2021 December

December 30, 2021

The End Of The Year. It Is A Busy Time At Eau Brink Studio.

Well here we are gain at the end of the year.  Which means it is a busy time at Eau Brink Studio.

You may be reading this thinking how can that be? surely this is a time to relax before the new year starts?

No not at all.

This is the time of the year where I have to get as much of the programme for the coming year up and running. Booked tutors need to be added to the website and advertising planned.

Blogs are usually planned in advance . Though, I am finding that just writing what is coming into my head is better than the plans at the moment. I opened my diary to start planning and thought that it was too much like last year and probably the year before too. So I though I would just type what I am up to today. And a bit more.

My day started at am with taking the dogs for a walk. I do not think they were impressed as it was dark and windy. Great wake up call though.

By 6.30 I was in the studio playing with my sewing machine and thinking of all the things I am going to try with it for stock for the shop. As one of the workshops for January is making little Lanterns it may be a good idea to make a few showing what can be done with them. This would make a great live session on YouTube I think.

Then a trip to the shop to take away Christmas stock and decorations and get ready for the springtime.

Once home we moved the frame of a polytunnel up to the chickens to extend their run. We will finish it tomorrow by covering it with netting to keep them safe from the Bird Flu as well as the fox. They have made it very muddy even with us putting bark down as they just rake it up again.. Got to love them. The ducks are also being kept in for the time being. I do not think they are very happy either. It is easier to keep the chickens occupied that it is ducks.

Once this was done I returned to the studio to start getting my planning done. In the back of my mind I also have to get my accounts finished but keep putting them off. Won’t be able to do that for much longer though.

The January workshops are all on the system live and are starting to get booked. That is a relief and  it will be nice to get some new learners to attend regularly so we can all make new friends and perhaps learn something new from them. At the studio we have the usual systems in place. Masks to be worn when moving about and watching demonstrations. If your feeling ill please do not attend. Gloves and aprons are available. Even a mask if you forget yours and want one.  Track and trace is in place through the booking site. Which is why I need to make sure everyone is booked in even if it is me adding you to the lists. We are keeping a maximum of 10 people in the room as it works for us all.

With that in mind John is measuring up for the patio space and hopefully we will get that made during the winter months as the ground will be soft and easier to put in the uprights for the roof. I have bought fairy lights in anticipation of this happening.

Talking of the roof. The house roof is now looking great and the scaffolding will be taken down hopefully next week. No more leaks in the house now.

So what have we got going on in January 2022? Progression in Textiles will be meeting on the Wednesday of the month. There is an exciting programme of events for the group including two shows at the NEC. This will be the first time showing our work to a wider public and is a little scary but we will put on our big girl pants and enjoy every minute of it. We would love it if you came and said hello.

The second Wednesday of the month is Social Wednesday. You can come along and bring some work to do and just catch up or make new friends. It is a great day.

Then we have the Lantern making day on Saturday 15th January. These little lanterns are great fun to make and are brilliant for nigh lights for bedrooms or just to glow in a dark corner. You are the one designing it so you get to chose the fabric or paper you want to use. You can even print onto the fabric and stitch into it first if you like. Or what about using your sewing machine to create a pattern on plain fabric before making the lantern? so many possibilities.

Monday the 17th is lino cutting and printing day with Rachel. This day is getting booked so if you want a space please let me know so I can add you as soon as you can. Rachel is a great tutor who has the ability to put you at your ease and get you to create art without any stress.

Wednesday 19th is Experimental Wednesday. This time we will be playing with Tyvek, paper napkins, bondaweb, paint and heat. Should be a great day of experimenting and perhaps a little mess thrown in too.

The 26th is Ruth’s Wednesday. We will be creating mythical birds and beasts using lots of bling and stitch. This workshop is looking brilliant in so many ways.

And lastly on Saturday 29th we have a cushion workshop making a 9 square cushion. As I am teaching it please do not expect it to be just 9 squares stitched together. A bit of cutting and patching back together again will be happening. The aim is to give you a patchwork and quilted square you can repeat if you wish to make more cushions or a full quilt . There will be a cushion workshop each month so you can build your block just like a block of the month only mine is cushion of the month.

There is so much more in my head but I am sure you do not want to hear it all so I will go and start making samples for my workshops and checking that the tutors have got their bits ready too.




December 23, 2021

Shopping – A Physical or On Line Shop?

Lets face it we all like to shop at some point but which do we prefer? A Physical or On Line Shop?

There is a huge discussion about the high street shops disappearing but the solution appears to be complicated.

One argument is that you can get just about anything on line but not in a high street or even out of town shopping centres. For those of us who like to sew this is particularly true. But, the difficulty for us is that we like to see and feel what we are buying. Particularly when it comes to fabrics.

So many times in the past I have purchased fabric on line and been very disappointed with the quality of it. And that is why I started to sell fabrics from the studio and then moved them into the shop. Now I have a lovely collection from Lewis and Irene which are fabulous quality and lovely prints. The best thing about them is that in a collection you can mix and match all the fabrics and your project will look lovely.

With this in mind in the coming year I am going to be teaching cushion making using these fabrics. Now you may be thinking once you have learnt how to make a cushion you do not need to go again. But I am going to teach you how to make a pieced square which we will make into a cushion and each month the pattern will be different. Then at the end of the year you will have the patterns for twelve squares and can use them to make quilts and other home items.

Going back to the high street I have to admit that I do avoid going into town centres if I can. Writing this made me think about why that is and here are my thoughts.

The parking is far too expensive especially if your just nipping in for something quick. The town where I live has no department store other than M&S but it is very old fashioned and small. The rest of the town is made up of empty shops, charity shops, pubs and cafe’s other than Boots. There is one clothing shop I do shop at and a haberdashery shop that never has what I want. There is a great veg shop but it is always so busy you can’t get  in it.

I have approached the council and the company that runs the centre of the town to see if I can have a pop up shop in one of the empty shops and they are not at all keen for me to do this unless I pay full rent and rates as well as taking out a small lease for up to three months.  I only want one for a long weekend now and again. I am assuming that many small businesses would love the opportunity to have a pop up shop in a town centre where they can assess if it would be worth taking on a permanent shop or not. And for the visitors to the town it would be a real bonus to know that when ever they are in town different shops are there for them. There are towns in Norfolk that do this very successfully. Such a shame ours won’t entertain it.

Lets look at why I shop on line. That is an easy question to answer. It is quick to find what I want most of the time. It is easy to purchase and they deliver it sometimes the next day. Though I do like to use click and collect if I can to save the postage.

And guess what ? you can now click and collect when purchasing off my online shop. More and more products will be added over the coming months including art materials that we use for our textiles. So now you have a great choice of shopping in my physical shop, online shop and using click and collect.

With all this choice I have to say I prefer a physical shop so that I can see what I am getting. I like to feel the fabrics to see what they are like. I like to see something made up so I know what it will look like. And I like to talk to someone who has used a product to hopefully get a real idea on its properties.

Eau Brink Studio will be closed for the 24th, 25th and 26th December and if we are permitted after that we will be open except for 1st January 2022.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all who read my blogs, purchase items from me and support the studio by attending workshops and popping in from time to time.

Also thank you ladies of Progression in Textiles for working so hard to ensure our little exhibiting group continues to grow and grow. I for one are looking forward to the coming year and working with you.


December 15, 2021

Four Reasons Why Creating Art can be Hard

Have you ever wondered why creating art can be hard? There are four reasons that I can think of.

There are many thoughts on this subject which so I will just touch on the subject. What did you think of when you read the heading?

Experimental Machine stitchThe first thought for many will be that you have to be able to draw to create art.  This is not at all true. We are all able to create we just need to decide on what we like to do and how we want to do it. Art can be anything from drawing simple sketches to producing the most amazing pictures, sculptures and instillations. And they can be made using any medium you fancy. Pictures can be drawn, painted, digitally created and stitched. Sculptures can be from wood, ceramics, stone, fabric, threads and yarns. Anything really. And that also goes for instillations.

I think art is just the term used for creating something pleasing and perfecting the use of a medium. In my case fabric and threads. For many it is mastering the use of colour and texture or line drawing. It really can be anything you want it to be.

So why do we find it so hard?

Well the worse thing of all is when you hear someone who does not like your work picking it to pieces. They either do not like the colours, or the textures. Maybe they think it is not well made or too complicated. At first this is a challenge as being only human we get hurt when we have spent many hours making something to hear someone rubbishing it within minutes of seeing it. But we have to get over that and I like it when I hear someone critiquing my work so I can join in the conversation. I usually introduce myself and then ask them why they think the colours are wrong. Many times individuals think I put the wrong colours together because they would not do that. But that’s okay I know what I like and who’s to say if its right or wrong? Many of the individuals cannot justify why they are pulling my work apart so I tell them its okay for them to have an opinion.

The next thing that we can worry about is what the finished item looks like. Should it look like the inspiration? I say no. The inspiration is just the start. If you take a picture why would you recreate it exactly as it is?  you already have the picture. Move it around, change the colours, just use one part of it and see where that takes you.  It takes many years to feel comfortable with your own art and there is always something you can change but I think that is all part of the learn curve.

One more thing we find hard it finding our own way within our field. Of course we have to learn all we can about the subject and to do that we look at others, read books, attend classes and look on the internet to see what is trending. But after a while you have to go your own way. I find that I like to problem solve so I will get some materials out and then start to play with them. Use colour and texture in different ways, use the materials in different ways. If I don’t like it rip it up and reuse it. Dye it or paint it.  Stitch all over it.  The possibilities are endless.

And lastly we need to think about how we look at the world around us. When looking at a tree tell yourself that your not looking at a tree but a lot of lines, textures and colour. The tree will have many colours during the different seasons, in different light, and when wet as well as dry.  This applies to everything we look at. We just need to think of the world in a different way.


So you see the four things that we find hard are:- Others perceptions of our work, what it should look like,  finding our own way in our art and how we see the world around us.

You may or may not agree with this and feel that there is more to it. Of course I can think of a lot more that will stop you from producing a piece of art but the real thing that stops us is ourselves. There are days when I can find many excuses not to start a project or to finish a piece. But eventually I will get on with it.

There are no more workshops this year but we have a very exciting programme for 2022 starting with a one day lantern making workshop with Anita and then a  lino cutting and printing workshop with Rachel Collier-wood in January.

Take care




December 7, 2021

Getting Ready for the Festive Season and Beyond

As with everyone getting ready for the festive season and beyond  is a busy time for us at Eau Brink Studio. Not only do we have to think about our own celebrations over the coming weeks but also decorating the shop and the studio.

Not being one for  a lot of glitter and blingy decorations I tend to try and keep things simple and traditional. In the shop we have a little artificial tree which will go up this weekend. The decorations are simple and have been up for a couple of weeks now.

The studio will not be decorated at all as I need a safe haven from all the madness that goes on at this time of the year.

My house does not get decorated until the weekend before the 25th December and we have a real tree with decorations we have had for many years. Though some did get broken the year before last when the tree fell over. I like glass baubles. Lights and Lametta or what ever its called. If I could get away with it I would fill my home with real holly and evergreens but with dogs and men its not a good idea.

Getting ready for the shop means starting early in the year making enough decorations to sell. How can we do that ? its not easy because we have no idea what customers want. Purchasing in fabrics and making lovely cushions is the start of it. But if we have a run on things Anita just gets another batch made and keeps going as what does not sell will keep for next year.

In the studio it is a little bit more difficult as some years many of our regular customers want to keep visiting and other keep December for family and friends. So getting the balance right is tricky. This year we have put on a couple of extra workshops with Ruth Holmes. Making Christmas Decorations using your sewing machine or by hand. Click on here for the first one.       And here for the second .

After that we will close until the 5th of January when we start our new years programme. In January we have some new workshops for one day. We have lantern making with Anita O’Neill.     Lino Cutting printing with Rachel.     and a beginners workshop for patchwork with Anita Again. Each month Anita will be teaching a new square pattern for patchwork and quilting which will be made into a cushion. The skills learnt will enable you to make a full quilt if you wish.

So back to December. Tuesdays will remain the evening where I go live. This week I am going to show you how to print using soy wax and a screen with procion dyes. This is what we are going to be doing for Experimental Wednesday this month. 

This technique can be used on fabric and papers so is very versatile. If you fancy joining us just click on the link above and book in or email admin@eaubrinkstuido.co.uk  and request to be added to the list. We are limited to 8 for this workshop as we are working with hot wax and procion dyes and need the room for all your lovely work to dry. You will learn how to mix manutex, chemical water and procion dyes as well as how to use the wax as a resist for the dyes. This is not silk painting but we can put that in if you want to have a go. There is a £5. fee for materials including the fabric if you need it. A small amount of silk is included but larger pieces will have to be purchased if required.

The end of November and the beginning of December finds me in the kitchen cooking Christmas puddings and sweet mince for mince pies. Both are delicious. Some of you may think that it is a little late to be cooking these things but I do not like stodgy puddings. I like them to be fresh and falling apart as you eat them so that you can taste all the ingredients. From the fruit and nuts to the alcohol too.  The house smells amazing and it kick starts the season off for me.

I hope all your preparations for the season and beyond are all going as you wish.








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