This morning I woke up to the first frost of the year, and its been replaced now with a crisp cold day and beautiful bright sunshine. Don't you just love those kind of days?
I always love writing this blog, as it gives me a chance to pause; to reflect on what I've been making, maybe have a think about what I want to make next and to review where I'm going. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day; the next little item on the to-do list, or the latest commission that I've been asked to make, that I can forget what the bigger picture should look like. Are you the same?
I love including lots of seasonal references to what's happening in nature amongst my making shots. So, there have been quite a few pumpkins popping up in my feed. Last week it was half term so I didn't set foot in my studio except to package up some orders. Instead, I was able to focus on some macrame and play around with a few new knot techniques, from @createaholic's new book (it's just peaking into shot) and start to work in more of the little porcelain beads that I've made especially for this project. I hadn't had a chance to make any planters for a while, so it was fun to get a few more ready for Christmas fairs and my open studio which start later this month.
I also have to plan quite far ahead with my makes. These snowflakes, with their traditional Polish folklore flower pattern tend to be very popular at Christmas so I've done a small batch of these. I gathered the little rosehips on a cycle ride with my friend so popped those in the shot for a festive feel.
Last month I was also getting ready my first mini wholesale order for @lewesmapstore. Dorte and I decided on two lovely colourways for this range of porcelain beakers and mini bowls for her shop, using hues from nature. I've called them my 'skyscape' and 'landscape' series as they take inspiration from pink skies, grey cliffs, greenery and slate mines. You'll see more of this very soon in my instagram feed. I feel very honoured that I am the first ceramics to be stocked in this beautifully curated on-line store.
My guest judge for November is someone who uses the seasons as her key source for inspiration. I am very happy to announce that the talented photographer, Zoe Power will be joining me in the #wipsandblooms challenge.
Zoe and I wanted to make it as a simple as possible for people to join in so are going back to the original tag #wipsandblooms but want you to think about making your shot as seasonal or Novemberish as possible! With the fading daylight hours it can be more of a struggle to photograph your making, but maybe you'll get creative with fairy-lights and candles? I'm expecting to see all your favourite seasonal finds in your shots and you can definitely swap pinecones for flowers if blooms are in short supply. Or it might be that November for you means making festive items - whatever it is we'd like to see it, so remember to tag @zoepower in your shots.
Zoe is such a skilled photographer whose colourful style is always a joy to see in my feed; you *may notice a few of my ceramic vessels popping up below too. She has kindly answered a few questions here:
How did you get into taking photography? How long have you been doing it?I’ve been photographing for as long as I can remember. My Dad was a professional photographer so I’ve always been around cameras and used to tag along with him on some shoots when I was a kid. I had a film camera at University (no digital back then!) and used to mess around developing and printing in black & white in the holidays at home. I guess my real passion flourished when digital came about and I could shoot as many photos as I wanted and I could experiment much more… I got my first DSLR in 2006 and slowly started to build up my collection of lenses, including my beloved 105mm macro lens and my 50mm f1.4. I loved the shallow depth of field and dreamy quality you could achieve with these kinds of lenses. I joined Flickr back in 2005 (the precursor to Instagram I guess!) and connected with lots of photographers all over the world and learnt lots and found lots of inspiration as my style started to develop.
Do you have any tips for people shooting flat-lays or their makes for this month’s #wipsandblooms challenge.I love to see some relevant props that help to tell the story of the item being made - so this could be the materials or tools used to make it, or something that shows how the item will be used or relates in some way. It’s always pleasing to see a co-ordinated colour palette (using a prop to highlight a colour in the item you’ve made - for example some wool or thread or fabric - or just some flowers or leaves) and sometimes keeping it restricted can make more impact. Texture is important too - if everything’s smooth and flat it can lack interest. Space and proportion is equally key - you want to keep the focus on the beautiful item you’re making, so don’t overload the image with too many things or have a busy background, or include something that’s much larger than your item. I’m a big fan of simplicity and think that negative space is so important. Oh and use natural light - always - and try and avoid harsh direct light that causes lots of shadows or a strong colour cast.
Do you want to tell us a bit more about your hashtag?
And here is the lovely lady, in her element with her dog, Misty.
Thanks Zoe! I know I found your answers really interesting.
Last month we had an extremely innovative and creative lady as our guest judge, @GeorgieStClair. Georgie was encouraging us to show off our creativity and I saw an increase in the number of people producing timelapses and using video apps to play around with this idea. Unfortunately I can't play videos on here so I'm going to give you some links to go and see some wonderful creations.
It's always nice to see such a great cross section of varying makers - here we have papercutting, calligraphy, embroidery and dying from clockwise. The mood is definitely autumnal with ochres, browns and mellow yellows from the Top left:
The winning image that caught Georgie's eye has a lovely composition, gorgeous colours and subtle use of a Plotagraph to form a really elegant and intriguing image. Well done @hannie65 on winning those lovely prizes of the botanical leaf postcard set and personalised A4 monogram from Georgie.
I hope you've enjoyed this month's dose of news and inspiration and will join in with #wipsandblooms during November.
Stay cosy folks.
Hi! I'm a ceramicist, based in Kings Heath, Birmingham. Combining beauty and function my porcelain vessels are everyday objects you'll want to treasure. My work is slip-cast and wheel-thrown.