need to choose hands that are the appropriate length to fit onto your clock face, and that decision is completely yours, as you may want to make an off-centred clock face or so forth.

What I can say, is you should be aware that the larger the face, the more powerful a motor you will need- more kick to get it around over time. This motor is called Model High Torque Euroshaft Movement, well it is called that in the UK, on this site, not sure about other sites! For the average sized clock, all you need is the Euroshaft Standard Movement.

Once fitted into the central hole and secured, one battery in and you have a working clock! You've just created time! Magic!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Resolution Number One - Sort out my folksy home page!

After taking most of last year to develop my new range of work, I was finally able to photograph the work in late November in my makeshift light box.
All in all, I have managed to document 80% of my range, with a few hiccups preventing completion of the remaining wares. I still have to load all my mirrors online and photographing them has become a real issue (more on that later....).
I know I need to improve the light quality on some of the photos, but for now, I am happy with a cohesive brand. Finally!!!
Let the sales begin!!! Please!!!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Dulwich Craft Fair

Okay, my first official Craft Fair was on 14 November at St. Barnabas Hall in Dulwich!

I was very excited, but after a Friday night drive into south London, after leaving central london to go home in the east, I was pooped by the time we got everything set up and got home at 11.30pm!
And, guess what, I forgot to take pictures of my stand!!! So, my photos of my setup the night before in my dining room will have to suffice.

For a first show, I managed to get a bit more than breakeven! But, that darned sandwich I bought brought me right down to zero profit! Learned my lesson on that one....

All in all, crappy weather but great organisers and fellow stall buddies. Fabric Nation and her fabulous set-up (with mince pies thank you very much) were an inspiration on how to fit a table full of kit into an amazingly reduced travel set (without a car!!!)!