Monday, April 9, 2018

Victoria Square Artisan Market!

Over the weekend I took part in the first Artisan Market held at Victoria Square since its 'post earthquake' revamp!

I was pleased to see it still retained all its beauty with wonderful large grassy areas, paved pathways and walkways, lovely fountain and its towering statues. The repairs on the town hall were in full swing! The connection through to where the old Pallet Pavillion ( who remember's that!?) is much stronger.

The market was hosted by FeltŌtākaro and Matapopore. I was thrilled and extremely honoured that my Mudbird signature Red Thistle dish was used front and centre in the advertising - the first thing I saw upon arriving was a giant bollard with 2 posters of it!

I enjoyed creating some new pieces for the market, bringing back some bright and cheerful colours and some smaller pieces to use on a daily basis. They were popular at the market and I'm in the process of photographing pieces to upload to my felt shop and also refresh my stock in the lovely artisan Co-op shop I sell in called Pay It Forward.  In fact I'll be there this Wednesday 11th April, working from 10-1pm so come down & say hi! The shop closes at 4pm. You can find Pay it Forward's Facebook page here.  - keep updated with all the lovely new products from our designers and events like the Mother's Day shopping night coming up on May 2nd! Bubbles & juice, nibbles and shopping - you can't go wrong!

Anyway  - I digress... back to the market. Here are a few photos of the day and pieces I had for sale.

The Bollard!


One off Wall hearts with Copper.

Wish Brooches

Mudbird Thistle Dish

Peace Wall heart with Copper.

Delightful Jewellery dishes featuring a crochet design in centre

And here is my table set up. I set up in the wrong spot... perils of being the first one there and first time in a new place! So the lovely Lucy & Jo from Felt helped me shift my tables. I sold quite a few pieces before the second photo, the Ceramic and wooden trees were a bit of fun!

Before the shift ;-)

In the sunshine.

It was lovely as the sun came out, hands wrapped around a warm cup of coffee. Autumn seems to be gaining momentum! And I got to meet a lovely new creative business 'Mcginns Made Fresh' in the next stall over! Beautiful natural locally made products I've already started using. Looking forward to the next market there, hopefully in Summer with lots of lovely stalls, food and music on the green!

Me! Thanks for coming & supporting my small business. x Gill

Sunday, September 3, 2017

100 Days of Mudbird Ceramics, 2017

Hello, hello!!
I've just run the feather duster over my blog and she's back up and running!

If you've been following along on my Instagram you'll be familiar with my 100 day project #100daysofmudbird ... If not, please let me introduce you!

Christchurch, New Zealand 100 Days Show!

On the 22nd May 2017, I started on my 100 Days Project with the idea to create a ceramic tile every day until the project finish date on 29th August 2017. I had every intention of completing, and apart from a few days around day 76 (where I wasn't able to make tiles) I made one for every single day. I wasn't sure how I was going to manage after having such a long break from making Ceramics. After the first week, the 100 days seemed very daunting but I took the attitude of just doing it one day at a time! I had to say goodbye to my custom built studio when we sold our home 2 years ago, so am back making on my kitchen table... right back where I began in 2008. Thankfully our little old 80sqm house has doubled in size here so much more space to be creative!

Day 89 /100 Echinacea/ Cone Head flowers
I've had lots of questions along the way about my tiles so I'll try and answer them here:
Day 60/100 Peony Rose

  • The designs are mainly inspire about what was around me, things that I love & collect, meaningful details of the stories of the day ( like making heart quilt blocks for a friends quilt and my 7 year old son's birthday) or just random ideas that came as I fell asleep. I have a huge collection of indoor plants ( it's a bit of a jungle in most rooms!) so plants feature a lot. I also love feathers, birds and the outdoors.  On day I put out a challenge on Instagram and got some really great ideas... like an Octopus 71/100 and a Kiwi Retro Caravan 42/100 and the Canterbury Plains 99/100. Great minds think alike as nearly all suggestions were already on my list.
    Day 8/100 Wall vase/pocket/planter
  • Yes its true! I made a new tile every single day, I didn't stockpile a whole lot and then post the photos each day.
Day 97/100 Sugar Skull

  • They are made from a white NZ midfire Porcelain clay, when the clay is cut the squares are 10cm square and then after drying and 2x firings they shrink down to approx 8.5cm square. They are photographed immediately after making so are still wet and grey ish.
Day 38/100 - Kowhai, off old NZ .2c coin
  •  Each day I rolled out the clay slab with no particular idea in mind. Some days designs came easily, some days I spent quite some time deciding on what I wanted to do before I could even start. For a few days I started a tile only to ditch it, have a cuppa then come back to start again.
Day 21 /100 - Southern Cross Stars
  •  I wrote down a list of ideas that I really wanted to make and added ideas that came to me and other's suggestions. I didnt have a daily plan, but I knew I wanted to finish on the Fantail tile. If the idea didn't speak to me I just couldn't make it. I saw the clay slab as a blank canvas and often after gathering all my tools and playing a bit, the vision of the tile would just jump out at me and I was off!
Day 20/100 - Cactus ( I added a flower afterwards)

  • Some days the tile could be made in an hour (which was great if I was pressed for time or it was a work day),  the average was 3.5 hours but I do have to admit I did spend the most part of the day on a fair few tiles. Thankfully I was mostly flexible with my time so could fit that in. I made them all during the day as I needed to photograph them in daylight. You can see the seasons change in the photos as the colour changes with the weather and the low light darker winter days made it harder to photograph.
Day 27/100 - Matariki / Mt Cook

  • The project will be fully completed when each tile has been hand-glazed. This will take some time as I'll be hand painting them all before their final firing in my kiln.
Day 93/100 Sea Urchin / Coral

  • Yes I'd love to exhibit them when finished... was hoping that would be during the 100 days collective group, so now I'm trying to figure out how to do it on my own. 
Day 100/100 Fantail

  • YES! I'd love to sell them and thank you all for your interest and telling me your favourite ones. An Auction will probably be best to determine the value. All details will be made available with a list of the tiles being sold closer to the time. I estimate mid-late October. Please email me if you'd like to be added to the contact list with 100 days tiles in the subject line.

Day 95/100 Agee jar from my custom made mold.
So here's the next part!! What's most exciting is I'm taking part of the Christchurch 100 Days Show and the opening is in 2 days! Due to the ultra short notice of it, I've been unable to glaze my tiles as planned, which is very disappointing ( as its really how the final project should have be viewed) but with some encouragement of 2 other great 100 dayer's Sigrid & Miriam I've printed the photos I posted on the 100 day site and they are already displayed ready for opening night!

88 of the 100 tiles, bisque fired.

 I'll be sharing more over the coming days especially images from the show. Thanks SO much, it means the world when you comment on my photos, send a message or come up to me to mention how much you like the tiles.

x Gill 

5x7 Photos ready for the show.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Paper Pieced Butterfly Challenge

Now for something a little creatively different.

My very talented friend Juliet from TartanKiwi, designs the most amazing paper pieced patterns. She set a challenge a wee while ago and I signed up tentatively. I've never ever done anything quite like this and I'm not a quilter (still haven't made one!!) and I don't sew very much at all but I love creating, love this pattern and had ogled at Juliet's cushion on her couch a couple of times!  
She told me I could make my own ;-)so I made plans to!

She issued the challenge to change it up a bit, I know she was probably 99% referring to the PATTERN, but since I was more than a bit frightened of this paper piecing business I decided to make a the simple 5 " butterfly pattern, enlarge it to 200% and embellish by free-hand stitching with gold & blue metallic threads and beadwork clusters and lines. 

I did the whole thing with my trusty old sewing scissors as I don't currently have a cutting mat to use my cutter on! So its certainly not perfect on the back, but it can be done! When I held it up to the light you can see how all the intricate pieces are sewn together, with just one bit to trim. This image was taken after I removed all the paper.

I looked at lots of tutorials and watched a few youtube videos and then was confident to try! There were lots and lots and LOTS of unpicking, cutting off the wrong pieces by mistake (only did that once!) and sewing the wrong sides of the fabric together! The white background fabric pattern was very tricky to see the pattern when sewing in brilliant sunshine! 

I fussy cut the panels of the upper butterfly wings trying to get the circles perfectly lined up, and the body of the butterfly. I loved this peacock print range, the intricate designs and beautiful blues, greens, purples and gold hues suited a butterfly design perfectly.

And I put the strength of the stitches to the test and those teeny tiny pieces of fabric through the wringer by using my embroidery hoop over and over as I did my stitching. 
It all held together - YAY! I was able to find everything I needed from my mum's stash for my beadwork and stitching.

 I also had a go and made my own freehand paper pieced patterns for the back panel of the cushion, again doing fussy cut for those triangles. They remind me of the 'eyes' commonly seen on a butterflies wings.

Then decided to do a random freehand quilt pattern for the top half of the envelope back. I made it up as I went.

When the sunshine hits the free-hand gold hand stitched thread its quite divine! I wanted to emulate the intricate designs of a real butterflies wing, tying in with the beautiful pattern that Juliet designed.

I throughly enjoyed the whole process, took hours and hours on top of the fabric sewing with all the beadwork and hand stitching, but it was a wonderful investment of my time. From a distance and also from up close its a pleasure to look at.

So now I'm hooked!! I LOVE paper piecing, have already downloaded several patterns to make. Who knew it would be so easy, it really really was! I've also signed up to the #igminiquilt swap so can see a paper pieced quilt on the horizon too!

Thanks Juliet for issuing the challenge, I enjoyed learning a new skill and doing a bit of handwork again and I FINISHED a project!
( And I hope its unique enough to build up my stash )

x Gill

( Excuse all the crazy colours & contrasts, photos taken on different days with different camera's & light levels )

The Tartankiwi

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mudbird website service announcement

Hello friends, if you've been looking for my shop website you'll find it's not there. For most of this year I've been a bit unwell & since June I've had to stop making ceramics... I know, I'm really sad! It wasn't expected and hopefully only a season. Every now and again I'll hold some sales on my Facebook page with my remaining stock. I do have a limited amount of Emerge jewellery left so if you are in need, please email mudbird(at)

 xx Gill

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mudbird & Tiny Eyes, a winter collaboration.

 I'm proud to introduce my Mudbird doll, made by the incredibly talented, homeschooling Mum of 5  ... Dee from Tiny Eyes. A few months ago Dee asked myself and 6 other creative people to design a doll as part of her Winter 2013 Collaboration, to be auctioned off for sale!!  I showed pictures of my fabrics and ideas here ( if you need to refresh your memory) I was honoured to be asked, and I hope I have done her Doll designs justice.
Piece by piece Dee made each detail of the doll designs come to life and I just love them all.  The details on mine are fabulous, the mini puffed sleeves, the tiny little collar - so pretty dont you think? And the glasses.... so cute!

 I also made 3 mini Doll sized dishes for my doll, made with the same woodblock design I used to 'print' onto the denim for her skirt. These wee dishes can be used for tea parties... or Mum can use them in the kitchen or anywhere in the house! ( they made beautiful little ring dishes next to your bedside or sink.)
To get an idea of the size of the doll, my dishes are 2.5inches wide!
So... how do you get to buy this doll or any of the other designs? Dee is running an Auction over on her facebook page that starts TOMORROW at noon. Details below...

If you already follow Tiny Eyes on FB, you'll have seen the special event Dee has created. Once you join you can bid on the Mudbird doll, or any of the other beautiful dolls. The auction starts on Friday lunchtime ( 12pm, NZT), and finishes on Sunday at 12pm. I'm absolutely sure it will be a very exciting event, I've got my eye one particular doll... so watch out!

The dolls are also on display at the Walton Street Cafe in Te Awamutu TODAY, from 8-2pm. Dee has created a stunning exhibition, so if you live near by, please pop in for a visit.

I also want to say a HUGE Thank you to Dee ... you have done the most beautiful job and I'm in awe of your talents. I hope my doll does you proud and goes to a loving home.

xx Gill

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A little parcel of happiness

Last week I was captured by a mini journal & 
treated myself to one of a kind treasure.

It arrived just as I imagined... 
A visual feast of the senses.
Emerald green leather, tea stained pages.
Beautiful vintage lace...
Details of an ornate verdigris patina frame.

Florentine paper, Linen, leather & lace
Ready to fill with mini thoughts or leave blank...

So much love, patience and a steady hand.
Experience and fine craftsmanship.
Handmade goodness at the fullest.

Thank you Louise from BIBLIOGRAPHICA for bringing 
these gorgeous journals to the world.

You can find her beautiful one of a kind work on Etsy & Felt

xx Gill