2022 March

March 21, 2022
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The Reason Why We Love Attending Shows.

The show season is here again and I am going to talk about the reason why we love attending shows from a traders point of view as well as from a buyers point of view.

Firstly you may be aware that we have just returned from the NEC where we had a stand for Eau Brink Studio and for Progression in Textiles. Why on earth would you do that I hear some of you ask?

Well, as a trader we like to meeting people. We  love talking to like minded people about our art and crafts. For Progression in Textiles it is an opportunity to tell everyone who attends the shows what the group is about and where our exhibitions will be over the coming months. For the visitors it is the opportunity to meet the artists and talk about the work to get an understanding about textile art. Discussing techniques and encouraging others to try a new way of expressing their artistic talents. Within the group we have quite a diverse  set of skills that are used in many different ways. Not all textile art has stitch on it but most of us like to add a bit of thread here and there.

Similarly for Eau Brink Studio I talk about my art and the techniques I use. It is also an opportunity to discuss the workshops that are going on over the year and going into next year. Meeting new artists is key for me as that means I can introduce new workshops into the studio for 2023. Encouraging new people into textiles in one form or another is a great way to meet new people. Also meeting others who are fully aware of what we do at the studio but are a bit nervous of joining in as they are at the beginning of their learning or as one lady informed me felt that she may not fit in due to her lack of skills. We like to help all levels of skills to advance their work in what ever way they want to go. A good starting point is to attend on the Social Wednesday to meet new friends and get to know what you want to learn. Then move onto Experimental Wednesday where you will learn new ways of  pushing your materials into a direction that you like. Or just to have a go and think “nope that’s not for me”. But at least you will have tried it without  a huge layout and ended up with kits or items you will never use again.

As a buyer I can say with full conviction that it is the opportunity to spend huge amounts of money if your not careful.

Setting  a budget and deciding on what you need, rather than what want, is a good way to shop at a show. Though saying that there is always something that I buy, that I really do not need and then have to make sure that I use it to justify it.  A comfortable pair of shoes are advised, as well as a shopping trolly or case on wheels.  Take bottled water too, as the queues are long to get refreshments at the bigger shows. I like to take one of those box trollies with a lid. They make the perfect chair if you cannot find a seat as well as keeping your purchases secure.

If your driving and attending a show at the NEC I advise you book your parking on line in advance as it saves you money. Also car share to save on fuel costs too. I am sure you probably know that, but it is something I usually do when going there. Especially now that our bills are souring.

I love attending shows at the NEC. I find the venue easy to get to, easy for parking and tends to be full of people I like. This is speaking as a trader and a buyer too. I am drawn to the place at regular intervals. So far I have been there 4 times already just this year . And am going again in June. So if your going to the Sewing for Pleasure, Creative Craft Show come along and say hello to Me on the Eau Brink Studio Stand and to the ladies of Progression on their stand.

Stay Safe


March 7, 2022
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Is It Living the Dream, Being your Own Boss?

Over the years I have had many people tell me I am living the dream, being my own boss. What does that mean?

Well for me its a lot of hard work. Luckily I love my job. But let’s look at this in some depth.

I have always worked long hours and put everything I can into my job. Working for the NHS and private companies has not always been easy but it does give you a certain amount of security.

Making the decision to move from security to insecurity is a hard one. No more guaranteed pay at the end of the month. No more customers, clients or patients coming through in a continuous stream. No more paid days off. And no more long distance travel at the end of a long day. That one was an easy one to give up.

But living the dream? Working for yourself means , in reality, that you never switch off. The trouble is you have to succeed or go back to paid employment. For me that is not an option .

PoppyCreating lovely art works, teaching techniques and experimenting are the things I love to do. Fabrics, threads and embellishments are a constant joy to me and if I can share that I will.  This is the easy part of what I and many others do.

The hard part is keeping it interesting, affordable and introducing it to new customers.  After being here for 6 years there are still people coming to me and saying “I never knew you were here”. Advertising in local papers does not appear to make a difference, local magazines again has had no impact. Social media campaigns can be hit and miss. Leaflets, booklets, emails many other ways have all been used.  Is there an answer to this?

Most of you know that my days are long. My choice I know. But staying in bed when awake is not for me. I like to get up and start my day. It can go long into the evenings and occasionally into the night. Again my choice.

The downside of all of this is that holidays are not very forthcoming. The family roll their eyes at many of my ideas.  Usually because they need to help me with something. Days out with family take planning weeks in advance and have to be worked around the business. And business can be disruptive to the household at times too. Good job they are tolerant really. There are times when I am totally exhausted but the brain still comes out with ideas. It is not easy to switch off. The computer and phone are in constant use  as well as the sewing needles. And one big thing that I have not heard anyone talk about is loneliness.

Loneliness can be many things. sitting all day in your studio without speaking to anyone. I have a Angel painting on my wall and I do talk to her at times. Very helpful she is.  Loneliness is often said to be a state of mind. That can escalate to feeling empty, unwanted perhaps feeling inadequate. As humans we are a social species and need contact with others. Don’t get me wrong, it is not the same as solitude. Solitude is being on your own by choice. And there are times when I like that and need it. But there are also times when I just want someone with me to bounce ideas off. To just be in the room creating with me. I love it when the studio is full and everyone is creating their own piece. Never are they the same. Even when given kits we always manage to change a few things to make them our own.

I do wonder if others feel at times lonely. A crazy thought when we are so busy in our lives but a reality I think.

To combat some of the negative side of running your own business you have to put things in place to help you. Like a cleaner to help in the home. A real godsend that one. Making sure that the family  have at least one meal together daily without interruption.  This is usually our evening meal but at times we can also get together for lunch too. Planning is my go to thing. I plan every day. Lists that can be ticked off as they are completed or added to when an idea pops into my head. Though that is not too popular at 3am.

At the moment my head if full of exhibitions. Today Ruth and I set up a small exhibition for Progression in Textiles, in The Forum, as part of Makers Festival.  Go and take a look and if your there next Tuesday we have a make and take with Sharon Osborne and Chris Hadfield. Should be a fun day.

Now that is up and running we move onto the NEC where both Eau Brink Studio and Progression in Textiles have stands. A double amount of work but luckily the members of the  Progression group are organised and almost ready to go.

Now all I have to do is  get the Eau Brink Studio stand sorted out.  The lovely Alison Hulme is going to be demonstrating on this stand which will be fun. I will also be stitching little birds. A new kit is in the making to replace the older one to make it easier for beginners to the most experience to use. I hope to have them on the stand with me.  The kits include a plastic template for the bird, fabric, ribbon, Bosal and full instructions in a sturdy click box. All you need is your sewing kit and a bit of stuffing. You can sew them by hand or machine and let your imagination run wild with them.

We would love to see you at one of our events. Progression in Textiles have events running throughout the year as well as Eau brink Studio.  Just come and see what we are up and and say hello.

 

 

 


March 1, 2022
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 It’s A Busy Time for us At Eau Brink Studio

Well once again I find that another month has already gone and time is proving to be an impossible thing to control.

As you know if you read my blogs regularly I plan everything I can down to each hour of the day every day but sometimes the plans do not work. For example this last week I forgot I was teaching lanterns. That’s not good. The studio was a mess with all the items and work for a number of exhibitions and fairs. But we did have a great day in the end. And the reason I forgot was I had put it in the diary on the wrong day.

I visited Allison Hulme during February and worked into a piece I had already thought I had finished but decided I didn’t like it. So spent some time adding to it. I also did a couple of other pieces which I will work into at some point. The aim of going was to show Alison how to use her nice new heat press and how to cut stencils using the Scan and Cut. We had a great laugh and did a lot of work too. Very pleased with the results. More play time is needed though.  If your thinking of joining us for her three day workshop I have to say we only have 2 spaces left.

Then there was Textiles East and poor Ruth was unable to make it as she was ill so good old John jumped into the van and off we went. Day one was a little slow due to the weather but , oh boy, Day two was so busy I didn’t have time to cut the new fabrics and put them out. Thank you everyone for your support and for those of you who came by and said hello. I did want to chat to Mary McIntosh about her shrivel up and dye workshop but she was even busier than I so didn’t get the chance. I really do love this piece of Mary’s and cannot wait to have a go myself. The workshop is on the 8th and 9th of September.

But moving to things a little nearer. Progression in Textiles have their first exhibition in The Forum starting on 9th of March to the 22nd. Lots of Norfolk Makers will be there and lots going on too. Two of our members will be taking part in make and take on Tuesday 15th March. So go along and see what you can make with them and join in. for more information just go to https://norfolkmakersfestival.co.uk/

At the same time Progression in Textiles will be at the NEC for the Fashion and Embroidery Show.  Stand ZJ01 we would love to see you and see what you think of our work.

If you haven’t booked your tickets yet use this code for a discount. Eau Brink Studio will also be there next to Progression in Textiles so you can see both at the same time. It will be great to see everyone and perhaps meet a few new people too.

 

How do you feel about meeting new people? Some times it can be hard especially these days when many people have their phones on all the time. Or just do not know what to say or do.  I love meeting new people especially if they like fabric and threads, dogs, chickens, ducks and many other things. Talking helps to break the ice and if you can find things in common it makes it easier but what if you cannot find a common ground? Well that’s more of a challenge but nothing that cannot be overcome. There is a lot going on in the world today that we can talk about not just the awful wars but how we are all changing for the better. Being more tolerant and helpful. A willingness to learn. And the only way we will learn is to talk to each other and understand each other.

On Wednesday the 9th it is social Wednesday at Eau Brink Studio and that is a great day to meet new friends and talk about what ever you want. Just bring along something to do, your lunch and chat. To book in just go to https://www.eaubrinkstudio.co.uk/event/social-wednesday-2-2022-03-02/

I am talking to my son a lot at the moment and driving him mad I think. With the new way social media works I am finding it difficult to get to grips with it. My son thinks it is something I need to learn quickly and is looking at it all for me as I apparently do not understand enough of it for it to work?? For what to work? I have no idea what he is talking about sometimes but there you go. Talking is a way of learning and so far he has not lost his temper with me being so slow on the uptake. It is nice spending time with him even if it is for work purposes.

The latest news regarding Covid is that we are all now responsible for our actions so I ask if your unsure or unwell please to test before coming to the studio. If you have no tests I do have a few and you can test before coming in. Still wash hand and if you want to use a mask and the hand sanitiser.

Stay Safe everyone.

 

 

 

 


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