You may have noticed I am in the process of adding lots of colours of the Distress inks and Distress Oxides to the craft store. For those of you who have not been to one of our creative workshops and are unsure how to use these gorgeous little darlings, let me refer you to the man himself!
Here is the link to the video of Tim Holtz demonstrating the Distress Oxides for you. Enjoy.
Sometimes I get my best ideas when sat contemplating in the bathroom. Years ago, I inherited a little black gloss Chinese cabinet with little drawers and shelves; I keep bits of jewellery in there. Anyway, I thought I could have a go at making one of my own out of grey board and paper. Well it was a challenge but loved how it turned out. I wanted to create little windows in my curio cabinet that would show what was inside. I made a drawer in the bottom for keepsakes and a mini album for photos and journalling to go into the top of the cabinet behind the doors.
I mostly used black card for the base design but then went completely outside mu comfort zone and used the 8 x 8 pack of Stamperia Hortensia papers. I managed to get the whole cabinet and album decorated with just the single pack of papers and a few flowers for the front. I love how its turned out.
I have added the cutting guide and instructions if you want to make your own to the website shop if you wan to download the printable guide HERE.
A couple of years ago when I was poorly with my mental health as a result of burn out at work for the NHS, I could not even look at a computer or mobile phone. The thought of switching it on and attempting to use it had me in so much anxiety I would be physically sick. Thankfully after support from my GP and some medication to regulate my brain chemicals, I got better and could stop the medication. We are all aware of how the lock down restrictions and pandemic have affected out mental well being and there is no shame in talking to others about what is going on and what you are feeling. People are much more supportive than you imagine they will be.
At our studio, we are a safe space. A place to chat, to voice your concerns and even get a bit of supportive counselling with your cuppa. Our workshops are designed to let you have a little bit of meditative time in your art work, whether it is gently rubbing in Powertex into the fabrics on a mixed media class or in getting your thoughts and feelings written down and then splashing paint all over to hide it from prying eyes in our art journalling classes. Of course there is still plenty of fun and chat going on.
Now my own mental health has improved I am enjoying being back on a computer and designing digitally again. I have been updating the website and although there are a still a few tweaks to make, I am feeling quite chuffed with the outcome. I have also returned to designing my own paper range again. Digital papers can be downloaded onto a computer and printed out before use as many times as you like. The downside is that they usually take up a lot of digital space. My next junk journal printable paper pack will feature vintage elements and ephemera. I hope you like the style as much as I do and watch for it being published as a download.
Most people think of monochrome as black, white and shades of grey, but it can be any colour within the same palette. A challenge was to create an item using only a single coloured inkpad, for this I chose the #TimHoltz #distressink Dusty Concord which is a gorgeous purple shade. The distress inks are translucent and water activated.
To achieve this tag effect, I rubbed the distress ink pad directly onto my glass craft mat and gently sprayed with a water mister. By dipping the tag substrate into the ink on the glass craft mat several times, it built up a few layers. I used a heat gun to dry off the excess moisture and repeated the process with the ink pad again. this gave some areas a darker mottled effect and a deeper purple shade.
As Distress inks are water reactive, I sprayed a little puddle of water from the mister onto my hand and then dropped it like a splash onto the tag and let the water rest there for a minute. I then dabbed off the excess water with a paper towel. This has a faux bleaching effect like rain drop splashes. Once the tag was dried again, I used a little text background stamp with the ink pad to create a little bit of interest in one corner.
I was using an set of Indigo Blue stamps for the main images. I attached the gorgeous deeply etched red rubber stamp of the lady image into my stamping platform and inked the stamp up directly from the same dusty concord distress ink pad. Using a plain piece of white card, I stamped the image of the lady and also the wording which was also in the stamp set.
Distress inks can also be used to paint with. So I dabbed the ink pad onto my glass mat and sprayed with a water mist again. then using a fine paintbrush, used the ink to colour in the outfit of the lady. Once dry, the lady image was fussy cut around the image and glued onto the tag background. The words were cut out in strips and the same ink pad wiped around all edges to add a bit of colour. These were then glued onto the tag.
Why not have a go with a monochrome project using a single ink pad colour to create a background and stamp. We would love to see what you create.
The only positive thing to emerge from the 2020 lockdown was the time to reflect and create. Did you try out a new hobby, a craft skill? Was there something you wanted to learn but struggled in isolation?
Jane and I missed the social aspects of our workshops and struggled in 2020. Not for the finance side, as we only ever wanted to cover our studio rent, materials and expenses, we never planned on working a profit and being highflying business executives!
This coming year we are going back to our workshops roots, setting up our creative learning space with a range or regular group sessions around a particular creative theme. We will be running group learning sessions in creating Powertex sculptures and art. There will be papercraft sessions ranging from scrapbooking, mini-book and card making. There will be textile sessions teaching sewing, crochet, needle felting. All equipment is provided in the sessions so you can get to try our ideas and tools before you commit to buy your own. As always there is expert advice and training on hand, including guest tutors.
So if there is something you wished you could have a go and learn in 2021, make a resolution to come and visit us in February and book onto one of our creative learning sessions. Stay safe and we look forward to seeing our previous and new customers in 2021.
So many of our lovely regular customers have not managed to get to our studio or workshops with the virus outbreak . Messages back and forth about wanting stock orders has been time consuming. As I have lots of available time at the moment, I am in the process of loading up the art supplies onto the website. You can then browse at your leisure at home (hopefully with a glass of something chilled). I have finally figured out how to make the web store show local collection if you want to Click and Collect your order, otherwise posting is still available.
Recently we have had a few kit orders which the buyer wanted to post elsewhere as a gift for a loved one. Just remember to let us know its a gift and we will add gift wrapping and a card with your personlised message free of charge. Its an ideal Christmas gift.
In addition, we have not been able to attend any craft fairs this year, so we have quite a stock of small stocking filler items and art works available for sale. Please pop back and have a look once they have been loaded into out Handmade Art category. Each piece is unique and will not be replicated. Support a small independent business this Christmas and shop local.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve really struggled with technology. My network at home just wouldn’t play nicely! I got soooo frustrated not being able to print Kim’s fabulous designs to finish our album as the network just wouldn’t stay connected to the printer. Next my personal emails just wouldn’t synch with Outlook on my laptop. Then, my NOW TV box refused to play, and just to add another layer of frustration I’ve spent far too much times on support calls with my software provider for my family history application as it refused to integrate with Ancestry (which has been working fine for a number of years…..)
I then started to feel somewhat under the weather (non-COVID related, I hasten to add) and with a couple of close friends experiencing really challenging times I just felt like hibernating until 2020 was over….
So, I decided to start my week looking at those issues over which I had at least some control. Here I am, some 6 hours later and I think my network is performing better (though it will never be perfect); my NOW TV box is happily streaming; Outlook is sorted (or so it appears) and I’ve completed a back-up of my family history, ran an update, applied a patch and that too is now integrating with Ancestry! Okay, so I still have some housework to do but I definitely feel I’ve had an achieving day.
Kim is still away so I have some time to spend on our collaborative album, though not feeling creative at the moment….. that too shall pass! Especially as I have a private booking at the studio tomorrow and then it’s Ladies Night on Thursday so feeling optimistic for the rest of the week.
The last few months have been extremely hard for most people with the international Covid restrictions. It has been especially hard for us here as all our workshops had to be cancelled and out income stopped, unfortunately, our rent didn’t stop at the same time. Of course the time out did mean we could concentrate on other aspects of the business.
We may not ever go back to ‘normal’ workshops so we dabbled with trying to create ‘virtual’ workshops online. We soon discovered lots of pitfalls in this as well as a major deficit in our skill set and out existing website and technology.
But then along came our local saviours which is why we want to offer a huge shout out and thanks to BloomInArt, The Annexe, the Wharton trust, Community Organisers, Mortal Fools Training, and not least The Arts Council England.
We were delighted to be supported with by BloomInArt and the Arts Council England Emergency funding to support and develop our own practice and work with BloomInArt to test new remote routes to engagement exploring community organising principles, community arts and social action.
This support received not only provided us with excellent digital delivery and facilitation training delivered by Mortal Fools. we also had an Introduction to Community Organising for our local community, linking with other artists and creatives in Hartlepool.
The funding grant from the Arts Council England helped us to purchase and build a more robust website where we could integrate our online training and video tuition which could be purchased via the website.
So a big thank you to Emma and Rachel from BloomInArt for organising it all.
So many people have asked for classes to be made available for those who cannot attend one of our workshops. Whether they want to give the gift of a class to a family member or friend who lives elsewhere; or whether the person is not yet comfortable with going out into the world at the moment.
Our Online classes can be purchased through the website as a video embedded tutorial, which incorporates a range of learning styles to suit everyone; including, written instructions, clear photographs and hands on video tutorials. A full list of items required for the class is included,
We are also introducing mini kits into the web shop. We already have the large Powertex starter kit but are introducing a smaller mini starter kit which will work alongside our online classes.
Each class will have a ‘Project’ kit available to buy with most of the items required to complete the project.
These are physical goods which will be mailed out to you. The online class will be a virtual experience, accessed securely via the website with your unique customer code.
We are just finishing off the editing and will let you know once they are available, with a special ‘early bird’ price offer, so keep watching.
I am sure those who have been diligently isolating at home have stayed safe . Luckily for us, we have not had the Covid imact our loved ones, we hope you had similar experiance so far.
Our Studio has been thoroughly cleaned and items replaced. All stock has been renewed and sorted. We are slowly introducing smaller limited workshops in July; mostly for distinct ‘family bubbles’ as private workshops. If your family bubble would like to book a workshop, please get in touch.
Our regular events will start up in August with the first ladies night. Unfortunately we will be restricting numbers again to those first booked on the limited places.
Hopefully you will all find the new website workshop purchasing easy to use, as this calculates the available spaces.
We have used the time to develop new workshops for you, so subscribe to the newsletter and be first to find out what is available.
Thank you all for continuing to support our little local business through this difficult time.