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I have been up to my ankles (literally!) in porcelain slip for the last 10 days. My studio has turned white and everything in it is covered in a white residue left over from the slip that abounds. This is my new life now, after 20 years of press-moulding clay. I have moved into a white world where I need to don aprons and slip-casting boots before I can enter! It’s not because I’m messy (honest!). This is partly because of the quantities of slip I am getting though. I have cast nearly 100 litres of slip in just over a week. I have turned into a human machine, churning out cast after cast. I need to, we have two and and half weeks to go before we will be on the ferry! Anyway I have nearly reached the end of the slip and today I will start mixing glazes. The first kiln will go on today with bisque ware and the bisque firing full of samples should be cool enough to open this afternoon.

Meanwhile the crowdfunding campaign is doing really well. We are up to £3263 of our £4000 target now, and have until 1st April to try to get to the target. It’s been interesting and hard work making it happen. We are fully aware that it is not easy for arts-related campaigns to succeed, having spoken to many people who have attempted to raise funds this way. Most of our contributors are known to us, and we are so grateful that they are willing to support us in this way. It’s always good to find that a stranger has donated, which means that the project is reaching out into the wider world. I tried advertising on the Facebook page, and discovered that although it didn’t bring in a vast number of extra pledges, it certainly upped the reach of the post, so that was an interesting experiment that I know I can use if I ever want to push something to a wider audience. Here is the link if you want to check our progress (and you might even feel moved to pledge! There are some great rewards for both sound and ceramics lovers and more!) http://igg.me/at/shetland-landscape/x/13402832



(post by Joseph)

It’s a sad fact of an artist’s life that at least 80% of what you do to earn a living is something other than actually making work. So it is with great relief that I finally sat down in my studio a couple of days ago to edit and deliver the digital version of the album release of In A Shetland Landscape, which will be available on free download in April, courtesy of Green Field Recordings.

You may ask, how I can make a living from this if I give the work away? Well, it’s complicated… The release on Green Field Recordings, a well-established and respected label based in Portugal, will get the work to a much wider audience and if the listener wants to buy a high resolution copy (rather than the mp3 version available online) then they can pledge now and receive a copy of the CD along with the project catalogue which will be published in September. Getting distribution and making money from sound art is not easy, with sound art labels proliferating online in recent years but many existing as labours of love rather than profit-making businesses.

The other thing I’ve done is to offer a completely different set of ‘high quality’ (full resolution sounds) to download as part of the indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. These sounds will not be available anywhere else and anyone pledging support in this way gets to own an exclusive set of immersive binaural soundscapes, as a secure download digital limited edition.

Please consider supporting us


Check out our crowdfunding campaign link here

Post by Kay

I have been working long hours in the studio for the last week, having realised that time is now very pressed to get the work made in time! So that will be my life until we get to Shetland in April. It’s hard, physical work, the kind of work I do – heavy and messy, so it takes its toll physically. I often think that when I am curating or hanging exhibitions of gorgeous, precious ceramics – they are such objects of beauty, and yet I know the manual, hard work involved that goes into producing it. It’s not glamorous, that’s true!

So, although I have not finished making all the prototypes yet, I decided to cast the first batch, so that the plaster casts have time to dry out and I will have no time wasted waited for drying. The plaster casting took 2 long days, up to my neck in plaster in my decidedly grotty glaze- and plaster room, not my favourite place to spend time as it has no windows and my studio is in the basement. Anyway I got it all done, the first 10 designs are now sitting in the kiln room drying out benefitting from the warm environment.

I have also just ordered two new pieces of equipment for the studio. A high speed mixer (rather like a massive version of a hand-held kitchen bender) and a set of very accurate scales. This is quite a splash-out in terms of cost, but this is a new way of working and I need the kit. I have made one version of this type of work before, my series of Botanical Structures, that was developed in residence at Guldagergaard Ceramics Centre in Denmark, where they have all the equipment. As I will be continuing to make this type of work for my emerging fine art practice (after 20 years of working as a public artist), I will be able to do so. So that is always exciting, to get new stuff for the studio! The mixer is because I will be getting through vast quantities of porcelain slip and the scales are because I will be making my own glazes. I am slightly concerned about that, because of the shortness of time. There is no time for experimentation. So I will be using recipes I have made before and trying to squeeze in the time to make just a few new ones in between the production process.

The crowdfunding is going very well, we are over 50% of our target amount now! It is a time eater though, and you really have to be on it all the time, every day, publicising it on social media, targeting potential donors, emailing people. It’s working though! Here is the Indiegogo link if you want to watch the gorgeous film and see what the rewards are and please support us if you can. There are some great perks including ceramics, sound collections, workshops and accommodation in the fabulous Ceramic House so check it out!


(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?