well the light has gone out and it is all over but we have been left legacy and memory.

Kim one of our members visited the Heatherwick Studio in London and allowed me to repost her report here for all on SDA.

As Kim was dicovering this I was busy being excited by another UK artist just emerging who is doing fabulous work with metal

more to follow on this report and imagery as I managed to get to see a full exhibition of the artists work up in Sunderland .


Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary at the V&A

 Go, go, go!

This is not another cry of support urging on our Olympic athletes, though Thomas Heatherwick’s breathtaking Olympic cauldron certainly helped set the tone for British achievements at London 2012 (and you can see one of the copper petals close-up at the exhibition).

What I found so stimulating about the exhibition is the Heatherwick approach of starting from the bottom up: experimenting with materials and engineering techniques to see how far they can be pushed, and then finding ways of scaling them up or recreating their forms, often in other materials.

So the Paternoster ventilation ducts were inspired by folding a sheet of A4 paper into isosceles triangles – and then scaling this up to 11 metres of steel (there’s a video of Heatherwick folding the paper in the exhibition).

Paternoster vents (image by antgirl/Flickr)

And a Shingon-hu Buddhist temple in Japan was based on the folds and creases of a rubberised material, while the facade of the Sheung Wan Hotel in Hong Kong resembles a pile of boxes stacked on top of each other.

The extraordinary Bleigiessen sculpture in the Wellcome Trust involved recreating the shape of a molten metal fragment cooled in water, using 150,000 individual glass beads suspended on nearly a million metres of stainless steel wire.

Bleigiessen sculpture (image by Matt from London/Flickr)

Expansion is another theme, from Longchamp’s zip bags, which can be unzipped to grow to twice their size, to furniture that is constructed using a similar pivot mechanism to a garden trellis. And of course there’s the famous Rolling Bridge in Paddington Basin, which curls up into a wheel when boats need to get past.

Rolling Bridge (image by Loz Flowers/Flickr)

In short, this is an exhibition fizzing with inventive ideas, pushed by curiosity about “What if?”.

And don’t miss the chance to have a go in a Spun chair before leaving!

Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary runs at the Victoria & Albert Museum until 30 September.


Another WOW

We are so blessed here in the UK  and now a BRAND NEW STUDIO TO PLAY IN

I am going to just copy and paste all this because I cannot say it better and also to say a big Thank you to see this forward thinking duo

providing us with this venue to learn in —Brilliant —-Jealous –yes

Remember us?

Remember us? The people who promised to send you a bulletin ‘two or three times a year’ to keep you updated on our work, workshops, exhibitions and books? Now surfacing after 20 months of total silence.

Maybe you’ve seen us at one of the shows in this period, or been in touch with us some other way.  If so you’ll know what we’ve been up to.  But everyone else deserves an explanation, and it goes something like this…

  • We’ve made a world-class textile facility at Potter’s Farm Studios, which is open to all during Surrey Arts Week
  • Our last book is definitely Making its Mark
  • C2C students have launched two new businesses
  • And we’ve news of our workshop programme

Potter’s Farm Studio

In June 2010 we got planning permission to create a world-class craft studio for the teaching of textile arts.

The background story to this and pictures of the preparatory work will up on the website soon – but we can’t resist showing you this ‘before’ shot.

In August 2010, just after our last e-bulletin, Leon and his crew moved in and 12 months later we could finally shoot some ‘after’ pix of the completed studio.

It was a manic time getting that all ready which, when coupled with the effort that went into our last book (more about which below) left us all exhausted.  And that’s why we’ve been so quiet.

But now we have this fabulous space to work:

  • There are 9 work tables on the main floor, with 3 large sinks.
  • The half-mezzanine has another 2 work tables and a good lunch area
  • The main basement room has 2 more work tables and houses the thermofax machines, two washing machines, all of our stock (cloth, books, extra media etc.) and two even larger sinks.

The loo is beside the basement lobby and the outside courtyard offers a place to have lunch or sit and chat in fine weather.  The old dairy runs along the south side of the courtyard and provides an area for discharge work and covered drying lines.  There’s plenty of parking too, although we keep hoping someone will turn up on a bike.

And that’s because we’ve strived to make Potter’s Farm Studio a truly ‘low carbon’ operation. The barn is airtight, incredibly well insulated, with triple-glazed doors and windows.

The light levels and views are fantastic due as almost 40% of the wall space is glass. It has solar thermal for heating water, photo-voltaic to generate electricity, a ground-source heat pump driving the under floor heating and back-up hot water and a 6,500 litre rainwater collection tank which feeds the loo, washing machines and the wash-up sinks (although we also have mains water for back-up and drinking).  A mechanical ventilation heat recovery system ensures incoming fresh air is warmed by the stale air that is purged from the barn.

So, keep an eye on the website for the main story.  The barn is also available to rent, so if you’re a member of a group or a tutor who’s looking for a perfect working environment, close to main travel routes and with ample parking, do get in contact with Claire at  cb@committedtocloth.com.

Open Studios

Potter’s Farm will be open for 5 days during Surrey Open Studios fortnight so if you’re within striking distance come and see a great range of textile art, turned wooden bowls and hand-woven baskets – with on-going demonstrations throughout each day.

Our opening dates and times are from Wednesday 13th to Sunday 17th June, 11am to 6pm, although we’ll be open until 8.30pm on Thursday 14th June. So, we look forward to seeing you for a refreshing glass of home made lemonade!

‘Making your Mark’

Making Your Mark

We also published our seventh book – ‘Making your Mark’ – in August of 2011.  A “smashing success” according to our top US distributor, it explores the magic of using ‘everyday’ tools such as scrapers, rollers, squeeze bottles etc. to create individual, personal marks on cloth or paper.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, there’s a teaser of the 2-hour accompanying DVD and some sample pages on our  website

Here’s what one reader has said…

“your approach is fun, inspirational and fearlessly creative – so very refreshing.  I’m really loving them… and am already stuck in to some experiments and explorations!”

The launch of two businesses by C2C students…

Hand-Dyed Fabric: Jo Lovelock launched her business in November 2011 and is supplying a range of fabric created in her studio in Epsom, Surrey (or at Potter’s Farm when a big mess needs to be made!), using Procion Mx dyes to create light and colour-fast vibrant colours.  The range consists of a variety of fabrics including cottons, silks and linens and a high quality cotton sateen, which is excellent for quilting.

Jo is also stocking cushion kits (in case you know someone who wants to get started with textiles!) and some of the harder-to-find fabrics available at the C2C studio, including cotton sateen, silk-cotton, drill cotton, linen, cotton-linen, pre-scoured calico/muslin, discharge fabrics and polyester ultra-sheer (as used for paper lamination). With the exception of the polyester, all fabrics are PFD, so they’re ready to rock and roll.

The online shop and website is now live, so do get in touch.

(+44) (0) 7890 812857

Thermofax Printing

Thermofax Printing:  Amelia Leigh has started a thermofax service.  You can order your own custom screens or select from a range of ready-made designs.  Amelia also stocks an excellent range of screen inks suitable for textile use, along with a range of acrylic shapes suitable for block printing or as resists for fold-and-clamp Shibori.  She can help you out with custom-made acrylic boxes or box frames – in fact, if there’s something you need in acrylic, then just email Amelia and she’ll bend over backwards to help.


Thank You

So, thanks for registering to hear from us and once again, sorry it’s taken us so long!  We hope 2012 sees you swimming in creativity and generating great results.


Claire, Leslie and James


The sun will be out ,the sky will be blue and look here

WOW look here for marvellous fabric adventure ,author and  fibre artist Jane Callender is having Summer School

I so want to go to this and enjoy and be immersed for 4 days or even 5 .

LIMITED NUMBERS so email in to Jane asap

Jane Callender <janecallender@tiscali.co.uk>

JULY 10– 14                  3, 4 or 5 days

SUMMER SCHOOLSummer schools provide the time to thoroughly focus on both the design aspect and practical skills of indigo dyeing and shibori without interruption.

This is an ideal opportunity for those who want to work towards the completion of a major project, research and study a specific area of shibori or who want to simply enjoy learning a new skill working  in a relaxed and informal setting.
One to one and group tuition throughout the course. Includes pattern planning and lesser known shibori techniques.

Indigo, iron rust and fibre reactive dyes. Weld if possible, supplies are short this year.

6 – 7 students only.

Minimum booking of three days with the option of a fourth and fifth. £65 per day for the first 3 days. £60 for day 4 and £55 for day 5.

Please bring own fabric, rubber gloves and small bucket.

Have fun and learn

How many times have you seen a great  course advertised that you really want to do then come the logistics,home,responsibilities,work,holidays ,travel ,kids,dogs ,the cat the et etc etc.I t has happened to us all at some time or other.

Well it is sorted now !

Dionne Swift the Yorkshire based award winning artist is now offering online textile silk screen print techniques from your armchair.

I love armchair courses and those who know me know I take at least 4 per year and do it like a mission even to my shopping done and my meals sorted for the week.It is my time and I guard it jealously and even take the phone off.

I will immerse myself in the learning curve and thoroughly enjoy it.Living where I do it is sometimes the only way .

There are good courses and bad courses but no matter whether you learn from home or attend we all rely on recommendation or knowledge of the teacher or the portfolio of the artist,to help us sort the wheat from the chaff.

I hadf met Dionne albeit only briefly at show and done a short course with her but having been following her work carefully and was delighted to see the 1st online course advertised.

Last week was GREAT  and I had so much fun I had my supplies ready took note of what we needed to have to hand and off I went .

I had lunch when I was ready for it ,I had my cup of tea to hand all day ,made as I like it and even my trusty familiar tools with me because of course I was at home .I watched the great video and took notes, had a cuppa digested the info, thought about it, and got cracking with my work.

Why a screen printing course I hear you all ask when screen printing is what I do  for my felting,well you can always learn from others always  and also these weeks remember are my treats they are ‘My Times.

Go along and visit Dionne  and take a course –you will enjoy it and learn heaps.

I hope to persuade her to join us in the SDA and be an active member of the UK group.

Just showing small part of my work      

   and just so you can see I am not biased as to studio based learning I am going to immerse myself in Devore with Dionne in the Autumn at her studio workshop another fab ‘me time to look forward to.

Remember to grow we must keep learning.

Also need numbers soon for the textile treats retreat next year In Durham .

New author on the blog

forgive the ‘pun’

Well we are lucky, Lynda Howells has agreed to come on board and post to the blog although she is very busy with the opening of her new Art studio in London.

I am sure she will tell us all about it and those who live nearby can check it out —looks great fun –looking forward to your posts Lynda

Roving Reporter gets to the Tate Modern

Kim of Flextiles fame has acted as a roving reporter for me and brought us a marvellous account of the exhibition at the Tate Modern .

Now I am living so far from London it is hard to keep up with all the ‘happenings in town ‘ but I am drawn to getting a train and heading back to see this for myself .

From all of us here at SDA UK Kim a big Thank you for allowing us to publish

Have a read you will find it under  Exhibitions

Great Start

Great start for the UK blog as we have had over 1300 visitors this year so far so lets keep growing.

I really believe the links artists make through our association are invaluable to us and the contacts for our work etc a priceless commodity.

Apart form writing  the blog and trying to keep in touch I aim to start emailing the news around as well and get some good links going  for us all.

News and Events are still needed and do advertise them here on the blog –free advertising and we do get picked up on the  google search engines pretty high up.


I will be teaching in the School of Creative Arts in Arbruzzio Italy in October 2013 more on this later but the whole calendar of

events for the school are on the SDA website and Arbruzzio School of Creative Arts web site.

A link made for me by my membership.It is going to be a great  week  and I am already very excited about this .I am teaching in Michigan USA this September and I have heard this is now all booked up.Travelling on to Canada to see my brother for my birthday I will meet up with Judy Alexander in Vancouver which I am looking forward to.

I am submitting my work to belong to the Teesdale Open Artists so fingers crossed  for me on March 5th.


Textile Retreat in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Not long ago I posted the notion of a textile holiday in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty here in the UK.

This is open to everyone and especially SDA members worldwide.

I am setting up a page for this holiday so please check in and let me know the definite names please–there are only 20 places and 14 have gone .

The cost for all the trips,pick up from the airport,full board for 8nights will be £595.00 .

We will be in Durham and staying within arms length of the Cathedral have full board ,trips to Lindisfarne ,Bamburgh Castle,

North Pennines,Raby Castle and Bowes Museum,the dates are Easter 2013

Belated Happy New Year

The year for me got off to avery busy start and has not slowed down all month yet.I am tucked away in my North Pennines home writing designing etc.

So what was decided as being aJanuary 2nd post has sadly turned into a Friday 13th post —sorry ,cannot believe half of the beautiful month has gone already.

I could not get to the Vand A  in London for the Power of Making but a friend volunteered to go and write a report for us so a big big ‘Thank you ‘to Lynda Howells.

Lynda is passionate about textiles and art and has produced  a lovely report ,very visual as well.

This report is 24 pages long so I have saved it as a pdf and will place it on a page of its own marked Exhibition Reports

Extra news

We do only have 6 places left now for the tour around areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in The NorthEast Of Britain and I hope we will be treated to a workshop inspired by the surroundings from an award winning artist from America Pam McGregor.Last year alone  she  had a vessel in the 500 Felt Objects book, 9 new vessels in national and international shows, one of the vessels got first place in an the international Handweavers Guild of America show and she  teach felt workshops all over the US,so if she agrees to show us some of her secret unusual ways of forming these beautiful vessels we will be very lucky.

Also we have another talented artist attending who equally may be spurred on to also give us a talk on surface design–watch this space.

I have kept this tour small so I can get the ideas behind the organising of such things and we are being helped in this by Mr James Randle   Choir Director and Director of Conferences and Pilgramages at St Chads College Durham where hopefully we will be staying.

James will be helping organise all the venues we wish to see and our dining and accommodation so indeed we are very lucky in this aspect.

Please if you are considering joining in do let me know asap and spaces have gone so quickly.


This year I would like someone to suggest where the UK members could meet up and have coffee and touch base as to what we want from SDA UK and do we want a week retreat or a weekend learning session etc –please let us get together on this and for this purpose I am opening a Facebook page for SDAUK where we can all interact