Monday, 18 May 2020

Eight weeks on from shutting the door of The Old Art Room

So as you may know we closed The Old Art Room Swaffham studio door, turned off the lights and loaded the car up with all the equipment and projects that I thought I might need to inspire myself and others not knowing how long we would be closed for. At that time we thought about three weeks.

Eight weeks on we have all gone on a rollercoaster of emotions and getting used to a 'Lockdown Life'.
Stewart and I feel very grateful that we have each other:))) So, a few weeks in we thought that would be fine, especially with the weather being warmer. We enjoy being together and setting goals around our, home, garden and business but like everyone this time has been bizarre.

Our first thoughts were to keep in touch with family, friends and clients at this unusual time. I chose traditional and also the route of email, social media, Facebook, live 10am weekdays. Thank you so much for those who join in and have viewed in their time:))) It has been a wonderful way of sharing , creativity, routines and local deliveries.

I had already put in place Art Studio Daily last year and over Christmas and New Year. Myself and Gemma worked on ArtStudioDaily Patreon and  Art Studio Daily You Tube for me to be able to produce online content. We also put a newsletter via email in place and we were getting months ahead of ourselves with themes and layouts. Little did we know that within two months of the studio being open after the Christmas break we would have to rethink the format of the newsletter, which I can tell you we had moved mountains to get it to the original layout. We have managed to get it out a couple of times spending many hours to do this. Thank you Gemma for the amazing patience and tech skills. It is hard due to the emotional connection to the studio and it having an uncertain future.
Click the links below to visit the Facebook, You Tube or Patreon Pages.

Thank you to everyone who donated via the links on the newsletter and Facebook. After advice for the HMRC I set up a GoFundMe page. I was and still am apprehensive as I feel it is begging but soon realised it was the only way of keeping the bills paid as time is moving on. Stewart and I have always been self funding. Over the years many have donated time and items to the studio which keeps it running. We are lovers of recycling and making it work. The small business grant came in and paid all the outgoings of the studio until the end of June. A relief as it has been a worrying time.
If you would like to donate view our GoFundMe page it would really be appreciated. You can do it by name or anonymously.
GoFundMe Page

So, for the next weeks ahead* Facebook Live Monday to Thursday. Continuing to share with those who want to join in by commenting and sharing photos of what they have and are creating. Filming for Patreon and You Tube, learning how to go live on You Tube to share a creation time. 

I announced on Facebook Live there is to be a virtual Exhibition in The Old Art Room studio on the 20th of July 2020. A way of creating now for a purpose and sharing work that has been created at this time so a call for submissions:)) For those local to Swaffham, placement within the studio, those from afar a photograph to share and then an online tour. Email me for details and submission ideas.

I am producing an installation based on a tent. Stewart and I are normally at open air festivals or camping at this time of year and into the summer, so this installation is to honour this and the concept of home and isolation due to the virus. The idea has been brewing since a few weeks in to lock down and now I feel ready to start this creative journey and share it with you.

Thank you again for sharing, following and supporting, it really is appreciated.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Part 1 Dragonfly Sketchbook

Working From Home

On Friday 20th March 2020 I had to close The Old Art Room Swaffham and move the studio technically online working from home. This has been a really steep learning curve for all of us as we are all having to adjust our lives in so many different ways.
I feel lucky in a way as I have a space at home to create and share because this is where I started 15 years ago, working from my home studio, making and creating then blogging and sharing in some of the first groups online.
I refelected in the first few days of how I was going t carry on saring and creating for so many who have supported the studio and me over the years, including all the moves we made from studio to studio to where it is now:)))
Things have moved on in so many ways with technology, in some ways it's easier to share but in other ways it's harder because there is so much out there and it takes a bit of figuring out the steps.
So, how am I sharing and trying to continue the studio?
How am I trying to keep the bricks and mortar studio running so there is a place for all to share when this crisis moves on?
Facebook Live at 10am every weekday has been amazing to connect, share and nudge myself and others to create and do all those projects and tasks we have and want to do. These are available to view at any time but interacting is a 10am then I answer questions and share.

These are on Facebook Page  The Old Art Room

Sending out a newsletter in the form of an email. The sign up is in the column opposite if you would like to recieve this:))) Its like a mini magazine

Sharing who has finished projects and what people are doing is so important and is wonderful to recieve the photograph

I have been filming You Tube videos, the first few are on how I begin a sketchbook/scrapbook/journal as mine are all of these. I pace to collect all the ideas, collected emphemera of a particular theme.

Thank you so much for sharing, supporting, subscribing, donating and keep safe and keep going.
Best Wishes

Saturday, 15 February 2020

*NEW PATTERN* Elephant quilt

The fantastic new Elephant quilt is now available to download - please go to 'patterns to buy' (click HERE) to be able to pay via Paypal and access the downloadable pattern. The pattern is also available to buy in the studio.

Don't forget there is also the adorable 'Ele' stuffed toy pattern which would look fab in matching fabric from one of the elephants - see the pattern page for that as well (click HERE).

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Festival of broken needles celebration - relaunch of the sewing roll

In celebration of the Festival of Broken Needles or Hari-Kuyo, I thought it would be a good time to relaunch the very popular sewing roll.

The Festival of Broken Needles is celebrated in the Kanto region of Japan on the 8th of February each year (December 8th in the Kansai and Kyoto regions). A 400 year old Buddhist and Shinto celebration, which can also be called the Pin Festival or Needle Mass. It is predominantly celebrated by women in memorial and with gratitude to all of the broken sewing needles (and pins) used throughout the year. Broken needles are placed in soft tofu as women gather at local shrines or temples and thanks given for their service. No sewing takes place that day as reflection and pray for the coming sewing year occurs.

As you can imagine, this certainly is something that resonates with me and in my own gratitude and thankfulness for the past year, I thought I'd re-share one of my favourite patterns - the sewing roll. Feel free to watch the video about it below, and click HERE to buy the pattern.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Exciting asked-for pattern - 'Ele' the baby elephant

Exciting news! After being squirrelled away in the studio, being crazily creative and preparing for the studio opening on Monday 3rd February, I've finally produced the long-asked-for 'Ele' the baby elephant pattern. I know this is a pattern that many of you have been asking for over the years and I'm now thrilled that I can finally offer it to you as a download or available to buy in the studio. To buy the downloadable pattern, please visit the 'Patterns to buy' page on this blog and scroll down to access the 'Ele' pattern. As always, I'd love if you could send in pictures of your own creations as this elephant can be made uniquely through your own creative inspiration. So, go over to the 'Patterns to buy' page now or click HERE

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Studio Technician position available (deadline Friday 31st January 2020)

The Old Art Room is a mixed media studio in the heart of Swaffham. Open to the public for weekly workshop sessions in art, textiles and other mixed media, it also has a small shop based on the needs of the working studio. Jane lark is a mixed media artist, teacher and business owner with The Old Art Room as the central hub for the businesses.

Changes and growth within The Old Room has led to the need of a proactive Studio Technician to help create items and ensure their sale. Materials are provided by the studio. The position is for one day a week (Wednesdays - 8.30am-3.30pm) and is on a self-employed commission basis only only. Additional benefits can include: free access to workshop sessions, experience working in the studio with access to the equipment, encouragement with your own creative work and the chance to develop your own creativity.

Role Responsibilities

  • Sort and separate donated, recycled and created material; evaluating them for their prospective use and sales potential. 
  • Creating packs for sale including gift packs.
  • Packaging and labelling materials, for shop or sending to customers.
  • Sourcing materials.
  • Creating items using technical skills, e.g. sewing and printing.
  • Working with the Creative Director on projects and promotion.

Basic Skills
  • Sewing skills; hand and by machine.
  • Social media marketing and sales.
  • Customer service and care.

Any questions concerning the position, or to apply. Please contact Jane Clark - . If applying, please send your CV. Deadline for applications, Friday 31st January 2020.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Secrets and samplers

The latest Old Art Room window has gone up, entitled 'secrets and samplers'.  The samplers hide the secrets and magic that is going on in the studio in January whilst it's closed - in preparation for the coming year, and trust us, it's a hive of activity here! The beautiful samplers were made on antique tray cloths which have been kindly donated to the studio over the years. These have been hand embroidered by studio team members, clients and friends and the thoughtful quotes were chosen by different people as well. We really appreciate everyone's hard work to make such an unusual window display and we hope you like it too! The video shows the work in putting the samplers together and the secret workings going on in the studio behind closed doors...Click the video picture link to watch!

Enjoy more content from the studio and support the studio by visiting, joining or subscribing to:

Become a member of our online studio at Patreon. Click HERE

Follow and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see videos. Click HERE

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Saturday, 4 January 2020

New workshops for February 2020

(click to enlarge)
A new year means new workshops! Whilst the studio is closed for preparation work and inspiration for the rest of 2020, we can share the list of February classes. Each class has an inspiration focus or you can do your own projects. We strongly recommend that you not only book classes but also pay a deposit to guarantee your place as classes are filling up quickly. This can do be in the studio or via Paypal online. Please contact us at the studio for more information: or message us on Facebook - Click HERE
Jane recommends the following for inspiration with February's workshops:

Fractal Patterning colouring - HERE
V&A Chinese gardens wall calendar (art calendar) - HERE
Blackwork (Royal School of Needlework Essential Stitch Guides) - HERE
Charming Packs (42 x 5" Squares - Greys, White and Black) - HERE
Enjoy more content from the studio and support the studio by visiting, joining or subscribing to:

Become a member of our online studio at Patreon. Click HERE

Follow and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see videos. Click HERE

Follow us on Instagram. Click HERE

Follow us on Facebook. Click HERE