Roll Up, Roll Up – Workshops Announced!

Hoorah –  We’re now in a position to announce our workshops for the 2011 festival!  We’re taking bookings now, so if you’d like to try something, drop us an email or give us a call on 01904 553397.

Mixed Media Bracelets made at the 2010 workshops

Mixed Media Bracelets made at the 2010 workshops

All our workshops will be taking part next year on Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 April at York Explore Library Learning Centre and we’ll be based in the The Garden Room, The Marriott Room and the Media Suite throughout the weekend.  As well as taking part in a workshop, we’ll be on hand to talk to you about courses we’ll be running in the spring and summer terms – or you can relax with tea and cake in the library cafe and browse our current brochure.

So, without further ado, we’ll be inspiring you with……..

Saturday 2 April

Create a Hand-felted Cushion Cover:   10.00am – 4.00pm, £15.00 per person waiting list only 

Create a Hand-tied Mothers’ Day Bouquet:   2.00 – 4.00pm, £25.00 per person

Easter Bunny Box & Spring-Themed Cards:   10.00am – 12.00pm, £10.00 per person

Japanese Crafts – Fabric Covered Easter Eggs:   10.00am – 12.00pm, £10.00 per person

Japanese Crafts – Furoshiki & Origami:   1.00 – 4.00pm, £10.00 per person  waiting list only 

Willow Weaving – Fantastic Flowers from Coloured Cane:   12.30 – 1.30pm, £10.00 per person

Sunday 3 April Workshops

Create an Embellished Felt Purse:   11.00am – 1.00pm, £10.00 per person

Creative Digital Photography – ’The Great Outdoors’:   11.00am – 4.00pm, £20.00 per person waiting list only

How to Paint & Draw Trees:   1.15 – 3.00pm, £5.00 per person waiting list only

Make a Peg Doll Family:   2.00 – 4.00pm, £10.00 per person

Make a Vintage Corsage:   2.00 – 4.00pm, £10.00 per person waiting list only

Mixed Media Bracelet:   11.00am – 1.00pm, £10.00 per person waiting list only

Shock au l’Art!:   11.00am – 12.30pm, Free lecture

PS:  You may already know this, but 2 & 3 April also marks the first weekend of the 10th York Open Studios, so it promises to be a very inspiring weekend!


Breaking news….well, sort of!

Don’t worry – although we haven’t been doing much  blogging or tweeting of late, there’s lots going on behind the scenes!

We’re starting to plan in earnest for the 2011 Inspirations festival, and so far, we’ve had some great ideas from lots of different people about workshop ideas and how we can get as many people as possible involved. 

Hopefully, we’ll be able to let you know a bit more about what we’re planning over the next few weeks and tell you how and when you can book workshop places.

As with many public sector organisations, we’re facing tough times and some tough decisions, so although next year’s event might look a little different, we’re still committed to ensuring that Adult & Community Learning and its learners get the profile they deserve.

If you’d like to get in touch, or would like to be added to our mailing list, please drop Katie an email – and she’ll make sure you’re kept up to date with all our news.

Aiiiiii Fiesta!

Yup, it’s official -we’re getting very excited about this year’s Fiesta!

Not only are we going to have fun making metres and metres of pretty bunting, we’re also going to be part of The Wonderland Project – if you read our bunting post, you’ll remember us mentioning a magical garden – this is it and you have a chance to get involved!

Our fabulous textiles tutor Donna Taylor will be leading two workshops for adults on Wednesday 5 & Tuesday 25 May – the sessions are free to attend, but you do need to book your space!  If you’d like to take part in this year’s Fiesta, send an email to and we’ll put your name on the list!

You can find out more by visiting the Fiesta blog.

York Open Studios

Did you manage to get round any of the artists in this year’s York Open Studios?  Hopefully you did, because there were so many inspiring works to see and new artsists and techniques to discover!

We didn’t manage to make it round everyone (you’d have to be seriously dedicated and spend all weekend visiting the venues!) but we definitely felt we’d seen a good selection.  It’s hard to pick a ‘favourite’ out of them all, but a few highlights for us this year were….

Work by Chi-ui Wu - one of our personal highlights from York Open Studios 2010

Work by Chi-ui Wu - one of our personal highlights from York Open Studios 2010

The whimsical ink drawings and enchanting ceramics created by Chiu-i Wu – her work is full of light, nature and life and we spotted several things wanted to take home with us – it’s the type of work you could look at every day and see something new in it.

On our way into town on Saturday morning, we passed by several of the venues, including Sandra Middleton, who works with silks and velvets that she dyes herself to create abstract pieces.  The pieces looked so different depending on the light which was reflected on the fabrics (the images on her website don’t really do her work justice), and it was really great to have the chance to meet Sandra and see how the work was produced.

Across town, we visited David’s Patrick’s studio on Norfolk Street.  David’s use of colour is really quite arresting, particularly the lush greens and vivid purples, and his work somehow makes York look very urban and contemporary – even in pieces featuring some of York’s most ancient features.

Worth remembering of course that all these artists work outside of York Open Studios – so check out their websites to find out more about their work, where else they exhibit and how you can buy their work. 

If you did visit open studios, tell us who, and what you thought………

The Inspirations Quilt

Wow!  Well, the Quilt Museum have done an amazing job of putting all our patches together and it’s now up for all to see in the education room at the museum – I met up with Melanie, the museum’s education officer to see the end result and here are some pictures….

The finished Inspirations Quilt! Well, one side of it anyway......!

The finished Inspirations Quilt! Well, one side of it anyway......!


....and a close up showing the variety of patches people contributed

....and a close up showing the variety of patches people contributed

The clever volunteers who helped Melanie put it together decided to make it double-sided in the end, so when it goes ‘on tour’ we’ll try and make sure people get to see both sides of it!  We had so many patches that they couldn’t fit them all on without spoiling the effect, so we’re also going to make a folder with the remaining patches so people can see how they were made and find out more about the project – we’ll put it on display with the quilt.

Thanks so much to everyone who took part – we had great fun organising it, and I think you’ll agree, the end result is really fantastic – York is just full of creative adults and we’re really glad you all got involved.

What’s inspiring us this easter….

The Easter holidays are always a good time to get out and about and find new things to do.  We’re always on the look out for fun days out, exhibitions, new craftsters and markets to visit, so thought we’d give you the low-down on what’s inspiring us at the moment……

On Easter Sunday, we went along to the ‘Quilts – Hidden Histories, Untold Stories’ exhibition at the V & A museum and were absolutely blown away.  It’s a beautiful exhibition and the focus on the histories behind the quilts really gives it depth.  From quilts made to celebrate marriages to those made to show political allegiances, there really was something to interest everyone, even if you’re not a quilter or patchworker yourself.  We were particularly moved by some of the contemporary pieces which focused on a theme – such as the piece made using scraps of fabric from clothes and old black out curtains during post-war WW2 austerity and a quilt made by prison inmates who were using their piece to reflect on their time in prison and their hopes for the future.  If you’re a keen quilter but can’t visit the exhibition, you can share your work with the world on the museum’s Quilt of Quilts website, there are some wonderful examples which should inspire those who are new to the craft to get started!

If you’re more interested in buying than making, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the 2010 dates for the FLARE Contemporary crafts markets have now been announced – check out which artists will be involved this November and get the dates in your diary!

Speaking of dates for the diary; there are of course two serious arts events  taking place in York this month – the first being the April Revolving Gallery event which takes place this weekend at Gray’s Court – if you fancy bagging yourself a piece of original art as well as finding out more about local emerging artists, this is the event to attend.

If this wasn’t enough to keep you all busy, the following weekend is, as you’re no doubt aware, York Open Studios, the annual weekend when lots of local artists open up their homes and studios to the public.  It’s a fantastic event and we always go away with a little something – even if it’s just a card! 

Finally, we know there are lots of smaller craft groups going on in York, but check out Newcastle Craft Mafia – how fantastic would this be for York!  If you know of any groups like this in the area, do let us know!

Funding cuts pose threat for adult learners

 Every year the threat of funding cuts rears it’s ugly head in adult and community learning, and this year is no different.  We know how valuable many of our learners find our courses – not just from the perspective of developing new skills, but for the sheer enjoyment of making new friends, being part of a group and enjoying their leisure time.

It’s so frustrating that in this day and age the benefits of informal learning for adults are still not acknowledged by the powers that be in terms of sufficient funding and that despite their previous promises to commit to preserving informal learning opportunities across the UK via the Learning Revolution, many providers, ourselves included, will have to make decisions (such as raising course fees and cutting whole areas of learning) that may have an adverse affect on our community. 

The proposed cuts were reported in the Guardian yesterday, and we would strongly urge you to contact your local MP to tell them how important learning is to you. 

In the meantime, why not get in touch with us and tell us why learning is important to you – our blog is widely read and your voice really matters to us.

Post your comments on here and help us fight the cuts!