19 November 2013

Chess board with owls in black and white porcelain

When an organisation named "Uilenspel" (owls' play / owls' game) from Ghent, Belgium asked me to make something which could be auctioned at a art fair to support their work, I had a chess set in my mind straight away, the pieces in the shape of owls. 

Here it is, I worked on it over many weeks, but if you add up all the hours it's about weeks worth of work, I guess. It was a joy to make. The board is porcelain too, on a wooden base with an oak frame. 

Each piece is different and each is made by hand, I used no moulds at all.

see the little mouse hiding under the kings cloak, and an elf on the tree stump of the queen

A bishop is not the same in Dutch, there it's called a runner /walker as a messenger would, hence the owls on stilts, so it can take big steps.

I loved adding all the quirky details, an elf here, a leprechaun there, there's several mice and a bird. 
If you want to see more pictures, head over to my flickr page.
If you want to know more about the auction and the organisation, I added that info to the blogpost about the story bowl made for the same auction.

16 November 2013

Story Bowl: Owls' Play

A story bowl for an organisation named "Uilenspel" (owls' play) from Ghent, Belgium. This is a group of mostly volunteers who help primary school kids, especially foreign childern, with their homework. They come to the childs house and thus not only help the child, but are of help to the parents too, with understanding the Belgian (school) system and so on. The organisation pairs volunteers with kids if possible from the same neighbourhood. The volunteers learn more about a different culture at the same time.

Nearly dry enough to fire, the owls are still a bit wet though. Once fired it's much whiter:

The bowl shows the volunteer and the child, the big and the small owl. To show they learn from each other they are at the same level. The mice just popped into the bowl as I was working on it, I guess they stand for the people close to the owls, benefiting from the owls interaction.

Of course the bowl is presented in an exclusive Two Trees fair-trade gift box.

The bowl will be auctioned on November the 30th 2013 in Ghent, read more about that here (in Dutch).

5 November 2013


Coming days I'm preparing to sell at KADO KADO, the 3th edition. More info on the facebook page.

Hope to see you there, or at 1 of the other events were I'll be.

16 October 2013

Story Bowl: 18 ladies, 1 man and a wheelbarrow

Custom story bowl for a man. He was saying goodbye to the company. The bowl was commissioned by the 18 women he trained and worked with during his career. And oh, ...there had to be a wheelbarrow too....

It was challenge and a pleasure making so many figures, of course none are the same, some are carrying books or a bag, some sit, some stand some are closer to the wheelbarrow, some aren't.... sometimes it nice not to know the full story so one can wonder why.

11 October 2013

Going back to my roots: 't Paeremes part 2

Since I wrote part 1, back in 2010, I have moved back to my roots. Well nearly, I'm back in the same county but on a different island.

Ossenisse is the lovely village were I now live. You find it on the coast of the Westerschelde in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. It's an island in the sense that it is surrounded by Belgium and water. If I had a boat I could easily go see my parents, cross the Westerschelde and through the channel to Wemeldinge. But since the ferry was replaced by tunnel I have to go the long way around until I get a boat. (Which I don't plan to get in case you were wondering.)

Anyway back to the "paeremes" or "knife with horses". I kept on making knives inspired by these, but most ended in the bin, here's one worth sharing though:

 I made a sheath in leather with felt lining to finish it.  

Since I perfected the hilt making I'm now happy to take custom orders for a knife made to your specifications. The blade is ceramic, factory made and will stay sharp. These knifes are dishwasher proof.

27 September 2013

Story Bowl: Networker

As the name suggest this bowl is for a net-worker. It's a custom request for a corporate going away gift for very social person who loves to play tennis and basketball in his spare time and have a nice cold beer. He is very good at bringing people together both in his work and his private life.
After some brooding on these elements, this bowl appeared.
Now it seems strange it took me so long to come to this:

4 September 2013

Ireland August 2013

Usually I visit Ireland at least once a year to catch up with friends. I lived there for tree years moving back just before the millennium. I did not get around to visiting Ireland in 2012, a trip was long overdue.

Walk in the forest near Maynooth

 Wise words

Visiting a crafts fair in Castletown House, Celbridge

Castletown House in Celbridge

One of the gate lodges of Castletown House which can be rented as a holiday home :)

The Liffey running through the grounds of Castletown house, on it's way to Dublin.

 Picking black berries for a lovely pudding

View over the Shannon at Clonmacnoise

The pelgrims path on the left and 1 of the 3 high crosses on the right at Clonmacnoise 

Clonmacnoise Castle

Birr castle and garden

The telescope at Birr castle is credited with discovering the spiral nature of the Whirlpool Galaxy

As you see, I didn't even make it to Dublin, so a good reason to return to Ireland soon.