Should I tell you everything that had happened in the last two months? Really? I'm fairly embarrassed that I haven't tried harder to blog.
February, March and April have mostly looked this this: made some pots, had a birthday, surprise weekend in Belfast, festival meeting, France, in-laws, Cambridge, made some pots, festival meeting, made some pots, made some pots. I also picked a lot of windfall daffodils, which made me smile.
The BIG news is that I've been selected to participate in the inaugural mentorship programme organised by the Craft Potters Association, in partnership with Adopt a Potter. I've been paired with Helen Beard, an established and successful ceramicist based in Clerkenwell, London, who produces wheel-thrown and hand-illustrated porcelain pots. I've followed her work for YEARS, so I genuinely almost fell off my chair when I read the acceptance email. With thanks to help from the Isle of Man Arts Council, I've booked flights to visit Helen in June, then we'll follow up with Skype sessions. I'm very excited and grateful for the opportunity to learn from such a talented and respected maker.
It's taken far longer than I'd like to do these screen printing tests to check if the technique I learnt in Fremantle suits my clay and glaze, but I'm SO pleased it works! I'd love to develop layered designs of inlay, colour washes, screen prints and digital decals.
In two and a half weeks' time I'll be opening the studio for the Isle of Man Art Festival, so I'm in full re-stock mode. After clearing some Manx National Heritage consignments it's rather luxurious to look through my sketchbooks and pull together designs that I've been thinking about since the Christmas break. This week I found time to indulge in some mishima - scratching a design into the clay, painting over it and scraping off a layer of clay to reveal the fine lines of the illustration.
The Art Festival has also been front and centre of my schedule as I'm responsible for the event's publicity. That involves sprucing up the website, writing press releases, sending a lot of emails, and keeping the Facebook page vibrant and jumping with good stuff. Whilst all of these tasks are well within my skill-set, I haven't worked on a specific project of this size before. It's excellent experience, but I'm learning that I need to set more boundaries - yesterday I found myself wanting to post a photo on my Facebook page, but not having words for it as my voice has been dedicated to Festival promotions.
Last week saw the completion of a fun order - new merch for my favourite coffee van, Flo! Both Annabel (Flo's owner) and myself are super pleased with this batch of mugs. She's only had them for five days and half have sold already! This is my favourite flavour of project - collaborating with passionately dedicated small businesses. It's also particularly awesome when clients provide cake...!!