The studio has been particularly cold to work in so far this month. I even resorted to clutching a hot water bottle whilst painting last week! The clay has been uncomfortably cold to work with, nothing has been drying, it's often been raining so I can't disappear into the wood for a walk and I've been a bit grumpy. Thankfully, I accumulated enough dry pots to bisque fire this week, so the studio was gloriously toasty and warm on Tuesday.
I worked on some new illustrations during my Christmas break, which are now coming to life as test plates. I tend to draw designs out before making or painting them, to work out some kinks before committing to clay.
The images on this plate are inspired by a heritage farming village called Cregneash. A cluster of thatched cottages and farm buildings, it sits close to the most southerly tip of the island, eternally battered by the wind! I spent a lot of time there as a child whilst my Dad volunteered with his vintage tractors (!), so I have a soft spot for it. My illustrations tend to be quite simplistic or even abstract (in colour at least!), so I hope that locals will recognise the icons such as Harry Kelly's cottage and the infamous telephone box!
Another new creature for 2015...a wee robin redbreast. I like him.
I visited some art students at the Isle of Man College yesterday, to present an artist talk relating back to my exhibition at Noa Bakehouse last year. This was my third talk, and by far the best! The students are all a little bit older and genuinely interested in their work and learning about others. This particular group are stationed in the old market hall in Douglas, a big old drafty but beautiful and iconic building in the centre of town. The temperatures have been dropping here, so we were all rugged up in our coats with heaters and hot water bottles for the talk!
Thanks so much to them for listening!
Never have I so lamented the passing of Christmas. But, it was good to be back in the studio yesterday. It was bitterly cold after two weeks without firing the kiln, but I managed to cajole myself into throwing the list of pots in my diary!
I found some time over the holidays to spend with my sketchbook - with it being the year of the sheep, it seems only right to introduce a loaghtan sheep design. Loaghtans are native to the island, with dark brown wool and four horns!