This post is way overdue, but I thought it would be nice to share photos from a children’s workshop I lead with my good friend and fellow ceramicist Mei Kwin Wong we had a wonderful day decorating a full sized moonjar made in advance by acclaimed contemporary potter Akiko Hirai. The children were inspired by Korean fairy tales and the sky at night and space, hence the jar was named ‘The Jar of Stories.’

For pictures of the ‘making of’ ‘The Jar or Stories’ follow this link to the Korean Cultural Centre’s Flickr stream: KCCUKFlickr

As an update on my last making project here are some photos of the Bullrush Planters ordered mid-January for a gift.  I was very pleased to be able to make and finish them before moving out of my 401 1/2 studio.  In fact, I opened the glaze kiln on the 31st January, the moving day itself!  Needless to say I am very happy with the results and that the planters are going to a very good home.

Bullrush 1.1bullrush 1.2Bullrush 1.3Bullrush 1.4Bullrush 1.5Bullrush 1Bullrush 3Bullrush 2Bullrush 4Bullrush 5.1Bullrush 6Bullrush 7

Hello!  The sunny weather has come and brought with it flowers and bees aplenty.  I have spotted lots of different types of bee in our garden in Herne Hill this week.  Its such a pleasure to see them buzzing about, foraging for pollen and nectar. Still, it is pretty late in the season for them to be coming out in numbers.  I believe this is because of the cold spring and perhaps due to lack of forage for them.  As an amateur bee spotter it is exciting to see the sheer variety of bees in our garden.  Here are some of the bees I’ve seen so far this year: Bombus Hypnorum (the Tree Bumblebee), Bombus Lucorum (the White-Tailed Bumblebee), Bombus Pratorum (the Early Bumblebee), Bombus Lapidarius (the Red-Tailed Bumblebee), Osmia Bicornis (Red Mason Bee) and Apis Mellifera (European Honeybee).

Here I am looking at Red-Tailed Bumblebees foraging on buttercups in the meadow of Brockwell Park.  I counted 8, so I expect the nest was nearby!  Click here to see an ID image of the Red-Tailed and other bumblebees to help you spot them in future.

Below are some photos of the coloured porcelain Bee Pods I placed in my garden as part of my ceramic series ‘Offerings to the Insects.’  As you can see they are almost disappearing in the undergrowth and spider webs!  I will be exhibiting larger, indoor ‘Offerings to the Insects’ installations at New Designers 2013 from 26th-29th June.  Click here and scroll down to see ‘Orange Bees Nest’ used in Dezeen (top notch online design magazine).

Orange porcelain Bee Pods                                    Yellow porcelain Bee Pods with snail!

I love that these blue Bee Pods are almost encased in spider’s webs.

Buy tickets: NEW DESIGNERS 2013 Ticket exclusive!  2 for 1 earlybird tickets for Thurs 27th, Fri 28th or Sat 29th June:

Standard Day Ticket – two for one ticket offer at £14.50, saving you £13.00*.
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This beautiful photograph of the solitary bee Andrena Flavipes turned up on the billboard under the Herne Hill train line (Norwood Road) over the weekend.  What a great way to bring wildlife to the public as this bee is probably only a couple of centimetres long.  You definitely can’t miss it!  This is part of the Green Up Community Festival in Herne Hill today.  See for more info.

As you may know, I am currently on the 5 week count down to New Designers 2013 which takes place at the Business Design Centre, Islington from 26th – 29th June.  At the heart of the ‘Offerings to the Insects’ concept is my urge to protect insect pollinators, especially bumblebees, and to demonstrate this I put some of the small bee’s pods in a tree hole in Brockwell Park.  These pods were designed as spaces of refuge in coloured porcelain for insects, and I photographed them every few days to measure their progress, posting the results on the Amy Mae Ceramics Facebook page.  These pods were taken away by a passer by, who obviously couldn’t resist them, so I decided to start the project afresh in my garden.  Here are the results in 4 different locations.  Some of the pictures below feature on my new website  Please do have a look and let me know what you think 🙂
Photos by Georgina Rodgers.  Designs and concepts (c) Amy Thornley Heard 2013

Snapped by Joe whilst setting up!
 All ready to go.
 Centre back: ‘Handle with Care’, June 2012. 
Front left: Red and pink ‘Bee’s Pods,’ April 2013.  
Far right: Colour graduation ‘Bees’ Pod Boxes,’ (contains 5 bees’ pods) April 2013.
 Left front and back: Orange and Pale Violet Graduations ‘Bees’ Nest’ wall sculptures, April 2013.  
Centre back: ‘Handle with Care’ small frames, November 2012.  
Centre front: Multi-coloured freestanding ‘Bees’ Pod Group’, April 2013.
 Chatting to visitors.

Just wanted to post some photos of my stand at the Amateur Entomologist’s Society Members’ Day and thanks to the organisers Dafydd Lewis, speakers and other stall holders for their great company and kind comments about the ‘Handle with Care’ and ‘Offerings to the Insects’ work I had on display.

This time I didn’t pluck up the courage to hold one of the stick insects, but I can see that if I am going to continue in the field of entomology I will have to face my insect handling fear head on!  Joe got full marks for handling and identifying British slugs during the morning workshop.  Now there’s a creature I can not hold!

 In Parliament Square
 The ‘Mountain of Evidence’ – scientific studies done into 
the effects of pesticides on bee populations in Europe
 In Parliament Square

Today I took part in the march in Parliament Square to try and sway the vote in Parliament next Monday on banning certain pesticides from farming practice in the UK.

As the Soil Association outlines in its leaflet ‘Keep Britain Buzzing’ published in 2012 to raise awareness of the decline of bees in the UK:

“1990’s Neonicotinoids such as Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam are in routine use.  Scientists are now discovering that even very low doses of neonicotinoids, well below what many used to consider a ‘safe’ level of toxic chemical, can disrupt bee behaviour.”

Needless to say, bees and insect pollinators play a huge role in our food production and it is for these reasons that I am making the ‘Offerings to the Insects’ collection of sculptures.

A little late, but here is some information about student achievements at Kensington and Chelsea College. I’m in there too if you can spot me following the link below!  Blush

Kensington and Chelsea Facebook Learner Awards

This is where I am currently studying Professional Development for Designer Makers.  The atomosphere is fantastic with successful and experienced artists such as Akiko Hirai, Lisa Marklew, Kelvin Birk and Mizuho Koizumi providing excellent tuition and guidance. 

Some of my very talented colleagues on the above course won prizes and were selected to exhibit for the V&A Inspired by… competition 2012.  These include jeweller Zara Ahmed, glass artist Arturo Serrano, ceramicist Dennis Groenhuysen, whose totem piece ‘Home’ won him the Access Prize and contemporary jeweller Neelakshi Vidyalankara won the Benefit of Learning Prize for her ring entitled ‘Parallel Tension.’

V&A Inspired by… winners 2012

You will be seeing and hearing more from us over the coming months as we prepare to exhibit at the UK’s largest graduate show, New Designers 26th-29th June this year.  More information and tickets are available from the link below:

New Designers

‘Trilobyte’ and ‘Ammonite’ brooches displayed on an Amy Mae Ceramics apron – logo designed and handprinted by Bristol based illustrator and printmaker Lucie Sheridan.

Above: new ‘Handle with Care’ chrysalis frames now available
Below: new ‘Snowflake’ Christmas decorations made using 
original crochet by Amy Mae Ceramics
Above: Detail of ‘Button’ coaster, hand imprinted into clay.
Below: Close-up of components of original ‘Handle with Care’ installation (2012)

Photographs by Rabia Ahmed

Amy Mae Ceramics is delighted to be showing and selling crafted creations in their new space at 401 1/2 Studios, Wandsworth Road this weekend.  All are welcome to the Preview on Friday evening 6pm-9pm and on both Saturday and Sunday 12pm-6pm.

Looking forward to seeing you there!  Please click on the link below for travel information and opening hours:  

Thank you to everyone who came to our end of year exhibition at Kensington and Chelsea College.  

‘Handle with Care’ (below) was my piece for the final major project.
Ceramics, wood and MDF found display case, wood, jute string

Women’s bodies and chrysalises go through irreversible changes during a child’s and butterfly’s development and birth. The Chrysalis is left as an empty shell when the butterfly has formed and flown away. The woman’s body is also a changed vessel, although it regenerates and reknits. ‘Handle with care’ is an instruction to the viewer and but it is also an invitation to consider the perception of women and their integral role in containing and creating new life.


 ‘Period Treasures’ entered in the V&A Inspired By… competition
Ceramics, satin fabric, velvet ribbon, acrylic ribbon, padding, card, crochet yarn.