Saturday, 8 December 2012

Gingerbread houses and wind blown ice....

I don't know... usually I can't keep to any of my New Year's Resolutions, but this year it seems I've found at least one of them all too easy to fulfil: (paragraph 1)

However, it's definitely time for a bit of a catch-up I think! What have I been doing? Pretty much working flat out in my day job lately I'm sad to say.  However, this week the project I've been working on has gone 'live' so hopefully I'll have time again for more relaxing activities like blogging... and messing around with clay...

It hasn't been all work since my last blog post though.... 

In August, I entered some of my ceramic work for display (and sale) at the Jesmond EXPO, an event which is run every other year and raises money for St Oswald's Hospice.  As well as selling a good few pieces of my work, I won the prize for Best Craft in Show. The prize was presented to me by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Jackie Slesenger (St Oswalds is one of the charities she has chosen to support during her mayoral year). I was both amazed and delighted because many of the other craft exhibits at the EXPO were of such a high standard...  Here's the piece that won the prize:

Here's some other examples of my work that were included in the EXPO:

Fun Guy On The Beach 1 and 2
These are simple slipcast porcelain spheres set on to interesting bits
of driftwood found on the Northumberland coastline. 

Again these are pieces set on to driftwood found locally.

In September, I started my BA Creative Practice at Newcastle College.  This has been a pretty good experience so far but, due to the recent all-consuming demands of my day job at the University, I haven't really begun to sink my teeth into my college projects.  I am busy researching and writing my proposal for the college work I'll be doing for the coming two years.  More about that later hopefully....
Last weekend I entered Newcastle's first Gingerbread House Challenge organised by our very own Loopy Girl, Lisa Vincent.  It was really so much fun making the house and such a lovely escape from the stresses of work (of which there were many last week during the period just before the go-live!)  Here's my own slightly rickety effort at a modern gingerbread house complete with poppy seed gravel and edible 'real glass' windows:

Lots more pics (of much better houses!) on Lisa's blog:

I think one of the nicest things I've done for a while though was to take a trek up Cheviot on St Andrew's Day (that's 30th November for those who don't know) with John. We had such wonderful weather as you can see from these pics - blue skies and sunshine all day. The views were spectacular: 

Such a beautiful contrast between the snowy summit of Cheviot,
with the green and brown hills and fields beyond,
vivid blue skies and the misty shore line on the horizon.
This is wind-blown ice lying horizontal on the fence wires! 
John and I had a lot of fun rattling the wires and pinging it off!
(well, we're only 12 after all....)
When I was checking out our route and looking around Google images for inspiring pics to try to persuade John that a wander up Cheviot was (honestly) a great idea for a freezing winter day, I came across this blog: which is packed with superb photos and well-written posts - and lots of friendly banter on the subject of mountain walking around the UK and beyond. 
And, still on the subject of fantastic blogs.... whilst wondering up the hill and generally chatting about Life, the Universe and Everything (as you do) John and I talked a lot about our friend and colleague, Lorna who is currently battling with advanced lung cancer and not having an easy time of it at all. Lorna is pretty amazing: if anyone needs a bit of inspiration to keep going during the tough times in life, they should read her blog which begins here in The Summer of 2009 when Lorna retired from work in IT at Newcastle University and set off on a sailing voyage around the coasts of the British Isles... My thoughts are very much with Lorna tonight.

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