Sunday, 15 December 2013

Time to Wind Down for Christmas....

Christmas is only ten days away and my thoughts are straying away from the studio now to spending fun times over the Christmas period with family and friends, relaxing breaks away here and there in our little 30 year old caravan. It's been a very busy, but great year for my family and I am really looking forward to spending some quality time together.
I did my last firing for the year this week, so the kilns get a rest now until the new year. The studio will get a major clean over the Christmas break, my 'list of things to make' will get a work out and I will be ready for a fresh start in the New Year.

I am already contemplating what studio projects lay on the horizon for me next year. It's been sadly over a year since I did a raku firing or pit firing of any kind (how time flies), so that is something that has to make a revival in the new year for sure. I have been so busy with making my little birds, that time has been limited to taking on too many things at once, which is generally my nature. I usually have a million and one creative ideas in my head at any given time lol. 

Etsy has proved to be a successful avenue for me to sell my little birds and other treasures. I have been rushed off my feet in November and December in particular keeping up with photographing and listing new items, wrapping and posting parcels all over Australia. It's a great feeling to know that my birds are hanging in the gardens and homes of people all over the country.

Here are a couple of my newest Australian native birds, the 'Rainbow Lorikeet' and 'Australian Red Capped Robin'. I don't have any 'Rainbow Lorikeets' left in stock atm (flying out the door), but if you are interested in purchasing any, request a 'Custom Order via my Etsy shop. The robin however, is listed in my Etsy shop along with a selection of my other native birds.

I was also asked recently by a couple of different customer's if I could make a few of the English Robins. I decided to make extras and these were snapped up at markets in no time. I also have these in my Etsy shop (link on this blog to my Etsy shop)

Rainbow Lorikeet

Red Capped Robin

English Robin

I have just been befriended by a lady on facebook letting me know that a book we are both featured in has just been published so I have just purchased myself a copy online. The book is called 'Pit Firing Ceramics: Modern Methods, Ancient Traditions' by Dawn Whitehand. I was approached approx. two years ago by Dawn, and asked to submit photos of works and information to be featured in the book. I am looking forward to reading it and very excited to be included alongside other Pit Firing artists from all over the world. If you are into ceramics, this will prove to be a good book to add to your collection.

Hopefully, I will get back to write another post before Christmas, but if not, I am wishing everyone from all over the world a Very Happy, safe Christmas and a wonderful year ahead. What creative avenues are you pursuing in the New Year?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Mother Nature and her Influence

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a love of gardening and nature. I am an earth person. Happiest when I am doing something with my hands and getting dirty. It's my way of feeling connected with the earth.

We all have people and moments in our life that have a lasting impression on us. It shapes who we are and perhaps what pathways we are to follow with respect to talents, loves etc. I also believe that we are all born with certain passions and talents, we just have to tap into them and discover them.

I was born in England. A magical moment for me when I was a little girl, was when my parents took us on a family picnic to the English woods. I was about 7 or 8 years of age. It was spring and I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful it was. I was in awe of the impressive old trees like oaks, birch etc reaching up to sky and blocking out the sun. Underneath was an endless sea of blue bells that took my breath away and the fragrance was amazing. That day is still so clear in my mind and the feelings I had as a result, I believe gave me a love and the connection I have today with nature.

My parents emigrated to Australia when I was ten. Australia is the place/country I call home. I love everything about our beautiful country. The flora and fauna constantly have me in awe,. The landscapes, colours and textures are so beautiful and as a creative person, I am constantly taking in my surroundings.

Like many artists, I take inspiration from nature and it is reflected in my work. This is what influenced my range of Australian native birds. The flock (range) is constantly growing. I really love seeing the people who buy them and their appreciation for the love, time and effort that goes into making everyone of them.

If you read my last blog, I mentioned that there was another new bird to my range. The "Rainbow Lorikeet' was a big hit at Coledale Markets on the weekend. Getting busy today making some more today, so its off to the studio.

If you are looking to purchase any of my little birds, please email me for suppliers or visit my Etsy shop. Link via my home page.

Thanks for dropping by today. Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Mittagong Market this Saturday

Off with my treasures to - Mittagong Markets - Saturday 20 October 2013, Uniting Church Grounds, 8 - 3pm
Mittagong Markets info link

If you are in the Christmas shopping mood this Saturday, why not drop by and see what the lovely Mittagong Markets has to offer. It's getting closer to the silly season and generally there are not only the great regular stallholders, but also newbies with plenty of great, unique Christmas present ideas to make buying gifts a real pleasure.

I have been very busy the last few weeks making some new and exciting Christmas tree decorations as well as my usual, popular hanging birds, which double as beautiful Christmas tree decorations this time of year.  My native Australian bird range make a wonderful gift for someone special. They look amazing not only hanging in the garden, but are lovely as a indoor decoration. A special gift for a garden or nature lover. See past blogs for photos of these.

At Christmas time, I make an arrangement in the centre of my Christmas table using natural gum tree branches in a wide vase or something similar then arrange a selection of my little birds for all to enjoy. It looks so pretty. I have had customers do the same thing and each year they come back at this time of year to see what other birds they can add to their collection.

My new and latest native Australian bird is the 'Superb Fairy Wren'. These have proved to be very popular at a recent market, but are new for my customers that frequent Mittagong Markets. If you don't want to miss out, get down to see me early on Saturday as they are my best seller!

Here's a flock of them in the making, all ready for a clear glaze and firing.

Psst.... a little secret.... another new bird to be released next month? Can you guess what it will be?
Can't get to my market? Then why not have a look at my Etsy Shop. Buy up to five items and I can post to anywhere in Australia for $6.95. Jan Wallace Pottery Etsy Shop Link
I will be adding some of my Christmas decorations to my shop in the next few days. So, keep a look out.
Thanks for stopping by. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Creative Collaboration

Once a month, I visit retailer's who buy my work in Camden NSW. It's a great opportunity not only to replenish their stock, but to have a friendly chat. On visiting one of my customer's recently at a lovely boutique florist in Camden, Jennie from ' Merci Bouquet ' happened to mention that her friend in business Nicci from ' Cupcakes in Camden ' used some my little birds recently on on of her wedding cake creations for a window display.  Later that day, I searched for Nicci's website to find this pretty photo.

What a unique use for my little wrens. I am suggesting ideas all the time to my customers for their use, but this I would not have thought of. As it happens Nicci and I think very much alike creatively and I am looking forward to working with her in the future with various ideas.

Lots more happening in my studio at the moment. I have added yet another Australian native bird to my series. Here's Willy Wagtail. Plus, I have made a realistic version of a  a Superb Fairy Wren or more commonly known as the BlueWren. They are at the drying stage, so more picks at a later date.

I am off to "Mittagong Markets" this Saturday 17th August. Lots of unique gifts available, so why not take a drive to the Southern Highlands this Saturday as there are heaps of places to stop along the way.

Well that's enough about what's happening in my studio. Why not drop by Mud Colony to see what the other mudder's have been up to.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Two New Australian Birds to add to my Aussie Flock

Wow, I have just realised that it's been two months since my last post.  How time flies...

Since my last post, we have adopted a new dog who we call 'Ollie'. Ollie is about 12-15mnths old and quite frankly, a menace but Emily (our 3 yr old) loves him. He is the world's biggest chewer and despite having a box full of doggie toys, he has a particular fancy for shoes. We came home one day to a sea of trashed shoes on our patio, after he cleverly lifted the lid of our outdoor shoebox. I am not kidding when I say that I had to throw out twenty something shoes. We then bought a new shoebox complete with locking clips either side of the lid. Glen forgot to clip both sides one afternoon and there went my new joggers. Anyway, despite all of that he really is a nice dog, just a bit pesty. Which is why Ollie and Emily probably get along so well LOL. They seem to understand each other. PS. I quite like having a studio dog again too :)

My two studio pests. Not much room for me in there now days.

Recently, I made a conscious decision to spend less time on the computer to make for more time in the studio and to spend with Emily, so that's one of the reasons for my slackness in blogging. The other is that I now have a business relationship with a few boutique retail outlets, so I am busy making stock to keep them happy which is great. It goes to say though that having a 3 yr old in our house means my free time is limited. If Emily is not hanging off my leg, or having a melt down, I am actually trying to spend some quality time with her. Thank goodness, meltdowns are becoming less frequent. Phew. Then, there's the housework. If only I had a housecleaner..... keep dreaming Jan.

As a frequent stallholder at a craft market in Mittagong NSW, (link here Mittagong Markets), I have noticed a pattern and that is, that people don't want or don't have alot of money to spend at markets these days. So, now I tend to make alot of smaller pieces that I can keep under $20. I still make my one of artistic pieces and they are always going to be a passion of mine, but for markets, smaller and cheaper is better.

For those that don't already know, I make a variety of things out of mud, from functional pieces, to sculptural work and then there is my love of birds, plants and all things earthy and old looking. Here are two new hanging Australian birds for this weekends Mittagong Markets - The Kookaburra and the Magpie. Plus I have a heap of beautiful brooches along the same theme as my hanging birds.

Australian Kookaburra - Decorative hanging bird

Australian Magpie - Decorative hanging bird

 Oh,  I also set up my 'Etsy' shop JanWallacePottery is my search name on Etsy or just click here to be taken strainght to my online shop. Jan Wallace Pottery Etsy Shop

See I have been busy!

Why not see how busy everyone else in the Mudding world has been too. Head on over to Mud Colony to catch up with some other mud bloggers.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Artsnic Gallery Opening Night

I met a lovely lady through a mutual friend a couple of years ago who has just opened an art gallery and photographic studio in Camden NSW, which is the town where I my husband and I went to high school together many moons ago. Sarah Lamond from Artsnic Photography does wedding photography, family portraits and artistic photography. She contacted me a couple of weeks ago asking if I would be interested in selling work in her new gallery, to which I said... YES PLEASE!

Last night was the official opening night. There was a small gathering and the general vibe and feel of the gallery was really nice. It is a pleasure to be asked to have my work on display in her gallery, especially in a town that is dear to my heart.

Sara has on display some of my birds including a collection of Australian birds, a dry glazed vase, some raku pieces and a collection of pendants

I quickly put together some of my pendants yesterday on little cards I had at home and took them along last night. They were well received as was my other work. Made a few sales. It's always really great to talk to people who are interested to know more about the process of my work and to meet and talk to other like minded people and last night was one of those opportunities to do just that.

Artsnic Gallery / Photographic Studio is located at 'Camden Cottage' 39 John Street, Camden.
Contact Sara on (02) 4602 8100

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today. Why not drop by and see what some of folk on Mud Colony have been doing this week.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Inspirational Road Trip

My husband, three year old daughter and I had a marvellous trip travelling around parts of Victoria recently. This is a short visual diary of our trip. We took hundreds of photographs, but I have chosen just a handful to show some of the great times we had along the way.

Apologies to those that usually follow my blog for pottery reasons. I am going to bore you today with some family pics as it's a great way for me to connect with family and friends about our holiday.

We were very impressed with Victoria. We visited many places along our journey and despite the fact that the countryside is starved of rain at the moment, its a beautiful state, with so many quaint, old fashioned, historic towns to drive through and so much open space in between. The major roads in and around Melbourne are fantastic and a pleasure experience in comparison to Sydney.
We left home and headed for Jervis Bay on the South Coast of NSW. We stayed for 3 days at a place called 'Green Patch' then from there drove to Jindabyne. We then travelled over Snowy Mountains and the 'Great Dividing Range' to Victoria. Melbourne for a quick visit, then along the 'Great Ocean Road', Ballarat, Bendigo, Echuca (Murray River) then home. Lots of pretty towns and places in between but basically that was our trip.

I am not going into length about our trip as it will bore the socks off you. Photos say it all, plus a few comments to go with them.

'Greenpatch' at Jervis Bay

Couldn't resist showing you this photo - one of Emily's many faces

                                 We did part of the Mt Kosciuszko walk - Mt Kosciuszko on the left in background

Anyone that knows my husband Glen, knows his passion is the weather. Weather station at the top of Thredbo

Glen carrying Emily 'again' on the Mt Kosciuszko walk

One of Emily's better faces ha ha...

Thredbo Chairlift

Beautiful CARPET of  plants layed the snowy mountains.
Photo doesn't do it justice but the textures were amazing.

One of our many campsites in our home away from home

The highlight of our trip was easily drive along the 'Great Ocean Road' to see the amazing 'Apostles'. You see photos on the internet and in books, but until you visit, you can't imagine how spectacular they are in real life.

Glen carrying Emily AGAIN

Great day spent at 'Sovereign Hill' - Glen caught Gold Fever lol


Town called 'Glenrowan' - The historical place of 'Ned Kelly's' Last Stand

An OMG moment - An Antique Shop in Bendigo
was selling a picture i made over ten years ago.
It travelled from NSW to Victoria and still looks great after all that time and travelling.

Great visit to 'Bendigo Pottery'

An old Paddle Steamer on the Murray River at Echuca
Went on a paddle steamer along the Murray. Emily loved it.

Clay impressions of Barnicles on the rocks at Jervis Bay to use in my clay work.

For me, other highlights included the opportunity to go to the 'Pottery Expo' at Warandyte. I had the pleasure of meeting so many inspirational potters including the lovely Adrianna from Mud Colony. Our visit to 'Bendigo Pottery' was also fantastic.

Thanks for reading my blog. Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Back into Pottery Prior to a Road Trip

Hi Everyone,

It's been a while since my last post. I trust everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year. I had a break from potting over Christmas and all of January. Been giving my dodgy shoulder (partial tear) a bit of a rest.

This week has been mental. We are heading off on a road trip to Melbourne in the morning and it's been a week of organising, appointments, decorating birds and pendants, packing and firing the kiln, packing the caravan and last minute housework ( I like coming home to a clean house).

Back into it the last couple of weeks. My first firing for the year was more of my little Australian Birds and just today I unpacked a load of Pendants and some more birdies. Some examples below. I have been working on some more varieties. More pics for follow after I get back from holidays.

Recently, on a visit to my husband's grandmother, I asked if she had any handmade lace or crocheted doilies that I have to use in my pottery work. She was very happy to know what I wanted to use them for and gave me a collection to take home. I am so happy to be using something so precious in my work that has a family history. I have used some to make some lovely marks on the pendants below.

Very excited to be leaving for Melbourne in the morning, but even better is that I discovered our trip coincides with the 'Pottery Expo'. It is held at Warrandyte on the banks of the Yarra River. I only realised it was happening after one of my friends from 'Mud Colony' mentioned it in a post. Thanks!
Why don't you catch up with the 'Mud Colony' family to see what everyone else has been doing.
Enjoy your weekend everyone. Until next time.