Whats in a name?

If you have had a child then you will be familiar with the enormous responsibility of choosing a name for that wee individual. The pressure would keep me up at night.

I managed to refrain from looking at name books and from google searches such as “old lady names” until I got that double line of positivity. But as soon as that bun was in the oven I was consumed. I started focusing on the credits of movies.

During one pregnancy I was working as a receptionist at a vet clinic. I would spend time searching client names. Dog names make great little people names. The thing is, naming a baby is one thing, but that name has to last a lift time. What suits a bonnie wee baby boy may not suit a rather large masculine man.

And then there’s ‘namer’s remorse’. I had this bad with our son, Angus. I didn’t regret that we gave him the middle name of ‘Danger’. He will, unfortunately for him, always know that his parents have an odd sense of humor. But I was not happy with ‘Angus’. We loved that our Scottish heritage was evident, and its meaning is “strength”, but I had a bad case of ‘namer’s remorse’. I even looked into what I would have to do to officially change it, but I had no idea what too, so Angus it remained.

On a more recent google search I found that it also means ‘one’, which is fitting as he is my only boy, besides the baby that resulted from my egg donation, but thats their ‘one’, and another post all together. Also appropriate as he was a twin!

As I’d had two previous pregnancies I knew when we were pregnant within the first couple of weeks of gestation. All my pregnancy cues were in full force. I went for bloods, which showed higher results than expected for someone at that gestation. We were sent for an early scan. I think it was about 8 weeks. Sure enough the scan showed two little heart beats. The problem was that one little line was the expected length for 8 weeks and the other 6 weeks. We loved the idea of having twins, but were told of this vanishing twin syndrome and knew it didn’t look promising. While superfetation can coccur in animals, such as rodents, rabbits and horses, it’s not known to occur in humans.

Sure enough by the next scan, 2 weeks later the little line was just a line, without the flickering heart beat. Perhaps the loss of this little spirit is why I didnt feel complete after our third child, and lead me to donate eggs…. which still didnt satisfy my need for another little spirit.

We had our fourth child, Daisy, five years later.

‘Old lady’s name’…… Tick

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Cute little gifts

I will definitely be making more of these little guys. I made them for personal Christmas gifts but had a few requests for some! A cool scale roller and hand cut fish shapes. I leaned them up on a cardboard tube cut in half to give the fish a slight curve. I experimented with what ever shades of blue the Clay Shed had. Simple and sweet.

Glazed and out of the kiln

The dreaded school holidays arrived, and to keep me sane I made sure that I had a sack of clay at my ready. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to try; some mermaids, fish and this awesome shark I’d seen online, as an award for design. I attempted my first dolphin, of which I hope to create more of, promoting an awareness of the endangered maui dolphin, which occasionally frequents the waters of New Zealand’s West Coast. These pieces would allow me to explore with some colour in the form of slips.

 

I also had some more meaningful pieces I want to get out; the first being a figure of a woman represented as a bowling pin. A woman who is continuously, repetitively knocked down, and yet gets back up again, all to be knocked down again. Symbolising abuse.

The second brings awareness to breast cancer. A beautiful curvaceous woman, proud of her battle wound, having had a breast removed.

Fighters. Survivors.

 

Well after messing up my first two pieces, getting carried away with slips and glazes I had a bit of slip fun with the mermaids and fish, and got a wee bit arty with my ladies.

 

 

I love the red stripes, making the bowling pin imagery more obvious.

I’m not fond of glossy glazes so left my survivor lady without a glaze. A double firing of white slip.

The results…

 

Unfortunately the bowling pin lady must have touched something black while in the kiln, which has left a smudge on her back. The breast cancer survivor had a fleck of black glaze on her boob, which I could easily sand off with my rotary tool. I’m yet to seal her, as she has no glaze to protect her.

 

What do you think?

My next two ladies

Continuing on with my motherly theme I created these two ladies, my pregnant woman having a moment with her bump and the blessed mother with her child.

 

This time to make sure they didn’t slump I used vinyl, taped into a cone, covered in a bread bag as a support. After the first day a drying I could remove the cone and pull free the plastic bag. If more shaping was needed, it could be done then, before the piece gets too dry. The following day I used a cut metal knitting needle to reach the end of the hollow cavity to ensure there is a gap in the clay, about the neck, creating an escape for trapped air during firing, prevent the ladies heads from blowing up, potentially taking out nearby pieces from other artists.

 

I had fun with the colouring of these pieces, blending brown to green on one piece and using a selection of blues on my watery woman. Unfortunately I was told about englobes, and coated the pieces in Kakapo Green and Peacock Blue. I thought this would give the girls some amazing texture and contrast. The watery lady looked ok, perhaps a bit too busy and the green lady kinda just went a solid bright green. Not really the earthy toned lady I had envisioned.

 

Oh well, I am told that this is what pottery is about. Experimenting. Especially when you have a group kiln, and you are not in control of the firing temperatures. I think I need to do some googling research of glazes, slips and englobes and perhaps invest in some products to my tastes, hopes and dreams.

I have not been deterred.

Getting creative

Having four children is pretty time consuming. For one; it’s exhausting… and costly. Their interests and hobbies tend to consume much of our spare time and funds and restricts the people we interact with and the commitments we make to clubs and teams. Now that the youngest is 3, I can finally find some time to commit to my own interests, as an ongoing commitment rather than just a sanity measure. I am also able to meet others with similar cravings for creative outlets.

I was pretty excited about moving to Raglan and had seen that there was an amazing Art Gallery slash Clay Shed. I had played around with clay years ago, but not to fire in a kiln, but to use to create sculptures. I’d allow the piece to dry for a few days, then make a mold of my work using silicon or latex and a mother mold of plaster paris. I would then cast the molds in concrete.

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These figures represent my values; my love for my husband and our unity, the beauty and special bond formed with a baby while pregnant and the nurturing of a child.

I didn’t know that I would be recreating these images in my future pottery efforts, adding to my repertoire pieces depicting fertility issues, breast cancer abuse.

My first piece I created while at a Tuesday night beginners group was a woman who resembled a nun. As I created the form she began to collapse, but I enjoyed this morphing and allowed her to become slumped, under pressure. How I was feeling at the time, with our recent move.

 

 

 

I love black, but thought for some difference I’d try some slip blending with Kaka Green.

raglan nz clay pottery sculpture handmade lulu art couple support struggle fertility issues adopt egg donor reciepient

Being so new to working with clay I mistakenly used too much water, which apparently I am told is why a crack formed after firing. I kinda like this though and think it adds to the image I was trying to create.

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Muse

World famous for its surf breaks, Raglan is a key destination for New Zealand tourists. But regardless of whether its pumping or not, Ngarunui Beach offers paradise to it’s punters. There’s definitely something very special to be found here, with Facebook page’s littered with requests for accommodation and work from overseas travellers, who have fallen in love with the place and never want to leave. The endless beach opportunities offer weather dependant entertainment. The harbour, tidal changes, estuaries and cliffs beacon to be explored. And being a firm west coast location we are graced each night by the most amazing and forever changing sunsets. Just you try to catch a green flash!

Can you see an ape in the rocks?

Bridal Veil Falls

Being new Raglan residents we thought we’d better get exploring all that attracts thousands every year. I started an Instagram @exploring_raglan, a follow on from @thecoromandelguide and @exploringhamilton and look forward to adding our adventures.

Bridal Veil Falls is a NZ must do, and a short detour when en route to Raglan from Hamilton. You take a left down Te Mata Road off State Highway 23, go thru the township and follow the signs until you come across the parking at the bush walk entrance. Be weary of thieves, taking valuables with you.

An easy pram and wheelchair friendly walk leads you to the viewing platform at the top of the waterfall, 55m meters high!

Continuing downwards to the base of the falls is steep and tiresome, but definitely worth it. With viewing platforms and a bridge, you get immersed in the enormity of the Waireinga falls. The waterfall spray has enabled an interesting assortment of vegetation to grow on the sandstone walls, creating a tropical oasis.

‘Waireinga’ means leaping waters, referring to ‘wairua’  the spirits which leap the great height of this waterfall. Waireinga is also spiritually known by ‘tangata whenua’  the people of the land, to be occupied by ‘Patupaiarehe’, Maori fairies who are kaitiaki, the guardians of the area.

A photograph can be captured at the second viewing platform, where the origin of waterfalls name Bridal Veil Falls comes obvious.