Catherine Daniel Ceramics

Hello and welcome to my blog where I share some of the thought processes and textile/quilting inspirations behind my ceramic art, and occasionally other random topics!
For more details and pictures of my ceramic creations, please see my website -

Thursday, 26 July 2012

To Russia with Love

One of the things I love about blogging is that you learn about the way people all over the world live their lives - the small, perhaps unimportant, (but very interesting),  aspects of their daily lives that are lived out in a culture a little removed from one's own.  The thing that usually comes across is that despite all the differences, we are all so similar in many ways!

So I have enjoyed reading about Natalia's life in Moscow in her blog  She has a lovely blog, like a breath of fresh air, and the things she makes are gorgeous.

She wrote to me some weeks ago asking if I could make her some hanging teapots, all with different flowers on them and all in different colours. And then she asked for one with a special design, below, which I suppose had to happen sooner or later this year!

I have to say, I had never sent anything to Russia before, but I thought I'd give it a go.  The package cost £6.00, which I thought was very cheap,  and off it went by Airmail.  The post office chap said it might get inspected and even opened at Customs, so I was unsure what might happen next!

Three weeks later and Natasha had still not received the package, so I went down to the village post office to complain to the post man!
And what do you know .....  the very next day Natasha emailed me to say it had all arrived safely and that she was delighted with the contents, which she was giving to members of her family!

So all's well that ends well.

Have a lovely weekend all.  It's the Cambridge Folk Festival for us this weekend ....  so I'd better find my wellies!  I reckon the ideal Festival gear would be those really long wellies that fishermen wear that turn into dungarees and allow them to stand in the middle of a river to do their fly fishing!  I can just see me in some of them!

(Lynne - bet your Jim's got some he could lend me?)

x Cathy

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Paintings, Fabric, Quilts and Pots

This one could get complicated so bear with me ....  it's worth it!   A lady called Em made a fantastic quilt for her old school friend Liz.  Liz looked for some special way to thank Em and, on seeing my Quilt Bowls out there somewhere, she had the brilliant idea that a quilt bowl based on the exact quilt Em had made for her would be uniquely appropriate!

She contacted me and of course I jumped at the chance - what a brilliant project to work on!  I asked for photos of the quilt and these came back ....

The quilt is a tribute to time spent in New York, with the individual blocks representing city blocks and the leafy central panel representing Central Park - you quilters are sooooo clever!!!
I know all you fabricaholics out there will instantly recognise this wonderful fabric based on the paintings of Gustav Klimt.

It made the project even more enjoyable for me as Klimt is one of my all time favourite painters - which is no surprise really - it's obvious from my own work that I love colour, pattern and ornament, and you get this in spades with Klimt.

So, I got to work.

is the bisque-fired piece.  The design is impressed into the clay in most areas, but the darker sections showing the swirls and flowers are painted on with wax, so that once I brush glaze over them, the wax will resist the glaze and remain the pale cream colour.

The above shows the central block all glazed and once the border is done it will be fired a second time ...

and will come out of the kiln the next day looking like this!  Obviously it's not an exact copy of the quilt, but is my own representation of some of the key elements in it.

I have to say, I was really pleased with the finished piece and would gladly have kept it for myself, but Liz was delighted with it and had me dispatch it straight to her friend, who instantly recognised it from the quilt and thought it was stunning.
It find it uniquely satisfying that someone did a painting, which someone years later used to design fabric, which someone later used to make a quilt, which someone later used to make a ceramic bowl

Am not sure what Klimt would have made of it all - it was the 150th anniversary of his birth last Saturday!  It's only fair to include something of his here too, so here is a section of his portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, in which you can see the same patterns and colours of the quilt and bowl.

Have a lovely rainy weekend!

x Cathy

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Ancient and New

Ancient, as in the quote on this second 'Poettery' piece I promised to show you, which is taken from Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', and New as in new friends made through blogging.

"Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,
The glorious Sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killled the bird
That brought the fog and mist.

'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.
The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.'

I shall not type out all the verses as I risk 'repetitive strain injury' (this poem spans 18 pages in my poetry book).  And you will note that my scene is a bit cheerier than the picture Coleridge paints ... I drew the line at including an Albatross!

And talking of cheery sea-sidey things, the lovely Lynne from Textile Treasury came over yesterday to pick up some ceramics she had commissioned.  She had been over once before to have a look round the studio and decide what she wanted, and yesterday she brought her friend Sue with her and we had a fine old time chatting away over numerous cups of tea and lemon drizzle cake, about textiles, quilts, pottery, and a hundred other things.

I had seen this cushion Lynne made on her blog a while ago, so I asked her to bring it over for me.  Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?

So clean, crisp and pretty! 

I have been up to North Norfolk coast today and seen lesser cushions in the posh shops up there selling for £50 and upwards!  So thank you Lynne - I LOVE it!

Lynne also showed me a quilt she has made which was absolutely stunning and I hope she will show it on her blog, as I forgot to take pictures.

My new cushion is sitting on the chair in my studio, where I have other sea-sidey bits and bobs like shells, pebbles, anemones, etc. so it blends in well and reminds me of the good friends you make through blogging!

x Cathy x

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Wonderful Commissions

I have been getting some fabulous commissions lately from people who see my work on the website and ask to have something special made for them, or in most instances as a gift for a friend.  I think I've said before how much I love making these.  It's the challenge of designing and bringing to fruition something with a specific brief, rather than just going my own way.

The picture above shows this piece having been fired once and now awaiting glazing. The components of each little 'picture section' are cut out of clay separately and applied to the piece using 'slip' (a mushy clay and water mixture).  The aim is to make it resemble a piece of Applique textile work.
The glazing is the tricky bit because I need to aim for a nice spread of colours, without them clashing or making the whole thing look too 'busy'.

shows it glazed but not yet fired a second time.  So at this stage I am never quite sure whether it will look right until I take it out of the kiln again and it looks like this ....

I suspect you can see what my 'instructions' were for this one!  This lady likes flowers, and new clothes, (me too!), so we had a section depicting those things ...

and she has been known to go to London to do the odd spot of shopping .....
but she is also a family person, with two grown-up sons and a daughter.  This section, below, was the most difficult to capture, but I chose to represent it like the kind of picture a child would do of their family.

and last, but not least, she is a book lover, so we gave her this little stack of books to read ....

I think I pulled it off OK, and she did drop me an email to say how much she liked it, which was very kind.
I am sure, one day soon, someone is going to ask me to create something really crazy which I will have to decline, but it's not happened yet!