Something positive…. at last!

Something positive…. at last!

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.

Exciting times…..

Exciting times…..

I know we’ve been quiet lately; but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy!

Kim and I have been somewhat surprised by the interest shown in the (numerous) albums we have had on display at the studio. We’ve been making various types, sizes in all different types of themed patterned papers for a number of years (quite a large number of years, if truth be told!). During this time Kim has also been designing digital papers and elements which she has then incorporated into physical projects as well as digital ones.

So, a plan was hatched; lots of calculations undertaken (by me; Kim ‘doesn’t do numbers’ – her words, not mine), prototypes developed; technological hiccups overcome; notes written up and lots and lots of designing…. And we’re almost ready to reveal the final product!

Kim is beavering away doing lots of digital designing and I’m busy cutting and sticking as you can see from the photo of my desk! I’m sure you will all have guessed what we’re up to…… but we’re not revealing all – just yet!

Just as an aside, we’ve both recently invested in a large bone folder by We R Memory Keepers (included in the photo) and it takes a lot of stress of our hands and fingers! We love them!

A busy week…….

Well, what a week! We delivered four workshops in three days and it feels like how things were before COVID…..

We’re aware that we haven’t been able to offer children’s workshops where we had different events on the mornings and then on the afternoons as we provided last summer. The need to completely strip the studio and disinfect throughout meant that it just wasn’t achievable; especially as we would’ve needed to drastically reduce numbers we could accommodate. We will be offering some children’s workshops during the October break so if you’re interested please book early to avoid disappointment.

So this week we have guided individuals to create unique mixed media canvasses, provided some desirable residences in the form of repurposed teapots for fairy’s and also decorated journals! As the last workshop finished rather late last night I popped into the studio this morning to do a thorough tidy up and clean, as it was so warm, had the window open; and, would you believe it, there was a huge gust of wind (and I mean HUGE) that was strong enough to blow an empty wine bottle and 5 glasses off the window sill and blow over two albums sat on a unit some distance from the window! It was really bizarre! The strange thing was the only items to break were the glasses that were underneath the wine bottle… The Powertex remained intact but the glass shattered; the wine bottle was also intact! So, more sweeping and then hoovering to ensure all shards of glass were removed.

Anyway, we now have a lovely clean, disinfected studio all ready for next week! Just my apron and various towels now to be put through the washing machine…

I then visited a friend to drop off a present and card for her birthday and left my windows open as the car was rather warm…… needless to say the heavens opened and I the car seats got soaked. I originally thought there were only light splodges on the drivers’ side but by the time I reached home two minutes later my nether regions were somewhat damp….

I wonder if there will be a third mishap today, I really shouldn’t tempt fate!

Shout Out to BloomInArt!

Shout Out to BloomInArt!

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.

Kim& Jane

Well, here’s the thing…….

Well, here’s the thing…….

……we’re guessing that you enjoyed Kim’s FB live earlier today!

The first ever time we’ve showcased transparent Powertex (other than on the gorgeous statue Kim did last year) and we’ve only gone and sold the last of our stock of transparent Powertex! Don’t worry we will be ordering more and will let you know once we have it back on our shelves.

Don’t forget, that if any of your creations use transparent Powertex be sure to add a coat of Powertex Easy Varnish if they are destined to live outside!

Kim will post a photo of the finished plant pot holder once it’s dry. I only hope I can keep the plant alive……

The dreaded ‘C’ word……..

I don’t want anyone to get a shock so this post starts with a health warning…… BEWARE contents refers to Christmas (the dreaded ‘C’ word!)!!!

I tend to buy presents throughout the year when I see things that would be perfect for certain individuals and I love making Christmas cards (though I still haven’t found the missing 20 from last year….) as I do like to be prepared – especially as I don’t like shopping. Now, although I love the festive season but I don’t like it when the decorations are put up far too soon. I mean decorating your house in November just feels wrong to me! Anyway, each to their own, and I’m digressing as usual!

The reason I’m even mentioning Christmas (there’s only 150 days to go by the way) is that when we had some fellow Powertex Tutors for some creative play last week we started off the day with some papercrafting as Kim had an appointment before going on to create some fabulous canvases (which you’ve already seen). I decided to use some leftover scrapbooking papers by Maya Designs which had a distinctly vintage, festive flavour! I’ve just finished this little project and had a chuckle when I realised that the papers are from 2012! I bet I have some that are even older…… I just cannot bear to get rid of paper.

These mini albums are only 4” X 4” and have accordion pages but they can easily hold a dozen or so photos which is ideal to record a special celebration or an outing. I hope the others managed to finish their albums and would love to see the finished projects!