Week 8 started with a freezing cold wind and grey cloudy sky. The fire was lit in the evenings to keep warm. Just like winter time again. The result of this change in the weather was a damaged garden brolly and the felt being ripped off my shed. So urgent repair needed there.
The poor sheep had a hair cut the week before when the sun was shining and far too hot for them. But they do not appear to care as still wondering around munching anything they can get to. And I have 4 lovely fleeces to process.
Then back to spinning practice again.
Small holding update
We have been very busy sorting out the animals. The fencing is now all completed and the sheep have access to two areas. Much to the annoyance of the chickens. Who also share the same areas. But they will all settle down I am sure.
We are getting plenty of eggs each day now and the baking has commenced with earnest. That keeps the family happy.
Unfortunately the geese did not manage to hatch their egg. They are off the nest now and back on the pond with the ducks. Such a shame as I was looking forward to seeing the goslings. That reminds me. Those of you who visit regularly will know Tina the brown duck. She is very old now and coming to the end of her days. But she still manages to get about and is eating well. But she does fall over a lot. So we will see how she goes.
The moorhens have hatched four babies who are running around with the parents quite happily. They even go to the chicken food and pinch it.
I have had a major clear out in the studio and this week will be no exception. I am planning to get the rest of the unfinished work completed which will free up space. Projects will be moved to the Long Sutton Emporium out of the way.
We have put up a new soap dispenser in the facilities which has a antibac foam hand cleanser in it. We always had paper towels so did not need to make any changes there. Also we have put up a new dispenser with three sizes of disposable gloves in and disposable aprons too. Although we have always had this equipment available it has not always been visible and easy to get to. So now it is.
It is hoped that we can reopen for workshops in the beginning of July. I am going with the government guidelines on this so if we can we will operate with limited spaces in the workshops and insist on customers being sensible and not attending if feeling unwell in any way.
If we can open in July then Alison Hulme workshop may be able to still go ahead. I will discuss this with Alison when she is ready. As we will need to look at numbers and decide if it is safe to run this very popular workshop. Those who have already booked will be notified first and any other spaces with be advertised nearer the time.
All other workshops are either still running with safeguards in place or have been rescheduled to another time. Check with the website as they will be on there but you may not be able to book as I have closed some of the booking dates.
We are still not taking any bookings until the week commencing 3rd July at this time. But this may change over the coming weeks.
To have a full programme again we are looking at next year now. Why don’t you let me know what you want us to put on? Just email at [email protected] and say who you want to visit as a tutor and what you want to learn. I will contact the tutors and ask them if they can fit us in. We need to act now on this as many are already booking up next year and beyond.
I have spent this time sorting out new packs for the shop and kits which I hope will be ready soon. To find out more keep an eye out on the website shop and social media.
There are new cushions in the shop at Long Sutton, New needle cases, cards, and zippy bags just to mention a few.
Fabric, fabulous fabric. I am looking at stocking more fabrics. And of course Jelly rolls. I am not looking for the cheapest but good quality such as Irene and Butler, we will see what I can get. Also a greater selection of threads. Possible Gutterman or Madeira.
There will also be more quilting supplies and lights in the shop so keep an eye out. If you want anything specific let me know and I will get it in for you. Deliveries are now arriving more quickly as more companies return to work.
Just a quick thank you for looking at my YouTube channel and for following me on there. This has been a challenge for me as I am not comfortable in front of a camera but I think with each one I am improving a little. You never know I may get the hang of it at some point.
Do you realise we are at week 7 already. Well those of us who received letters are.
What a long time but it does not appear to be so long. I have kept busy with clearing out the studio, cleaning the house of course and clearing up the garden.
Very similar to everyone else.
I have also started to at long last put regular videos onto my YouTube Chanel. They are improving each week as I get more confident with being in front of the camera.
So far there are 3 on Gelli plate printing and 3 on Soluble film. The next one will be how to put these elements together to create a piece of art.
Week 7 is also the week we celebrate VE day. I am currently making bunting for family members to put on there houses ready for their street parties. Of course they are doing this by using their front gardens to join in due to social distancing. A cracking idea I am looking forward to seeing how everyone manages to party with social distancing. I know of a few people who have managed to continue to socialise over garden walls and fencing with the partitions still in place.
You would think that due to the weeks I have spent at home that I would have a huge stack of items to sell in the shop. No not a all. I have been finishing items that have long languished in boxes or been tucked away as unfinished items. Some I have given away as have no interest in them.
I have got some great ideas for kits and new products. I am about to join a company as an agent which sells many of the quilting items I love to use. In particular the turn table cutting boards. Different sizes and not only square but circular boards too. They will be in the shop once I can reopen.
I will also be selling lights and scissors too.
Thank goodness for technology. Our members of the Progression Group have in the last 7 weeks been meeting virtually every fortnight. I is great to chat and see what each member has been up to. We are still working on items for our exhibitions once we can restart them.
It is hoped that Granchester will go ahead but we will see what happens.
As I eagerly away the governments decisions about reopening businesses I am in contact with artists who have had to move their workshops this year. So far we have moved Rachel and her pen an ink Drawing class to October. Alison Hulme is the same date unless we cannot open and Amanda Hislop also remains the same date.
The regular workshops are on hold until further notice. I am hoping July they may be able to resume with lower numbers attending to keep us all safe.
Eau Brink Smallholding
What do our animals think of this 7 week safety procedure so far? Who knows but they are getting a lot of attention.
The sheep have been sheared and are all healthy but not happy at being penned in now. The chickens are happy and laying massive amounts of eggs. Only 2 of the cockerels are fighting. And that is because one of them coverts the others house. We will see how that plays out. They are at opposite ends of the fields but that is not stopping our Steve wanting what the little one has.
Two chickens are broody.
The geese are sitting on an egg which we hope will hatch this week. The moorhens has hatched 4 eggs so we have little pompoms running around the garden now.
All that’s missing is a dog. I think I will have to remedy that as soon as I can get out and about.
What are you doing? This is what I hear from John when he pops into Eau Brink Studio.
I have spent the past week in the studio reorganising and cleaning.
Clearing our cupboards that have been in need for a long time now.
Making decisions on how to move forward for the future. And this is what I am going to do.
What are you doing about the Powertex? I have decided that I am no longer going to work with Powertex or teach it. I am still in two minds whether to keep it in the shop but we will see.
My decision for stopping this service is based on my having taken it as far as I can with my textiles and have found the only thing I really do enjoy making with it is the brooches.
As many of you know I have already given up going into the schools to teach art and crafts. I had been approached to return to two schools but have decided against it. This is because it takes a great deal of preparation for the small amount of time I have with the students.
I love this group and with the members we are planning great things for our future. Exhibitions are our intention. We are also considering a stand next year at the NEC. Including workshops by our members. Other exhibitions will include open studios, The Makers Fair in Norwich and hopefully Granchester. We of course will be looking at other venues to exhibit. Our exhibitions include the sale of our work and in some cases we will encourage sales tables from other artists. We are very excited about our future. Even at this time we hold a regular Zoom meeting to keep each other motivated.
I am planning next years workshops now and am approaching artists to join us at Eau Brink studio. What am I doing? I am ready to add to the calendar some workshops for eco dyeing, Procion dyeing, and resist dyeing.
Other workshops will include the Experimental Wednesdays which I am considering making more structured as they used to be. With a different technique each month to explore.
I am hoping Alison Hulme will return but this is not the time to contact her about work. But of course I will update you on her workshops as I know.
Amanda Hislop too which we will discuss at her workshop this year if we can still go ahead in September.
Cas Holmes may also visit next year if she is free.
Melanie Missin too of course as we had to cancel this years workshop.
These are just a few of the artists I am in contact with for the new years calendar.
West Norfolk Artists Association
This groups exhibitions are always popular and as an exhibitor I can say I do look forward to them. The artists are all very focused on producing high quality art which is popular. I will continue to exhibit my work through this association in the coming year.
My personal work will involve two things.
I am looking to concentrate on using the heat press for as long as I can get new things to work with it. I love the speed of it and the different results I get with different media. The plan is to work with the heat press and soluble film. The combination can either be fabulous or disastrous but we will see what happens. Could add another element such as Tyvek too.
Most of the items I make are going into my shop at Long Sutton.
The other aspect of my work is also in Long Sutton at the Tearoom. I have been playing with cakes and deserts during this enforced closure and can report that our customers who have home delivery are enjoying the new flavoured cheesecakes as well as the little sweet pies. I am looking forward to returning.
John will always say What Are You Doing to me when I am in the studio as he does not understand what I get up to but he does like some of the results. Particularly the new work.
There are a number of videos recorded but they are not the best quality but I am thinking to still use them as it will show how I am progressing with the whole recording thing.
Do you find it uncomfortable talking to a camera? I certainly do. Though I am very happy chatting away at nobody while I work. So I will be trying that more than me standing talking.
I have just posted a video about using soluble film. It is aimed at beginners really but I am going to post more on this subject.
This first video is showing you how to transfer your picture and to stitch it on a sewing machine set to free motion.
Then the results as it dissolves.
Soluble film is one of my favourite things to use. I love the freedom of it. You can use it as a flat piece of delicate work or build up the stitches to make a rigid 3 d piece. It makes the most wonderful lace. Which I did for my hat front.
You can also layer up the pieces to create depth in your work.
I am thinking of four videos but may extend it as I get over enthusiastic about it all.
I am spending a lot of my time cleaning and sorting out.
The fabric stash has been greatly reduced. I have worked on a three pile theory. The first I am definitely going to keep. The second is going to the charity shop in Wymondham and the third I have put aside to use during this period of working from home.
The largest pile by far is going to go to the Big C at Wymondham once they are able to receive items again.
This part of the clearing out has been more challenging for me than the fabric. I suspect you know that I love beads. Many of my pieces have beads on them in one way or another. Even the Powertex. But I do have a small amount of beads I used at the schools for the children and will no longer need them as I decided earlier in the year to stop working in the schools.
No I am sorry but I cannot get rid of any of them no matter how hold they are I will find a use them.
You would not believe how much paper is in this studio. Much of it will never be used so its in the fire and onto the compost heap. Of course the brown paper and specialist papers will stay to be used during workshops.
All unfinished items and projects will be re-evaluated and if I want to get them finished I will endeavour to do so but if I have absolutely no interest they will be made into a kit or a card. I think I have a few.
There is so much documentation in here all over the place and it has to go. Unfortunately I do have to keep quite a bit of it for the powers to be to scrutinise if they wish. So the loft is the obvious place in secure boxes of some sort. It is unfortunate that I cannot stand up in the loft as I would put a filing system in there for it all.
This is only part of the reason not much sewing is going on. Though I have completed a few pages in my Progression sketch book. And stitched a few fabric bowls too.
That’s what is happening in the studio at the moment but also I am working with the boys to clear and fence the garden at last. We have move three chicken houses into the none existent orchard and sheep pen. We have almost finished the fencing to keep them all in but as the geese are nesting in that area we cannot complete it all. Don’t want to disturb them if we can help it.
Trees have been trimmed and deer fencing is being put at the base of the trees. This is to not only keep our animals and birds in but to try and keep Mr Fox out.
And if I can get the plants I want a lot of planting is going to happen in the coming weeks. I also need John to get the rotivator working for my veg patch. Hurrah no more sheep eating my lovely sprouts this year.
Talking of sheep. They will be sheared in a couple of weeks so more fleece to play with. I do miss not having any lambs but we will get them tupped in October ready for next spring.
Then we will see lovely scenes like this one again.
So now you can see why there is not much sewing happening at the moment but that does not mean that it will continue. I do have a fair few items in the planning stage and once I am cleared up I will get onto them.
It is easy to sit around and worry about what is going to happen. Watching the the news does not help at all as I find it all very depressing. I would prefer it if they told us about the good things. Such as how many people have recovered from this dreadful illness.
Now I find I do not watch the news anymore. Nor do I respond to anything negative on my social media feeds. Eau Brink Studio is looking to the future. And that means a huge clear out of items not used or not likely to be used.
Fabric stash first.
Looking at it all has made me realise I do not use most of it. So the outcome is to use it up over the next few weeks and I will post on Social media what I make with it all. What on earth can it all be used for? We will see what transpires. At the moment I am using some of it to make fabric bowls. Sitting in my garden outside the studio. This is helping me stay focused and keeping the studio going.
My favourite fabrics are 100% cotton and hemp. Old hemp is far better in my opinion but can be equally expensive.
It is returning but not to the same degree unfortunately. What a great way to restart another of our industries by producing affordable hemp fabric in the UK.
I like plan fabrics that I can print on or dye. That way I am in full control of my work and not working around others colours and patterns. And one of my favourite workshops is with Alison Hulme who visits once a year to help me and others to do just that. Print all we can for two days. So far we have kept Alison’s workshop open as we are hoping the restrictions are lifted by the end of July.
Keeping Going means with a bit of luck we may be able to open by the end of June and we can then plan to bring back the delayed workshops. It will be a welcome change to meet friends again. Eat cake and discuss textiles, art and crafts. Something to look forward to.
Confinement means different things to us all and for me I considered myself very hard done to at first. But now I realise how lucky I am to have a large space to wonder around in as well as a studio to retreat to.
I am like many of you using this time to catch up on things and the first item on my list is the YouTube Channel.
I have spent many hours confined in the studio recording videos and learning how to edit them with my sons help to upload onto the YouTube channel. So far I have put out two on Gelli Plate Printing. One of my pet hates when using any media is pop up adverts or adverts at the beginning and end of a video. with this in mind I can assure you there are none on mine.
Gelli Plate printing 1 is a basic demonstration and Gelli Plate printing 2 is a little more advanced. I demonstrate how to get layers of prints and a key point to ensure it works. Number 3 is due out next week and is transferring pictures from magazines and your own printed pictures. If your planning to have a go at this one you will need high gloss magazines and to change the settings on your printer.
Keeping active during our enforced confinement means walking around my garden a few times. I do this with my son and we are working up to 10,000 steps a day. Trouble with this is as we have hit spring and the garden is coming to life I am seeing inspirations all over the place.
This tree is just opening its leaves and blossom buds are about to burst open. Taken late afternoon yesterday. My son will have to show me how to use another programme and edit this so I can use it for my work. Though I do sort of like it as it is.
Being confined at Eau Brink Studio has meant that we get to use all the technology at our disposal. The progression group are meeting virtually now. Still on the first Wednesday of the month our meeting continues online. This is very new to some of our members but they are embracing it. Keeping motivated is something that can be hard during isolation. Luckily we have ways of keeping in touch that previous generations did not have.
I am considering virtual workshops too but need to think about that a bit more as I need to consider how to do it and how to get people engaged too. My son has suggested it would be a good idea and then to record it as I go and put the recording onto YouTube too. So much to think about.
The website is bang up to date now. Thank you Ruth for your help. Though I have noticed that two links are not working so the Techy guys are on it. I am sure they can fix it quickly.
TextileArtist.org community stitch challenge 2020
Have you all joined in the TextileArtist community Stitch Challenge? I must admit I did get bored with my first weeks piece but stuck with it. This second week is making a post card sized piece. I will post it on my Facebook page so you can see what I am up to. TextileArtist Community Stitch Challenge has a Facebook page so you can go and take a look at what everyone is up to.
This is my first weeks challenge and you can see why I got bored with it. Though I do like working Ermine stitch as you can use it in so many ways.
Yesterday I uploaded a new Video on my YouTube Channel for you. Just pop over to YouTube and search Eau Brink Studio and you will see Gilli Plate Printing part one.
Our Classes and workshops are predominately fabric and textile led. However the majority of our classes can be adapted to work with paper and card too.
Every workshop on this channel is demonstrated by Anita O’Neill in real time.
Each video is approximately 15 minutes long to make it easy for you to follow each step.
The aim of the channel is to encourage you to try new forms of art and stitch.
If you like what you see and find you want more just book into Eau Brink Studio for a group workshop, join in a planned workshop or book a one to one with Anita for her full attention.
Gelli Plate Printing Part 1 is the first video on Gelli Plate Printing on my YouTube Channel. This video shows you how to use your Gelli Plate to print onto fabric and paper. Filmed in real time making it easy to follow.
What comes after part 1?
Part 2 and 3 will be added over the next few days so make sure you keep an eye out for them.
Part 2 will show you how to layer up your colours and textures. We did touch on this in part one but there is so much more you can do with your Gelli plate.
Part 3 will show you how to transfer pictures from magazines and prints. This one make take a little longer as you have to get the right amount of paint onto the Gelli for this to work.
Getting a good print does take a bit of practice but it is worth it in the end. It also depends on the quality of paper and the original print.
As directed by the government Of course we have deferred many of our workshops, Yes we have closed our bricks and mortar shop for the time being. And yes Anita has lost the majority of her income.
But looking on the positive side of things.
Anita has time to update her Youtube Channel. By this I mean that I will be adding content to it so that you can watch the videos and still have a go. Many of the videos will be short demonstrations in real time. Making it easy to follow them. The plan is to upload a series at a time which will concentrate on a specific subject or area to help your practice. I have no idea on how to do this but with a little help I am sure I will get the hang of it.
Each section will start with the basics and then grow into more complex practice. I do not have it all recorded as yet but as I go I will add more and more for you to dip into.
It will also be based on techniques I am currently using. So for example Gelli Plate printing. This will start with a small talk about the Gilli plates and what you can use them for. Then each video will follow on from the previous so that you can save a library of content specific to your practice.
All content will be useful for those of you who like to use textiles, paper and mixed media. I will at the beginning of each video let you know what the process is suitable for and if you need to add anything for fabric such as fabric medium.
Once I get the first videos onto YouTube I will send you the link or point you in the right direction for the link on the website.
The next new page
I am going to also add a page for Progression in Textiles group so that everyone can see the work and get updates on where the exhibitions are going to be held. So far we have found that the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios is not taking place but may be in the autumn. Also we wanted to exhibit at Wymondham but the venue is not opening this year. We are discussing having a virtual exhibition but no decision has yet been made. Progression in Textiles does have a Facebook page which shows some works and updates too.
Other March News is that the online shops are being updated. Our Amazon shop also needs attention. It takes a great deal of time to keep items up to date. Not only do I have to make the item but I have to be specific when entering them onto the sites. Sometimes copying and pasting does not work which is a shame as it speeds thing up a great deal.
The best part of all of this March News is that I have time to concentrate on my own work practices too. And that is where I can link all of the above in my daily working schedule.
To do that I will encourage my son to film me working which is the content for YouTube. Finished items will either be added to the Progression in Textiles pages or onto the one line shops for sale. So it all should flow nicely.
I suspect the reality may be very different. Though I do have help with all the online work. Quickfire Digital designed and look after my website. So when I need help they are always there for me. I also have a administrator who is a godsend and working on most of the daily updates.
We at Eau Brink Studio have always taken our Students and Clients safety first! This is no different going through the recent Coronavirus outbreak and seasonal flu. Current practises include regular hand washing and alcohol gel for those who have allergies or preference. We also clean appropriate equipment after every session using anti-bacterial wipes.
We are committed to taking further steps to keeping our studio community healthy and safe.
What is the Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Whats the current recommendations?
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing.
Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
Thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
So whats the particulars about the Studios?
Well we always ask that you wash your hands or use the alcohol gel for basic hygiene anyways. We are now asking that this is done before and after class. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. If this happens – just wash your hands.
Stay home when you are sick or if you have recently been in a high risk country. Please note that our Cancellation Policy currently still applies. If in doubt always message Anita anyway.
Anita will continue to monitor updates on this topic. If you have any other questions or safety concerns please message us.