EAU Brink Studio

May 23, 2022
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I How Is Our Changing World Affecting Our Textile Art?

Whether we like it or not, our changing world is affecting our Textile Art. But are we keeping up with all the changes?

Let us take a look at what Textile Art is and then decide on how it is changing along with our world changes.

Textile art is a term used to describe any art created from any type of woven, or spun fibres. This type of art can be in the form of stitch, weaving, felting, needle felting, knitting and crochet to name a few. We include other items which makes it mixed media. Such as paper, dyes, paints and found materials.

Our art can be very traditional to include stitches that have not changed for centuries. Or lace making that has been around for as long as we can remember. On the other end of the scale we use our ever changing environment as inspiration as that makes us look at other materials not usually used for Textile Art.

The changing world is affecting our art in many ways.

The biggest change is that many people have no idea what we do. They think that as we can sew that we should be making and mending clothing. The fact that some of us run a mile when asked, this appears lost on the person asking.  Many people have no idea how to thread up a needle, how to even start to think of how to sew. Many come to Eau Brink Studio unable to use a sewing machine because they are afraid of breaking it.  A fear they soon get over with a little encouragement. It is the same as all things. You do have to learn first then you can create.

Another change I have noticed is that people are worried about coming to a new class or  workshop as they are very conscious of their lack of knowledge or confidence in meeting new friends. I get asked many questions such as, what if I don’t fit in?  What if I cannot do it? I do not have a modern Sewing machine, is that a problem? and many many other concerns.

The thing is none of it need be a concern. Most of us are very nice people who just want to be either learning or teaching with like minded others. We want to create using textiles as our base. We want to explore and take our work in any direction we want to on any given day.

You do not need a lot of equipment, or a modern sewing machine. So long as you can sew on a machine it can create. So long as you can thread a needle you can sew either by hand or machine it does not matter. What does matter is that you are enjoying what your making and feel enthused to take it further. To learn and go off in the direction it takes you. It can be surprising where it can take you.

And if you have attended a workshop you feel at the end it is not for you then try something else. One day you will remember that workshop and one element of it will be just what you need to finish your current project.

As we look around us and see how we need to be less wasteful it gives all artists the inspiration and materials to use for our art.

Of course we all know that plastic is now something to avoid but it is here and we need to be using it in our art. It can be melted and whilst still soft can be moulded into shapes for buttons and other embellishments. Or used to make new items such as bowls. We can use it for stitch too. Just need to make holes in it for the stitches to go into. So much of it can be used again and again.

Looking at how our environment changes is only one way of seeing inspiration. We can also look at how we are changing. We  are more tolerant of each other and are learning about each others cultures and religions. Not something I usually talk about but we need to see what is going on around us as well as in the wider world.  We can use much of of it in our art. We can not just to shock, or to show our feelings but also to embrace change in our own lives.

I do feel we are all much more cautious about our spending and learning as we are affected by the world events. But we should not stop learning and trying new things. Luckily we live in the age of the internet and we can learn a lot from it. I personally prefer to learn in a class with others. I love being with others and even if I am teaching I am learning.  It is a great feeling when your stuck on a project and someone in the room suggests you try something and it works. Or if it does not works perhaps a little tweaking will help. I  cannot get that feeling from watching a video on the internet.

So as you read this think about what you prefer. Think about what stops you from joining a new group or class. How can you overcome that?  Be honest with yourself and make a change by going along to your nearest class or group give it a go.

Over the next week I will be uploading content onto the new members page of the website. First items are free and as I get to finish more content it will be either in the free membership section or the classes and workshops memberships.

So if you want to see what we are up to sign up for the free memberships and see if you like it. Just go to www.eaubrinkstudio.co.uk and look at the top tab for the members area.

What have we got coming up ?

Landscapes that Reach Beyond the Frame with Ruth Holmes

 

 

 

Introduction to Linocut Printing with Rachel Collier-Wilson

 

Specialised Weaving / Bring your own loom! With Jennifer Anne Studios

Thank you for reading.

Anita


May 2, 2022
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Little Achievements Do Make A Huge Difference to Your Day

I really do find that little achievements do make a huge difference to your day. For example, I have managed to add new information to my website without asking for help. This has made me feel really good. I have achieved something not only for myself but for my customers too.

When did you last feel good about something?

So my big news today is that you have click and collect options when purchasing from my online shop and BACs payments for anyone who does not like PayPal. The Bacs payments will save you and I money as there are no fees which is a huge help when we have to refund as PayPal still take their cut from you the customer as well as from me. Bit of a cheek if you ask me. So I am now hoping that I have made life a little easier for everyone.

Today I have been gardening and enjoying having the chickens around to help too. Such a nice day.

Yesterday I felt the same sense of achievement when I went to the shop and spent the day putting out the new collection of fabrics from Lewis and Irene. The are very pretty floral prints. Some are very reminiscent of 1940’s fabrics. By the end of the day they we all unwrapped, cut into 1mtr lengths, half meter lengths and fat quarters too. Of course some are left on the bolt for anyone wanting longer lengths. Unfortunately I cannot put them on the online shop at the moment as I am having problems downloading the pictures. I am meeting with the rep this week and we will sort it out I am sure.

My other news is not so good. It is looking like we may have to cancel the Jenny O’Leary workshops this month due to a lack of demand. Having spoken to Jenny we will be looking at it by the end of Wednesday 4th May. If nobody else books in then I will email out my apologies and cancel the two days. I am rather hoping that we do not have to do that . So if you have been thinking about joining us for one or for the two days please do book it before 5pm Wednesday 4th May.

My next sense of achievement will be if I manage to finish getting the Members page ready. I am having a few hiccups with it but I am sure we will work it out quite soon. The main problem is I have no idea how to use it and am learning  by the videos they are sending me. Trouble is I do not understand half of what they are talking about so have to stop the video and look it up. I should be a whizz at it in the end.

How do you feel when you are trying to learn a new skill? It can be frustrating but so satisfying when it sinks in.

I am spending much of my time looking at the little things that I achieve now on a daily basis. Some of it is mundane but when you look at all the jobs you finish in a day  it does add up to quite a lot. So we should celebrate them. If you have not tried this give it go. You will feel good at the end of the day.

 

 

 


April 25, 2022
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Five Things That Happen When You Are In What We Are Up To.

We are all engaged in being busy in different ways but when your involved in what we are up to you can be even busier.

The first thing that can happen is you can learn a new skill, or enhance a skill you  already have. What can be more exciting that finding you have a new hobby or that something you have been doing for many years can be moved onto something new?

The second thing that can happen is you can become addicted to your new skill and want to keep up with the developments in that field. This can be a little costly but worth it in my opinion.

Thirdly by knowing what we are up to you can pick and chose workshops to attend and ask Anita for one to one lessons if you miss any of the planned workshops. Or  maybe you want to spend a little more time getting help. Also you will know if the studio is free and you may want to use it for larger projects.

The fourth thing is you will know what is going on with the exhibitions and where they are. Then you can plan a day out with lunch and perhaps more than one exhibition if there are more in the area your visiting.

And the final thing is the shop. What do we have in stock? what is new? and can an order be bought to the studio as it is easier than getting to the shop.

So why have I highlighted all this?

Well it is because we are putting together our members area and although all of this information is on the website not everyone subscribes to the website or the news letters.

The members area is now ready for use. So very soon you will be able to decide at what level you want to be kept informed and what you want to learn.

There are two memberships available. At the moment I am trying to get them converted from dollars to pounds but the good news is that you do not have to use PayPal as card payments have been added. I am trying to get that added to the rest of the site too so it makes life easier for all of us.

With both memberships we will be offering a one week free trial so you can decide if you want to fully commit or not.

I will be adding the content hopefully by the end of this month so you can pop in and see what it is about. I will send out invitations once something is on there.

There will be short and long courses, videos with other artists talking about their work. These will co-inside with their workshops at Eau Brink. Also snippets of the workshops at the time of them happening. We will include the products we are using so you can see how they perform.

Just a quick reminder that Jenny O’Leary is visiting us on the 14th and 15th of May. You do not have to attend both workshops as they are very different. The 14th is making Batik Papers which can be used for card making, stitching into and sketchbook work. The 15th is taking inspiration from John Piper to create a substrate to stitch into using tissue and hot wax. You do not have to have experience for either of these day as Jenny will be demonstrating each step and will help where you need it.

To book for the 14th just go to https://www.eaubrinkstudio.co.uk/event/batik-papers-with-jenny-oleary/

and for the 15th just go to  https://www.eaubrinkstudio.co.uk/event/john-piper-inspired-batik-with-jenny-oleary/ 

Take Care

Anita

 

 

 

 


April 8, 2022
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Workshops, Shows, Fairs, Shop and Covid.

So much has happened since my last little blog for you to read.

As you may be aware we have been to the NEC, as part of the fashion and creative crafts show. It was great fun, meeting new friends as well as old. So nice to be out and about again.  So many nice people interested in what we are doing. We will be returning in June for another few days of demonstrating and teaching.

Amanda Hislop has visited for a weekend of fun. We limited our colours to 3 and used small amounts of threads and papers with fabrics too. Everyone used similar items but all the results are very different. I am loving working into my little book using threads I have dyed.

Green is not usually my colour but I do like this little book and am looking forward to the finished result.

The next workshops up to Friday the 15th April are all cancelled due to my managing to get Covid. I need the time to recover as well as to give the studio a good scrub. I have switched off the heating to let it get cold in there and once I get a negative result will go in and give it a good scrub.

This also means I will not be in the shop either.  The good news is that I attended the local hospital and was given some hefty antiviral infusions so should be back in no time. I thought I had managed to avoid it. But that is life.  The up side is I have time to finish a few things and take my time over them.  The B&B rooms are also closed for the ten days.

Our next outing, all being well, is at Wellingborough where I will be taking my lovely Lewis and Irene fabrics. The next delivery is at the end of this month where we will have the “Hannah’s flowers ” collection. They are so pretty but I am not sure they will be here in time for Wellingborough this month but should be for the next one. Not sure why this look yellow it is a cream background.

And you will be able to buy your Christmas fabrics from June!

 

Ruth and I have set up an exhibition at Gorleston if you fancy a day out do go and take a peek. There is a very nice café just up the road from the gallery where you can get a good lunch. But we do advise you book first. It is called Margo’s Lounge. It is fabulous.

We will be there on the 23rd for the meet and greets before we take it down.

At the end of the month on the 23rd we have a new workshop with Jenny who is going to teach basic weaving for beginners. This will be a regular workshop and once you have mastered it you can move onto bigger things with Jenny. Booking have started so don’t miss out. The link is https://www.eaubrinkstudio.co.uk/event/weaving-basics-with-jennifer-anne-studios/ 

 

You may also be interested in visiting the West Norfolk Artist Spring Exhibition at Thornham Village hall. This exhibition is not just textiles but all types of art made by local artists. Well worth a visit.

Once you have looked at the lovely art you can pop next door for lunch in the Deli.

 

That all folks.

take Care

Anita

 

 

 


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.

 

 

 

 


January 31, 2022
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How’s Your New Year Going So Far?

 

So how’s your new year going so far? Mine is pretty busy at Eau Brink Studio and at the shop too. Not to mention the exhibitions we are preparing for.

We are already at the end of January. It has been a strange month with warm and freezing weather as well as the news that the restrictions are being lifted. So far so good but is it a good thing to relax everything? I am still wearing my masks in crowded areas and supermarkets. Visitors to the studio are welcome to wear masks as long as you like your safety is paramount. The Gels, gloves and aprons will always be available.

I am grateful that we are now permitted to try and get back to normal but I still have reservations so have decided to keep the number of places on the workshops at a maximum of 10. This gives us space. I cannot wait for the longer days and warmer air so we can have the windows and doors open.

Much of the month ahs been spent updating many things such as the workshop calendar and social media. One of the very busy things I and my glamorous assistant Ruth have been up to is preparing for a few exhibitions. We are involved with Progression in Textiles, a lovely small group of ladies who just want to show our work and hopefully encourage a few people into the textile world of art. We are going to firstly be at the Forum in Norwich in March and at the NEC too. We would love you to come and see our work. You can pick up a leaflet from the end of this week or at any of the exhibitions .

We look forward to seeing you.

This is one of the pieces I am submitting into the Progression in Textiles Exhibition at the Forum.

Ruth set us all a challenge and gave us a picture to use for inspiration as well as the materials to use. Each of us had a different one and it will be interesting to see what we all produce as there are no rules on how to use what we were given.

Ruth and I are also exhibiting at 3’s A Crowd so watch out for that. Our first one will be in Gorleston in a few months.

John and I have been upgrading our Chickens home and now have extended it with an old polytunnel. They love it. Fortunately we have not fixed it to the original enclosure so can move it around them to give them access to the extra grass. My plan is to plant herbs and nasturtium around the enclosure so as it grows and pokes through the wires they can eat them. When you visit the studio you are welcome to go and see them and take pictures if you wish. They are a great source of inspiration as well as just being fun to watch.

So going back to the beginning, How is your year going so far? have you set any resolutions and have you kept to them? Not something that I do, set new year resolutions but planning is everything for me. I have a diary planner that goes everywhere with me. I like lists that I can tick off. And can get very crabby if by the end of a week I have to move something to the following week. But there are times that outside influences get in the way.

How do you deal with that? I used to get very upset but realise one day that I am just wasting my energy if there is nothing I can do about it. So now as I plan I try and think of things that may delay what I need to do so I can even try and plan for that. Does this make me a sad person? Maybe, but I do get a lot done in a day. Even on the days that  I am under the weather I can still sit in front of my laptop and work or sit and do some hand sewing without having to worry too much about it. I am very lucky to have the life I live. And would not change it at all. Well except to earn a little bit more to pay for more hours for the gardener.

So with that in mind I am going to remind you that I am taking my lovely Lewis and Irene fabrics to Textiles East in February. The new Jubilee fabric will be here this week and on the website as soon as it arrives. Textiles East is at Swavesey Village College, in south Cambridgeshire. Tickets can be purchased from textileseastfair.wordpress.com

Also We do have room for a couple more on our regular Wednesday workshops. That is Social Wednesday  Experimental Wednesday   and Ruth’s Wednesday’s   There is also and extra date for Lantern making The lantern making day gives you the opportunity to make lanterns of your choice using fabrics. The day is for beginners to learn how to use the kits and go home with at least one completed lantern. You may get two made. Anita will demonstrate how to take the basics further to make even more elaborate lanterns.

Stay safe

Anita

 

 


January 21, 2022
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The Light Is Returning In So Many Ways

Thinking to myself, what shall I write about? I noticed that the light is returning. The days are a little tiny bit longer  even though it is still cold.

How do you feel at the moment? Excited about a new year ahead of you?  Looking forward to an event? Thoughtful about the past? Well as you think about that let me tell you how I am feeling at the moment.

I do not like the long dark hours of winter at all. I love daylight, early mornings and long evenings. That’s me.  I find that as the nights are longer I lose a bit of my creativity. The dark appears to suck it out of me. Now I am sure someone somewhere is thinking, what is she on about she has a bit studio full of light to work in. Yes that is true but I like to looking out of the windows and seeing the outside world whilst in the studio and not looking at my reflection.

We have been in limbo for three years now with the world in a grip of a pandemic and we have limited choices when it comes to our creative world. Inspiration comes from many places and for me many of them I need to visit and photograph. Quite a few of my friends say the same thing . We all need the stimulation of our world not just our immediate garden and short walk outside the house. There are only so many landscapes you can do.

However, now that the light is returning and the laws around the Covid problems are being lifted I feel much more motivated. This week I have lost a day. No idea what happened or where it went. Probably due to getting the self assessment ready for the accountant has a lot to do with it. But I am not flustered about it or stressed I just know that I need to get on with life and I am already thinking of the exhibitions that are coming up and the fairs, shows as well as workshops. In March one of our  visiting artists is Melanie Missin from Melly Made Designs. Mel will be teaching us how to create her lovely boxes.

But before that we have Ruth Holmes teaching us how to create lovely blinged up birds and beasts.

Planning is key for me and my planner is next to me with long lists for each day. I do not worry about getting them done on the day they are planned for, so long as by the end of each week they are all completed. Longer days do help as the lighter mornings mean I can get up and be raring to go. Not thinking its not a good idea to walk the dogs up the road in the dark, Or I have to wait to clean out the chickens till it gets lighter.

Planning work also helps me to keep on track with things. Returning light helps me to see things differently for some reason. There is more pattern, more colour and texture around and this in turn fires my imagination. Once an idea gets into my head I have to explore it or make a note of it until I have the time to explore.

This is why Experimental Wednesdays work so well each month. The day is all about exploring a technique , or colours or textures. Sometimes all of them depending where your exploring takes you. This month we explored layers of Tyvek, paper, paints and Lutradur with great results.

Next month we will be exploring how to use stencils in a way that encourages layers. Not commercial stencils but cutting our own. The plan is to put the card stock and other materials into the Scan n Cut to speed up the cutting process. All that is needed is a bit of inspiration to create a unique stencil set for the work.

I do wonder sometimes how others cope with the dark winters and getting things done. I am sure it is not any easier when you are going out to work as you still need to be motivated and then there are the mundane household things to be completed too.

The light is returning. This morning I walked the dogs up the road as it was light enough to see and the chickens and ducks had their fresh food and water before they came out of their houses.

Pen and Ink workshopAnd as I watched the sun come up the colours and textures of my world were amazing. Making me think of how I can capture them with fabric and threads. Taking photographs can be the first step but I want to get better at drawing and would love to be able to go out and quickly sketch what I see. To help me do this we have the lovely Rachel Collier-Wilson coming for six weeks to teach us how to relax and improve our drawing skills. Starting right at the beginning so everyone feels they are at the same level throughout the course.

Take Care

Anita


January 4, 2022
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A New Year Brings New Opportunities

 

Handmade lampshade
Shibori Style Lampshade

We are all told that a new year brings new opportunities but what does that mean in real life?

The first thing that comes into mind is the roof is now fixed and John has the opportunity to decorate the house.

For me it is a time to reflect on what didn’t work last year, what needed improvement? and how can I move forward for the next year.

I recently read an article on chain reactions and how this affects our lives. Of course we all know that our actions have consequences but putting this into practice for our business can be tricky. Here I will try and explain what I am thinking.

New opportunities do not in reality just fall into our laps as we would like to think. I have found that I have to go looking for them and at times ask for help to achieve a goal. I may be a small one but if I need help to get there then I will ask.

But I have to say I do not always ask for help when I really need it as I like to try and do things for myself. This can mean a missed opportunity. So maybe it is time for me to remind myself that in this world there is help everywhere and I do not need to do everything. The one thing that I do need help with is time. There is  never enough time.

So the first thing I have done is organise for a gardener to quote and do the gardening each month for me. That is the big stuff for now like removing the brambles and helping prepare the veg patch. Then second thing is organising my cleaner to help with the spring cleaning. One room at a time. Just these two things have the potential to save me loads of time so I can concentrate on the studio stuff.

The next thing I have completed is a weekly plan so that I am not charging about all over the place to get things done. I have allocated one day a week to the house and garden. Two days to the shop and the rest for studio work. Now I have no idea if this is even going to work but I will give it the first three months of  the new year to see what the results are.

More studio time means more completed works and more time to meet new people and perhaps teach a little bit more. It certainly does mean more time for me to attend classes held at the studio so I will be looking at bringing more in this year.

More finished works means more exhibitions to show them.  Which means meeting more people and perhaps some of those people will book into the studio to either teach or to learn.  More finished works means trips to the framers and meeting more people  too. You See more opportunities.

Also more finished works means more stock for the shop. Talking about the shop I have been organising new items for it from Colourcraft, and a few other suppliers so that I can have everything we need in the shop ready for the workshops. That will free up space in the studio too. It will take time but I will get it full of lovely items for us to use.

There are a lot opportunities out there even during this trying time and finding them can be a challenge. But I want to be able to make the most of the year in every way I can. I want to be busy all the time as I start looking for things to do if I am not. That is not always good. Cleaning out a cupboard for example usually leads to clearing out a lot of items not used for some time and trips to the charity shops and rubbish tip. he guys do not like it when that happens as I then turn my attention to them and their rubbish.

Mind you taking items to the charity shop usually leads to more opportunities as I usually find something to buy for a project.

I would like to create opportunities for others too so I am looking for new tutors for the studio. They can teach their own craft or art and it can be for any time from half a day to a weekly course if they like. If your interested or know of someone who may be interested please do get in touch on 01553611009.

Progression in Textiles meets for the first time this week. We will be looking at the years exhibitions and making sure we are fully organised for them. These will be great for us all to meet new people to discuss our work with. Do look out for us at The Forum in Norwich, The NEC at Birmingham and in Brancaster. We will be part of the open studios but have not decided on where to exhibit yet. We will keep you posted of course.

Take care

Anita

 

 

 


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