43 hours and Counting!

We’re on the last stretch of preparation for the largest market we’ve done so far.

Lots of tiles being framed, last minute glaze firing of sheep, bells and other goodies, and lots of lists being made.

Here’s a wee flyer with some info. I’ll post pics periodically through the week. Hope to see you there.

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New Moos and other things

We’ve been working hard over the last month, trying out some new ideas, and planning our stock offering for our next market, which will be the biggest we have done so far.

The West End Fair is based at the West end (go figure!) of Princes Street in Edinburgh, in the grounds of St Johns Church on the corner of Lothian Road. It’s been running for over two decades now, during the Edinburgh Festival in August, and has over 100 selected crafts people, artisans and artists. We’re really excited to be part of this massive event.

Since its our first time, we decided to start small(ish) so we’ve got our stall booked for one week only of the three that the fair will be open. You will find us on the Boardwalk from Monday 18th to Sunday 24th August. We hope you’ll pop along and say hello and take a look at our new ranges.

Lots more to come, and we’re busy making right now so that we have more than enough stock to last the week.

Exciting new developments

I’m going to make a midsummer resolution to stop apologising for lack of blog posts…. And actually start writing more blog posts!

It’s been a turbulent time (personally) for us over the last two years and MoKa Pottery has suffered a wee bit because of it. But I’m pleased to say that things are starting to even out and we have some big changes on the way.

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The main change is that, since Mo has now given up her full time job, we are now both fully committed to MoKa Pottery as our main business. This will hopefully free up time, head space and energy to allow us to develop the studio as a business, do more promotion, create more stock and generally ‘up our game’. It will give us time and space to grow, to develop creative themes and to hopefully improve our creative offering. It may not provide us with a great income, and initially we’ll both keep part-time jobs to help towards household costs, but it’s definitely a move in the right direction for both of us.

In conjunction with the development of MoKa Pottery, we will be launching a new venture, MoKa Creative, which will be an outlet for paintings and other non-clay creations. More news on this to follow soon.

We hope you’ll stick around to see where we take this, and enjoy the ride!

Holiday Greetings

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Another lengthy quiet spell on the blog while we rush around like mad in real life juggling our studio with markets, day jobs and all sorts of other life things.

Wanted to pop in and say Merry Christmas to you all and we’ll see you in the New Year with lots of news and exciting updates for our website.

Have a lovely holiday.

Mo & Kath

Tempus Fugit

Will someone please tell me where they’ve put my May, June, July and most of August? I can’t believe my last post was APRIL!

We’ve had a very busy summer, with the Forth Valley a open Studios event in June, preceded by lots of prep, inside and outside the studio. Our back garden was the main thoroughfare to the studio for visitors, so we spent most of the month before doing some landscaping to make it navigable.

We had a couple of rather fun Raku firing sessions during open studios, and our visitors enjoyed it immensely, despite the howling wind one day, and rain the next.

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July has seen some hand building work, with our cute little Espresso Cups getting lots of ‚̧ on Etsy and large bowls for our local farm shop/deli grand opening which was this week (The Woodhouse at Kippen Station run by our lovely friends the Lamb Family). The bowls are now sitting happily full of Olives in their new home at the deli counter, and I'll be making more for sale soon. I'll have to pop along and get photos, as I rather stupidly forgot to get a pic before I delivered them! Of course I'll have to stop in at the coffee shop for a cappuccino and a home made scone while I'm there ūüėÄ

And now we're in August… rapidly approaching September! Just out of the Bisque kiln this morning are a set of six Bud Vases for the Gargunnock Bite n Blether, a community-run coffee shop, hosted in the community centre a few days each week. They'll be glazed in the next few days and then fired, ready for the Bite n Blether starting up again early next month.

I've been playing around with more hand-built pieces, and have a half dozen soap dishes drying now, a wee trial run. I quite like the design, but it goes through so many changes from wet clay to finished glaze piece that it will look completely different at the end. I have an idea of what I hope it'll look like, but only time and two firings will tell.

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Mo’s been busy tile-doodling and I’ll grab some pics of these as they come out of glaze firing. She has some new coo tiles, both Hielan’ coos and Fresian, as well as some lovely abstract tiles.

Our shedio got a mini makeover before the Open Studios event, and is still looking rather spiffy. We are now adding to our workspace with the arrival of Mo’s new ‘Paint Shed’ to go with the Potting Shed. This weekend will be painting inside and out and laying a floor, before we start to fill it with canvasses, paints, easels and lots of other goodies. That’s a post for another day.

I solemnly promise to not let 3 whole months go by without a post next time! Too busy potting and having fun. ūüôā

Sasha Wardell workshop

I thought I’d just add a post to expand a bit more on the Sasha Wardell workshop at the Scottish Potters’ Association AGM weekend at Kindrogan Field Centre in March. ¬†As I mentioned, Sasha was very kind and allowed me to video a couple of her techniques in her last workshop of the weekend.

The earlier workshops had included demonstrations of mould making¬†and¬†working with plaster, and the multi-layered slip casting process¬†which¬†is a trademark of Sasha’s work.

The workshop I sat in on was the last step in the process, once the slip-cast pieces are removed from the mould and left overnight till they’re completely bone dry. ¬†At this point, Sasha employs three different finishing/pattern techniques.

The first, which I photographed but didn’t video, is carving. ¬†This is usually employed on pieces with just two layers of slip; an external coloured slip and interior white. ¬†Sasha uses tools to carve the raindrop-like pattern from the top layer, exposing the white layer underneath. ¬†This piece is carved when it is leather-hard, rather than bone dry. When this is fired, it shows the amazing translucency that can be achieved in Bone China.

Sasha Wardell Carving a slipcast pot

The second was the ‘Slicing’ technique, which is applied to pots of up to four layers of slip. ¬†I had seen the slip-casting process for this the previous day and it was fascinating to see how this developed into such a unique and wonderful end design. ¬†At this point I did remember my phone had video capability and Sasha very generously allowed me to hang over her shoulder while she worked and explained the process. ¬†(Apologies for the relatively poor videography on my phone)



The final technique was one that I found most fascinating and will be trying very shortly myself. ¬†This is the ‘Water Erosion’ method of decoration. ¬†After ‘painting’ the required pattern on to the bone-dry single-colour¬†pot using a Liquitex Matt Medium resist (shaded blue using food colouring for ease of application),¬†a damp sponge is used to ‘erode’ the bare slip in the areas where the resist has not been applied. ¬†In a surprisingly short period of time, a very definite ’embossed’ pattern emerges, leaving the painted pattern as a raised design and the eroded areas much thinner, again highlighting the translucency of the Bone China. ¬†The video demonstrates this much better than I can describe.¬†



The whole weekend was wonderfully inspiring and we hope to post up images  of our attempts at the water erosion technique on porcelain eggs shortly.

The videos are shared here with the very kind permission of Sasha Wardell. ¬†I hope you’ll visit her site and take a look at her work.

Mad March!

(I just opened my WP app to write a new blog post, summarising April, and discovered that I hadn’t actually published the March post! I suspect I might have saved it to add photos in, but I’ll come back and put them in later. So I’m publishing now with the original date and will get April up shortly, and then REALLY try to be a better blogger in the future!). Kath, 30/04/13

Here we are with another ‘catch up’ post, since March has been a bit of a busy month for us.

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First up was a week off, which doesn’t sound like hard work, but we were entertaining family from the US and toured round half of Scotland in a few short days. Not much time for relaxing but everyone had a lovely time and we can now add another THREE distillery tours to our life experiences. We did manage to use these visits to do lots of research (no, honestly) for future ceramic projects and we have lots of beautiful scenic photos that will become the inspiration for some wall-hanging plaques at some time.

In actual pottery news, we started off the month with the Little Birds Market on Mothering Sunday. Which would have been lovely, but for the freak snow-storm blizzard that morning that kept all but the hardiest souls at home! We did see some old friends though, and got a chance to wave off my nephew before he returned to Australia to live. And, of course, we took advantage of the mini-massages and mini-manicures that were available on the day for a very reasonable fee.

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We had my sister sharing our table with her lovely hand-made fabric flowers, which set off our pots and tiles beautifully. You’ll see her at future markets with her own table soon hopefully.

In the middle of the month, we joined around 100-odd other potters from all over Scotland at the Scottish Potters’ Association annual workshop weekend and AGM at the Kindrogan Field Centre, near Pitlochry. We caught up with a few old friends and made lots of new friends over the weekend.

The guest artists were Nic Collins, who is known for throwing really large pots and wood firing, Susan O’Byrne who makes the most wonderful animal sculptures in porcelain paper clay and Sasha Wardell who works in Bone China using a number of really interesting decoration techniques.

Between us, we spent most of the weekend between Susan and Sasha’s workshops, and it was great to see two very different ways of work, both achieving equally wonderful decorative finishes.

It was only on Sunday afternoon, at the last workshop of the weekend, that it dawned on me to use the video camera on my phone, and Sasha was very generous in allowing me to film some of her demonstration in two of her techniques; Water Etching and Layering/Slicing. I’ve so far managed to upload the Water Etching demonstration, and will try to get the layering/Slicing film up soon, so stay tuned.

We rounded the month off with another market, at the Pop up shop event organised by the Park Gallery in Callendar House, Falkirk. This is such a beautiful big old house, with lots of local and Scottish History information within its walls, that we’re planning another visit soon so we can actually do the tour and see some of it!

Mo did manage to play hookey for a couple of hours to attend a workshop by artist Olivia Brown, whose installation “Reggie’s Roller Palace” is featured at the Park Gallery. The whole gallery is transformed into a roller rink of the most charming wee dogs on wheels, complete with audience and judging panel and vintage ‘advertising’. It’s on till 21st April, so there’s still time to get along and see it.

During the workshop, Mo made her own ‘wee dug’ and we’re just waiting on him drying out and being fired before we can bring him home. There is a photo, but it’s REALLY blurry, so we won’t post it. But he IS a cutie! I want to call him George. We’re still discussing the matter.

And that’s it for March. More to come in April and beyond, and I’ll try to update more than once in the month!