Pottery evening class, Family and Flowers!….

Monday blog on Pottery, Family and Flowers!….

My second Monday inspired blog covers my pottery evening class, family time, family memories and flowers!

I have loved the first six Monday’s of this year doing a pottery evening class, such a treat! I cannot recommend enough booking in for doing a class in something that interests you out with your daily work, you sleep like a baby after! It was two hours of sheer bliss switching off into another world working with the clay. I can’t say I have created master-pieces but I loved every minute of it and realise how hard it is to make a item in clay to the right size and shape let alone a full tea set now!

I loved the pottery throw down program which I wrote about in my blog at the time. Doing the six week course with Fiona we learnt so much but it also made you realise how accomplished each of the contestants where already.

Each of us on the course have said we will go back to learn more and want to experiment on the wheel. I didn’t get a chance to use the wheel but loved rolling and moulding my mug along with creating the cabbage bowls and flower vase. I have more confidence in using the clay now and enjoyed experimenting with different glazing methods.

I loved using our Flip design that we use on our fabric and wallpapers as the starting point for my mug. I cut out the basic shapes in Lino which I then pushed into the clay to create my mug design. Then when it came to colouring the design I used a white slip building up layers using the Lino shapes again and newspaper to create the subtle layer effect round each pattern. I then went for a bright blue slip for inside the mug. The mug was then fired at this stage before the glazing of the mug and then the final firing. I can now use this mug for hot drinks and it stayed together in the kiln which is a huge success for the first of many!

There were 5 of us on the course and each of the mugs have their own individual looks as you can see from the photos. Then week 4 we all worked with the cabbage leaves except for Stuart from Cameronwebster architects who started creating a section of one of his house projects in clay which is fascinating to see!

My vase is the perfect shape to add Spring flowers into from my garden, which I pick up this week! I look forward to hearing what other evening classes you all choose to do so I can get inspired to book my next one?!…..I am thinking about Litho printing or Raku pottery?

Fiona Byrne-Sutton Ceramic Artist. Runs evening classes: http://www.fionabyrnesutton.co.uk

My first experience of working with clay was at school and my first holiday job working at LeBlanc Fine Art Foundry. My aunt and uncle are sculptors and I helped out in the wax room, creating wax mounds from their clay sculptures in a few holidays. You can see the process on this link as it us magical seeing the work from clay to bronze in their work.

Judith Holmes-Drewry, was my mums sister who met Lloyd le Blanc in America. They had a studio in a factory in Down Town San Francisco where they also lived. Jude then bought Lloyd to England to meet all her family. They created a Bronze Foundry in buildings on my grandad’s farm in Leicestershire. As kids I remember watching dramatic scary Bronze pours and then helping out in the holidays in other areas of the foundry.

Their sculptures are all around the world – Australia ,New Zealand, The middle East, Europe and America. One very moving story recently is about a 15 year old boy in Florida who raised money to build a memorial Garden for a 13 year old school mate. This young girl died of a brain tumour. There is a wonderful film of his friends all digging the site for a beautiful Lloyd sculpture of a Peacock to be installed as it was her favourite bird. It was called the Peacock project and was installed in Winter Park Florida .

Jude, as she was known,was mainly interested in casting figures. I say was as she sadly died 5 years ago. The figures are often observed in private reflective moments and she manages to get so much feeling into the bronze metal making it so alive. Every piece is first modelled in clay. She was very sensitive and perceptive about people and liked to meet and talk to whoever she was modelling forming a bond and making it special.

I am so pleased she has a lot of sculptures in public places where they can be appreciated. For example ‘The miner’ in the centre of Coalville Leicestershire, ‘Mathew Flinders’ the Navigator who sailed round and Mapped Australia in Castle Donnington leics where he was born. ‘Ring of Roses’ a sculpture of 3 little children playing gleefully which is in a retirement home Latour Marliac the botanist in the gardens in France being a few.

Raymond Blanc loves their work and the gardens at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons are full of wonderful pieces from the dramatic giant artichokes at the entrance to flocks of birds taking off over the lakes and many more. The artichokes are one of my favourite pieces and I would love to one day have these in my garden.

The flying ducks are by the river in Kingston upon Thames, Leaping Salmon in county Donegal Ireland at the entrance to a hotel and Dancing Cranes in Dublin Ireland are lovely pieces. One commission he has done recently are 3 working dogs a retriever, spaniel and German Shepherd by the station in Melton Mowbray.

I have seen first hand how dedicated as artists they are and the passion they have to express life through their work. Lloyd can still cast Jude’s work and he bravely works harder than ever alongside his daughter Faye.

I feel so proud of Jude and Lloyd for the amazing work they have created, following their passions and dreams of living and working together. It is this that inspired Neil and I to work together, creating fabrics and wallpapers that we love to live with in our own home and that we feel others will love as much in their homes.

And what a wonderful weekend of sunshine and blue sky we have just had again….it makes such a difference and the feeling of Spring coming after the long winter is magical. We had a special Mother’s Day weekend with my mum up from London. We had a wonderful walk through the Botanics and along Byres road. The Botanics were looking stunning in the sunshine with the blankets of crocuses and the little snowdrops. The hyacinths in the glass house could be smelt outside as we got near the glass houses, so we went in to see them and the crazy Cactus room!

A new cushion collection including Cactus cushions will go on sale this week in the family run Sterling Furniture stores, so I can’t wait to share photos and news on this new launch next week in my blog.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and have a great week ahead X