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(Post by Kay)

It’s been difficult trying to blog daily about the crowdfunding campaign as we actually haven’t got time to do it! Hence today’s title “stop the clock”. Another reason for that is that we won’t be blogging until next week, as we have just arrived in Brussels. Joseph is representing the Paying Artist campaign for the AIR Council at the State of the Arts conference on establishing a fair trade mark for the arts.

We spent yesterday campaigning like mad trying to reach 25% of our target figure. In the morning we were around 18%. I sent out a bunch of emails to friends and contacts and the pledges started coming in. In the end we hit 26% so we’re on track.

And now we are celebrating Joseph’s birthday!

Hasta la Vista, Adios, see ya later!


Post by Kay

The a-n site was down last night, so here are two days in one. Every day right now this is what I am doing:

I have been beavering away in the studio making the prototypes for the new Shetland flora ceramic installation. My process involves rolling out thin layers of clay in a variety of thicknesses and tracing the designs on to the clay. I then cut out the shapes according to the height I want the relief components to be. Sometimes I use a numbers system to decide in advance how many layers each area of the design should be, like the photo here, but mostly I just do it by eye.

So far I have completed prototypes of a buttercup head (photo above). I was amazed to find out what a buttercup looks like once its petals have withered under the microscope. I have also made selfheal, Scots lovage, cross leaved heath, devil’s bit scabious and kidney vetch, plus two unidentified plants, all picked on walks in different parts of Shetland.

I am really up against the clock with the work. I still have many prototypes I want to make but I will have to start plaster casting this week anyway, and see if I can manage to keep making new prototypes whilst continuing with producing the pieces. There are so many processes that involve time with ceramics; drying time, firing time, so I have to plan my schedule meticulously to make sure it all gets done! Yesterday I wrote a schedule and am fairly fearful about trying to get such a huge piece of work ready in 5 weeks!

Meanwhile the crowdfunding campaign is proving to be hard work and a time eater. But the money is trickling in! Please check it out here and if you feel moved, why not pledge a few £s to a worthy and important new merging of craft and digital work?


Post by Kay

I have been busy in the studio for the past few weeks designing the new Shetland flora series for the exhibition. My first action was to go through all the microscope photographs I took whilst in residency in Scalloway Booth last August and select the best ones to create in clay. It took a while categorising everything by name of plant and the place that each was found. There are still a few unidentified plants too.

I then made drawings of a selection of the images. For these purposes, I need clear line drawings that can be translated on to the clay. I am careful to be precise and as accurate as possible when it comes to staying faithful and true to the original object.

Meanwhile our crowdfunding campaign is gaining ground. We are up to 11% of our target amount now. It is a major commitment, we are both discovering, to attempt to raise funds in this way. The money is unlikely to just appear; it requires a lot of dedication and time publicising and promoting it, which eats into my studio time, and I am already really up against it with the amount of work I need to produce in the next 6 weeks. Check out our crowdfunding campaign here.

So it’s 7 days a week from morning til night for me until we travel to Shetland – the usual artist’s schedule! Of course, as well as the making and the fundraising for this project, all the other usual commitments keep rumbling on – job and funding applications for what happens next, organising this year and next year’s exhibitions at The Ceramic House, website developments, blogging, getting inspired about new ideas, plotting, planning and carrying on!


My first thought is that I have already broken my self-imposed rule for blogging every day. The good news is we gained an extra 3 (significant) pledges yesterday and are now up to 8 % of our target – which ain’t too shabby…

The ‘Beware of the Bull’ notice, posted above, was photographed last August and seems an appropriate response to the number of crowd-funding marketing platforms that we have been contacted by in the last few days!  A positive deluge of new social media followers all promising low-cost promotion, along with potentially tens of thousands of their engaged followers just waiting, hands on collective mice, to pledge endless amounts of cash!

But how many of these services actually deliver? I’m not sure I can answer that; but after initial enthusiasm for the idea I have only clicked on one free link to see if it bears any fruit in the next 24 hours, before committing to their paid service. I’m already a little cynical that it won’t.

When you look at the amount of crowd-funding campaigns out there trying to raise money for all sorts of different projects, I am reminded that our journey was never going to be easy and the seemingly small sum we are asking for could be unattainable. Time will tell of course, and for now I remain cautiously optimistic that we will get to where we need to be through our own efforts…

Please watch the film by the way, if you haven’t already, please consider pledging a few quid to a worthwhile and ambitious project.