Promoting a Workshop

Since doing my first workshop with Lynn Holland in the Summer I loved it so much I wanted to do more. Lynn has been so kind and together we are doing another two workshops in Rochdale this coming Saturday 3rd November and the following Saturday 10th. It has been smooth sailing so far but apart from getting all the materials, designing a plan and then teaching on the day, Lynn has done most of the hard work getting people signed up for them and providing the venue. To be honest I never really thought much about the advertising and promotion of the workshops and have been more concerned with the content and the quality of the actual day……until now.

Hard at work

I am now branching out on my own into unknown territory! Since moving out of Manchester I have had ideas to start workshops in my local area (Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and Knutsford) and so I began to make my ideas a reality. Since it is coming up to Christmas, I thought it would be perfect to have a festive themed workshop so I have decided on Print your own Christmas cards; idea one done.
Next, where to host this workshop? I have spent a considerable amount of time trawling on the internet looking at village halls, leisure centres, church halls and school halls amongst others, making lists, comparing prices, hall size, facilities and availability. Eventually I found Dean Row Village hall in Wilmslow which looked perfect. I then organised to view the hall to make sure that it would be suitable and after a short correspondence I went last Friday to meet Julia Dean who kindly showed me around. It is a lovely venue, with nice bright rooms so that it will show up printing colours which is important and it has good tea and coffee facilities, a must for any workshop.

I then went home and got out my diary and picked days when I was free and then looked at Dean Row’s booking schedule. It is a very popular venue as I found out and so I was rather limited to days and times that I could book. It was quite time consuming cross referencing diaries and booking forms but eventually I booked three initial dates. I would love to do more but I thought, start with a small amount and see how it goes.
Workshop decided, venue booked, dates booked, now to advertise and get people signed up. This is where I have my downfall, I am quite a shy person and the idea of getting out there and talking to people to promote is pretty scary to me, I just don’t like bothering people. My lovely husband has been so supportive and he just gave me a bit of a talking to and basically said if you go out and try as hard as you can, even if you fail (which you won’t), how much better will you feel than if you didn’t try at all?

Positive head on, I decided to create a flyer on my computer and print it out myself to save money. It took a while to decide on what to put in and what to leave out but I am happy with the outcome. I feel it is inviting and just enough information. Then it was a question of how to get it out there. I actually tried googling (it always has an answer), how to flyer, but nothing really came up that was useful. I just wanted a few pointers of good places to start.

Today I decided to head into Wilmslow and go around shops and different places to see if they would take some flyers or put them up. I started with the library as I thought it is a place where people to go to find out local information. They had an information folder that I could put a flyer in that showed local events so I was off to a good, positive start. I tried a couple of larger shops who were nice but said they couldn’t promote anything that charged, just charities. I did ask if they knew of anywhere I could try and I ended up at a little newsagent, Cards & Candy on Water Street who, for a small fee, will put your advert or flyer in their window. I then went to a few sandwich places and coffee shops and even a stationary shop where I left a few flyers. To be honest I didn’t really know what I was doing but I just stayed confident and asked people nicely, and if they couldn’t help they were always very helpful with telling me places I could try. I ended up walking around for a good few hours and I actually ended up quite enjoying myself, meeting and talking to lots of people. Having only just moved to the area it definitely got me more familiar with the town which was a bonus.

Meeting other creative people I have found that the promotional side of craft and art business is quite often the most difficult part. If you are like me, you are at your happiest lost in your own head designing and creating new pieces and items. Sometimes hours can go by without me realising, all because I have found a great leaf that has inspired a new design. I need to get better at getting out there and getting myself known as I know that no one is just going to stumble upon my work. I have to work hard and actually treat it like a job. It is definitely a very steep learning curve but I am getting there, I am even about to attend my first WI meeting so watch this space.

Some of my Christmas Designs

  • Does anybody have any stories about promoting their art/ craft work?
  • Any Advice for promotion?

I would love to hear from you about your experiences.

Lastly, if anyone is interested in attending one of my workshops at the Dean Row Village Hall in Wilmslow, the dates are;

  • Monday 19th November 10AM – 2PM
  • Friday 23rd November 10AM – 2PM
  • Monday 3rd December 10AM – 2PM

All material are provided as well as lots of tea, coffee and cake.  Please feel free to contact me via this blog or my e-mail


If you are like me you will love experimenting with embroidery and what better way than to create a sampler? The word ‘sampler’ comes from the Latin ‘exemplar’ and in relation to needlework simply means an example of stitches.

Samplers have been used for centuries as a type of pattern book that you create to learn new stitches and can then refer back to them for future work like an embroidered notebook.  In the 16th and 17th centuries rare and expensive pattern books were being published and so women collected and recorded these stitches.  The patterns were sewn randomly onto the fabric and the woman would add to them throughout her lifetime so we are left with fascinating works of art.

Linen Sampler Early 18th Century

By the 19th century, samplers were an important part of a girls education and were seen as examples of their proficiency as a needlewoman but their style became much more uniform.  The main stitches used were cross and tent stitch.  The designs were typically made up of the alphabet, the makers name, age and date.

Sampler by Elizabeth Laidman, 1760

I first started to sew under the guidance of my gran but learned proper embroidery at school when I was 8.  Once a week on a Tuesday we would have an hour of needlework.  We started our own small samplers with basic cross stitch and each week learned a new stitch to add to it.  I remember being so proud of my work and I still have it 20 years later!

My First Sampler

I still love to learn new stitches and so still create small samplers so that I can practice and then go back and see what works and what doesn’t.  I experiment with colour and thread types.  Sometimes it can surprise you and give amazing results and sometimes its a reference you can look at for what not to do.  Recently a friend Lynn Holland loaned me a wonderful book, The Left-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion by Yvette Stanton.  Being left handed, I have always had to reverse patterns and stitches and suddenly I could see all the little mistakes I had been making, it is a brilliant book for us lefties.

I experiment with embroidery and sometimes my work can be random.

A More Random Approach

Sometimes I like to make up a square with sections for different stitches and slowly build it up.

Structured Sampler

Different stitches also make great finished patterns such as on one of my needle cases.

Embroidered Needle Case

Have a go and play around with different stitches, you never know what you might create.


Mary Thomas: Embroidery Book (1948 edition)

Mary Schoeser: World Textiles, A Concise History (2003)

Golden Hands Magazine Volume 1 p72-73 (Marshall Cavendish publication from the 1970’s)

The V&A Museum website:

Basic overview:


Lino Print Inspiration

I had such a positive reaction to my lino cut tutorial I posted earlier this week. I hope that I have inspired a few of you to have a go for yourselves. To give you a bit of inspiration I have found a few prints to show you from some of the amazing sellers on Folksy. These are all one tone prints like the one that I did, I hope you like them.

This beautiful spring daffodil print Billet Doux by Emma Higgins.

I love the striking colour of this flower print by Art by Jools Yasities

Such a simple but very effective balloon design by Anne Thomas of thelinoprinter

The effect of the light in this woodland print is so amazing even in just a black and white print by Vanillaa

This little badger print is so cute by Nina Martel of Martell Mundo

Something a little more abstract by Alison Gibson of SkyBlueView Jewellery and Art

These are just a small selection of the different types of one tone lino prints that you can create. If you love the images produced from lino cuts but are not ready to become an obsessive lino printer yourself why not check out these wonderful artists and many more on Folksy and support British handmade.

How to create a lino cut

I first learned how to make lino cuts during my art GCSE and loved the whole process.  It is a cheap way of creating your own printed images.  Once you have the basic equipment you can start creating images straight away.  You will need:

Lino blades and handle (you can buy these in a pack of 10 different shaped blades for different effects)

Block printing inks (I started with just black then I got red/yellow/blue and then mix to create other colours)

Lino board

Brayer (Roller) (I have 2: 1 x 2” and 1x 4”)

Glass Sheet to roll out ink

Paper/fabric to print on


All of these are readily available in many art and craft shops and places such as EBay where you can get a lot of 2nd hand equipment.  Living near Manchester I get a lot of my stuff from Fred Aldous on Levers Street, I can spend hours in their basement and they have stuff to suit every art and craft need.


To start you need an image.  I used a photograph of St Peter Port in Guernsey I took whilst on holiday in April.  I picked out a few interesting buildings and simplified the image.  Although when you have done a few prints and practiced you can start to get more detail but to start I would choose a simple image with few details.  This image I then trace with a heavy pencil and then transfer to the lino board by pressing heavily down on the back of the tracing paper, like taking a rubbing.


Once you have your transferred image you can start using the different blades to cut into the lino board (it is good to have a play around on a small piece of scrap lino board to get a feel for the different blades and the way they cut).

I normally start with a fine pointed V shaped blade for the finer lines and then a larger scoop blade to remove larger areas.  You have to be very careful and confident because once you have removed and area you can not put it back! Always cut away from your hand and never put your hand in front of the blade to steady the board.  I have cut myself with a lino cutter before and it is not nice and it hurt so much I fainted but as you can see it didn’t put me off and I haven’t done it since!



I normally cut little by little and keep checking against my drawn image. You do not have to always cut deeply into the lino as it will hold very delicate lines scratched onto the surface. Sometimes it can be a little difficult to imagine how it will print so I sometimes take a quick rubbing over what I have done and it should give you a good image and you can continue cutting away.

Once you are happy with the image, trim away the excess lino board as you don’t want it interfering with your final image.  You are now ready to print.


I use a large piece of glass from a picture frame to roll out my inks but anything with a smooth washable surface that you don’t mind getting a little stained will work.  It is surprising how little ink you need for a print (depending on the size of your image) though it is a fine balance as too little and your image will not be clear and too much it will seep into the cut out areas of your lino cut.  You will very quickly learn to judge by eye the right amount.  Now use the brayer (roller) to roll out the ink.  I normally roll it out side to side and up and down.  You only need to spread it out a little and listen for the ink to make a tacky sound which means it is ready to apply to your lino cut, making sure it is covering all of the brayer.  Then roll onto your lino cut, you will see your image quickly appear.




You can print the image in 2 ways.  I have the paper or fabric ready on the table with newspaper underneath and place the inked lino cut on top and use a clean roller to help press down on the image or you can have the inked lino cut face up on the table and place the paper on top and use a spoon to rub in little circles across the image.  Make sure that you press down on the image as once you have taken the lino cut off you can’t put it back to repress but you can always re-ink and do it again on a fresh sheet if you are not happy. If the image is not exactly right you can always cut a little more away from the lino cut. 



Just mess around and have fun. Try with different colours or maybe add a different lino cut like a collage.  You can even print onto fabrics like the ones I have printed on Linen below.  I hand painted the houses using fabric paint.  I made the t-shirt for my husband as he liked the image so much.  I used Speedball Fabric screen printing ink that you iron to fix to the fabric so that it can be washed.  You roll the ink in exactly the same way as if you were printing on paper.  Natural fabrics work best such as cotton and linen. 



Why not have a go and send me a photo of your finished project and I will feature it in my blog.

Visit my Folksy shop to see other lino printed gifts.




The handmade Union Jack

I have officially joined the craze of the Union Jack today. I have made and listed my very own Union Jack Cushion on my Folksy shop:

Flags have always been popular and especially as a tourist anywhere you realise the amount of merchandise out there from mugs and fridge magnets to tea towels and every school girls favourite, the eraser. This year especially with the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics being held in London the demand for British inspired products is massive.

The handmade market is definitely not new to the use of the Union jack image but recently there has been an explosion in the variety of products available. There are some truly beautiful creations out there from the very traditional to the more unusual colour combinations. There are products to suit every taste.
This is a gorgeous creation on the miss mustard seed definitely would be a statement piece:

I think sometimes when we use an image that is so well known and loved we can forget the history behind the image. The flag combines the crosses of England and Wales (The cross of St George), Scotland (The cross saltire of St Andrew) and Ireland (The cross saltire of St Partick). The Welsh dragon does not appear as when the first Union Flag was created in 1606, Wales was already united with England and no longer a separate principality.

The origins of the flag can be seen from the standards used in warfare such as by the Roman Legions and the Middle Ages where flags were used as heraldic devices in battle to distinguish the sides. Later during the early 17th Century it was customary and then a legal requirement for ships to carry flags designating their nationality.

Some of my favourite designs from Folksy:

Designed by Suzanne Orme this is a beautiful stained glass Union Jack:

A lovely little pocket mirror to carry around with you by Rebecca Miles:

A lovely cushion with alternative colours designed by Lydia Brearley:

A quirky mini inspired cushion by Stacey Clarkson:

A few days in Guernsey

I have just got back from a lovely few days with my husband and his family in Guernsey in the Channel Islands.  They have all been going for a long time and this was my 3rd trip with them.

  A big highlight for me is the very short flight, just 30minutes from Southampton.  I really hate flying so the shorter the better, though every time we have flown to Guernsey so far we go via Jersey so have to land and take off twice per journey.  This time it was a straight through though the the landing was not good, a little bit windy.

Guernsey is a beautiful island.  It reminds me of my home in South Devon where I grew up.  Rolling green hills, very narrow lanes, sandy beaches and gorgeous coastline.


Even though we are only there for 3 full days we managed to pack quite a lot into our days.  We went for a few coastal walks and as always I was a little snap happy, taking pictures of everything.  On the first day we did a walk along the coast at L’Ancresse Common.  I found a really great seat that looked out to the sea.


Guernsey’s capital is St Peter Port, it is a beautiful port that has been in use since Roman times.  It has loads of history and is lovely just to wander around.  A favorite cafe of the Bishop family is Dix Neuf, which is nice to stop at after a bit of shopping and have a coffee.  It is a pretty port with a mix of architectural styles rising up the hills overlooking the harbor.  It also has a lot of really expensive looking boats.


Another great place to visit is The Little Chapel. It was built by Brother Déodat who started work in March 1914. His plan was to create a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France.  It is decorated with seashells, pebbles and colourful pieces of broken china.

 Holidays always go so quickly and this was no exception but I enjoyed every minute of it.  


 I found the trip really inspirational and have got so many ideas for paintings, prints and textiles that I don’t know where to start.  I think that the sea is a perfect subject for the summer so there is a beginning.  My mind tends to want to do everything at once so I think I need to sit down with some of my photos and my sketch book and see where it takes me.



A Sunny Sunday Craft Fair

Yesterday I attended a craft fair at the Last Drop Village near Bolton.  It is a lovely venue, a collection of Georgian farm building which have been made into a hotel and spa with a tea shop and gallery.  My lovely sister Emma came with me to help me out though I think she spent a lot of her time in a queue getting cups of tea.

I met a lot of really lovely fellow crafters and in particular Lynn Holland who does the most lovely illustrations including her cute Doodly Birds collection.  Check out her wonderful blog where she has been kind enough to include a photo of one of my cake stands that she brought off me yesterday.  There is also a link to her Etsy shop, full of wonderful goodies.


I love this wedding guest book, perfect for the coming wedding season:

Yesterday was the best I have done at a craft fair to date.  The last two were definitely more of a learning curve but were still invaluable experience.  Yesterday was the first time that I got my selling hat on a got to grips with properly talking to people and interacting and not waiting for people to ask me things.  I can be a very shy person but I really enjoyed bantering with customers and fellow stall holders and getting more confident and it definitely makes a huge difference to sales.  Also a big tip is standing up, don’t sit down when customers come over it makes a huge difference, it is easier to interact with people if you are on eye level with them.

I have woken up today feeling really good about getting going with my crafty business and planning where I go from here so watch this space……

A Great Folksy Blog (and I’m in it)

This week I was included in Alexis Johntson Ormolu’s blog. Each week on a Friday she chooses 9 sellers from the Folksy site and shares them with the world. It is a great way to see some of the talented British sellers on the site. This week I was lucky enough to be included with my embroidered coffee pillow:

It is such an amazing confidence boost to know that someone has seen an item you have made and thought that it was good enough to be included in their blog so thank you so much to her.

You can follow her lovely blog and see this weeks Folksy shops:

Craft Fair, Bingley, Yorkshire

Yesterday (Sunday) I attended my second craft fair.  My first was back in February and it happened to be on the only day it snowed and so the turn out was less than great but it gave me really great experience.  I found out how much stuff fills a 6ft table, how to pack and take everything, how long it takes to pack up the car.  I met some fantastic people and got some good contacts so it was still worth going.

Yesterdays event was held at the Mercure Hotel in Bingley, West Yorkshire.  The event was organised by Christine who runs Lavender Field Events  Have a look at her facebook and website for info about forth coming events.

The venue was lovely and the weather was perfect but prehaps a little too perfect.  It was so warm that I think all the customers were all out on the moors walking and relaxing in a beer garden somewhere!  Unfortunately the turn out was not great but again meeting Christine and all the other sellers was fantastic and got some more inside info about other events and things to look into.  

Christine is also putting together a wedding collection of lots of exciting handcrafted and vintage items and treats including my own hand embroidered wedding ring cushions, take a look at her website for more information

There will be more events throughout the year at both this venue and at Central Hall in Keighley and I am hopefully attending another at Mercure Hotel on July 1st.