Sunday, 31 December 2017

Artist Inspiration Days

Our home & studios are located in a small village on the Norfolk/Cambs border. When we moved here 3 years ago, the house & outbuildings needed a lot of love and care, but we were wowed by the beautiful garden. We had no idea that such a large, gorgeous garden was hidden behind the cottage.

The garden is such a gem that we think it is a real shame to keep it concealed from the public eye. Originally created by the previous owner, who was a ceramicist and artist, the garden has a number of little quirks and interesting hidden areas that provide great inspiration – it's a really arty venue. With two ponds, a boat, a little wooded area, a willow tunnel, a knot garden and a number of separate little garden sections, it boasts numerous vistas and interesting angles. Although there are some formal, established beds, we've ensured that plenty of the garden is still wild and rustic. The butterflies and bees love it! And we've spent many an hour taking photographs of its ever-changing seasonal views.

The garden provides us with great inspiration. My husband, Simon, is a woodturner, and his workshop looks out over the garden. I am a ceramicist and silk painter, and my pottery studio looks out over the hot garden which is located right next to the house. The constantly changing seasons in the garden have given me some great design ideas too.

We think art groups, drawing clubs and photography clubs would really enjoy a setting like this which offers so much inspiration. So, we're offering a 5-hour package for groups of 10 or more people to come and enjoy, draw, paint and wander. The gardens are totally private, so they have not been, and are not, open to the general public.

The package includes access to the entire garden, a rustic lunch served in the marquee at the bottom of the garden, and refreshments available to purchase. There are also toilet facilities. The garden offers various seating areas and we've also got a number of picnic blankets which can be used to sit on anywhere in the garden. We recommended booking from 10 am – 3 pm, as this will ensure the best possible lighting too. We would aim to serve lunch at 12.30 pm.

If your art or photography club is interested, please take a look at our Artist Inspiration Days page on our website for more information and photographs of the garden. 
phone us so we can arrange a date that suits and discuss any requirements.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Wintery Scene

Well, we woke up this morning to a truly festive, winter wonderland. Harry & Nutmeg are really loving the snow! The garden is carpeted in about 2 inches of the stuff, and we´re planning on building a few snowmen after lunch.

Since our last blog, we´ve been busy in our studios, preparing more pieces for Christmas. 

Tealight Holders
Our Etsy shop is stocking most of our festive bits and bobs, including tealight holders, ceramic Christmas star decorationswooden snowmen and large ceramic snowflakes.

Our blendedmonkey site has some new ceramic additions, my ceramic Spaces Between Dish, for example, (you´ll be seeing more of this design in the future). I´ve also added my Sea-Kissed Vessel and the Sea to Shore Bowl, which is part of the Seascape collection. 

3 Ceramic Star Decorations

Sea-Kissed Vessel

Sea to Shore Bowl
The Spaces Between Dish
Ceramic Snowflake

Last weekend we took a trip to Munich to take in the Christmas markets, warm ourselves on the odd mug or two of Gl├╝hwein and visit some old friends. 
I lived in Munich for a long time (my daughter was born there), so it was nice to catch up with people again and take in the atmosphere

Now really is the best time to visit Germany; oozing with lots of festive spirit. You can´t beat the Munich Marienplatz Weihnachtsmarkt for that quintessential Christmassy feeling. 

We also visited castle Neuschwanstein, which was breathtakingly beautiful, set in its snowy wonderland. 

A good time was had by all, but the visit was far too short.

I can´t imagine I´ll get the chance to blog again before Christmas, so myself and Simon (Blended Monkey) would like to wish you all a 


    Very Merry Christmas and a Healthy & Happy New Year!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

A Great Start to 2018

We have had a busy start to the new year.

The garden continues to provide us with yummy parsnips and winter lettuce. The leeks have been a little slow to take, but I'm hoping they will beef up a bit soon. 

The flooding affected us a little too. The boat you see in these pictures is usually on dry land. Funnily enough, it looks quite happy in the flooded garden! However, we were lucky to have only minor wind damage - so that's all good.

We have been working hard prepping for our 
Artist Inspiration Days, and ensuring that all the paperwork and the boring bits are in place. We are really looking forward to opening our garden to the public, and hopefully providing some inspiration for artwork and photography.

Simon has been working on various pieces over the last month or two. Here's a video of him doing some spindle turning. 

Fancy a go at woodturning? Fancy buying a one- or two-day woodturning tuition voucher as a gift? Then look no further - simply click on woodturning tuition for more information. 

I have also been rather busy, working on some new Valentine's Day ceramic pieces. 
Here are a few of them. Click on the caption to visit our site and find out more about the items. Some of them are featured on our Etsy site, and some on our blended monkey site.

Ceramic Lovers Bowl

Etched Blue-Glazed Blossom Vase
Ceramic Lovers Bowl

Heart Votive

Chinese-Style Bowl in Ash

Last, but not least, we would like to say a big thank you to all our customers and Twitterarti for their purchases, retweets and likes. 2017 was a very busy but enjoyable year, and we are looking forward to 2018 being just as interesting! 
We are hoping our Artist Inspiration Days will be popular, and Simon is keen to get more woodturning tuition sessions booked in too. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Gardening & Photography

Gardening & Photography

It´s been a few weeks since our last blog, as we´ve been majorly busy in the garden most weekends, and have also been designing some new collections to encompass silk, clay & wood. 

The vegetable patch and fruit cage are coming along really well, and there are plenty of strawberries under the netting, just waiting to ripen. The netting should stop the birds getting to them before we do!
We´ve had a glut of radishes and I´m picking spinach every day to go in salads and sauces. It´s great to grow your own :-).

I´ve been deadheading all the roses to promote new growth and blooms. We´re having such a good display this year, and I´m bringing a lot of flowers into the house for the vases too. 

We´ve also had a lovely show of opium poppies. I don´t recall there being quite so many last year, so the seed has obviously spread well and we´ve been given a great performance. I just love the rich pinks and purples of these gorgeous flowers.

We´ll post some more photos of the garden in the next blog. We´re taking so many shots at the moment, because the garden just seems to keep on giving :-).

If you´ve visited our site lately, you might have noticed that under the "Gallery" tab there are now two areas; one for "Clay, Silk & Wood", and the other for "Photography - Prints & Products". 
The photography section will take you to an area where you can buy our photos and have them put on various products. We´ve often been asked if some of our shots are for sale, so we thought we´d use the site to host them. We´ve had quite a bit of interest from customers in the USA.

Last week we sold "A Cut Above", one of our blended pieces. Its new owner is apparently very happy with it and it has been given pride of place in their recently redecorated bedroom :-).

Monday, 29 May 2017

Bank Holiday Busyness!

Bank Holiday Busyness!

Well, it´s certainly been a very busy Bank Holiday weekend. 
Haven´t exactly relaxed all that much, even though we´d promised ourselves we would. We´ve been waiting for a couple of good weather days so that we could finally get the outside of Simon´s workshop painted. We thought it would look a lot nicer to have it green rather than the plain wood colour it was before. Also makes it blend into the surroundings a little better.

And all this good weather has really benefited the rose garden too - it´s looking so lush and lovely. 
Shame I can´t capture the gorgeous, heady scent and share it with you here! 
I guess all that pruning in winter did it some good too. I´ll just have to keep on top of dead-heading the flowers as they go over, and then hopefully we´ll see blooms for some months to come. 
I was never particularly "into" roses until Simon and I moved here a few years ago. The previous owner, Pauline, had planted this semi-circular rose garden many years ago, and I was actually quite taken with it when we looked around the property the first time. We´ve done our best to keep it pruned and tended ever since.

We´ve been posting on Twitter fairly regularly, so feel free to have a nose @blended_monkey.
And we recently put some new pieces up on our site. Here are a few of them; just click on the captions to take you to our site - hope you enjoy!  

Pair of Blue-Washed Oval Bowls
Round-Bottomed Pot
Cluster of Hearts
Seascape Bowl

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Busy Week

Hi there!
Sculpture - it all starts
with a block of clay 

It´s been a busy week for us. 

I´ve been concentrating on various projects in the studio (mainly hand-building work) and these include a sculpture that I´m working on which has been inspired by the cliff caves in  Cornwall. I used to spend a lot of my art school days on the Cornish beaches, and they provided me with a great deal of inspiration.
This is very much a work in progress, and I´m currently waiting for it to dry out completely so that I can then sand it and prep it for the biscuit firing. 
Sculpture - still more
work to do, but
it´s getting there

One of my other projects will be part of our latest collection called "Meadowscape". The plate I´m working on has been provided with several coats of slip and then the Meadowscape design scratched (scraffito) into it. There are many more processes to go through and lots of coats of underglaze to apply, but I´ll keep you posted on the progress. 

Meadowscape - scraffito
Simon hasn´t been able to do much in his workshop over the last week or so, as he has recently had eye surgery and therefore has to stay out of dusty environments. However, the piece he started working on before his operation is a replica of one of my ceramic bowls (see here on the left) which 
he´ll turn in wood. 

It will then be used together with a ceramic base which I have already prepared. Should be an interesting, sculptural piece when it´s finished.

The garden has been thriving! 

The knot garden did need a prune though, and it´s a rather painstaking job. Still, it always looks great afterwards, and the wisteria which acts as a canopy for the bench at the back of the knot garden is doing really well this year too, especially as we had to give it a hard prune last autumn. 

Our first iris of the year
Wisteria growing as a canopy over the bench
Our first iris popped up at the start of the week (here on the right), in all its beautiful glory! It was then followed by a whole host of them. They´re looking stunning this year. Hope you enjoy the shots of them ...