Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ideas, ideas, ideas - put your mark on it!

We all have ideas - right? Little thoughts that keep you awake at 2am, when you should be asleep. Instead your brain is going full speed as thoughts take shape, ideas evolve and creativity sparks new processes.

Well my brain has been a prisoner of late of those exact things ( actually it always has been).

It's been a pretty exciting time for Mudbird lately with the creation and completion of a new Logo :-) I've been working alongside a long time designer friend who worked her magic on my brand. I wanted something that could stand alone as an icon, also to use a design in my products. I have yet to make up new banners for my website or my blog but I will... so here goes... this it it!

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it... yes, I'm excited.  Gail did a great job didn't she?  {The colors are a bit brighter in these jpegs than actual colors}

This is the nest element that I'll be using on its own. I've already made dishes, earrings, brooches and necklaces!!

So back to ideas. Being a creative person, I find my brain coming up with ideas at the craziest times, the worst times ( like a parent/teacher conference when I'm supposed to be paying attention ) and also at the best of times.

As a designer ( of Ceramic Art ) I really strive to come up with original Mudbird designs. I don't copy others ideas, but this world isn't exactly small, you do tend to see the same thing out there. Sometimes seeing designs similar or the same just breaks my heart!  There has been a lot of talk in the Handmade/Craft circles of late of other people stealing ideas/patterns/designs and going on to create/sell them.  My friends have worked so hard to create their ideas, invested a lot of time and money into their product, then someone else comes long and rips it off. Not cool. It has got me thinking a lot about that in the past 2 weeks.

Sometimes I make something, get it out there, take it to market and am 100% confident that NO-ONE ELSE HAS DONE IT... yippee... then, oh oh - someone else has. But that's ok, I always put my stamp on it, to make it mine, to make it different...  Great minds think alike right?
I've even had people send me links saying...  'so in so' has copied you, but that's so hard to prove right? I've been told its the greatest form of flattery when someone copies you, but it still has an ouch factor! And then there are the days when people claim to be the inventor of that design, that just makes me chuckle!
Sometimes people ask me to copy a ceramic design, which I am firmly against.  Other artists work hard to create their designs and I don't want anyone copying mine so I won't copy theirs.

That's why I try to use as many original textures as I can to create my designs - like my collection of 10 antique Song plates from 1920's - they weigh a ton and were used to print the actual books. They are as much of a treasure to me as a tool.

And my grandmother's tatting lace, or my antique carved indian woodblocks - creating textures that *hopefully* no one else has.  I found a gorgeous antique French madeline tin in Akaroa, that is wonderful to display... and also to use as a mould!
In fact many of my textures and patterns are from my personal collection of antiques and treasures. I have collections of Keys, bottles, books, carved wooden blocks, metal type... I search high and low for things to use, digging through 2nd hand shops across the countryside. I even used part of a ring that my Husband bought me in Italy to imprint the heart into my Emerge Earrings... I've got stories about all my designs.

I'm pretty excited about what is in the pipeline - I've got a lot in the drying stage, the bisque stage ( first firing) and also lots of lovely pretty glazed things waiting to be shown off. A coupe of months ago I was in the middle of finalizing my Christmas DOVE decoration shape to me made up, and another idea popped up into my head.  CLOUDS... I have no idea where they came from, but I could see them, cut from thick slabs of clay, imprinted with lace or my wood block. Then suddenly I remembered all my photography of clouds over the years - maybe thats my inspiration. So I spent ages ( and I mean AGES) drawing up cloud shapes, who new this could take so long. I didn't went just a generic clip art cloud shape, I wanted ones with personality.

I wanted to increase my wall &  hanging art range - funnily enough I was forced into exploring new ideas when I had to step down from taking my jewelry to a market ( jewelry roster) so I though.. oh no! What can I take to fill that gap? So I got thinking and making up new ideas to take... hence the CLOUDS and new Christmas Decorations.

Then I realized, cutting everything with a scalpel is just plain silly. So I got some metal cutters made up, not only of the clouds, but also of my other signature shapes/designs. This way I can improve on productivity. Although I loved the hand-cut aspect, there comes a time when its better business sense to make life easier. I still hand-cut some designs, but hope to build up my cutters. They take time to make and are not cheap.

I still use the old plastic cutters, had a lot of fun making these last week and exploring new glazes too!

So I've been in the Studio - rolling, cutting and pressing textures into my new ideas and its been a lot of fun. They'll be on sale in Christchurch at 2 markets next week: Shop me Pretty &  Craft Invaders Market. I'll then make more and load onto my website.

I've got a LOT more to show you - next time ok?

x Gill


  1. Fantastic - and I hear you about the copying of ideas. I would imagine that any of the wonderful things you make would always have a distinctive Mudbird feel to them. Whenever I see something "similar" I can always tell it's not yours, so there you are. LOVE the new logo, no wonder you're so excited about it!
    Joanna x
    P.S Completely jealous of that antique book press, gorgeous!

  2. What a lovely blog entry. We completely understand about the 'copying' aspect - because we work from our pottery supplies business we get alot of night class students who come in and buy their clay then have the nerve to bring in things to be fired that are replicas of our work. We support people in working with clay but please have some imagination of your own.
    Love the logo, it represents your work very nicely I think :)

    Kirsten of The Garden Wenches

  3. Love your work and I'm glad I'm not the only one who has their best ideas at 2am!

  4. I really like the metal song plates and the carved wooden block - very nice - and great to be able to use them in your work rather than just sitting on a shelf looking pretty.

  5. Love the wooden block, would love to try printing with it.

  6. You are very clever Gill. I hear you loud and clear about keeping your ideas your own. So hard sometimes.