Category Archives: meandering thoughts

Taking on new challenges- teaching arts and crafts

Taking on new challenges . I know that it can be scary but its always worth doing .
A while ago I was asked to run several 6 week courses for a local art center, this would involved lots pf paperwork , student assessing etc. not really my way of working as I like to adapt as I go along but I decided that it was worth the challenge to see if i could work this way, after all I did get the teaching adult certificates a few years ago so I might as well have a go.

Anyway the first week or two definitely challenged me , the classes were aimed at beginners so I had planned accordingly, where as the reality was that several of the students were quite experienced but didnt know how to read patterns and wanted to check that what they were doing was the right way.
I also discovered that I was dyslexic an odd thing to discover and strange that It hasnt been identified before now, but anyway it made sense of why so many things were tricky for me and why I approach things in unconventional all be it creative ways

Remembering names has always been a tricky one and the need to write up detailed notes straight after the session just wasnt going to work for me. Its very odd how you find so many of the things that you take for granted because there normal to you but are deemed as being different rather than just an alternative approach.

Anyway after some more thoughts and more adapting ive now just completed including finding different ways to help me to deal with the course paperwork Ive now just completed the fourth week.
I can happily say that everyone has achieved what they set out to do, and have gained lots of new skills and confidence , two more weeks to go now.
I am going to miss the class , mind you Im already planning for the next 6 week crafts course starting at the beginning of November , another new challenge.

Getting ready for the lantern parade workshops, moving into our unit at the Brooks Winchester

Ive just spent the day moving all of our materials and equipment into our pop up shop at the Brooks Center in Winchester. The center has been great allowing us to use the space for a peppercorn rate we couldn’t do it without their support, I have put up three examples that I have made to show my new volunteers I  cant wait for the ceiling to start filling with examples that they make on Saturday.

I also introduced myself to my local shop staff and Costa Coffee came up trumps when they popped in and offered to donate us free hot drink vouchers for the lantern workshop participants to have when they finish their session a lovely thought.



The joys and tribulations of providing workshops in new areas .

I am often contacted by people interested in attending one of my workshops ….. one of the problems is that trying to find a venue that is both affordable and flexible ….especially when you are trying to get something going ……. In an area where there is a good history of providing activities this is much easier as potential attendees are often checking out local publicity for new activities to join…

The next difficulty is as with anything  location and just as importantly marketing. we all have so many different ways of finding out about things, the top one being venue newsletters and word of mouth followed by web searches and local posters. …. its amazing any people still look out for venues in local shops however that is becoming more of a problem now as many shops who are part of a chain will not promote activities and there are more and more areas where very few independent shops exist…. making it much more difficult on the whole to promote new activities. So with this in mind I have decided to start up  a mailing list of people interested in specific activities. So if you have any requests and ideas please do get in touch and ill let you know when there is enough interest to get something going.

Starting the new year as we mean to carry on, a potential embrionic arts collective/ venue

Hi Ive just been to a really exiting meeting in Southampton with other creative  people from the area,facilitated by the Art House in Southampton we are hoping to create a creative work space for individuals / groups who want to have flexibility in their work, meet other interested people and are at all different levels in their journey.

Very much in its early stages and likely to be a very organic process with ideas and possibilities developing as time moves on ,  there were be many barriers to overcome including funds and skill levels, this for me is one of the greatest ways for an idea to work a place ,where new ideas  and possibilities spring from.

Planning for the autumn term (already)

I always find it strange that I have to plan ahead so far, I have just decided on my autumn term workshops that i will be offering in Winchester as well as starting to thing about Christmas activities and workshops I will be offering in other areas, ah well its better to be busy than not at least its easier to plan for cold weather crafts whilst it is is raining. hopefully the sun will be out soon

Kind words and thoughts go along way to making the world a better place

Hello again I just wanted to share with you how lovely it has been to received such kind comments and interesting thoughts from  people who have read my blogg, as  have only recently combined my blogg and website I have been overwhelmed by  the fantastic feedback and responses that I have received… My purpose was  to be more than just a factual blog about my work which although important to  me doesn’t really tell you much about my the things that interest and inspire me.

I have never really been one for the pretentious and often elitist unobtainable  view of  creativity which depicts art and crafts  as being  inaccessible and difficult to do  thereby  putting many   people of even trying in the first place..  all artist and creatives had to start somewhere and after all buying art is as much about what someone is prepared to pay as the skill of the person  creating it anyway enough if that as I am likely to go of on a full blown rant    …..It  is so good to know that others share similar ideas and ways of thinking….and that its not just me.

Growing/collecting your own food

I have always been a big fan of growing your own food and keeping traditional skills alive I particularly love making all things from food that I have either gathered or grown myself and am a big fan of making hedgerow jam and herb flavored oils and I made a pretty good batch of sloe gin last autumn which I  happily shared with friends over the new year.

I tend to do a lot of what I call store cupboard cooking as  I hate throwing anything away, in fact when we were off traveling around Europe a couple of years ago in our old camper van this approach was most useful and a great way of eeking out and revitalizing the basic staples that we had with us. An interesting website that I have recently discovered for anyone who is interested in gathering their own fayre is a man after my own heart and he has a great recipe for blackberry brandy.

Experimental Mono Printing what fun and getting ready for the lino printing

As previously mentioned a few weeks ago I was busily getting ready for a mono printing workshop session, Well I can report that as usual great fun was had by all.
I love meeting new people as well as a few students I have met before as always this kind of workshop allows all concerned to try out different things and just play. It always amazes me how many adults love playing and experimenting and always say that they wish that they could do it more often.
I am now busy preparing for my lino block printing card making session in a couple of weeks as well as my final introductory jewelery workshops this year ( this time its recycled plastics) as well as trying to be prepared in advance for the rest of my workshops this year
If your interested most of the rest of my workshops that are open to individuals to book onto are  happening at the  Winchester Discovery Centre a favorite of mine as its a great space to work in.T he only exception is a Christmas family crafts session at the Gill Nethercott Centre, Whitchurch on the third of November.

I am often asked why I dont sell the examples that I use in my workshops

The truth is that I really do not have the room to store them and I tend to make examples to suit as I go along,  this helps to keep the creative flow going as I love the challenge of making a new.
My studio is my spare bedroom and as you can see most of the room is taken up with storage and preparation for the next workshop, at the moment  I am getting ready for my peg loom weaving workshops so there are bags of fabric waiting to be sorted and very little floor space available.
I would love to have more space to create my own large pieces however this really isn’t an option as you can see that it why I love it when I am provided with the opportunity to work on large pieces such as murals.

Block Printing workshop this morning in Winchester

I have just spent  a lovely morning teaching  the basics of Lino Block Printing, and with such a great group of participants, After a bumpy start with the bookings which through my train of thought for a little while I soon got back into the flow and as always time flew by.
I always love meeting new people its always  refreshing  and a great experience to enable others to try out a new skill  and for some to revive old skills, I always find that students love the chance of picking up some hints and tips and approaches on different ways of  doing things. participants also love the opportunity of sharing the experience with others and often learn as much from each other as they do from me.
I’m now very tired as a very busy week combined with teaching takes so much of my energy I always wonder how full time teachers manage to keep going.  Its a pity I didn’t take my camera I always mean to, mind you I probably wouldn’t have had the time to take any photographs anyway.