Halloween inspired Arts Buffet

Article from the Western Gazette. I sneaked into the corner of one of the photos!
Article from the Western Gazette. I sneaked into the corner of one of the photos!

I was asked to run a Halloween inspired ‘Arts Buffet’ last week. The day was great fun we ran 2  x two hour sessions one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning was very well attended with the afternoon being a little quieter. 127 children attended in total so it was a busy day!

Workshop mania

In a bid to keep the young people entertained during their summer holidays Arts Link in Sherborne run a fantastic and diverse programme of creative workshops from music and drama to crafts and textiles. Each year they welcome me back as a tutor to run a few sessions for them. Alongside the family fun morning I have been running workshops at Tinney’s Lane youth centre. These have included a crazy cupcakes session (the second this summer!), a print your own bunting session and a blanket making workshop.

Below are some of the photos from the workshops. I’ve had a fantastic time and it’s always a pleasure to be asked to lead the workshops.

Printing bunting

None of the young people had ever used a printing press before. I have a tabletop roller press which I use for professional prints and it is (in relative terms!) classed as portable.  Some of them had done printing with me in the past so I knew they understood the basics. We used a monoprinting technique where the young people applied the ink to a sheet of acetate, this acetate was their printing plate. They experimented with different mark making and used masking tape to mask certain areas on the plate of as well before adding ink.

When they were happy with their plate they began by printing onto paper. Once they had the hang of how the inks behaved and  what effects they could  achieve using the tools available they were able to print their designs onto fabric.  The prints came out really well and once they were complete I took them home to dry and I sewed them together using some wide tape. The bunting will be hung in the  cob roundhouse at the youth centre.

As a challenge the young people were sent out to explore some items from outside that they could use to print from directly. Some came back with different forms of leaves, some fake grass, a kitchen scourer and other items which they inked u and ran through the press.

No Sew Blanket

I say ‘No sew’ but actually the idea was that each young person could create a panel for a blanket that would then all be put together to make one large patchwork blanket, which actually required quite a bit of sewing! The young people made their own designs based on a theme of nature and using bondaweb they transferred their designs into material and using an iron transferred them onto their panel of material.

Once the young people had completed their own panel I tok them all home and sewed them together. these were then attached to a fleece and bias used around the edge to neaten up the edges. The material was very difficult to work with as it was thick and cumbersome but hopefully they will be pleased with the outcome!


Family Craft morning

This week I was leading an exciting and diverse craft and games morning for families in Sherborne with children aged 8 and under. It was a fantastic turnout with 15 families attending. We played games, completed a family craft challenge and created our own massive monsters!

Some lovely comments from parents as well:

“We’ve all really enjoyed being creative! Enthusiastic leader with great materials and ideas. Lots of fun! Thank you”

“Fantastic! Lovely to be a participant rather than just a mummy on the side lines for once! More please!”

Crazy Cupcake Creations!

Not my usual forte but much fun and chaos was had creating some fantastic cupcake designs with the young people at Sherborne Youth Centre through their transitions scheme. The young people baked their own cakes, one plain lot and one chocolate and then they got to decorate them. They chose from creating, a frog, a sheep, a burger and an ice cream cake.


Some examples

Wonderful accident

I’d been wrestling with this painting for some time, adding textural detail, putting it down, coming back to it weeks later and then adding colour. I’ve gone through many processes of dislike! Yesterday I was staring at it and thinking to myself, ‘what am I going to do to improve this?’ The colours felt wrong and didn’t gel, but it has so many amazing qualities in its textures so I was reluctant to change too much or take a sander to it like I normally would.

Having gone away and come back numerous times I decided I’d like to ink it up and put it through the printing press, at least that way I had a second chance at playing with the colours and didn’t lose any of those wonderful textural qualities. Following the usual method of varnishing a plate before printing (and feeling the painting was lost anyway) I started to add the varnish. It had this wonderful affect upon the colours that added a ‘brown’ hue to them and was not wholly unexpected but very welcome. The following are detail pictures, unfortunately I don’t have a photo before adding the varnish though what it provided was a cohesive hue to the painting and drawing all the mismatched colours together :-)

Once I’ve inked up the plate and put it through the press I’ll post some pictures. Printing the plate allows me to change the colours totally so it may well look very different. I also have concerns about the thickness of the plate as this was originally intended to be a painting it is on thick board so I am hoping this doesn’t affect the print quality too much.

Aster Communities Sewing Circle 2

Wow, well we’ve just completed the second series of sewing classes for beginners at the Aster Twice As Nice store in Shepton Mallet. The sessions are designed to improve learners practical skills and understanding, engage with other learners and make good use of the community space at the Twice As Nice store.

Here are some photos from what they worked on.


Children’s Easter Craft Workshop

At Easter I ran a Children”s Easter Craft Workshop for some children in Shepton Mallet at the Aster Twice As Nice Store. Below are some images of the fabulous things they made.

Aster Communities Sewing Circle

This year I have been undertaking some workshops for Aster Communities in Shepton Mallet. Some of these have been Children’s craft workshops though I have also been commissioned to run a series of beginners sewing workshops, the first of which began in January 2015 and ran for 4 weeks.

The participants had varying ranges of skills and were very keen to learn to sew from a pattern. Participants made a stuffed penguin toy during their 4 weeks. Here are some of their fabulous results