22 March 2015

smile maker of the week #11

Utterly beautiful wooden cutlery set for children called “co-zen” has arrived from Japan. They are all hand crafted one by one and treated with lacquer in a traditional way by a master of NUSHISA. I was drawn to the design at the first sight, but felt a little hesitant to let my daughter use such prestigious ware. Nevertheless, when she started to use a spoon well enough to eat by herself, I thought she might enjoy meal time more with them, so I revisited NUSHISA’s site. 

What I then realised was that it was not just a design that co-zen was all about, there were so much more than that. The quality of wood and tradition were pursued precisely because for children, being able to learn to appreciate good things in this ‘throw away’ society. I agreed with the motto and I thought by familiarising the quality of material on a daily basis, she might be able to understand the importance (and joy of course!) of family meal time, too. 

I am 100% happy that I bought them now. Sabrina herself, too, seems to be pleased with her new spoon. It’s so light, that may sound obvious as it’s made out of wood, but so much lighter than any children’s stainless steel spoon with a plastic handle, yet it is durable. She’s got better at scooping food and bringing into her mouth. Well, it would be nice if she quits being a fussy eater, as well!? 

Why not visit NUSHISA for finding more beautiful work? xm

28 February 2015

Feb… no it’s March!

Well, I knew I could not blog that often anymore, I thought I’d try at least once a month… yet nothing has been done in February and it’s going to be March tomorrow! Oh dear, so here is a quick catch up. 

For Sabrina and I, February started with another cold (fourth round this winter!). Having felt really fed up with being so poorly so often, weeks have passed. Thanks to lovely snowdrops, finally it’s nearly the end of winter, we were encouraged and got better. Two months passed since Sabrina started to walk. She seems to be active as ever, exploring everywhere and everything. We are in the midst of preparing the extension work of our dining and kitchen areas, so the house is a bit of state right now. As Sabrina walks around everywhere in this situation, I am feeling great that she can walk but at the same time, missing those days that she was sat where I put her! Now we see more signs of spring on its way, I often take her out for walks outdoor. She likes this routine, and now she indicates she wants to go out by putting her hat on and trying to put her shoes on. She really enjoyed walking with her own shadow in front of her the other day! 

Miss chatter box, that is what she is now. Thanks to all goodness of the nursery, she is no longer a crying shy girl. She seems to understand both Japanese and English, but she says more English words than Japanese, which is what I expected, because our household language is English too. I am trying to use Japanese when I am with her, and for instance she understands animals names in both languages but she only says in English at the moment. Nevertheless, she is speaking some words in Japanese, like “grandma” “granddad” “hat” “eye” “ear” “flower” “leaf” “home” and “glasses”! She is far better than her dad, so well done babe! Also I recently bought a Japanese word & picture book, which she loves and seems to be sinking in quickly. Her favourite page is an owl. She calls it “hoot hoot”.
Moving from baby food, now she can eat family meals with us at the same time. (obviously it still has to be softer and simpler favour though) It would be nice if she can feel the importance of family meal time (and this is a biggie for my culture). She eats anything that was offered mostly, which is great, and loves onigiri (rice ball) and miso soup! How she “slurps” miso soup is just magnificent! (shouldn’t be encouraged really! lol!)
Right, now my pottery work situation? Unfortunately I am not in the studio AT ALL. That doesn’t mean that I am off from the pottery, in fact, I run the pottery workshop three days a week whilst Sabrina is at the nursery. So my hands are still covered with clay regularly, but not doing my own work and passing the studio door is very sad indeed. I used to joke about “putting my daughter in a bag and hang on the studio wall” when I was pregnant, but the thing is my thought at the time was far naive. Honestly I find it very hard to juggle with doing my own work and looking after a little one. So I am currently aiming to get back into the studio in the evening once summer hits and Saturdays, when my hub can be around. Hope this will work! 

Well, that’s about it. Good bye February. Builders coming in next month and no access to the kitchen for a while. Already stressing me out. I guess more walking outdoor will follow. xm 

21 January 2015


It was around Christmas time when Sabrina finally started walking and now nothing stops her. Since we knew she had some development delays from the start, we did not really worry too much, but my goodness what a lovely feeling we get when she hit this milestone! Thank you my darling babe. Thank you my husband. I am a very happy mum and wife. xm 

4 January 2015

new year

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2015! 
(sending a big kiss from Sabrina too!)
x m 

14 December 2014

missing japan

It’s been quite a battle at home whilst my blog was quiet. Sabrina and I have been poorly, having had cold after cold since late autumn. This is the third round and we are trying to fight off this nasty flue-like symptoms before Christmas. It is not nice to watch my baby suffer so much, but also very very tiring to look after one when you are poorly too. Doctor said this year is particularly bad and there are four types of cold viruses around. Does that mean we are getting another one?? I hope not! 

From the recent appointment with Sabrina’s cardiac doctor, now we know she will be having an open heart surgery next spring or summer. This is going to be another major operation since her eyes, so it is worrying. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that the surgery will make her health and life better in the future, and also means that if it’s done successfully, we can fly to visit Japan finally. Until then we are anticipating that day to come with fingers (and toes) crossed. xm

1 November 2014

It’s the time of the year… result

auntie maki’s annual task now complete. 
ready to pack and post. 
ding dong ding dong. 

19 October 2014

my favourite season

it's been so mild this autumn. lovely being able to walk in warm wind and sunshine without a winter coat. xm 

13 October 2014

It’s the time of the year...

It’s the time of the year again for auntie maki to get on with her annual task. Numbers have increased as you know, so I'd better crack on! xm

2 October 2014

my first solo exhibition!

From this Saturday 4th October to 2nd November, my ‘mazekoze’ range tableware and original screenprints will be showcased at Ropewalk Gallery (at a space called Box Gallery within the gallery). This is a small but first solo exhibition for me, so I am very exited! If you are near by, please do visit. xm

22 September 2014

new face

New addition to ‘mazekoze’ range, which will be showcased at The Ropewalk next month. More in their magazine here. xm

16 September 2014

i cannot care enough carefree beauties

Being a mother to a little one means that you have to omit some of (most of?) household chores in order to survive everyday. In my case gardening has become one of them. Our vegetable plot is covered with a black sheet and my flower border is completely abandoned. But thanks to those relatively carefree bulbs and perennials, they happily do their own thing. Without me trying to tidy, stake, or anything that need a bit of hands on tasks, they do flower nicely. Like these dahlias that I cut this afternoon, they just add our abundant garden a brilliant colour and even in our living room. 

Hopefully I will go back to do a bit more gardening next year, maybe get my daughter involved. I think I’d still chose those ‘carefree’ flowers. Anyone recommend any? xm

5 September 2014

Fishink blog

Recently I was interviewed by Manchester based illustrator Craig. Now that has been featured in his blog “Fishink” with lots of images of my work. Vey nicely written. I am very flattered! Hope you can hop over to his blog and check it out! Thank you so much Craig. xm

27 August 2014

new challenge

It’s been a month since Sabrina has been prescribed glasses to strengthen her right eye (weak one), and she has now got two pairs of wrap round type glasses. This is on the top of ongoing eye patch training. Baby + glasses? (toddler precisely) Well, put this way, equal really hard work! She takes them off as soon as we put them on. Tried so many ways to distract her, by letting her hold things, our hands, keeping her busy etc, obvious things you can think of. I even put her socks on her hands (sorry I was mean, babe!) and that did last only for a minute. Eye training at this age is mainly to maintain her brain function for the future. If that stops, when she gets older, then even if she did another op, the brian won’t pick up what she sees. So we know how important this is, but how on earth are we suppose to do??? Anyone, any trick? xm

2 August 2014

POTFEST in the Park

Last weekend we went to POTFEST in the Park. One of my favourite ceramic events in the UK. A place that I always find something I adore (and never have enough money to buy all the things I am fond of!) This time, I would like to share three artists work that I very much enjoyed. 

Very distinguish bold and quirky expression of nature, animals and humans in ceramic reliefs by Hilke MacIntyre. I first saw her work at a local gallery a while ago and instantly fell in love. I have a little collection of her work but since she is based in Scotland, I have never seen her in this sort of event in the past. So when I found out that she was at POTFEST this year, I was over the moon. It was lovely to see so much of her work and each story made us smile. I took a little plaque with mum and daughter on her shoulders home as a new addition to our collection. You can view more of Hilke’s beautiful work here.

Another artist from Scotland, Wendy Kershaw creates beautiful porcelain plaques with illustration. Her illustrations contain interesting stories, which makes you look closer. I found the combination of that with some transfers, cobalt and a touch of gold, an absolute gem. Fine needle lines are almost like etching yet the surface was so smoothly polished. "Elegance" might be the word to describe it. I have never seen any work like this before and my heart was particularly stolen by her porcelain book. Stunning! You can view more of Wendy’s work here

Finally Isabel Merrick from Devon. I started to buy her work since I first saw at Rufford a few years ago. Lively and playful colour decoration on her tableware are very eye catching. But this time she was also exhibiting her unique selection of more sculptural pieces. A totally different approach and firing. The way everything was put together with slip, glaze and scraffitto. Its wacky shape. Its dynamics. I absolutely loved them. In particular I adored this vessel with angel like wings. I had to push my limit to take this home! Thank you Isabel. You can view her brilliant work here.

19 July 2014

a touch of clay

My daughter has started to go to the nursery, which means that I have also returned to work. Although this is only my main job as the workshop instructor and I am still not officially back to my studio work. Finding it almost impossible to get that sort of time yet. All I can get is a few hours on the weekend whilst my hub looks after her. She has become more clingy to me at home at the moment possibly due to being separated from me three days a week and even her dad finds it difficult to settle her for nap etc. Nevertheless, we have managed to make a few hours on several weekends so far and these few hours in the studio have certainly given me a buzz. I’m currently preparing for the exhibition (small but solo for the first time!) in October. Hope I can get enough things done in the limited time. I shall keep you posted. xm