Tag Archives: wakefield country courtyard

Creativity and wellbeing – can art or craft really help?

Have you opened up a magazine or Sunday newspaper supplement lately to find bold claims being made about the power of creativity to boost wellbeing?|
There’s a good chance you have – it’s one of the most written-about topics in the health world at the moment and there’s a growing appreciation that enjoying a creative pastime or artistic activity can indeed improve that sense of ‘living well’.

It’s not all anecdotes –creative experts worked with civil servants to research a report in 2017 with findings that agree – being creative helps keep us well and socially engaged.

And in 2018 age UK released its own study – Creative and Cultural Activities and Wellbeing in Later Life. This considered the links between participation in artistic activities and the wellbeing of 15,000 respondents aged over 60.

Overall, these and other studies conclude that being involved in art activities or belonging to creative groups has real potential to enrich all our lives, at any age.

To get our own informal insight, Jenny and I at Vitreus Art asked some of our students how they felt they benefited from the art workshops they attended at our studio.

Precious Metal Clay )PMC) – a great way to get started in Silver jewellery making

 

 

One said, “I lost track of time, I was so engrossed in what I was making”. Another said, “I haven’t learned something totally new for years – how refreshing”. A third said, “I love being able to forget about work, the cold, dark winter and home chores”.

And then there’s the new vogue of TV programmes devoted to traditional crafts and restoration skills, along with painting and pottery competitions pulling in sizeable night audiences!

This, plus the rise of the maker-movement and growing appreciation of traditional skills means the idea of making one’s own craft or art is more appealing and more accessible than it’s been for years.

And independent shops selling hand-made or upcycled goods and craft-collectives where makers collaborate to supply and sell are injecting some much-needed vibrancy and variety to our town centres.

We’re are all better served than ever when it comes to places to learn new skills, or to discover the joy of making now.
There are friendly card-making and stitch-and-bitch groups in towns of any size now, there are independent shops and galleries selling hand-made goods and art close at hand, and several art workshops running craft courses in just our area alone (Northants, UK).

At the Vitreus Art craft & art studio, you’ll find stained glass courses including traditional and modern styles and glass fusing classes using a kiln to melt and manipulate glass in to unique pieces of art.

You can also discover the amazing properties of Precious Metal Clay, allowing complete beginners to create their own pieces of 99% pure silver jewellery.

Students keen to develop their painting and drawing will benefit from our tutor Clare Tebboth’s lively and productive teaching style, producing work to a high standard while having fun!

A working glass studio and art gallery as well as friendly art workshop venue, there’s always glass work being created by resident artists Jenny and Mike, or craft workshops being taught. Visitors are welcome to call in during gallery hours to find out more.

Vitreus Art is located at Wakefield Country Courtyard, just off the A5 a few miles south of Towcester. On site you’ll also find the ARTtea Room and plenty of free parking.

So if you’d like to learn a new craft or create your own art, visit the studio in person or online at www.vitreus-art.co.uk and make 2019 the year you improve your own wellbeing!

It’s called Shibori and it’s like tie-dyeing. You remember tie-dyeing!

Yes – the ancient (and much revered) Japanese art of Shibori – tying and dyeing silk to create wonderful effects.
And with modern silk paints, vibrant colours with just an iron to fix. great for home experimenting, and a pleasure to teach in an art class environment.

But what actually does Shibori silk painting involve?

A quick Google or visit to Wikipedia reveals that Shibori is not only an ancient art but a complex one too. In the West, one technique seems to have become used more than the many others – using thread to tie silk around formers before applyimg the silk paint.

In our Shibori classes we explore four techniques that will give you distintively different end results.
We’ll give you 4 silk panels – one for each of the core methods.
The aim is to identify the technique to be used to make an end product – for a beginner’s Shibori class that’s a pleasingly soft silk scarf, using a silk often referred to as Pongee – light and delicate.
Choose the effect you like most and use that for your final silk scarf.

We also use modern iron-fix dyes; the alternative is steam fixing. We suspect the steam fix dyes available might give a more saturated colour, but our aim for this beginner’s class is for you to take your silk scarf home on the day. We’ll just use a household iron to fix the dyes and your scarf is ready to show off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s have a look at the four techniques you’ll try on our beginner’s class:

First up, try this method – tie the silk around a series of round objects and then apply silk dye (as many different colours as you like) to parts of the silk before drying it and ironing it.

 

 

 

 

 

Technique number two involves wrapping the silk tightly around a former and applying dyes, as demonstrated by Jenny:

 

 

 

 

 

Now, technique number 3 – folding. A delight this, but tricky – calling for precision ironing and folding if you’re to achieve nice, regular shapes and sharp lines.

 

 

 

 

 

And now, technique 4 – tieing the silk around beads and dyeing. As demonstrated by Jenny again! Fiddly, but a very nice effect so worth the bother:

 

 

 

 

 

On our class, testing each of these techniques takes the morning.
Of course we include lunch in our class – to keep you fully nourished and attentive!
Then in the afternoon, it’s time to use your chosen method to make your scarf.
We provide a range of dye colours, and show you how to mix colours to creat your own custom colours!

Fancy having a go at making your own Shibori-dyed silk scarf?
Our website page is here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/silk-painting.html

As with all our one-day beginners classes, lunch, materials and fun are all included.
We look forward to meeting you at our gallery!

Vitreus Art – craft studio and art gallery
Wakefield Country Courtyard
Potterspury
Northants
NN12 7QX – UK

 

 

“Lovely space, really nice work” – warning – Facebook meme within

“Lovely space, really nice work” – a recent comment from a visitor to our gallery and 11427176_10204465462260814_7970850652963678962_nstained glass studio in Northamptonshire.

By now, most people will have seen one of the many Facebook memes going around telling us that every time we buy something from an artist or craft maker we buy a little piece of unique creativity, directing money in to the local economy, helping those artists survive and continue to enrich our lives.

Well, of course I agree with the sentiment, even if I find the memes themselves often a bit saccharine.

And just recently I’ve seen several blog posts from independent shop owners reminding us that small shops and independent cafes or restaurants need to be supported if they are to survive.

Again, I agree wholeheartedly.

Every day something seems to make the chances of survival for small retailers a little poorer – out of town developments, parking restrictions in our towns, tax law changes that give large multi-nationals an unfair competitive advantage.

By design, our business at Vitreus Art is not dependent only on sales of art and crafts – we have a well-attended programme of craft courses plus the art holidays we run in Cornwall and a steady stream of stained glass commissions to keep us busy.

But as a small business we still face many of the same challenges and so we’d like to invite you to help all small retailers continue to offer you nice things the big chain stores don’t!

So what can you do to help keep Britain’s high streets and shopping centres vibrant and independent?

One)
If you see a piece of art in a gallery, or something handmade and delightful, or are tempted by a delicious-looking cake in the window of a tea shop, don’t say ‘I’ll come back and get some Christmas presents later / bring my friend to tea here next year’.

How about buying that piece of art now if you can afford it (art is its own reward!)?
How about biding a while now with a cup of proper tea and a slice of home-made cake?How about getting a huge headstart on the December crowds by buying your Christmas presents now, when you see them, from a crafter at a fair, or a local art gallery or handmade gift shop?

Two)
If you’re in the market for original, collectable art, buy art created by an artist who’s still alive – the dead ones don’t need the money!
History is littered with musical geniuses and artists who died poor and then got rich!

Three)
Instead of waiting for your retirement to try a new craft or take up paint brushes, find a spare Saturday or evening, book yourself on an art or craft course and start creating straight away. Imagine how skilled you’ll be when you do retire!

Four)
If you’re on a tight budget, instead of buying greetings cards (printed in high volume overseas) from high street chains (whose designers and artists receive a mere fraction of the price you pay) buy your cards from a local gallery or gift shop.

I can tell you for every card we sell in our gallery at Wakefield Country Courtyard, the artist gets a useful reward for their work, and not just an insultingly tiny percentage!

Five)
Tell your friends about what you’ve done! Share the business’s Facebook page, join their email newsletter and spread the word!

By doing these things you’ll be playing a part in keeping an artist alive and you’ll be helping the gallery or shop owner stay in business.
If they thrive, that’s one less ‘lovely space’ with ‘really nice work’ in danger of becoming a betting shop or tax-avoiding-paying chain coffee shop!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. You can visit us in person at:
Vitreus Art @ Wakefield
Unit 4, Wakefield Country Courtyard
Near Potterspury, off the A5
NN12 7QX

And online at:
www.vitreus-art.co.uk

And we have greetings cards!