Hello and welcome if this is your first time reading this.
Although its titled #wipsandblooms June 2017, in this blog you'll find what I've been up to as a ceramic artist in the last month, some plans for the month ahead, as well as favourites from the tag and next month's theme too. I'll talk more about the tag in a bit....
June has been a funny month hasn't it? Not quite four seasons in one day - but we have had a few extremes in weather conditions. We've had intense summer heat, as well as cooler days when I've needed more hot tea, and snuggled under a blanket in the evening. But despite differences in temperature I've still been enjoying longer lighter days, the peonies have had their own hiatus, the wild grasses are in seed and there have been brighter colours blooming in my garden, in particular the roses.
I spent the first half of the month preparing for a local market with the Paperdolls Handmade. It took place on one of the hottest days, but there was a lovely ambiance with live music, lots of workshops and such a highly creative and talented mix of sellers. I had quite a few visitors who came to the market just to buy from me, either because they already follow me on IG or they had seen the blog post about my studio tour (see here) and that made me feel really quite privileged. For more of a flavour read this this review from Aliandher.com who said that " [my] hanging planters were one of [her] favourite items in the whole market'. Thanks, that's the best compliment I could ever hope for!
May has felt like a particularly busy month. Either that or I've been more productive than usual.
It was a month of gentle goodbyes to Spring, as the days become warmer and longer and Summer finally beckons. A month of playing with soft sweet smelling lilac, and beautiful bold peonies, in my studio for styling opportunities, as I stretched my throwing skills further and experimented with new colour palettes with my porcelain slip casting.
Of course I had a brilliant collaborative month with Folksy and found myself hosting #Folksyhour, a hilariously fast-paced Twitter chat (Tuesdays 8-9pm). I wrote a follow-up blog for them all about how I came to the #wipsandblooms tag and how to use hashtags to tell a narrative, in my case a maker story. It's here in case you missed it.
In the same month I was also asked by my etsy team to talk about my Instagram account and the way I have grown my followers, which was less nerve-wracking than I thought it was going to be. Though I still hated seeing myself on the video that was filmed of it.
And... I was really lucky to have the lovely ladies, Jo and Carolyn from the Paperdolls Handmade Market do a studio tour and write a glowing blog about my work and inspirations.
What I like about writing this blog is it really makes me focus on the here and now in terms of seasonanility. As each new blooms appear there is something to celebrate and cheer - the first bluebells, the first signs of lilac, the white frothy cow parsley. All of these are relatively short-lived which is the all the more reason to feature them in my photos.
As you know our IG challenge is to to focus on our work-in-progress. I have an on-going goal that 'one day I'm going to be good at throwing in porcelain' (which is more difficult than normal clay believe me!)- its not a very smart goal I admit, so it was really nice the other day to realise... actually I've made some improvements. I can give myself a pat on the back for the hard work that I've put in. Of course, I'm not going to rest on my laurels either as now I'm getting excited to think about what other new shapes I can play with.
A few weeks ago I talked about swopping some plant babies and I must confess I didn't have any up my sleeve but I knew I had some growing... This month @igorjosif and @joelix the team behind #urbanjunglebloggers are asking plant lovers to celebrate the new circle of life which spring embodies...
And who doesn't like a good plant baby?
I'd heard that the Chinese Money Plant, the Pilea Peperomioides is an easy plant to propogate so I thought I'd give it a try. I detached a few babies from the main plant and put them in water for them to shoot roots (you can also add rooting powder to encourage extra growth but I didn't need too).
February saw the whisperings of spring with snowdrops and crocus; whilst March has treated us to warmer weather, lighter evenings, even more birdsong and some majestic displays of blossom and magnolia.
And every month it is lovely to browse the #wipsandblooms gallery to see how makers and artists incorporate their seasonal blooms and plants into their work-in-progress shots. This is no mean feat - and I'm always happy that people are happy to share their work before it is finished. It takes bravery to say - I've made this and its not quite perfect yet, but for me, I really love seeing these more behind the scenes style shots, which allow you to get to know the maker better as they share their creative journey.
Is it really spring already?
I was a bit confused so I looked it up, and according to meterologists, spring starts March 1 and lasts 3 months until the end of May, and is based on average temperatures. There are already signs of spring, with the first little snow-drops and crocus peeping through and the first delicate and much welcome sprigs of pink blossom. I also watch the garden birds from my studio, and love hearing their courtship songs
However astronomists believe the season starts on March 20, the date of the spring equinox, when day and night are of equal length. Whichever you choose to celebrate spring is definitely in the air!
I've been so busy getting ready for the festive buying period that I haven't had a chance to join in with urban jungle bloggers for ages, which is a real shame as I do love taking photos of my plants.
This month their focus is on creative plant pots and as this is what I love making, it would be really rude not to take part, so this is going to showcase a few of the favourite items I've been making, some of which are available in my etsy shop. Sorry for the shameless self-promotion!
I teamed my bambino planters with stylish airplants bought from @houseofplants, @komoonko and @montibymonti. New to my range of planters this year are the indigo marbled porcelain and the pink colourways.
I love watching how the seasons subtly change from month to month. As we enter November I feel ready to embrace cosy knits, warming hot chocolate and enjoy the gentle flicker of flame from a candle or our wood burner. I find there is always a new reason to celebrate what each new month has in store.
And, especially so for this month's #wipsandblooms hashtag challenge as Kate from @aplayfulday and I have a gorgeous prize of fresh English blooms from the letterbox florist, Beards & Daisies for UK residents only.
This month I received this stunning bouquet of the perfect autummal mix of blooms and foliage featuring these deep pink anemones, silver grey Eucalyptus and deep russet coloured leaves. The flowers from Beards & Daisies are always seasonal and I have been really impressed by their quality, so am really happy that they will be sending this month's winner a special prize.
This month started with these beautiful blooms arriving in the post!
Word has got out that I do love my flowers and I was very grateful to receive this amazing bunch from Beards and Daisies, which had been picked from a Cornish farm. My own garden offered slip pickings this summer, so it was extra nice to have these to play with whilst also knowing their providence is from the UK.
I wasn't able to do a great deal of making over the summer, but loved displaying my blooms in some recently fired work, including this leaf vase and some commissioned vintage style 'milk' bottles.
So here we are at peak of summer when I'm sure many people's gardens are filled with blooms and greenery. But, in case you had missed it, there is a revival in the trend to bring the outdoors in. My Instagram feed is always flooded with flowers and plants which compliment and often go hand in hand with the ceramics that I make.
That's why I'm so pleased that this month Kate from @aplayfulday and I are going to be giving away a copy of Selina Lake's new book Botanical Style, which has so many ideas about how to create a green haven in your home.
The book is divided into the following decorating styles: Vintage, Bo-ho, Industrial, Tropical and Natural, so there is something to suit all tastes, As well as inspirational photography to suit these trends, there are lots of tips on how to create certain looks and maximise the green effect. Plants not only boost oxygen levels they are also believed to have a calming and relaxing effect in the home and workplace.