A New Adventure

Imagine… a weeklong creative retreat in a peaceful hideaway on the East Coast of Scotland. Stunning views, walks on the beach, time to learn, time to relax, time to create to your heart’s content. Days spent exploring the area and working in a bright and airy studio with spectacular views and then evenings by the fireside in the company of other students

Well I have been imagining and dreaming about this for a wee while and wondering how I could make it a reality. With my new’ish venture into teaching art classes I have been seeking new opportunities and one of those has always been the idea that I would like to teach at an art retreat some-day. A few weeks ago, I began thinking ‘so why don’t I just organise one myself’ and that is just what I did!


With the encouragement and support of a couple of friends the wheels were put in motion and the location (Gardenstown) and venue (cottages and art studio)  are booked, the dates set (October 2014), the theme imagined and many of the finer details settled …. and one more thing… all 10 places are sold out. Unbelievably. I dared not dream that there would be any interest at all far less sell out all 10 places practically overnight and even more amazingly without me having to publicise or advertise or to beg for folks to look – the interest was already there. If I was surprised by folks coming from Leicester, Cheshire and Oxford for my last day workshop I am absolutely bowled over by the fact that I have 6 ladies coming from over the pond from different areas of the US – all to come over to attend a week long art retreat taught by me. Unbelievable.

So now I am interested to know if this is something that any of my blog readers or fellow creatives would be interested in if I tentatively organised another version of this event for Spring 2015. It is something that I would love to do annually or perhaps more so.  If the idea of a week in a tiny harbour community creating and chatting and sharing is something you can imagine doing then let me know either here or via my workshop page.

You can find out about the retreat happening next year here.

So of the three exciting bits of upcoming news that I have been promising to tell you about, in terms of a timeline it is the furthest away but is the one that has been at the forefront of my mind in the last 2 weeks.

If you can imagine something you can make it real in some way and the things that only a few short years ago I thought were a dream are now ahead of me and closer than I ever thought possible.


Following a different path – workshops

A while ago I wrote this post on a decision that had been brewing for a while, a change of focus, a change of pace and a change of priorities and whilst I still miss sculpting, there are no regrets – only a different path to follow and a feeling that I am going in the right direction.

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For the last few years I have taught many workshops, all craft based – felt making, textiles, whimsical creatures but for some strange reason I always had something that held me back from teaching art classes – I can’t explain it, I get these wee notions and lack of confidence and I let my fears rule my head. Well times have changed and with a renewed sense of purpose so has come a new confidence and an increased sense of what I am capable of and what I would actually like to do with myself when I am not painting and drawing and working. So I while ago I took the plunge and advertised some art classes at the wonderful Focus Gallery in Nottingham.

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Last month was the first of a few monthly art workshops and I have to say I had an absolutely wonderful time. Students came from Leicestershire, Chester and Oxfordshire and we worked from a life model, creating large expressive pastel drawings. It was so much fun. It felt very natural to me and from the feedback I received it seems the students had a great experience (always paramount in my mind.) The photographs really are a testament to how hard everyone worked and how much they progressed during the course of the day but there are also some written testimonials to how the day went too.

So if you are within travelling distance of Nottingham and you would like to attend a course, I would love to see you there. All classes are booked here.

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Next blog post I will have some news of one of three exciting up coming events!

I also just wanted to say thank-you. I have had a flurry of new followers to this blog and blog comments which I am catching up on replying to. So thank you to all who read, follow and comment. Your interest is as ever very much appreciated.


Upcoming Workshop!!!


Hello! Today I have been mostly getting back on track after my last blog post and my long absence from blogging.

I have been figuring out a few dates for this year regarding teaching workshops again and am exciting to have my first workshop of 2012 confirmed for the 24th of March at The Focus Gallery in Nottingham.

The Focus Gallery is run by the very lovely Lorraine and Angelo Murphy and as well as being the best gallery in Nottingham in my humble opinion, they were also the very first gallery to take on my work around 5 or so years ago. They have been so incredibly supportive over the last few years (endless patience for a disorganised and fumbling creative like myself!!) and whether you are looking for fine art or the perfect gift you will find something here.  

So the workshop is to make a whimsical creature from fabric and paint and you can see a glimpse of what can be achieved by hopping over to the lovely blog of Charlotte Hills at Chest of Delights. Charlotte came on the workshop I taught last year and wrote a really lovely blog post about her experience so it will give you a good idea of the day!

You can find all the details here on my website and on The Focus Gallery Facebook page.

Also if you are a gallery in the UK or an organisation and you would like me to come and teach a workshop with you then just let me know!


Whimsical Creatures Workshop

Whimsical Creatures Workshop, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Aaah Monday, Monday. I am excited to be starting a new week and hopefully getting back into the way of blogging on a more regular basis after a Summer of busyness. I have so much to do and so much to share!

Last week we had a wonderful few days away camping in Yorkshire where we were joined for a couple of days by my dad and step-mum. I love everything about camping – I still need to check my camera to find out if I took any photo’s at all (although I fear not…) so will blog about this later in the week.

Today though I wanted to share some images from a workshop I taught just over a week ago at Lakeside Arts Centre in Nottingham. This was my first workshop in over 2 years so I was incredibly nervous – also, although I have taught felt-making and bookbinding and mixed media techniques I had never taught something so close to my current practice. After a lot of planning and making I came up with the idea of creating simple ‘Whimsical Creatures’ out of cloth with hand-painting.

What a wonderful day it turned out to be!! I had the seven loveliest ladies who were incredibly patient with me and an inspiration in that they worked incredibly hard and created the most wonderful creatures. I only wish I had more (and better) photos to show you.

It was quite an ambitious day and I had worried before hand that it might be a little too much to complete in one day especially as everything had to be hand stitched. But everyone worked so hard and I loved every minute of it. I really must thank each and every one for attending and helping me to gain just that wee bit more confidence in my teaching abilities as I am a bit of a worrier!

It was also lovely to meet Charlotte from A chest of delights – a fellow Nottingham resident and blogger who is also a wonderfully talented artist. You can read her blog post on the workshop here. Anyway here are just a few photos from the day and I am now looking for further teaching opportunities for the future so have a list of places to email this week. Wish me luck!

x x x