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 -

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Winners of Ceramic Buttons are ...

I am pleased to announce that the online random number generator threw up the following names as winners of my two Ceramic Buttons giveaways :

FIRST:    Kateuk  at  Here's one I made Earlier blog

SECOND:  Lin at St Victor Quilts blog.

If the two winners would like to contact me to claim their goodies, I will get them in the post as soon as possible.

Thank you to everyone who entered - the response was overwhelming.  Thank you for all your lovely comments too!

Best wishes

Cathy x

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Handmade Ceramic Buttons Giveaway!

Here is my little House of Buttons!  I found it the other day and thought it would be perfect for sorting and storing the various ceramic buttons waiting to be put onto cards to be sold from my site, or my galleries.  Ain't it sweet?

But the two sets of buttons below 
won't be going out to my shops !

They're going to TWO readers who win them in my
 Big Button Bonanza Giveaway!

If you're interested, please leave me a comment and if possible give me a quick mention on your own blog. If you want to follow my blog in the future, that would be great too!

I've had a go at doing a Blog Button (a button button!!) which is in the side-bar at the top for you to grab if you wish.  Hope it works!!
Ceramic buttons are way easier to do ....  and far less frustrating!!

Includes international entrants. Deadline for entries : 13th December, 5pm
Winners announced here: 15th December.


x Cathy

Monday, 11 November 2013


So I had an email a few weeks ago from Betty who lives in Salem, New Hampshire, USA.  (We went there once and ate Clam Chowder ... but I digress.)  Betty was after something special for a friend who loves quilting and chose, appropriately, a bowl depicting the 'Right Hand of Friendship' quilt block.

She chose a pale green and crimson colour combination - above is the bisque-fired piece with the glazing just started and below, glazing complete and ready to be fired again.

This is a traditional quilt block pattern published in the early 20th century and the perfect choice for a special friend.

I included all the special little touches, like the thread detail ....

and the sewn-on little button in a matching colour .....

and then wrapped it up for dear life in yards of bubble wrap, wished it Bon Voyage, and sent it off to the USA.  It arrived a few weeks later in one piece, and Betty emailed to say she was thrilled and couldn't wait to give it to her friend on her birthday.

I love interpreting these traditional designs onto clay, just for my own enjoyment, but a happy customer at the end of the process is always the icing on the cake.

Now, we are off on a quick visit to various off-spring at their universities up North.  We shall be based in Bronte country and Cathy will be accompanied by her very own Heathcliff !  
Giveaway post on my return - promise! 

x Cathy

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Button It !

As I think I've said before, I make buttons and beads from time to time with the scraps left over from the big stuff, but I haven't ever sold them through shops or galleries until now.  But The Little Gallery at Dereham has asked for some, so I had to consider what to do.

Would folks want to buy them individually? Or should I tie them/bag them together in jumbled up lots, or in sets? I decided in the end that presentation was important, so had me some fun with black card, home-made labels, hole punch, wire and guillotine.

And a few hours later they looked like this.

and this
and beads like this:

so that I ended up with lots of little cards of sets of buttons, ready to send to the gallery.

... and when you need to sew a button on, you need a needle, (seamless link there!) and how lovely to be able to keep my needles in this gorgeous needlecase,  handmade by Su at Living on the Edge which I was lucky enough to win last week.

It is made from beautiful fabric designed by Celia at Purple Podded Peas using her own prints and the design-your-own-fabric service offered by Spoonflower.  You can read the fascinating background to all that on their blogs.
Thank you so much Su and Celia!!

Which reminds me .... I must do a giveaway in time for Christmas - would the cards of buttons be a good idea for a giveaway maybe?  I shall do it - soon!

 x Cathy

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Family Tree

So, after all this time, I finally got around to making something for my parents!  It was long overdue, but I didn't have to think very hard about what it should be.  Like most of us, family is everything to them, so I attempted to represent their/our/my family onto a large plate.

It started life as a round slab onto which I impressed all the names.  I soon realised that I would really need something the size of a dustbin lid to fit even my immediate family - my parents, my siblings and their children.

The plan was for two main inter-twined branches (mum and dad), with four off-shoots (me and my brothers and sister), and then their kids. 

In the end, the whole thing grew and grew til it just resembled a large over-grown bush!

I wasn't able to be there on their anniversary when it was opened, but I have it on good authority that it made my mum cry ..... in a good way.

And maybe I have created something that will be handed down through the generations - a future family heirloom?  Who knows!

 x Cathy

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Autumn Colours

Today I went for a long drizzly cold walk which was cheered up by the sight of all these Autumn colours. It reminded me of a few months ago - in the middle of a very hot summer - when a gentleman contacted me to request a birthday bowl for his wife, who loved "Autumn colours".

He explained that his wife was an avid quilter who loved working with purples and browns and that one of her favourite patterns was the 'Bear Tracks' block.  So I got to work mapping out the pattern onto the wet clay,

and eventually used purple and amber as the main colours.  These are not two colours I regularly put together and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked them.

As the recipient was a needlewoman, I added all the little touches, such as the thread detail, in toning colours,

and attached a handmade button whose surface pattern was made by impressing this metal bobbin into the clay (blurry photo, but you can see what I mean, I hope).

I then dispatched the finished piece which arrived on the lady's birthday and she was apparently absolutely delighted with her surprise present.

Funny how some colour combinations just speak of specific seasons of the year.  We'll all be in the midst of red/green/silver/gold before you can even say the word 'Christmas'!!  Oooops, I said it!

x Cathy

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Little Things

It's the little things in life which make all the difference - we all know that.  So when the National Trust's Anglesey Abbey order 70 little things from me, it really does make a difference!

As well as the usual hearts, hens, fish and birdhouses, I have extended the hanging decoration range to incorporate these:

and these:

(I love my hand-made ceramic beads!  They just come out so wonderfully glossy.)

And these:

though if you forced a full-size version of the camper-van on me ....  I wouldn't say no!

Speaking of Little Things, I took several pieces featured in recent blogs over to The Little Gallery in Dereham yesterday.  It is a super little place, full of the most gorgeous art and crafts .... I had to steel myself not to come out with more than I took in!  And I have to say, it is the friendliest gallery I have ever encountered.  Whilst I was there, folks just walked in off the street for a chat with Judy, the lovely owner.  They do craft workshops and all sorts of things, so if you're local or on holiday, do pop in!

Just a Little post from Little me for now.

X Cathy

Monday, 19 August 2013

Little Houses Quilt Block Bowl

I've called this one 'Little Houses' but it is adapted from this pattern which I saw a few weeks ago on Rachaeldaisy's Blue Mountain Daisy blogspot.  She lives in the Blue Mountains about an hour outside Sydney, Australia - so you see how far this little bit of inspiration has come!

All the way to Norfolk, England - which has no mountains whatsoever  -  of any colour! 

Obviously this is a pattern meant for quilts, but ... you know me!  I loved the little houses round the edges, and got to work measuring out my own version onto a slab of wet clay.

Once the design is marked out, I flip the whole thing over (tricky!) to put my potter's mark and stamp and date on the underside of the piece.  My potter's mark is a 'C' and a 'D' overlapping and was one of the first homemade stamps I ever made.

Then I pushed the piece into a lined mould and worked on the edges.

Then, once the clay is bone dry, it goes into a bisque firing kiln - you can just see it underneath all the other bits sitting on top of it.

 Twenty four hours later - out it comes, ready to glaze.

Once glazed, below, it is ready to go back for a second firing.  The raw glaze colours do not reflect the finished colours - thankfully!

And then another 24 hours, until it's completely cooked, and out comes the final piece.

I am really pleased with it. I decided to make the pointy bits look like a sunburst, as I think it's a lovely, sunny, cheery design.

Thanks to Rachaledaisy and to the inspiration to be found in all corners of Blogland!

x Cathy

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Wood Block Printing

I have been having the most fun recently with all my wooden textile printing blocks - obviously not to print textiles with, though that looks like fun too actually! These are a few I have collected and use the most often.

To press into wet clay to make patterns, like these.

adding surface pattern and loads of texture at the same time.

To avoid the block sticking in the clay, I rub a bit of olive oil over it first - it all burns off in the kiln, so no matter. 

And then I just choose which aspects of the pattern I will pick out, and in which glaze colours.  Orange and brown is not my colour scheme of choice, but I have to keep in mind that I am not the buyer!

If I were, I think something blue and yellow is more me, but we're all different...

The ruler below the pics is meant to show their size - this one below is only 6 inches diameter.

And this tiny one fits into my hand.

Not quilt-based this time, but still textile inspired. I think if you love pattern, you just notice it everywhere. 

I am seriously thinking of impressing the gorgeous pattern from the soles of my slippers into a clay piece - or is that going too far??

x Cathy

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Say it with a Pot

I was asked by the lovely Angie at My Quilting Life to make a quilt bowl for her friend Lyn's big birthday. I had plenty of notice for this one, so I had time to take a few pictures along the way.  I realise now that I should have started clicking way before this first picture, but anyway.

Once I have rolled out the clay slab, measured and impressed the design into the wet clay, pushed the finished slab into a bowl shaped mould, smoothed over the edges with water, made the holes for the thread and button detail (see later), waited three days for the piece to dry out completely, carefully lifted the bone dry piece out of its mould .....  it looks like this!  This is when it is at its most fragile and can break easily - it's the texture of chalk.  So, the utmost care and a prayer is needed when putting this into the kiln, along with other pieces.

Once bisque-fired, the piece comes out like the one below - a creamy white colour, easy to handle, and ready to paint the glazes onto.

The raw glazes bear no resemblance to their actual colour, so this pale pinky one below will fire denim blue. I took this pic with my left hand, so it's a bit blurred.  But yes, I do paint around each little dot!

Then I fill in the other areas with different glaze colours, including a clear glaze over those bits (like the dots above) left white.

And then into the kiln it goes again.  Nothing else must touch it, otherwise the glazes would fuse different pieces together in the kiln, and Angie would not have liked that look!

Around 24 hours later, when the kiln has cooled down, I open it up and take out the finished piece.  As this one was for an avid quilter/needlewoman, I included the thread detail and attached the handmade button. You can just about see how the button was made - by pressing into it a metal sewing machine bobbin.

The flower border was made by impressing into the clay a string of lace daisies.  The waffle/quilty look around the outside is made by rolling an old tea-towel over the wet clay - one of those cheap ones you get off the market.

The block is Double Pinwheels.  The birthday girl loved it.  Angie blogged about it  here, and if you do have a look, you will see Angie's stunningly beautiful needlework and quilting, so do visit if you can.

Well, hope I haven't bored the pants off you all with all the technical details!!

Now off to sit in the rain - bliss!!  Are you cooling off at last too?

x Cathy