Know-How: Keyboard Friends


The idea of a special group ceramic was developed in tandem with the first Cyber Signing at which it was eventually offered.


From Marilyn on 2nd November 2003:

I have had a preliminary discussion with Hazle about ideas for a members-only group ceramic, possibly done as an Open Numbered Edition. It could be a Cyber Cafe. Some of the following images might be incorporated in the shopfront or on the wall:

1. A globe of the earth - showing the US and Aus with the UK in the middle (of course!) to indicate the worldwide membership. I love globes!

2. With a background of sky (something a bit like the Sci Fi Event Piece in the photo library) which goes from dark with moon, stars and planets - to light with a sun - indicating the 24 hour nature of the internet. I also love skies!

3. Computer screen/s full of Hazle Ceramics. I love Hazle Ceramics!!! We might end up with some prototypes on different Hazle buildings - which we can post to the group. Perhaps there could be more than one version to cater for members' differing tastes.


From Karen on 2nd November:

I love these ideas. It might also be good to incorporate someone on the top floor of another ceramic (perhaps a flat above the shop?), and maybe show them sitting at a computer typing a message back to another group member at the Cyber Caff? Sort of a continuing theme that wouldn't detract from the other shop. Just a thought!


From Jo on 3rd November:

What a nice idea to have an group ceramic, I would certainly be interested. I have always loved the houses and shops that were more in line with the original buildings, then when you look in the windows, that is where all the little special extras are. I do hope it is one with lots of windows.


Marilyn replied:

Perhaps if we had two versions of the group ceramic one could be traditionally painted and the other highly decorated. Another way to include Karen's good idea could be to have members sending messages across the two versions.


From Marilyn on 13th November:

Richard Winn, an architectural designer, has sent some private emails about the group ceramic. With his permission I have edited them and my replies below:

Richard: I'm a new member and really interested to read of your enterprise regarding a special group painting. I suggest the first step would be to agree the building type. This is critical as the area available for graphics must be the deciding factor. The next stage would be to produce a photo of said same showing the 'first draft' customisation thus giving opportunity for comment. In addition to planet earth, I'd be most interested to hear what other graphics you would like to see incorporated. I don't think it would be conducive to commission any prototype painting with Hazle until this has been agreed with all interested parties. Incidentally, who pays for the prototype painting?

Marilyn: Yes, I agree that we need to sort out buildings! The current idea is to go for two types of paintings. Planet earth is postioned in a sky which goes from to light to dark with sun, moon and stars. This can either be depicted in a window for the "traditionally painted" one or on a wall for the "highly decorated" version. So suitable buildings either need to have a big window/s or plenty of wall space without foliage. There are a few models that fit the bill in each instance.

I think photo templates are an excellent idea when one has a very specific brief such as the customized ceramic you mentioned of your business. This approach is also, I would imagine, essential for your professional clients. My experience of private Hazle commissions is that, however much detail I specify, the ceramics usually come back with special and very welcome extras that I hadn't thought of. This might not happen if I supplied a complete template... Call it the art of serendipity! Many of Hazle's team are artists or graphic designers in their own right as well as being highly imaginative ceramic painters, practised at transposing ideas onto clay with or without a template.

Obviously when Hazle is modelling a new building she works from a scale drawing. But when developing ideas for new paintings, the workshop also tends to go down the prototype route. Our software could also create templates, but for the time and effort involved I would prefer to end up with painted ceramics. Graphic images often have to be simplified by the painters to go on a ceramic anyway. I am intending to pay for the prototypes and will add to my collection any that don't find favour with the group.

Richard: As I assume the majority of the 'consultation' work is going to be done over the net, it might be advisable for you to take charge with strict time limits for receipt of comments and observations. It might not be a bad idea to arrange a sub-committee to choose an appropriate ceramic and liaise with Hazle. You know what they say - a camel is a horse designed by a committee. It will be impossible to satisfy everyone.

Marilyn: Only a small percentage of any group members tend to be active participants. So in practice, the sub-committee can be anyone who cares enough to "go public". Any comments generally follow quite quickly after the original posting.

All the issues (including the other images suggested so far: computer screen/s, Hazle Ceramics, members emailing each other across ceramics) will be discussed with Hazle when I meet her in two weeks. Anyone is free to add more ideas to the melting pot.


About five prototypes were created before the two final versions on Old Curiosity and Boots, which can be viewed with full descriptions on the Cyber Signing 2004 Signing Specials page under Events.

The final production versions are shown below:

Keyboard Freinds on Old Curiosity Keyboard Friends on Boots
Keyboard Friends
on Old Curiosity
Keyboard Friends
on Boots


Last modified on 20 January, 2014
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