Monday, 22 April 2013

Fabric Book Workshop with Becky Adams at Unit Twelve

Unit Twelve is home to a contemporary craft gallery and artist workshops.
It can be found on Tixhall Heath Farm in Staffordshire and is best described as a hidden gem! Jennifer Collier runs the space and it has her signature attention to detail everywhere. A bright exhibition space full of exquisite textiles work greets you as you enter the converted farm building. Just beyond the gallery is the workshop area and studios belonging to Jennifer Collier, Emily Notman, Louise Dawn Wilson, Julia Jowett and Brady & Proud.
I left home on a sunny Saturday morning in April and drove down to Unit Twelve for a Fabric Keepsake Book workshop with the lovely Becky Adams. Becky is a quietly spoken and witty lady – I could happily listen to her stories for hours! Her art work has a nostalgic feel and at the heart of everything she makes is a snippet of a story or saying. Her ideas and observations are translated into stitch and applique.
Becky had brought along selected sketchbooks and one of her fabric books that focused upon her love of walks along her local pier. She was very generous with her ideas and had a genuine interest in all the stories behind each workshop participant’s creations. The premise of the workshop was to make a fabric book that remembered a personal memory or family saying. We had been encouraged to bring along our own memories such as a photograph, souvenir and trinkets.
I had every intention of making a fabric book and decided that my book would be based around my gardening grandad. I had brought along some of his letters to work with. Just to note, he has written to me every week since university (that is a lot of ink and stamps)! I have kept all his letters and I really treasure them as a record of how both our lives have changed over the years. I started off by making a miniature envelope out of an old gardening book as I was going to incorporate an envelope into one of my fabric book pages. However, I enjoyed the process and outcome so much that I decided to make another one and another one. In the end, I had a pile of small paper envelopes that I decorated with text and fabrics before stitching together to make a book. I used Becky’s stamps to print ‘Dear Clare, love and best wishes grandad’ on to the paper as these words are a feature of all his correspondence to me.
The day was a great success and everyone left with a book to treasure. The beautiful fabric books that other workshop participants made can be seen below.
Many thanks to Becky for being such a good teacher. Thanks also to Jennifer for organising the day and thanks to Julia for being a superb hostess (ie plentiful tea, cake and biscuits!).


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Curious Clare’s Studio

I have decided to write a post on my studio today as it has been featured by the lovely Katy Cowan on Creative Boom this week. If you’ve read some of my previous blog posts you will know that my studio can be found at Local Creation in Altrincham.
I fit in studio visits around being an Art teacher and Community Co-ordinator (and writing this blog!). The studio has to given me space to focus upon my own work. I have spent time decorating it as I wanted to create a haven that I would want to take myself off to.

Alice Melvin's Cut Out and Make Menagerie can be found here
I aim to use the studio two days a week. One evening a week, I meet up with friends for an informal art club where we chat and ‘art’ (although this involves much more chatting & chocolate eating than doing!).
As was mentioned on Creative Boom my own art work is quite varied as I love trying out new things and like to use materials to suit my ideas. I work with Ceramics, Textiles and digital media such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.
Since acquiring the studio I’ve designed flyer a for Vintage Afternoon Teas , designed a postcard for French Knots Craft Studio and I am about to create their new logo.  I am currently making laser cut Perspex trophies for The Joshua Tree’s Fun Run and I have been approached by a magazine to produce some illustrations for them (fingers crossed).

My Upcycled Jam Jar Tutorial can be found here

I am also working on a new personal project called ‘Paper Conversations’ that is a mix of illustrations and three-dimensional objects. Last but not least, I’m playing around with a series of quirky badges that I hope to start selling soon.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Feathered Friends: Eden Project's Rainforest Robin

It is no secret that I love birds and in particular robins. I like hearing their bird song early in the morning on the way to work and unexpected encounters with them whilst out and about. They lift my spirits on the dreariest of days. Initially, I hesitated to include birds in my work as there are lots of artists who use their imagery. However, I think that you have to be true to what inspires you and initial sketches can lead to all sorts of different outcomes as you can see here.

Meet the Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome Robin.
I first came across this friendly little robin in late August 2011 in one of the hottest parts of the Rainforest Biome on a beautiful sunny day (remember those?). I was really surprised to see him hopping around in there as we all associate robins with cold winter days. Maybe this one had come to its senses and realised that the sunny, hot climes were much more appealing? When I visited a year later he was still there and must have found that the biome suited him very nicely!
The images above represent how much this one robin inspired my work and has formed an important part of my Curious Clare image (see above banner!). The painted robin study in my sketchbook has led to digital illustration, relief ceramic tiles and laser cut details on my wedding stationery and bunting. It also highlights the importance I place on drawing when embarking upon new projects!

Monday, 1 April 2013

‘One’ - Local Creation

‘One’ took place at Local Creation on Thursday 28th March 2013. The event celebrated Local Creation’s first birthday with an enjoyable array of activities ranging from drop-in clay workshops and a graffiti demonstration to live music and open studios. Oh and not forgetting John’s barbecue in defiance of the bitter and unseasonal weather!
Local Creation is an Arts facility situated on Central Way right at the heart of Altrincham (behind the Bricklayers Arms). Director, John Wonnacott set up the space in 2012 with the intention of developing a creative hub in the area. John firmly believes that creativity and culture have a role to play in the regeneration of the high street. 

Jo Cushing works alongside John as Director of Local Creation Altrincham, the charitable part of the company. Both John and Jo work hard to maintain, promote and develop the gallery and studio spaces whilst building up an ever expanding range of workshops for the local community. 
The past year has seen the building transformed from a run down unit to a busy arts space hosting a range of eclectic events such as Burlesque Life Drawing and Glazed Expressions, an exhibition of ceramic sculptures by local pupils as part of the Crafts Council’s Firing Up programme. Since taking on a studio there in December, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to get stuck into my own creative practice and meet like-minded people. 
If you’re out and about in Altrincham, pop in and see what Local Creation can offer you!