I have been working like a machine for the past 4 days since I got back from the UK. As one of my fellow artists in residence said yesterday, “You’re flying them out Kay, so you are”.

The new slip cast moulds turned out well. With all the intricacies of these pieces, it is rare that they just fall out of the mould (which is what you want, ideally), and some of them do need to be coaxed out with my usual method of extracting clay forms from press-moulds. So I have had an array of 8 closed moulds and 8 open moulds and have been constantly filling them with slip, topping them up, turning the closed moulds over to let the excess slip drip out and turning them out, over and over and over. The second bisque kiln went on 2 days ago and the third goes on this morning.

I have been churning out a lot, but it’s just as well, as I have been selected for an exhibition at the Regency Town House in Brighton, a wonderful Georgian house in Brunswick Square that is being used as a major arts venue while the owner slowly restores it to its former glory. So, that means I now have two huge wall pieces to make; one for The Ceramic House as part of Fantastic Tales with the Danish ceramics, and the other for RTH. This exhibition is a curated showcase of artists who are exhibiting in the Open Houses. I have proposed to make a piece specifically to fit the space, so I am waiting for dimensions. But in any case, I have been making enough pieces to tile a whole room, it feels like!

One great thing is, I was persuaded to put some tests in the soda firing last week. When I first arrived at Guldagergård, I stated firmly “I do not do wood firings”. I said this last year and I said it again this year. But guess what; I’m about to do a soda firing! For ‘non-ceramist’ readers: A soda firing is a wood firing and soda is poured into the kiln when it reaches top temperature. The soda crystals melt together with the ash on to the surface of the ceramic, creating glaze with beautiful random effects. Well I tried it and the results were gorgeous. It didn’t take much to convince me!

So my new plan is to make two different pieces using the same moulds; one for The Ceramic House, which will be using an electric kiln and therefore more colourful, and the other for the Regency Town House. A third piece will be a combination of both that I will put up in Bornholm for the Biennial Ceramic Context 2014 in September.

And now I’m about to get over to the studio and begin glazing for the soda kiln.


Just spent two days back in the UK that I filled even to my limits! I was busy, to understate, rushing at full speed from one appointment to the next.

The reason I flew back was for a public art commission interview, which went as well as could be expected, but I won’t know until next week, as all the proposals will now be presented to the residents on the relevant housing estate. So I’ve put that to one side, with so many other things on my plate. That took up all of Thursday, travelling to and from Bedfordshire. So, moving on…

Friday the first appointment was with a journalist from Absolute Magazine, a local Brighton rag, who are doing a column about me and The Ceramic House for the May issue. So I gave her a tour of the house (I’m well versed in this now) and chatted about the upcoming exhibition. She didn’t realise what a big deal the Danish show is going to be – well, she’s one of the people who will be spreading the news to everyone – so I filled her of course!

I then hopped on a bus and just arrived at my next meeting on the dot at Brighton University, where I gave a presentation to a group of ceramics 2nd year students. It had been advertised to the performance students too, but none turned up. The ceramics and performance departments have invited two of the artists exhibiting in my show to give talks. I thought it would be a stronger collaboration and good experience for the students to offer them the opportunity to get involved in the project. There were about six students who seemed keen, so hopefully I will acquire some help in the studio with workshop preparations, then in the house hanging the show, producing the interpretation material and pricing, assisting on the open days/private view in the house and The Tile Shop, assisting the performance artist, documenting, running workshops, etc. There is a lot to think about!

Then I popped into my studio to ensure all is well with my sub-letter and to collect some tiles ordered by a client in Copenhagen. And straight off again to my next meeting with my graphic designer, who has been working on my new logo and flyer for the show. We decided on colour schemes and discussed the catalogue, which finally looks as if it will happen on schedule. It has been a bit hairy trying to find a writer with knowledge of the contemporary Danish ceramic scene with such short notice. Since meeting with my curatorial mentor just before leaving for Denmark, we have been on the hunt for someone suitable and available and I am very relieved to say I got a positive response two days ago. So we have all the copy and print deadlines in the diary now for the catalogue and the flyer.

Then I jumped back on a bus and arrived home two minutes before a knock on the door signalled the arrival of my first customer for the Danish ceramics. This woman has just been to Norway, where she purchased some of Helle Hansen’s work. Regretting not buying more, she googled and found The Ceramic House as the only UK provider – what perfect timing! Not only did she buy three of Helle’s pieces, but also one of Anne Nielsen’s, all of which I had brought back especially. Now that’s pretty good going, six weeks before we even open!

Last thing to do before jumping on that plane was to pack up a box of Annette Bugansky’s work and a huge pile of my tiles for my painter friend who has a small gallery in Copenhagen and is also creating her own installation of my tiles in her garden. It’s all been delivered now and I’m writing this on the train going back to Guldagergård. Switch headspace again…!


In the middle of the residency at Guldagergård and organising the exhibition in Brighton, I have had to squeeze in preparations for a public art commission I’ve been shortlisted for. I ended up spending three full days working on the proposal. Which means I am now really behind on my schedule for completing everything here.

However, I am really pleased I did it and I am happy with the result. I got quite inspired looking into the history of the site, especially when I discovered that lots of really interesting things have taken place there, and many important people have had dealings there, so I was spoilt for choice when it came to including local references into my proposal.

I always love spending time designing. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job. I’m a bit old fashioned and I love getting out the watercolours and painting away. These days, of course, that is not enough. However beautiful the design might be, I need to professionally render it into a ‘mock-up’ of the site, and that is what I find hard, because my skills at using the necessary software are not up to scratch. Last night I was helped by a fellow resident here with a dab hand at photoshop and we had fun turning my designs into a ‘real’ situation. In fact, it has inspired me to get on and learn the programme, because I can’t do without any more in my job. It’s vital. It’s so wonderful being on a residency for so many reasons, but one of the main things is meeting other artists and feeding off of each other. Great.

So, now, to the airport back to the UK for a 3 day trip, in which I am squeezing not only the job interview, but also a meeting with my graphic designer for the catalogue, an interview with a journalist at The Ceramic House, a presentation to Brighton Univeristy students, hopefully to recruit volunteers for the project, and I even have a customer coming from Oxford to buy some Danish artwork in advance of the show going up in May!


I just spent the weekend having back to back meetings in Copenhagen, what a whirl! Very exciting stuff.

Luckily I have some very good friends in Copenhagen whom I have known since I lived here in 1997, so I am always spoilt for choice with places to stay when I visit. This time I stayed with my friend Sara, a painter, and drove off all over the city for 2 days visiting different studios and artists.

First up was Victoria Ceramic Studio in Vesterbro, shared by 6 talented ceramists. Two of them, Pia Lund Hansen and Helle Hansen, are in my show, and Jane Holmberg met us there to hand over her work. We had an inspiring couple of hours talking about the project and choosing work. Since my last visit in September, when I went on a reconnaissance trip recruiting artists for the show, they have set up a permanent shop in the studio, which is fabulous, full of lovely ceramics displayed very artfully on wonderful antique shop fittings.

Then I rushed off to Nørreport to meet a journalist to talk about getting some coverage in the Danish press. Marie Varming is a friend I met here a couple of years ago, and she’s been to Brighton to visit The Ceramic House and, generously, thinks it is newsworthy. The Danish Embassy in London have just provided me with a press list, which is excellent, so that in addition to Marie’s idea to pitch an article to some magazines, is a really good basis. Of course you never know with the press, but I think that this exhibition set in the unusual context of The Ceramic House is definitely an interesting story. And it will certainly make for some great photo opps.

By this time I was running late for my third and final meeting of the day, but luckily Anne Nielsen is very laid back and didn’t mind. She is a character full of stories who lives in Birkerød, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, and we got along very well; in fact we had a great time. She works in an incredibly intricate way, layering and cutting and re-layering coloured clay until the end results play tricks on your eyes. Gorgeous stuff!

I got back to Sara’s after 9 hours non-stop rushing around, had a great evening and then did it all over again today!

I went to Sten Lykke Madsen’s beautiful house in Holte. It is a true artist’s house, absolutely crammed with artwork, mainly his – everywhere you look, cluttered on shelves, tables, in the garden; even arranged under tables and artfully placed on chairs! It’s a treasure trove. I met up with some artists from Guldagergård and we were treated to an incredible lunch cooked up by Sten’s wife and daughter. In the middle of it I rushed off to Anne Nielsen’s house to pick up the work she had wrapped for me; when I got back we played a ‘game’ – all of us had 5 minutes to choose 3 pieces of Sten’s work; this was to help me choose which pieces to take for the show, there were so many! I ended up with a car full of sculptures. I honestly don’t know how I am going to get everything back to the UK at this moment in time..!


I documented the process of opening up a two part mould straight from casting and preparing it for use. This is a new method for me, as I have always employed open press moulds.

First the two parts are prised open. a release agent is essential for this or only a hammer will be in any way useful (and not for the desired effect!).

You can see the keys in each corner which join the two parts together in the correct place when casting.

The clay is removed carefully, trying not to damage the soft, freshly cast plaster. In my case, as I work in layers, you can see the layers I peel off, one by one.

Then, once all the clay is removed, the clean-up operation begins. For me, this can take hours, because of the intricacy of the forms, I need to ensure there are no undercuts where the clay could get stuck inside the mould. Once this is achieved, the moulds are cleaned.

Now all the moulds are bound together and in the drying cabinet where they will stay for a few days until dry enough to start casting.