Monday, 31 March 2014

Same but Different

One single quilt-block pattern.  Millions of individual quilters.  Millions of unique interpretations of that one pattern.  Each finished block/quilt telling its own story of how, why, for whom, it was made.  Each block the same but different, like us.

'Peace and Plenty' quilt block pattern  (McCall's Quilting)

'Peace and Plenty' -  a classic block first published around 1945.  My version in the homewares collection uses vintage 1930s fabric prints, in a traditional red, white and blue colour scheme. What does this say about me?  That I love bold use of colour, striking combinations, perhaps?

Design for Peace and Plenty product range (copyright Cathy Daniel)

Cotton Tea Towel:

Below -  a simple but effective version, found on Pinterest.  Hope I've got the attribution source correct.  These colours would look great in my beach house ....  if I had one!

Found on Pinterest :

My 'Peace and Plenty' handmade ceramic quilt bowl - same pattern, but different effect. What does this say about me?  That I'm going through a dotty phase?  (Absolutely!)
'Peace and Plenty' ceramic quilt block bowl -

I love the traditional patterns, but I am the first to admit that I am no expert. I'm a potter, not a quilter.

So, if any quilters out there have made any of the patterns I have used for the Homewares range, I would love to show them in future posts.  They are 'Peace and Plenty',  'Summer Winds',  'Bear Tracks'  and  'Right Hand of Friendship'.  Just drop me an email about it -

Have a wonderful, creative, fun week, putting your own unique stamp on to your work!


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Creative Therapy

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to catch the 'Frayed: Textiles on the Edge' exhibition in Norfolk, which explored how people have made textiles as a form of occupational or creative therapy. On show were some fascinating historic textiles, but the one I was drawn to most was this:

Bed-hangings by Anna Margaretta Brereton, c.1801-5
As you know, I'm making lots of hexie patterned pottery at the moment, and seeing this just hooked me in even further!

The story is that between 1801-5, whilst in mourning following the sudden death of her eldest son, this lady immersed herself in creating this extraordinarily beautiful counterpane and bed hangings.

How many hexies must she have pieced together for the whole thing??!
Well, my preoccupation with hexagons has not yet lasted four years, like hers, but you never know!

Hexie pattern mapped out onto wet clay slab
I do find it quite therapeutic, just like she did.  

Fired once and now glazed and ready for second firing
Creativity is obviously a means of artistic expression, but just as importantly, it is often meaningful activity which helps in times of difficulty.  I heard somewhere recently that when a person is totally absorbed in 'creating', they get into 'the zone', a place where temporarily they transcend normal thought processes.

Close up of  hexie patterned bowl - after second firing and finished
I'm sure that when it comes to designing the next pattern range for our homewares collection, hexagons are going to play a big part!
But for now, these are the four quilt block patterns to choose from and three lucky winners of our Homewares Giveaway have to do just that!

The four pattern ranges in the Homewares Collection

A big thank you to all who took part.  Picked at random, the following names came up:

Annie at
Lisa at
Gill at

Please could you email me ( with your choice of item from the homewares shop:    - and your postal address.

So ... do you find your craft/creative activity therapeutic?  Do you get into 'the Zone'?  I know I do.


Friday, 14 March 2014

Birds and Buttons

I've had so many lovely comments about our new Homewares range, and one thing that I've been asked is whether I designed the items myself, or collaborated with a Designer. 

Well, we could have gone down that route, but having used  design skills in my ceramics work, I didn't see why this new project should be that different.  I think most craftspeople, whether it's needlework, quilting, pottery, knitting, whatever, have a good eye for design even if they don't realise it.

Summer Winds apron and teatowel
I've always had an interest in folk-art motifs and I knew from the start that I would be incorporating lots of birdies into the mix, especially into this range - a bird flying on Summer Winds just seemed so right.
Ceramic Birdy Buttons from Catherine Daniel Ceramics
I've been making birdy buttons in the pottery too and the odd one or two that haven't gone to galleries have been popped in with some of the homewares orders with our compliments - a little Freebird!

Summer Winds Teatowel  - Birdhouse detail

Of course, once I had popped a bird into the design, he had to have a little birdhouse to live in.  Birdhouses have also been a favourite in the ceramics studio for a long long time.

Ceramic hanging decorations - birdhouses in the foreground

I didn't quite realise this cross-over was happening until after we'd got the new items from the manufacturers, and I suddenly saw all my favourite things in them.

Summer Winds coaster

Quick Reminder! One more week to enter the Giveaway.  Winners announced on Saturday 22nd March.   Please take the picture if you wish.

As a crafts-person, what are your favourite design motifs;  those that you keep using over and over?

x Cathy

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Useful or Beautiful ... or neither!

Spring is finally here in our little corner of England and I'm  thinking about doing a spot of spring cleaning and de-cluttering.  Thinking about it takes no effort at all - try it!

But what better guide for a Springtime de-clutter, than that old William Morris quote :  "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"...

...or 'bootiful', as they say here in Norfolk!  

This is the 'Grandmother's Flower Garden' pattern bowl I just finished.  I love working with hexies all of a sudden!  I am hopeful that this falls into the 'beautiful' category.

The new range of mugs, however, ticks both the 'useful AND beautiful' boxes for me and for you too,  judging from your wonderful comments on the new homewares collection!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though, and for me it always lies in the detail; and obviously colour and pattern.  I can also appreciate calm,understated minimalism too. 

Nothing minimalist about the new quilt-block patterned teatowels and coasters, though!  I think they scream at the top of their voices "look at me, look at me!".

Useful AND Beautiful was my guiding principle when I designed the new collection, to make everyday things a little special.

What would be fun to know, though, is what you all have around your house which is neither useful nor beautiful! 
And, as I write this on International Women's Day .....  ladies, you're not allowed to apply this principle to people in your house, just objects!

Quick reminder ... don't forget my very, very useful and beautiful GIVEAWAY!  The winner can choose any item from the online shop :  Closing date 22nd March 2014.  Just leave me a comment and mention it on your own blog/facebook/etc.  Take the picture if you wish.

And finally a HUGE thank you to all those who've sent their good wishes and support - it means so much.  You are brilliant!

So, tell me ... what are you looking at that's not useful or beautiful??

x Cathy

Saturday, 1 March 2014

New Product Range .... and a Giveaway!

Hello and a huge welcome to any newcomers and a big thank you to all my blogger friends who have come with me from my old pottery blog.  I really want to make you all a nice cup of tea and a slice of lemon cake but I can't work out how to do that via a blog - yet!

What I do plan to do via this blog,  (yes - there is an actual plan!), is to mix up all that's happening in the handmade ceramics studio with the latest updates on my new range of quilty things for the home, and add in a pinch of anything else interesting, crafty and creative.

Starting with traditional quilt block patterns;  for me, the appeal of these age old designs is in their geometrical energy, their colour and vitality and all the history and culture associated with them.  Oh yes, and  I love their quirky individual names.  I first started researching quilt-blocks years ago for my handmade ceramics, and I'm still finding it fascinating and informative.

So now, having already jumped off quilts and onto my pots, these lovely patterns have escaped even further - onto a new range of kitchen items and gifts.  And best of all, only genuine vintage fabric prints have been used in each design.

You can see the complete collection in my new online shop

But now for the important bit ......
The lucky winner can choose any single item from the new product range at Cathy Daniel Homewares absolutely free.  All you need to do is follow this blog any way you choose, leave me a comment, and mention the Giveaway on your own blog/facebook/twitter/other - if you have one.  The Giveaway is open to overseas and UK and the winner will be picked by random number generator and announced here on 22nd March 2014 when they will be asked for their choice of item.  You can take the Giveaway picture below and link back to me, if you're able!

Good Luck!  Thanks for popping in and keep in touch!

x Cathy