Friday, 20 November 2015

Going potty for pots

When I first heard mention of a BBC TV show about that was hoping to do for clay what The Great British Bake Off has done for the Victoria sandwich, I admit I was skeptical.

A programme where we watch contestants make pots didn't sound like it could hold my attention for 20 minutes let alone a whole series of hour long episodes - after all we've all seen someone make a pot on TV if not in the flesh before (Patrick Swayze of course manages both!). However, strange as it may seem I find myself hooked.

What tension as pots crack in the biscuit firing, plugs don't quite fit in coiled sinks and as the contestants race to determine who can make the most egg cups in 10 minutes. Then of course there's all the sensual stroking of the clay and who could forget the tears of the big man judge as he marvels at the creativity.

Throw in a few great characters - we've got Major Tom with a stiff upper clay lip and a gentle touch, the hunky vet and Jim the rock-a-billy up against farmer's daughter Sarah, Sally-Jo the designer and grandmother Sandra who doesn't look a day over 30!

By far the best bit though is waiting to see the results of the glazing when the pastel shades that entered the kiln are revealed in all their shining bright glory.

Can't wait for the next episode! Check out the first three here.

PS: Dear Father Christmas, Please can I have a potters' wheel...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Day 2 in the Big Blogger house: Chaos Theory

Well, second day in and I'm already wondering what to write about... Hmmm.... shall I wait for inspiration?

Hang on, what's that scratching my wrist? A piece of crumpled paper edging out from the pile of mountain of what only be described as 'stuff' cluttering up my desk. I look and sigh. It seems that no matter my good intentions, I simply cannot keep a tidy workspace.

Right now I can see a Batman cat costume (best not to ask), several notebooks, letters and parcels (parcels opened but brown envelopes studiously ignored), an empty cloth bag, a cuddly toy (this is starting to sound like the Generation Game...), a scarf, heat cushion, pens, a book on animal medicine cards, an orange USB and numerous scribbled notes - and that's just the top layer. Goodness knows what lies beneath, a veritable treasure trove of intriguing surprises no doubt!

Maybe that's why I let it get into this state or am I just a lazy, messy slob who will one day be swallowed whole by her junk mountains.

It's no good. I have to do something about it! Tomorrow I will try and write something a little more intellectual but no promises. I've been working hard all day and frankly the creativity is runnething a little dryeth!

I leave you with a little quote to ponder by mathematician Edward Lorenz who knows a fair amount about chaos theory:

Chaos: When the present determines the future, 
but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.

In other words... the present is a pile of things that shouldn't be in a dangerous pile on a desk but stored in an organised fashion. By approximating such storage by use of a pile and not a filing system I am setting myself up for a chaotic future!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A bit of a Barney

Image courtesy of Pixabay

There is something of a gale blowing outside with strange thumps and rattles that sound like harbingers of Halloween on the rampage but are probably just the contents of my recycling bin rolling down the hill.

I'm not allowing myself to be frightened though because I know this storm is called Barney and frankly anything named after a cuddly purple dinosaur surely can't be that scary - because everyone knows that Barney isn't a real dinosaur!

I wasn't too sure where the idea to suddenly start naming UK weather systems came from so I turned to my trusty adviser Google for answers and it turns out make good sense. Giving a storm a name makes it easier to talk about - rather than just another big wind. Apparently we are to expect Clodagh next followed by Desmond and so on as we alternate male and female throughout the alphabet - but sadly skipping Gail the gale. The one I'm really looking forward to though is Wendy Windblows...


In an effort to kick start my blogging again, I am joining with this 30 day challenge to see if I can keep on blogging for 30 days. Well, here's Day 1!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Autumnal accessories

Every Autumn or Fall as some of you prefer to call it (presumably because you slip over on the icy pavements a lot...), there's an ever present accessory we are often seen sporting. Yes, you probably guessed from the photo above - it's a spider web - with or without accompanying arachnid.

Spiders just love to dress us up during these chillier months. They thoughtfully spin their webs directly where we will walk through them - preferably at face height right outside our front doors or across footpaths. This way it's easy for them to wrap our features in a fine gauze with their egg legged selves perching thoughtfully somewhere in our hair.

There's a ritual I've also observed as we get dressed up in this delicate gossamer. It requires much arm flapping, face swiping and head itching - plus often a whole body shiver. Rarely does putting on clothing and dance go so entirely hand in hand!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Want to take photos like this?

I took this photo on my phone.

Do you take photos on your phone and wonder why they don’t always look as good as you’d hoped? Have you seen some incredible photography and wondered if you could do that? YOU CAN!

I’m running a photography workshop on Saturday August 22nd in Northampton Town Centre where you can learn what goes into making a great photograph and how phone apps can make all the difference transforming the OK into the incredible!

I have captured some of my best photographs on my camera phone. It’s always with me. While others are playing Candy Crush or checking Facebook, I’m snapping. There’s not always time to set up the perfect shot, placing everything you need in the perfect frame position, but hey there’s no need to worry … there’s an app for that!

There are so many apps available – many of them free of charge – that are able to produce the same effects as using as fancy DSLR camera. You can capture a shallow depth of field*, adjust the lighting, add filters and even change the sky in the background!

Once you get used to realising you have the perfect tool to capture magical moments with you all the time you’ll wonder why you never used it this way before. It’s not just about snapping your child with ice cream dribbling down their chin – it’s also very much about seeing differently, capturing emotion and memory. It’s so you can remember not just the scene but how it made you feel.
Your camera phone is incredibly easy to use, unobtrusive and best of all the sky is the limit when it comes to the effects you can achieve using the hundreds of apps available.

This workshop will empower you with the techniques and tricks you need to take stunning, memorable photographs using just your phone. It’s easy when you know how – and I can teach you!

* and yes – I’ll explain what this means too!

We'll meet at 11am in the Education Room at NN (the contemporary art building on Guildhall Road).

Our first session will cover what makes a great photograph - how to better frame your shot before you click; how to see things differently; learning what the rules are and how to break them!

Then, we'll go out on a shoot around town.

Over lunch in the NN Cafe we'll review our work then return to the work space to learn how using different apps can transform your shot.

I'll show you how to take shots like this:

and turn them into this:

All this for just £20 per person (excluding lunch).

If you would like to sign up, drop me a line at

With just 12 spaces available this is sure to fill to up fast so confirm your booking now!

(You don't need an iPhone - the apps I will use are suitable for android too).

Some more before n afters:

Friday, 26 June 2015

Cinderella the coy

Cinders is looking a little coy. Little minx knows she's impressed Mr Charming but thought she might pretend for a while that she hadn't noticed him yet - keep him keen you know. Plus she's still figuring out how to dance in shoes made of glass so for now she's content to just swish her skirts about a bit.

She'd better not leave it too long though - I'm at the ball too and have my eye on that Prince for myself. He's pretty easy on the eye it has to be said, got a touch of the Ross Poldark's about him...

Cinderella is for Summer of Colour - this week we're using a palette of two shades of purple and a yellow. I'm wearing lime green. I think the Prince prefers it, for now it seems he has forgotten the girl with the blonde hair, lilac dress and uncomfortable footwear and is heading in my direction!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Pretty dancing Columbine

It's funny how the names for these girls just pop into my head. It's almost like they whisper them to me.

The title for this post is a line from a poem I can still remember learning when I was a little girl. By Cicely Mary Barker it tells the story of the flower fairy who loved to dance in her pretty little dress.
I learnt so many of those poems off by heart!

Well, anyway, here is my entry for the second week of Summer of Colour - pinks and orange. This particular Columbine has arrived at the ball with bouquet of flowers for her beau. He will probably bring her beer - they are a thoroughly modern couple!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

I'm playing!

I have been going through a crisis of confidence lately. I lost my flow. Words, paint, even emotions - everything was blocked. A niggling voice buried in the depths of me kept trying to convince me to just start something, to get my fingers working, but I refused to listen. Instead, I've been burying my head in books, sleeping too much and time-wasting on Facebook (you know the kind of thing... quizzes to see what bird you were in a previous life or your hippy name...).

Something shifted in the last week or so though and I braved a few blog posts, then I picked up a paintbrush. I'd been reading a book on watercolour techniques (this one) and I was ready to play.

I started painting a series of girls which, if you clicked on the link to see the book, might surprise you since it was about how to paint landscapes! Each one requires a great deal of drying time in between layers so I have ended up with around half a dozen of them on the go. Then, on Instagram I spotted a post from Kristin announcing the start of the 2015 Summer of Colour and I knew I had to be in! So, I grabbed a couple of blues and a green and painted this one. She's my favourite so far!

I've named her Flo - because she helped me find my own flow again. Thanks Flo and thanks Kristin!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Getting my ducks in a row

I feel on the verge of something but feel the need to get my ducks in a row before I start. Normally I'm much more a plunge right in kind of gal, those ducks can just race along any way they like as long as they get there eventually, but something is holding this little baby back.

The symptom is clearly procrastination but the source I think may be called Fear.

There's just so much I want to do in my career but it all involves stepping outside of the cosy snuggle of a comfort blanket. Trouble is the blanket is old, threadbare and a bit scratchy - time to throw it into the wind!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

How to be popular - there's an app for that...

As my Instagram account crawls its way to a 300 follower milestone, I wondered how I could promote it a bit better and reach a wider audience. I mean I'm not saying I'm an incredible photographer, but I've got ambitions and I've seen some accounts with thousands of followers and likes and wondered, with I admit a jealous heart, how on earth they did it.

So, with the power of a quick google search I discovered that they probably aren't as popular as they seem. In fact, there are many tools out there to create illusions of grandeur. Take LikePotion for example. You just hop on there, like a few random photos that come up, earn points and then spend those points in getting likes for your own photos. In a few minutes a bunch of people who don't even really look at what you are sharing click 'like' and Bob's your uncle - you are super successful.

But what's the point? Surely a 'like' earned from someone who appreciates what you have created is the only one of value? Why are all these people craving fake popularity? How can it make you feel like you've achieved something when it is essentially meaningless? It's like buying a degree. You can't use it to become a brain surgeon without the lessons and learning to get you there.

Why are we not content with what and who we are? Without wishing to sound too melodramatic, it seems to me that not being happy with yourself and seeking to essentially buy popularity only takes you down one road - and that's to depression. There's an interesting article on the subject here.

On that cheerful note, I think I'll stick with my organic growth (much healthier)!

However.... if you'd like to follow me and like all of my photos and make me super popular you can find me on Instagram here @lisawrightstuff!! Tee Hee!!

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