Categories
Illustration

About My Autobiographical Comic – Expecting

**Warning** This blog post contains sensitive content about pregnancy, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Also contains bad language because I wrote it.

Categories
Plants

Hoya Temperature Tolerance Guide in Celcius

This is based on Vermont Hoya’s temperature guide which is in Fahrenheit,
if you would like to read that, you can find it here.
For New Zealand hoya fans, I have put an asterisk (*) by the hoya on the New Zealand MPI plant biosecurity index list.


What is the MPI Index list? It’s a list of all the plants that are allowed to be imported into the country as we have extremely strict biosecurity. This is because of the unique plant and animal life we have here in New Zealand. Some people may see it as a pain that we don’t have access to the same plants the rest of the world does but to me, it outlines how precious our country is and why we need to protect it. If you grow sick of your indoor plants, please don’t plant them in your garden without doing research first. Many house plants like monstera deliciousa, tradescantia and spider plants have become invasive weeds and threaten our county’s wildlife. Please be responsible with your plants, what you do matters in your community <3
Another note about the MPI Biosecurity list (which btw you can find here). If a plant isn’t on that list it doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t in the country or that it isn’t allowed in the country. For example, Monstera Adansonii isn’t on the list but is in the country and is allowed to be sold in the country as Adansonii. I’m also hopeful in the future that MPI will allow more hoya on their list as hoya are not classed as invasive. 

 

If you see any hoya that I’ve missed from putting an asterisk next to, please message me through this website or on Instagram, my handle is @littlelifeplants_nz
One more note, there appear to be gaps and mistakes in this list. hoya acuta isn’t on any list for example. If anyone could clear up these oddities for me please give me a message and I’ll clean it all up.

 

The following list describes the general temperature tolerances that Hoyas will do best in. 
This guide was derived from the information found in the David Liddle Hoya Catalog.
While not to be taken as gospel, it can give some helpful idea of where to start. 
For example, you would not want to take a warm grower like hoya cummingiana and expose it to night-time temps in lower than 2°C.

 

Cool –  Lowest continual temp. 10°C; Highest continual temp. 25°C

Intermediate – Lowest continual temp 15°C; Highest continual temp.  35°C 

Warm – Lowest continual temp 21°C; Plants will happily live at temperatures over 35°C for extended periods of time.

 

Cool Temperature Hoya (10°C – 25°C)

  • H. bella *
  • H.calycina *
  • H. carnosa *
  • H. compacta ‘Krinkle 8’ *
  • H. compacta ‘Indian Rope’ *
  • H. engleriana
  • H.  fungii *
  • H. globulosa *
  • H. cv. Iris Marie
  • H. kerrii *
  • H. lacunosa *
  • H. lanceolata *
  • H. latifolia *
  • H. linearis *
  • H. longifolia *
  • H. motoskei *
  • H. obovata *
  • H. pauciflora *
  • H. polyneura *
  • H. pubicalyx *
  • H. serpens *
  • H. shepherdii *

 

Intermediate Temperature Hoya (15°C – 35°C)

  • H. albiflora *
  • H. aldrichii
  • H. anulata *
  • H. archboldiana *
  • H. arnottiana *
  • H. australis ssp. australis  *
  • H. australis ssp. tenuipes   *
  • H. benquetensis *
  • H. bhutanica *
  • H. bicknellii 
  • H. bilobata *
  • H. blashernaezii
  • H. bordenii  *
  • H. brevialata
  • H. burtoniae *
  • H. cagayenensis 
  • H. callistophylla
  • H. calycina *
  • H. camphorifolia *
  • H. caudata  *
  • H. cembra
  • H. chlorantha
  • H. chuniana
  • H. cinnamomifolia *
  • H. citrina *
  • H. clandestina
  • H. coriacea *
  • H. curtisii
  • H. cystiantha
  • H. davidcummingii
  • H. deykei
  • H. dimorpha *
  • H. diptera   *
  • H. diversifolia *
  • H. dischorensis
  • H. dolicosparte
  • H. eitapensis *
  • H. erythrina *
  • H. erythrostemma  *
  • H. excavata
  • H. finlaysonii *
  • H. fischeriana *
  • H. flavescens *
  • H. flavida *
  • H. graveolens
  • H. greenii
  • H. halophilla
  • H. hellwigiana
  • H. heuschkeliana
  • H. imperialis var rauschii *
  • H. inconspicua *
  • H. incrassata *
  • H. incurvula
  • H. ischnopus *
  • H. juannguoiana
  • H. kanyakumariana
  • H. kentiana
  • H. lamingtoniae
  • H. leucorhoda
  • H. limoniaca *
  • H. litoralis *
  • H. lobbi
  • H. loherii
  • H. macgillivrayi  *
  • H. macrophylla *
  • H. magnifica *
  • H. meliflua   *
  • H. meliflua ssp. fraterna *
  • H. merrillii
  • H. micrantha *
  • H. monetteae
  • H. multiflora *
  • H. nabawanensis
  • H. naumanii *
  • H. nummularoides *
  • H. obscura *
  • H. odettaea
  • H. odorata *
  • H. oreogena
  • H. pachyclada *
  • H. padangensis *
  • H. parasitica
  • H. parviflora *
  • H. paziae
  • H. pentaphlebia *
  • H. picta
  • H. polystachya *
  • H. pottsii *
  • H. purpureo-fusca *
  • H. pusilla
  • H. retusa *
  • H. revoluta
  • H. rigida
  • H. rubida
  • H. samoensis *
  • H. schneei *
  • H. sipitangensis
  • H. subglabra
  • H. thomsoni
  • H. tsangii *
  • H. vitellina   *
  • H. vitellinoides   *
  • H. vitiensis *
  • H. wibergiae
  • H. sp. aff. micrantha
  • H. sp. aff. chuniana currently in circulation as H. chuniana
  • H. sp. Philippines  – thought to be the same as H. siariae

 

Warm Temperature Hoya (21°C – over 35°C)

  • All of the Eriostemmas   (Something called Hoya erythrostemma on the list. Same thing?)
  • H. anulata  *
  • H. australis ssp. oramicola  *
  • H. australis ssp. sanae  *
  • H. clemensiorum
  • H. collina
  • H. cominsii  *
  • H. cummingiana *
  • H. dennisii
  • H. densifolia
  • H. hypolasia
  • H. lambii
  • H. latifolia *
  • H. marginata
  • H. megalaster  *
  • H. mindorensis ssp. superba 
  • H. mitrata
  • H. montana
  • H. pachyclada  *
  • H. patella
  • H. ruscifolia  *
  • H. siariae
  • H. subcalva   *
  • H. walliniana
  • H. waymaniae

 

Phew! we made it to the end! That was quite a list. For a reward, I will now show you some photos of my precious hoya.

From left to right; hoya bella, fishtail or polyneura, anthurium crystallinum and hoya serpens

 

My odd looking hoya kerrii and hoya krimson princess

 

hoya obovata in the centre framed by bella, serpens under the dome and polyneura in the back

 

Categories
Plants

Sending Plants in the Post

I have sent plants to people in other parts of New Zealand successfully and I have done so unsuccessfully.

I thought I’d share my methods with you, both successful and not.
My Successful Plant Mail: (with a potted plant)
I couriered a baby plant (marble queen pothos) down to my friend in Wellington and she couriered two plants back up to me (pictured), we both packed them the same way and it worked great. First I used gladwrap to carefully wrap over the top of the plant and around the plastic pot and soil. This was to help keep the plant and soil in its pot. Then the plants were wrapped in bubble wrap and placed inside a small box to size up the box and to prepare the skewers. The skewers were measured, cut and taped around the pot. They are there so if the box is tipped upside down, the skewers hold the plant in the same position in the box so the pot doesn’t fall down and crush the poor plant. I then used paper to pack around the pot so that the pot was held firmly in place. The box was then taped up and I wrote “FRAGILE” and “THIS WAY UP” with arrows pointing upwards all around the sides. I couriered my plant from Auckland to Wellington with Now Courier and it arrived safe and sound in two days.
When my friend went to send her package with Courier Post they put her carefully labelled package into a courier bag so you could no longer see her messages of “FRAGILE” and “THIS WAY UP”. They still let her write “FRAGILE” on the outside of the bag and she sent it off with crossed fingers. Her packaging worked perfectly and both plants arrived safely. She used Courier Post to send her package from Wellington to Auckland, sent at 10:30am (ish) on a Wednesday morning and I received the package first thing the next day. I was pretty impressed with how fast it got to me!
Important! Try to send plants on a Monday or Tuesday so that they don’t get stuck at a depot over the weekend. Take into account long weekends too, an extended jaunt at the courier depot means death for your poor plant baby. Keep the weather in mind if you’re shipping in the heat or summer or the depths of winter, will the plant catch a chill? Will it boil alive? All these things are really important to consider.

My Failure: (with a cutting)
This was my very first attempt at sending plant mail, I carefully packaged up a monstera adansonii cutting that had been propagating in water and had grown some nice long roots. From memory, I popped the plant in a ziplock bag and put that into a small box which has some foam padding. What I forgot to do was wrap the roots in wet paper towels because the roots got pretty dry on their journey south. The plant arrived and is doing well thanks to its new plant dad but was incredibly dry and subsequently lost a leaf or two due to my negligent packing!
Another note: I reuse every piece of bubble wrap, plastic and every box that come in through my door and would encourage anyone sending/receiving mail to do the same. Where possible I pack boxes with paper instead of bubble wrap but sometimes this just isn’t possible. If anyone has eco alternatives to bubble wrap, gladwrap etc, I’d love to hear your suggestions!
Categories
Plants

Propagation Heat Pad

Hi Guys! Sorry for the long silence, my life has taken a somewhat different direction from what I had planned. I’ll probably do a post about that when I’ve finished processing it myself, but for now, I thought I’d keep you updated with the plants in my life at the moment.

I get a lot of questions about the heat pad that I use to propagate my cuttings and grow my seedlings on, so I thought I’d share a little bit about it. I bought my heat pad from the grow shop (growshop.co.nz) which has two stores in New Zealand, one in Henderson, Auckland and one in Christchurch.

This is the one that I bought ($35):

Plug it in, pop your cuttings and seedlings on it and you’re a go. It does say not to get the pad wet, so I have all my pots on container lids or at the very least paper to keep moisture off the pad.

The guy who sold it to me said that it took up less electricity than a light bulb and I think that’s about right. I kept a close eye on our power bill for the first few months having it going full time and I didn’t notice any difference. The heat from the pad is very subtle, if you place your hand on it you can barely tell its on but compared to other surfaces it is warm. It’s kept at the perfect temperature for root growth and I have noticed an increase in root production and the speed roots are established. With this heat pad, I’ve been taking cuttings all winter and seeing good results.
You do need to check in on your plants every couple days if you don’t have anything to stop moisture from escaping the containers because the pad will slowly dry out the soil. Especially on shallow pots.
An example of how fast roots are established (keep in mind that it was winter when I did this) I have a small string of pearls (variegated) that
my husband accidentally knocked over and it died off pretty quickly after that. I pulled out any surviving pearls and put them into a tiny raw clay pot (much like terracotta) and waited for about a month, maybe two for roots to form. Then I purchased the heat pad and took the remaining pearls that had no roots and placed them on the heat pad. I think they shot out roots within a week, it was that fast! I really recommend getting yourself one of these pads if you’re serious about propagating plants. My pad is so crowded with cuttings, I’m seriously thinking about getting a second one!
Categories
Ceramics

Painting Moths

Hello friends! Sorry for the long silence, this year has been really hard for me for various reasons. So much so that I’ve given up drawing the IZS Comic for the time being. This was a really hard decision for me, one that I whipped myself over for months but for the sake of my mental health, I’ve given the reigns over to my husband and creative partner, Izak.

At the end of last year, I had a look at our savings and I was really pleased to see how far we’d come and how close we were to my dream of owning my own kiln. With my own kiln, I could properly run Little Life as a business, running workshops and creating work on demand. I figured that by the end of the year we’d have enough saved to buy a brand new kiln. However, we’ve had to put that dream aside for now as we’ve found ourselves suddenly on one income. This has been harder for me than I’d care to admit and has taken a toll on my mental wellbeing.

Little black ceramics pots have made it to the store!

I made the decision many years ago to be open about my constant battle with depression. And though my battle has kept me from feeling able enough to see friends and family on a more regular basis, I’m still blessed enough with the power of the internet to reach out to people. This blog post has taken me many sessions to write so please don’t think I am in any way put together. Also please don’t think I am in any great danger, I’m struggling to be sure, but I am always fighting.

I’ve written about depression before if you’re at all interested in reading about it, I’ve written a wee essay titled *ahem*

Depression; Why it’s a Fuck Face and Some Tips for Shitting on its Fuck Face
(You can read it by clicking the title above)

I’m currently struggling to take my own advice, it’s hard when your body and soul feels like melting into a sad puddle on the floor. The thought of fighting it is so far from your mind, instead, sad Eeyore-like thoughts fill your mind like a canteen. “I don’t mind if you step in this sad puddle as you walk on by, I’m only a puddle.”

Working on my artwork, or, not working on my artwork becomes a constant battle. On one hand, I say to myself, who am I without my work? On the other hand, I think I’d like to spend my spare time as an unhappy rainwater pool if you don’t mind. I have to remind myself that my worth is not measured in the work I produce.

 

I’ve been able to find joy in tending to my ever expanding collection of houseplants. Tending to their needs and checking them for bugs has given me something to take my mind off everything. I feel like I can set myself aside for a time and try to help something else grow. When one of my plant children puts out a new leaf I take great joy in it. I feel like they help me feel less self-involved, which is a very apparent problem for me at the moment.


Painting Moths

Moths appear time and time again in my work for many reasons, I think they are incredibly beautiful, extremely cute and often misunderstood. The main black spot on their records seems to be how they flit around our porch lights or how they come inside if you happen to crack open a door for more than a split second in the evening.

Moths fly using transverse orientation which means they navigate by flying at a constant angle to a light source like the moon. Unfortunately, moths and other insects get confused by our porch lights and end up trapped flying around in an endless loop. A bit like how my thoughts, usually guided by a bigger picture, are now trapped flipping uselessly around a barren lightbulb.

In Maori folklore, the Puriri moth is thought to be a spiritual messenger or the ghost of a relative returning to visit their descendants. Flying out at dusk to deliver their messages from the spirit realm.

They’re a little misunderstood, a little delicate, a bit magical and they like to be painted on pots.

To Long, Did Not Read Version:

I’m ok. I like moths.

Coming Up

Coming up for Little Life Workshop and IZS Comic is Hamilton Zinefest on Saturday the 12th of May (2018). I’ll be there selling some rad ceramics, stickers, zines, posters and we’ll have some brand new foiled prints available. The foiled prints look rad, check them out on my Instagram stories, come check us out at Hamilton. I’ll be there, IZS Comic will be there, Pepper Raccoon will be down from Kerikeri, Sock Review (aka Rachel Lynch) will be up from Wellington and Say Cheese Louise will be there. There is going to be some great speakers including, but not limited to, Ross Murray (and by god, you better be there for that) and Zenobia Southcombe from Blue Mushroom Books. Check it out, drive down from Auckland, drive up from Tauranga, wherever you are, you should come.

See you there!
xox
Becky Hunt

Categories
Ceramics Illustration

My Broken Pottery Wheel

I wanted to do some personal ceramic work on Thursday (Jan 11), so I danced down to my studio, aka the garage, dodged past half a million daddy long legs the size of dogs to get to the power switch, turned everything on and sat at my pottery wheel. I started the machine up and …

THUNK.

Well, that’s not a good sound, I thought to myself. That sounds almost exactly like the drive head hitting straight into the metal of the wheel drive without the rubber tyre to stop it from abrading.

Maybe I didn’t think that, but the sound wasn’t good. I checked the inside of my wheel and yup, the drive tyre was lying broken on the floor like a sad, failed condom.

My wheel was broken.

 

 

 

So the next thing I needed to do was find a replacement part. After calling and emailing half the country on January 11, I found that the entire pottery community of New Zealand was still on holiday. I eventually discovered that Wellington Potters Supplies were up and running and they had the part that I needed. Hallelujah! The part was ordered and I sat by my door and waited.

When the part eventually arrived Isaac and I hurried to get downstairs to repair the wheel. Holy hell it was hard to get on. Our neighbours probably thought we were giving birth we made so much noise.

But eventually we got the bloody thing on, I adjusted my wheel and it was working again.

I then, get this, went back to hand building pots.

While I was waiting for my part to arrive, I acquired a rather beautiful banding wheel and began to handbuild my pots. I hand build all the time of course but this is the first time I’ve used a banding wheel and what a difference it makes! I’ve been so in love with it, I’ve continued hand building my pots after my wheel was fixed. Yes, I am a bad person.

Whos dirty little pot footprints are these?

I started to really fall in love with these little pots.

 

I’m finally bringing some more of my illustration back into my pots. The reason I’ve abstained from really painting my pots in the past is that I felt I really needed to improve my ceramic making abilities before I spent hours painting a piece. It has taken me years but I finally feel that my ability has improved enough for me to invest in my work and illustrate them. This is my first illustrated pot and oh gosh, I’m so in love.

Purirri moths, thyme and mushrooms. All of my favourite things on a pot.

The reason I’m wearing a mask in the above photo is to protect my lungs from clay dust. The technique I’m using is called Scraffito, the dust produced from scratching back through my illustrations will turn back into clay if it comes into contact with water. Something you really don’t want in your nice moist lungs!

If you ever get into making pottery, please protect yourself from clay dust! It really is very harmful and a lot of workshops and classes I’ve been to in the past fail to mention this to their students. If you’re working with any sort of dust, clay, glaze or otherwise, please wear a mask. If possible, one with a HEPA filter which is certified for dust particles. My mask was about $40 for Mitre 10. And bonus, it looks hella cute!

So my wheel is fixed, (I’ve used it exactly once since then) and my classes are starting this week. I’m excited to get back to Hungry Creek, work with some awesome potters and hopefully pump out some more work. I’ve got a whole bunch of these little moth pots in the works so at some point they’ll be making their way onto the website! Fingers crossed!

I’ve also have a commision to finish which has had some heartbreaking catastrophic failures so far. I’m praying that the kiln is gentle with me this term so I can get it finished, so many broken platters last term! All going well I can share that journey with you all by the end of April.

xox
Becky Hunt

Categories
Ceramics

Exhibitions And A Weather Bomb

Although the year is only just starting, it has been an eventful one. Just before New Years my friend Rachel came up from Wellington to stay with us. One of the first things we did was head over to the Auckland Art Gallery to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition: The Obliteration Room. Before entering the room you get given a stickers sheet covered in colourful dots, you may use the dots however you choose when you enter the room. And wow.

We had a lot of fun in this room as you can see. The only real thing that stopped us from staying longer was the piano in one corner and the children who were willfully bashing the keys. After about 15 minutes of key bashing and that one child who knew chopsticks, I quickly placed the remaining dots and we left. Vowing to myself that I’d never have a piano in my house if I ever simultaneously had young children.

Thank you for censoring your face for the photo, young man

What I liked best about the room was how the artist was obviously playing with areas that were more “sticky” than others. While some objects were totally obscured by the dots, other showed their form simply by having less traction for our little dots. It’s truly an exhibit that you have to see in person.

While Rach was staying with us, we had time to create some ceramics together so I took her through the basics of clay and she made a very well made planter pot and a necklace charm.

Tell me your secrets little pot

As well as having heaps of fun creating these guys with the talented Sock Review, it was good teaching practice for me. At some point, I will start teaching classes, but that will be a wee while away.


Hitting The Road

We left Isaac at home and Rach and I jumped in my old white piece of sh*t Toyota towards Kerikeri to visit our friend Pepper Raccoon! The forecast was for rain but the weather was gorgeous so we decided to risk it, New Zealand forecasts are really just guidelines anyway, it was bound to change.

The first afternoon was stunning.

 

The next day was shit.

We decided to make the most of it by going to Rainbow Falls Tea House. Oh gosh, this place was so cute.

I mean, other than that gutter that suddenly exploded with water right where our table had been.

It was all a good laugh though, we quickly moved out table, helped by the lovely staff, and were served our tea.

The tea was glorious.

Pepper Raccon with her devonshire tea

Thank you for inviting us into your home and lives Pepper and Pete! We had such a wonderful time, even though the weather did not do our bidding. I can’t wait to see you lovely people again! xox

Categories
Ceramics

When the Kiln Gets Too Hot

On Saturday morning I was recovering from a severe hangover by lying in my underwear and moaning loudly on our purple couch. A bird was chirping outside the window and although I was thoroughly out of sorts, I knew it was a bird I’d never heard before. I dispatched Isaac to investigate, he called through the window, “It’s a baby!” Walking outside in nothing but a singlet and a pair of purple undies, too hung over to give a shit about the neighbours seeing me, I observed that Isaac had found a fledgeling thrush. We took the bird inside and placed it in a box with a towel over the top while Isaac mowed the lawn and I lay on a different couch moaning and making sure the cat didn’t get too curious. The predator in question was indeed very curious but was also far too well trained to jump onto the table.

After the lawns were neatly trimmed be took the bird, safely in its box, outside to the hedge opposite our house. I watched (in actual clothes this time) as Isaac wedged the box high into the bush away from wanton cats, the fledgeling could leave if it wished or stay in relative safety.

It was about an hour later that we were confronted by this scene as we prepared to leave to go to my sister’s exhibition.
I’d just like to quickly mention that our cat is microchipped and wears a collar with a bell, which seems to have protected the birds in the area thus far.

Just before I snapped these pictures, Tandem had accidentally batted the fledgeling off the edge of the box with her tail without realising it. The fledgeling was fairly unconcerned, it fluttered down to the ground and took off into the bush to avoid the cat. Tandem proceeded to climb onto the unsteady box, cry, and search for the no longer present bird. The carton wobbled and Tandy attempted to back off, only most her weight was on the box already, she’d come too far, she was stuck. She cried.

And we laughed.

Where is birb?

Later that evening when we returned home, I spent some time brushing sticks, leaves and tree gum from Tandy’s coat. She liked that.

So many foxes to finish!
So many to put on the website!

I’ve had a problem in the past with finding an item on my web store that I’d just sold at a festival. I’d need to find it and remove it from the website so that it doesn’t get sold twice. It gets confusing when multiples of something have been made, I have to start looking for minute differences in the shape and paint. This has become even harder with the addition of fox and bear pins to the store, so I’ve started working on a SKU system.

Now every item in the store has a SKU code and I should hopefully never have that problem again! It’s been super fun to work on, building my own secret language like I did with my sister when we were kids. I’ve had so much fun with it that I’ve been procrastinating doing my other freelance work and I feel like I finally deserve every time I was dubbed a nerd in my life.

Look. I’m using pastel highlighters. It is very exciting.

When The Kiln Gets Two Hot
a tale of woe

I’ve had plenty of ceramic disasters this term, from the kiln running too hot, my ceramics getting a little too close to the kiln sides, to utter and total ceramic shattering failure. After one particularly gruelling week, the week that I went home to cry in the arms of my husband, my tutor congratulated me on coming back; “you know someone is a real potter when they face that kind of heartbreak, pick themselves up and keep potting.”
I walked away from that conversation and said to Isaac, “did you hear that??? He called me a potter, I’m a real potter!”
Put that on my gravestone guys, I’m a real potter now.

This is a good example of a small failure. I won’t share my worst story because that one deserves a fucking essay of its own. I’ll share that story in the new year, once my heart has healed. This cup was a commission for my neighbour, I spent some time illustrating it with dice, this was to be his DnD mug after all! The purple paint is made from cobalt oxide and goes a beautiful navy blue once fired.

But alas, the mug was over fired and the detail was lost. Still a beautiful mug and makes a gorgeous “ting” sound when flicked, but the illustration is now a sad blue smudge marring the side of the cup.

This happened because the glaze is essentially glass, the hotter the kiln gets, the more the molten glass wants to run down the side of the cup, pulling my hard work and all my dreams down with it.

Some victories

I’ve been working on this pot for the last couple terms, I’ve had to put it off for ages to finish my commissions but now she is finally out of the kiln.

I created this planter from a black clay imported from LA. It’s an interesting clay to work with and takes to hand building well. Its high magnesium content makes glazing difficult though so I left it unglazed and decorated it with white slip and white underglaze. Around the side of the pot is a quote from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and illustrations of the native New Zealand puriri moth.

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”
Sylvia Plath

I may have accidentally left out the word “old” but let’s pretend I didn’t fuck up one of my favourite quotes. The pot now houses my chain of hearts which is looking rather magnificent cascading down the livingroom wall.

This next piece has my logo slapped over the centre to keep it a little bit secret, but this is for the commission I’ve been spending the last few months creating. This is the job that has caused the most heartbreak I’ve ever had from a piece of ceramic but it has also been an incredible learning curve. I will go into more detail in another post, but for now, I’m just glad some of these fuckers made it through that goddamn kiln alive.

This is quite possibly my last post for 2017 so I’m going to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year! I hope to see you all back here in 2018. ~~<3

xox
Becky Hunt

Categories
Ceramics

The Process Behind Making Ceramic Pins

My ceramic pins are a lot of fun to make, I originally made a single fox pin for my sister (which I believe I kept and never gave it to her), I received so much positive feedback about it that I decided to keep making them. They always start off as a ball of clay which I mould into the shape of a bunny, fox, wolf or bear with my hands. I pinch my fingers over the nose and push down to make the back flat, this also gives their brows definition.

Once I’m happy with how the face is shaped I set them aside to dry, once dried they can be fired for their first of two firings, this is called the bisque firing. Once bisqued, the piece is no longer clay but ceramic, it is at this stage that I paint them and dip them into a glossy clear coat of glaze. I’ll either use underglazes to achieve the colour of the painted foxes, an underglaze pencil to get a pencil like finish or a combination of the two. Once I’m happy with how they’re painted I’ll glaze them and they’ll go into the kiln once again.

The final firing will go up to 1222.C and the pieces come out (fingers crossed) beautiful and glossy. I can then go about gluing pin backs to them. The pin backs are glued using a two part glue which needs to be mixed up and takes 24 hours to set. This glue can supposedly take 115kg of weight so in theory, these pin backs won’t be able to be removed without some serious force. I let them sit upside down, blue tacked to a piece of card for a day or two and let the glue set up before I take them off and photograph them.

Why yes, I did draw a cartoon version of my face on that paper

Photographing my products has definately been a learning curve for me, at the moment I only have my phone to take photos with. This might sound silly but I’m better at using DSLR cameras that phone cameras so it has taken me awhile to get used to this thing. Eventually I want to get my own DSLR but for now this will do. There are still some items on the store that need their photos retaken, I need to find time for that!

Taking photos is always fun because I can almost guarantee that my cat, Tandem, will turn up and demand attention. If attention is not given, she will climb into the light box and make me laugh. I love that cat.

Once the photos have been taken and brightened and resized in photoshop, they go on the website and the pins are ready to be sold.

I hope you liked this post, I hope it inspired you to make something awesome. If you’re on twitter my handle is @snailprophet, I’m always keen to see what people have made!
Have a lovely week and remember to be kind to yourself.
xox
Becky Hunt

 

Categories
Ceramics Illustration

The Beautiful People of Wellington

We arrived in Wellington midday on Thursday and the sky could not have been bluer. Upon arriving we pulled our luggage out of the overhead lockers, I turned to Isaac as I donned my straw hat, “I wonder how long it will take for me to lose this to the winds of Wellington.” We then disembarked onto the tarmac and my hat was immediately whipped off my head by the aforementioned winds and took off down the runway. I was both amused and mortified to see my bonnet roll off like a tumbleweed on speed towards another parked airplane, the staff member standing with us on the tarmac was equaling amused as she spoke into her walkie-talkie. As we watched, Isaac laughed while I wanted to melt into the concrete of guilt, a highlighter yellow four-wheel-drive chased my shame. A man jumped out of the vehicle and chased it that final 10 meters as the treacherous hat was making one last concerted effort to escape. He brought it back to us in his bright yellow car. I have rarely been more embarrassed.

And that that how we started our Wellington adventure.
(the hat of shame was not worn again for the duration of our trip)

rustic ceramic pots with their new cactus friends

On friday we caught up with Pepper Raccoon for lunch at Origami on Cuba street. I say “caught up” but really we were meeting for the first time in person as we’d only chatted online previously. It’s interesting when you meet someone for the first time after only ever chatting via Twitter and then Facebook, just before we had lunch Isaac expressed that he was worried Pepper and her husband wouldn’t like us. I was a little worried myself until I remembered that my twitter cover image is a giant squished snail face, I think it gives a good first impression along the lines of ‘I’m lovely and equal parts strange.’

 

Pepper and Pete are so wonderful, we had a great time chatting them and eating all of the sushi. So much sushi. Pepper is the mastermind behind Pepper Raccoon and designs enamel pins, patches, and apparel for individuals with flair. She’s a badass babe who is a hugely talented illustrator, designer and is just simply the loveliest person. Check out her website; www.pepperraccoon.com, find her on twitter; @pepperracoon, and buy her stuff, she is one kiwi artist worth supporting!

We have been talking about potentially doing a collab project sometime early next year. No promises yet, but I think working with Pepper will be a lot of fun!

 

Check out www.pepperraccoon.com for some sweet swag!

After having lunch with Pepper and Pete, we were invited back to their car to do a shady carpark pin swap. While we were chatting, a dude was manhandling his car and swearing quietly to himself directly behind us. He felt it necessary to explain to us what he was doing, we felt that was a good time to say our goodbyes and leave weird man to his car.

That evening we got to spend the evening with Rachel Lynch, also known as Sock Review! We spent the evening eating a ridiculous amount of fish and chips (was that necessary considering our large lunch? Probably not) shooting the shit together and we put Isaac to work stapling Rach’s zines ready for Zinefest. We were there for the conception of Rach’s new zine, the Lemon Zine. A proud zine parent moment for us.

www.etsy.com/nz/shop/sockreview

Wellington Zinefest was awesome, we met so many cool people. We also sold out of one of our prints for the first time. I had several people buy my ceramics through various methods, I even managed to send a paypal invoice so someone could buy a couple of necklaces. That was a hilarious ten minutes trying to quickly write an invoice while ignoring everyone else at the booth. It was a good day.

Rach (aka Sock Review) with one of my handmade pins

I’m now at risk of making this post too long so I’ll do some quick highlights. The Wellington Zinefest after party was great, performances from Scarlet Lashes and Nat Attack left us in tears it was so funny. At one point my husband and I found ourselves clutching each other, crying/laughing on the floor of the Pyramid Club in the middle of their song, “I Only Fucked You As A Joke”. Scarlet Lashes was followed by Gold Medal Famous, who were also friggen awesome.

Rach bought a ceramic pin, then Becky from the Zinefest committee bought a pin, then ALL of the staff at Unity books, seeing Rach and Becky’s pins, bought all my fox pins. Rach, Becky, I want you to be my agents.

The beautiful staff at Unity Books. Far right is Becky and Rach
Thomas looking suave with his brand new fox pin

We pretty much spent the rest of our trip in Wellington at the heals of Rachel, who showed us the town. We went to the Wellington City Art Gallery, the home of Garage Project and ate way too much fish and chips. It was awesome.

Needless to say we came home with a new respect for the awesome people of Wellington and Rach and I are already planning a summer road trip. It’s going to be the best summer ever!

 

Thank you to all the people who came and said hello to us at Zinefest, thanks for liking, buying and supporting our work. Thanks Rach for showing us Wellington and introducing us to all your awesome friends. Girl, you have the hook ups!

Until next time
xox
Becky Hunt