Saturday, 20 December 2014

Ho! Ho! Ho! and all that

Just a quick post to sign off for the Christmas holidays.  We still have no Broadband in our new place so I may as well kick back for a while and forget about it!

Tiny ceramic Christmas decorations - on sale next year!
I made these little itty bitty things before I packed up the pottery to move it to Scotland.  I'll definitely make some for sale next Christmas, but this year has been too hectic, what with the move an' all.

Ceramic patchwork hearts - with 'thank you' impressed into them
Thanks to all of you for support and good wishes and for visiting my blog and facebook over the past year.  I've met a lot of 'kindred spirits' both here and in person, which has been just lovely.

Hanging hearts in 'autumn/wintery' colours.
Santa arrived early and delivered my new kiln last week, so we'll be up and running in the new year with lots of new ideas for pots.  I didn't put a working Broadband connection on my Christmas list, but I'm not sure that even Santa can sort that one.

So, here's wishing you all a wonderful, peaceful, relaxing Christmas and everything you wish for yourselves for 2015!  See you then!

x Cathy

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Pots for Scots

Sorry about the absence from this spot and for the awful title of this post but the reason for both these things is that we moved north of the border a few weeks ago, and the seamless transition I had hoped for has been thwarted by lack of a Broadband connection in our new house!

The view from our new abode last week on a sunny day.
It all happened so quickly! We are here temporarily whilst we look for a permanent home in the area and once Santa brings my new kiln, I shall start making pots for the Scots!

Same view a week later with some white stuff on the tops!
Everyone here has been really warm and welcoming - I mentioned the lack of internet connection to our neighbour yesterday and here I am sitting at their kitchen table using their internet !

Hanging houses available from
I must have had houses on the brain - these are the last thing I made before we moved. 

Will try and catch up with your blogs as and when I can and hopefully we'll be connected soon and normal service will resume!

x Cathy

Friday, 7 November 2014

Bear Tracks in Autumn

Inspired by the beautiful Autumn leaves swirling madly outside my studio window, and one of my favourite quilt blocks, Bear Tracks, I knocked together this little number which came out of the kiln last week.  So pleased with it, I thought I'd share it here.

'Bear Tracks' quilt block bowl from Catherine Daniel Ceramics

The leaves around the border have come out really well, using the shape of the leaf to shape the edge of the piece.

Usual trimmings added at the end - ceramic button threaded onto bowl
I've finally got round to attaching some decent looking labels to my pieces too.

All sewn up in matching thread.
Thinking back,  it was no surprise that this pattern ended up as the basis for one of the homewares ranges
'Bear Tracks' tea-towel from
Don't worry - you won't get that old and shabby well-loved teddy bear with your order!

Speaking of which, I love this picture below which we used on the homewares website on the 'Bear Tracks' pages.
Teddy Bear and Train Tracks conjours up 'Bear Tracks'
I can think of safer places to walk, though,
like kicking through Autumn leaves on a blustery November day.  
Autumn Leaves ...... and Winter Arrives! 
Have you got your winter woollies out yet?

x Cathy

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Power of the Unusual

I'm always attracted by the unusual, the quirky and the downright odd, (and I'm not just talking about the Hubby here!).  I mean seeing the normal and ordinary in abnormal and extraordinary places.

Here are a few examples I've come across lately.....

Quilt blocks on quilts is usual.  Quilt blocks on barns is, well, unusual!  And for me, that's where the interest lies.  

'Robbing Peter to pay Paul' is the block here, I think.

Quilt blocks on quilts is ordinary.  Quilt blocks made of flowers is extraordinary, and there's a whole blog about it here.

A pinwheel block made of flowers.  photo courtesy of Amish County . org

Postcards made of card (the clue is in the name 'Post  Card') are now boring if made of card!  So much more exciting and exquisitely beautiful if they are made of textile, like this one from my friend Judy in Boise, Idaho. Do visit her blog - she excels at so many creative things: 

Thank you so much, Judy!  It is so beautiful - and unusual!!

From the look on our postman's face, I don't think he'd seen one before!
And, of course, last but not least, I hope I've proved that a quilt block is not only for quilts, but for homewares and handmade ceramic bowls.

Quilt-block tea towels, aprons, mugs, coasters and handmade ceramics from
And it's getting to that time of year again when we're all hunting for something unusual, something interesting, something a bit quirky even, for that perfect Christmas gift.   Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  No, me neither!

Cathy x

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

It's a Small World after all

'It's a small world after all, ...'  Those of you with small children will know this Disney song, and apologies for the fact that it will now be going round in your head incessantly for the next week/month, but these words came home to me this summer in a big way.

I have been visiting Chris Jurd's Patchwork Fundamentals blog for a while now.  Chris is a quilt teacher based in the Blue Mountains near Sydney and shows her own work and the fabulous work of her pupils.

She mentioned that she was doing a trip, taking in the UK, and long-story-short, she came to see me and my pots!

So, in honour of her visit, I made her this large quilt bowl depicting one of her own patterns on its inner surface.

Whilst she was in my studio looking at my work, I casually asked her if she liked this one and whether there was room in her suitcase for it to fly back to Australia.  You should have seen her face!

Top: mapping out the design onto the wet clay.  Bottom: all the usual trimmings
I had to make sure I got the lines and points as perfect as I could on this one!
We had a lovely time together and I was even brave enough to show Chris my first (and only) quilt ... and she even found some positive things to say about it, as all good teachers do!  

We parted,  and then a few weeks after Chris had landed back home, this arrived in the post for me - in the same pattern as the bowl!

Just beautiful!  You can't tell the size here but it's about 2ft diameter.
I'm not afraid to show close-ups of Chris's lines and points as they're absolutely perfect!

Her quilting is better than mine, but as she says ... her pottery isn't!  Lol!

I even love the back of this piece, and especially love the quilt-label she made!

'Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all'

Blogging, to me, makes the world a smaller and friendlier place.

Thank you so much Chris!  I will treasure it.

x Cathy

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Playing with patches of colour

Playing with patches of colour is a great way to spend time, quite a long time sometimes!  It doesn't matter whether its bits of gorgeous fabric or squares of glazed ceramic.  I mix and match, and mutter 'Yesss!' at one colour combo and then 'Eeek, No!' at another.  

Tiny ceramic tiles.  Available to order from

And one thing generally leads to another, so that the little ceramic tiles then become patches on a ceramic quilt bowl.

Ceramic patchwork bowl from

A while ago now,  I started playing about with these beautiful vintage fabrics below.

Vintage 30's and 40's fabrics
And during that little play I mused upon how lovely they would look as the basis for a range of traditional quilt block patterns.

The 'Right Hand of Friendship' block used in our Homewares collection

And then, as usual, one thing led to another and the new homewares collection was born.

Available from

And when they ask, you say, "It may look like I'm just playing about but there's serious stuff going on here!"

Playing around with stuff is where it all starts - but then you all know that because I bet you all do it too?

x Cathy

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Schoolhouse Block

An adaptation of the 'Little Red Schoolhouse' block - not done this one before and I actually found it quite tricky.

Little Blue Schoolhouse ?

Had to make a template and everything!  No 'winging it' on this one!

Making the template gave me the idea of making a little hanging house

Wanted to make the houses all kind of merge into each other, and quite like the higgledy-piggledy look of the finished pattern.

Now available from:

Added a kind of brick-wall effect as a border, along with the usual little ceramic button.

Brickwall detail around border

 And, of course, a little bit of sewing up was needed, as always.  I put my potter's mark above the doorway of each house - it's an overlapping C and D - not very inventive really!

Enjoyed using this block and will definitely make more in different colour combos.  May even put 'Home Sweet Home' or similar, in the border?  Might make a nice house-warming gift, maybe?

This must be a result of having houses on the brain at the moment.  We've sold ours and have yet to find another and I have looked at so many online, they are all merging together - a bit like this pattern!!

We haven't moved for 15 years - any tips welcome!

x Cathy

Sunday, 7 September 2014

1718 Coverlet Ceramics in Pictures

I took the 1718 ceramics to the Quilt Museum last week whilst they were setting up the exhibition and I got to see behind the scenes.  The actual Coverlet was not yet up but I did see the reproduction, made by members of the Quilters Guild, and even that was just stunning.

I shall return in a few weeks to see the exhibition in full swing.  Here are the last pictures of the pieces which are now on sale at York.

The Fleur de Lys corner block.   
What IS that shape top left??  A crab?  A spider?

The motifs and silk fabrics used suggest that EH was from a well-to-do family

The border above was done with my forky-spoony thing.  

I shall miss working on these, but I do have a backlog of 'normal' quilt bowls to catch up on, and my pre-Christmas stocks have run dangerously low!  Added to which, my kiln may soon be in the back of a furniture lorry headed to some as yet unknown destination!!  

Oh, well.  Too much certainty is not good for a person!  More of all that to come, probably ... possibly .... maybe ..... who knows!

Have a great week.

x Cathy

Friday, 29 August 2014

Making the 1718 Coverlet Ceramics

So having said 'Yes' to making the series of pieces based on the gorgeous 1718 Patchwork Coverlet, only THEN did I give some thought as to how I would go about it!

I studied the online image of the whole quilt (see my last post) and contacted Susan Briscoe, (author of 'The 1718 Coverlet'), who sent me her own master plan of the quilt on which she had numbered each individual block, making it easy for me to identify the close-up images I required for the pots.

There was no point printing off the images, as they would not be the size I needed for my pieces, so I just drew the online image free-hand onto card which I then cut out to make a template.

Template placed into position on the clay slab.
The template was then placed into position on the already rolled out clay slab so that I could mark out the image with a clay tool.

Design completely marked out and border being added 
Obviously, for some blocks, I didn't need a card template.  Geometric shapes are ok - geese are another matter!  I wanted to set the whole design off with a decorative border and, appropriately, used a lace imprint.

Fired once, glaze applied and awaiting second firing in kiln.
The picture above shows the same design but with a different lace-patterned border (photographic consistency not my strong point!).  This would then come out of the kiln all finished except for the thread and button detail.  You saw the finished version of this one in the last post.  Here are some of the others.

Large and small bowls out of the kiln, but not yet with thread and button attachments

I wanted to concentrate mainly on the blocks around the name and date block, as I felt that was significant.

Close-up of the original name/date block, courtesy of Sue Briscoe
But who was EH?  Did we ever find out?  I seriously wondered about her (him??!!) whilst I was making all these.  I thought about joyful colours, detail, imagery, perseverance, patience, skill, talent, creativity, fulfilment, history, life in 1718, and a thousand other things ....  even whether she was up there watching me!

My potter's mark centre top in the border
Can you see my potter's mark here on this piece?  CD and EH - working together!
Now you get the process, my final 1718 post next time will be few words and many pictures.

Have a great weekend.  Getting Autumny .... back to school .... sharpen those pencils!

Cathy x

Monday, 18 August 2014

1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

Back in May this year I was asked by the National Quilt Museum in York (to whom I supply my ceramic quilt bowls) if I would be interested in making a series of pieces based on one of their exhibits, the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet.  For those who don't know, this is the oldest dated quilt in the country and the Museum are mounting an exhibition around it in September.
The 1718 Coverlet
I took one look at the image of the Coverlet and immediately replied YES!  I mean - just look at it!  How could you not get involved in something as crazy and beautiful as that?

There is a book entitled The 1718 Coverlet, by Susan Briscoe, (foreword by Kaffe Fassett),  which has just been published, which researches the background to the piece and gives full patterns and instructions on how to make the 69  blocks from this. 

I got in touch with Susan, pre-publication,  to see if she could help with close-ups of the blocks I wanted to use so that I could work from them.  She was incredibly generous and helpful and sent me all the images I asked for -  like this one:

image of original panel from 1718 Coverlet courtesy of Susan Briscoe
and this one:
image of original panel from 1718 Coverlet courtesy of Susan Briscoe
Once I had these close-ups, I was able to work in detail on the ceramics and produce in total 20 pieces which will be dispatched to the museum in the next few weeks, in time for their Exhibition.  Below is just one of the series - I will bore you rigid show you more in the next few blogs and go into detail about the making process.

Ceramic Bowl based on the 1718 Coverlet.

All the pieces have my trade-mark mixed media threaded bits and attached buttons, and I added my own border to frame the block.  It's very much my own interpretation, rather than an exact replica, but I am pleased with the results.

I had the most fun making these.  It has been both fascinating and fulfilling to interpret images from this historic quilt onto ceramic bowls.  Do go to the Exhibition in York if you can (5 Sept to 13 Dec) and they're doing all sorts of workshops, etc around this for you clever quilters! 

More to come next time!

x Cathy