Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Big Clean Up

So you get a house and create a space to work in, over the years you add to it, buy storage and generally try and create a good working space…5 years on and its a mess. Stuff in boxes, in tubs, in containers, drawers, filing trays and cupboards.

You can’t find anything and half the stuff you have you forgot you had! I am a squirrel. I hoard away, thinking hmmm that might be useful one day or hmmm i like the texture, colour, shape, image and quick as you like its become part of the overall mess that is my studio.

So in an attempt to see 2012 be the year of realising dreams and goals, I am preparing my space, my tools and my materials. The piles are: keep and use, bin and forget, sell and recoup and finally give to charity!

Its slow, its hard but Its worth it I am sure? Anyway just now I am washing my button collection and sorting them out!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Embroidery Samplers

I have been having a bit of fun, as you know, with some embroidery and this is the result – I like them but I think I will have a go at incorporating into some mixed media work and framing them!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011


As a child, my mother was always doing embroidery or tapestry. I never liked it much. I certainly did not like the canvas stuff and geometry.
Years on I decided to have a go and produced this my first embroidery…
bird embroidery and garden to file 004
Which I then turned into this…

love to cluck - the view gallery submission
Which I submitted to The View Gallery in Bristol for a hidden auction for the Princes Trust Charity and it sold ! Yay!
Since then I have been playing away, trying out stiches, yarns and making a few samplers and this is what I came up with…
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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Freebie Giveaway–November

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I found this ceramic artefact on Kirkcaldy beach a few years ago and it has been naturally sandblasted and smoothed by the elements. I have wrapped it in silver plated copper wire and it comes with a silver plated simple chain. For a chance to win it you have to do the following:
  • sign up for the newsletter
  • become a follower ( the link is in the side bar!)
  • leave a comment on this freebie giveaway post for November 2011

I will put all the names in a hat and on the 1st December the first one I pull out wins!

Saturday, November 05, 2011


I am doing some research on birds! As always the WWW is an amazing place to see things from all around the world and the scope of research material is unending, but I am also studying native birds in my back garden and the two hens I own. Drawings are hard as they don’t sit still for long enough! lol! I am managing to attract more birds into my space and with my trusty camera and can be found lurking around the bushes ready to snap that exclusive pic! Hopefully the robin will be compliant today and stay long enough on the table for me to get a good pic. In the meantime I have also gathered up some beautiful images from the net and have shared them below!
I am amazed at the variety of beautiful colours, shapes and sizes, but also how they have infiltrated our language. At the moment it's just playing with ideas but its getting there!! Feel free to add your own bird pic link, story or saying in the comments section…
Here are some of the sayings I can remember:
Birds of a feather
Alright hen
Hey chook
That’s my bird
She’s a tasty bird
Giving one the 'bird'

  • 1 a warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate animal distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings , a beak, and typically by being able to fly:[as modifier] :the valley is teeming with bird life
    Class Aves; birds probably evolved in the Jurassic period from small dinosaurs that may already have been warm-blooded
  • a bird that is hunted for sport or used for food:carve the bird and arrange on a warmed serving plate
  • informal , chiefly North American an aircraft, spacecraft, or satellite.
  • 2 informal a person of a specified kind or character:she’s a sharp old bird
  • 3 British informal a young woman or a man’s girlfriend.

bluetitcrane1-800Gambia-Little-Bee-eaterjay birdLilac-Breasted-Roller-1pigeon

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sales, Sales,Sales

Spent the weekend past selling off some of my older creations with a view to generating some money for new work. Enjoyed meeting my many visitors and clearing some space away both physically and mentally.
The left over stuff will be back up for sale at a couple opf events this Christmas period and then anything left will be e-bayed, e shopped and given away as presents.
Things move on and its time for out with the old and in with the new…
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Why Handmade is Best!

I love handmade, I buy handmade, I make handmade and I sell handmade. Yet often when I am asked why handmade is so special, why each piece costs more than a similar item in the high street shops or why I bother making in the first place, in the face of such hostility I am often stumped as to what to answer. So I decided to do my research, get myself prepared for the next negative comment and be ready to stand up for what I believe in.


Square Plate – inlaid with coloured clays – Tash Goswami


So what really is so special about handmade?

Well firstly it is a mistake to compare handmade with the large corporations – there really there is no comparison. We don’t sell it in the same way. We don’t buy it in the same way or even receive it in the same way. How do you compare a jar of mass produced Jam with a homemade preserve using locally grown fruit presented in a beautiful recycled jar with a cheerful label? It’s impossible!

I would argue that handmade is more sustainable than mass production. Mass production means bulk buying and this forces the lowering of prices down the line, mainly in the production of raw materials. Lower production costs ensure that the large scale companies can make more profit whilst selling, at what first appears to be, a low price – a bargain price.

Dig a bit deeper and what this really means, is that many people worldwide are forced into jobs with little pay and this has a knock on effect those countries, in so far as they cannot develop, cannot sustain their environments and any adverse condition, such as a drought, has a far more adverse impact upon them than if they were wealthier.

The wealthier nations, such as our own, then have to subsidise these poorer countries with loans, rescue aid, charitable giving etc. That money comes from you. It’s a false economy; it’s a profit on a page but not profit in reality because if you had paid the real price in the first place there would be no need to pay up in another way. So when you look at that £1 mug from your local supermarket, it’s not a bargain, it will cost you more in hidden charges than what you initially paid for it.

Mass produced items are perceived as or actually are, ‘throw away’. A horrible culture of, if it’s broken, don’t fix it - just chuck it out, is now so prevalent, that we throw away things that are perfectly fine. We want an upgrade, the latest version, the next best thing...we want to be noticed! However what we are failing to notice is our rubbish piles growing higher and higher!

large bowl

Handmade Ceramic Skirt Bowl with Coloured Porcelain Inlay – Tash Goswami

Here is where handmade excels – there is no need for an upgrade as it is perfect already. There is no need to keep up with the Jones as a handmade object is unique. Even if it is one of a series, each one will be slightly different from the next. It’s the minute imperfections that make it so desirable. Why I hear you ask!

Well, if you own a handmade, unique piece of work then only you in the whole world own it. That’s over 7 billion people who will never get to have it because you have it and if you keep it until 2050 then it will be nearer 10 billion people who don’t have it! How’s that for having the edge on everyone else! Each handmade piece of work is as unique as each person in the world.

Mass production is now turning to small crafters for help. They want to try and replicate the handmade feel to an object, but it is a fake, it is not the real McCoy! However they also recognise that people do not want to live in bland, off the shelf environments. Rather than give you the real handmade object, they sell you a machine produced copy. The difference can be likened to that between a diamond and a cubic zirconium! Both are good, but I know which one I would cherish a whole lot more.

Buying handmade supports local craft industries and people, wherever you buy it. The price you pay for it is exactly what you see, there are no hidden costs. The revenue stays within the country and people are not out of work but working in their business either as individuals or groups. Taxes are paid, money is generated and the overall impact on our economy is huge. In the UK, the creative industries account for about 7% of the GDP and each artwork (and I include the handmade mug in this!) contributes to this. Furthermore government investment in the arts sees an amazing return of £2 for every invested £1. Does it make sense to cut this investment? I think not.

Buying handmade ensures that traditional making skills are kept alive and creates a demand for education in these skills. At the moment the powers that be are so busy replacing skills based training in the crafts with less labour intensive or material rich courses, more often than not, offering courses conducted on a computer and easily stored on a pen drive. The outcome of this is potentially lost skills, the demise of handcrafts and a real loss of our cultural identity. Students can be herded through the system quickly, without a huge investment and now can be charged a small fortune for it!


Teapotastic! - Drawing with Coloured Porcelain Clay – Tash Goswami

But what happens if the machines can no longer be run, say for example, when our petrol supplies run out. How will we as a nation reinstate these lost skills? The economy is so fragile because we have already lost so many of our skilled industries and we are now playing catch up again. Would it not be better to maintain and increase a skilled artisan base, rather than scramble around at some future date to rediscover it?

Handmade is a celebration of our contemporary lives , a living culture and not part of a mass imposed, one size fits all, consumer culture, where everything looks the same and is easily boxed up. Each handmade item is about people and not machines. It is about the time and effort that goes into each piece of work, it is about the skill of each maker, the technical ingenuity of the maker, the magic of an individual’s imagination, and it is a treasure on a beach of throwaway machine made tat!

Call me biased. Say I am a ranting maker on my handmade soap box! But don’t deny the facts; handmade is far better than we have ever given it credit for!


Glazing New Doll Sculptures – Tash Goswami (photo by Hazel Terry)

This article was originally written by Tash Goswami for Folksy

Life is Never Simple…

Doodling away and this is what I came up with. Saw something similar once and its not an original idea but it is a great visual to illustrate that we should not expect an easy or clear road and that there will be highs and lows!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Time for a Change!

Stagnant was how I was feeling about this blog. So i have decided it is time for a change and its out with the old and in with the new! So welcome to the new look and new feel blog…hope to see you here more often!

African Starling