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Friday, 21 July 2017

Confirmation mask for a young lady - commission 4

She is my second confirmation mask to create. It was commissioned by the family friend for a teenage girl in Norway. My first confirmation mask was for a gentleman. I made his mask from his life story, so far. This time my focus is current and future. I made the mask for her to look back when she reaches her important points in her life. And I hope she would show it to next generation.

After discussion, the client sent me several photos. I also checked the place on Google. From there I imagine what kind of life she has. I also check the types of trees and plants growing there.

This time, I made a face slightly similar to the girl. 

Until the mask is finished, I needed to concentrate. I also have to work quickly. All parts are thin and small, so they dry quickly. Drying was difficult when the thickness of clay varies so much.  I usually dry masks very slowly in a cool storage room. 

The first bisque firing. As it was a secret gift. I made sure that it was not on the images I shared on social network. 

Bisque firing was done. There was subsidence around the building. After sanding, she went to another bisque-firing. Buildings are not easy to add as the surface of the mask is curve, but the bottom of the building is not.

The second bisque firing. 

Colours were added. She is ready for glaze-firing. Her expression changes in different lights. 

Glaze-firing went successfully. 

Now the last process. I added porcelain paint. After firing she was completed. 

It took me four months to complete her. I had to stop working on her for a month while I had prepared for CAL. The client was often somewhere exotic, but despite that, we had good communication over emails.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Freedom of speech - commission 3

The client visited CAL. After discussion a smaller version of Freedom of Speech was commissioned.  
Freedom of speech

The client requested a black wood base mask stand. This type of masks would look great on black stands. 

Here is the large Freedom of speech at CAL. 

I am careful when I scale up/down the work in size. I make sure that the essence of work will not be diluted in the new work. 

As it has more depth than my female masks, profile is important. 

After the client was happy with it, it was bisque-fired up to 950C. Then, colours were added. 

Then it went to glaze-firing up to 1240C.

I use crank clay for this type of masks. Materials often inspire me. Other two masks were born with the commissioned mask.

Now the mask lives in the house with stylish intetior, London. Thank you so much.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Girl with quince flowers - commission 2

Another commission for the first half 2017 was a Girl with red shoes. You have seen them before, but this time she is large, larger than my usual big masks.

The lovely client has spotted smaller Girl with red shoes at PikaPika, organised by Creative Clerkenwell, last year.  Then she visited me at CAL, and and we discussed her commission.

Here is the comparison of shoes. The red pair is ordinary one


Retail shows like CAL and Hatfield are great occasions for visitors to see all ranges of artists' work. Especially if you are interested in a special piece to be made just for you. You could see the size, colours and other details in person. 3D work looks bigger in person than on the photos.

Ready for glaze-firing

She also requested the girl will either have quince flowers or a ribbon. I thought the flowers would suit her best.

Ready for glaze-firing on a different background

These two images were sent to the client. Different backgrounds give different impressions.


As I had several commissions at the same time, I was able to do frequent firings.  After the mask and shoes were fired, I got a mask stand made for them. The larger the mask, the taller the stand.

Girl with quince flowers

She was packed carefully and posted to the lovely client. Thank you so much! 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Red riding hood for a lovely family in Germany - commission 1

I have spent creating special work on commissions for the most part of the first half of 2017. One of them is Red riding hood. A lady contacted me earlier this year after seeing the photo of CAL website. She told me it would be a birthday present for her husband. How lovely!

As I have made a similar mask before, I would be ale to guess how long it would take me to make one. First, I made the mask.

Second I added a story on her head. The wolf is difficult to attach. The first one was too large, so I had to make another one.

After the lady's approval, the mask was ready for bisque-firing.

Then I add colours. The colours before firing are not what you see after firing. That is the most difficult point. It is often a guess work.

She is ready for glaze-firing.  

I usually take a few days to pack intricate works. Then the packet was sent with tracking. This mask quickly and safely arrived at the family home, Germany. I have received a lovely message from the lady. That was, of course, the best part. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Girl with ceramic floral wreath

England had a hot spell. It was the hottest June since 1976. It was difficult to hand-build. Besides I hurt my back. So I had to cut back working on a chair; I had no problem walking or standing. The heatwave is over, and backache is eased. I have started working in earnest.

Today I would like to share three of my works I made a few months ago. Some months ago, one of my clients sent me a photo of a girl's skull with ceramic wreath in a archaeological museum in Patras, Greece. The ceramic flowers are pink, yellow, green and gold. Colours are still bright. They seem to me spring flowers, suitable for a girl. She must have been loved so much to be given such a beautiful farewell.

Prior to that, I became curious about life before death and after death. And the image inspired me.

I made three works. The first one was a mask, and my interpretation of the skull. I seldom use pink (not my favourite colour), and I was unsure about it, but it worked fine.

The second one was my imagination; if the girl didn't die then, and became a grown-up.

The last one was the girl after her death. She is going to have her last journey to the land of death over water.

I meant to try to understand them. That's what I do after they are completed. But I have been too busy to do that, but I think it is time for them to come out of the boxes. So I could look into their eyes.  

Friday, 16 June 2017

Bevere Gallery, Worcester - Featured artists of June

I am one of the featured artists with Debbie Barber and Martin McWilliam, of June, in Bevere Gallery, Worcester. Do pop in if you can. My work will be there until the end of July.



Red Ridinghood
Whale sort of day

Answer was in the box.

Bevere Gallery, Bevere Lane, Worcester WR3 7RQ • 01905 754 484

Saturday, 15 April 2017

An exhibition in France

From 8th April to the 9th May, my works are a part pf an exhibition in Galerie Corinne Le Monnier
Le Havre, France. It is the first time my works are shown in France.

This time there are three pieces. 


She has six precious eggs on her back. 

If you are in Normandy, do pop in. 

Owl finch

149 rue Victor Hugo
76600 LE HAVRE

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Ceramic Art London 2017

Ceramic Art London, one of the greatest ceramic art shows in the UK, and possibly in Europe, is over for another year. We had a great time and also a great result. This was my third time, but each is different and unpredictable.

Here is my report and photos of  some of the sculptures, which went to loving homes.
Apple tree - sold

I had a slightly larger stand this time; so my works were more spread out. Just before PV, I was told that one of my photos was in the Evening Standard. How lovely! PV kick-started with Grayson Perry looking at my stand for a long time. In fact, we were getting dressed at the back, so neither Mike or I was there. I came back just after he has left my stand. I would have loved chatting with him. Who wouldn't ?
Alice - sold

Friday was packed and we were very busy, and we also had the highest sales. I was unable to have a chat with old customers much. Sorry!

Owl - sold

Saturday was also packed, but somehow customers' main interests have shifted to smaller animals and by noon the shelves for animals looked bare. The trend might have been started by Keith Brymer Jones from the Great pottery throw down, BBC. He and his partner Marg were our first customers on that day. They were very nice people. I am aware that he is adored by lots of fans; I can see why he has been so popular after meeting him.

Polar bear - sold 

In our limited experience, Sundays are usually crowded, but lots of people browse more than shopping, but this Sunday was different. Remaining animals have gone and quite a few big sculptures have gone. It was a very good Sunday.

Stand is ready on Thursday night. 
 It was so lovely to meet customers I had only known on Internet. Also it was moving to meet one of earlier customers.

My first Saturday customers.
Photo: Fenella Elms

I have recognised quite a few customers who came back. It is lovely to see them again. I will never talk this much until next show.  Mike, post office counter lady and postmen are only people I talk between shows, as I am extrovert recluse.    

Enso - sold 
 A few people said they would go to Art in Clay at Hatfield, in August. I will be there for the first time. I knew it is a great show, but I just couldn't trust the British weather as it is held outside. But I have decided to give it a try.

Tulip - sold 
I have also received a few commissions. With a couple of commissions taken already before the show, I will be concentrating on them for a a few months.

Girl with blue shoes - sold 
Already one week has past since we came home. I have finally unpacked boxes. There are lots of follow ups and admin works after the show. 

Flowering quince - sold 
 Thank you so much for those who have purchased, come and supported from afar. I thank also the organiser, other exhibitors, helpers and security who made the great show.