Wednesday, 8 December 2010

* make* this festive rag wreath

At Atelier we are passionate about craft. Not only do we stock a range of gorgeous, orginal affordable work from new and established artists - we're also wanting to share craft skills and projects through artist-led workshops and free tutorials.

So, for your crafty delectation, each month we'll be posting a new *make* project on the Atelier blog. You will also be able to pick up a printed copy of the tutorial from our contemporary crafts gallery on Tuly Street.

What better way to start our new series of *make* tutorials than with a simple but stunning rag wreath. It's a great way to use up your scrap stash or to recycle old clothes.

To make your festive rag wreath you need: a wire wreath ring, fabric scraps, ribbon

Any fabric will do! Chop up old clothes (I used an old skirt in the pink version above), hessian and linen looks great or use your stash of bits left over from other projects.

You need to cut your fabric into strips of about 6” long and about 1” wide. Don’t worry about being too exact, you can tear them if you like or cut them using pinking shears to give extra texture. The amount of strips you need depends on the size of the wire ring you choose. For a 12” florists ring you’ll need about 100 -150 strips.

Then all you do is tie them onto your wire ring. You can use a florists ring, like the one in the picture above, or make your own by re-shaping a wire coat hanger into a circle, keeping the hook at the top to hang your wreath once it's finished.
I do have a small number of florists rings in the gallery in case you can't get hold of them in your local florists.

Keep tying the strips of fabric to the ring and occasionally push them together so that there are no gaps. Keep going until the whole ring is covered in fabric. Fluff out your strips a little. Finally find a piece contrasting ribbon, use one piece to tie into a pretty bow and a smaller piece to use to hang your wreath. In the blue polka dot version I added some festive jingle bells for decoration.
Ta da. Hang on your door or give to a friend as a gorgeous handmade Christmas gift .

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Fancy making-and-a-doing and a FREE craft book?

When I first started this blog, it was mainly as a means for people to keep up to date with the refurbishment of 12 Tuly Street and the launch of Atelier. Well we're three months on and we've had a spectacular reception since our grand opening mid-July.

I couldn't be more happy with how things are going. I even have customers who send friends and family into the gallery saying 'I don't mind what you buy me for my birthday, so long as it's from Atelier.'

We're still evolving and there are lots of new exciting things in the pipeline so I have decided to re-launch this blog as a quick and easy resource for you to keep up to date with the latest news.

We have fantastic exhibitions on their way, exciting plans for artist-led workshops and on-going promotions giving you the chance to win cool stuff from the gallery.

And so to my first call-to-crafty-arms ...

Makers - Your Gallery Needs You

As you know I have a growing collection of inspirational craft books.

I'm planning a 'book of the month' promotion to highlight some of my favourite project-based books.

And I need your help!

I'm looking for volunteers to take away one of my books and make up a project for display here in the gallery. The great thing is that you get to practice your making skills, you exhibit your project in the gallery AND, best of all, you get to keep the book you are working from. Yay!

This opportunity is open to Devon-based crafters only

Email me at, if you are interested or pop in and see me at the gallery.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Inside Atelier ….


In the last post you saw the left hand side of the gallery, which is where the COAST exhibition is currently showing. Ziggi popped in with her  camera (much better than mine) and took some pics for me of the rest of the gallery.


I’m delighted with how well the gallery has been received, and even more delighted with sales. Some of my artists are having to send new stock already which is brilliant news all round (well done us!!). And I’m really going to have to get my act together for the pre-Christmas season and make sure I have plenty of stock for all those Christmas presents that my customers are already planning (they’re very organised and have already started making up ‘wish lists’.


 inside atelier 2 

inside atelier

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

My First Exhibition

Well folks, not only am I officially up and running (2nd full week!), but I've also just launched my very first exhibition: COAST, contemporary crafts influenced by the coastline.


Textiles from Gillian Bates. I have long admired Gillian's work and was over the moon when the Eastbourne-based artist agreed to do some Devon inspired pieces. She took a trip to Ilfracombe, a quirky sea-side resort with lashings of faded Victorian splendour - a perfect fit for her wonderful quirky work. She did some wall canvases in various sizes and across different budgets along with some postcards (which are flying off the shelf!)

The work looks spectacular in my newly designated exhibition space ...

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Here's a close up of Ilfracombe Harbour ...

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We also have some quirky porcelain 'sea-urchin' lights from local ceramic artist Amy Cooper. Amy doesn't normally work with galleries but a) I asked really nicely and b) she's just about to give birth to her 2nd child, so I lucked out and she agreed to let me have some of her work. The textures, shapes and the glazes work beautifully together.

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The exhibition also features Tolly Nason's 'Nauticals'. These are tiny pate-de-verre glass bowls that are evocative of ancient museum pieces. The fragile bowls are made using ground glass that is placed inside a handmade mould and then fired in the kiln. Tolly is fast becoming a name having done some spectacular work for celebrations of Darwin's Origin of the Species last year where she cast beaks from Galapagos finches - these are currently touring various Natural History Museums across Europe.

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Then there's the the delicate porcelain bowls from Devon-based Karen Bourne whose work reflects the erosion of water. She uses a resist technique with a resin called shellac which is painted onto the surface of the clay. Layers not covered in shellac are then gently removed using a small sponge and water. These fragile vessels take ages to make but look stunning against the light, where you can see the translucency of coloured clay through the patterns .

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As for the rest of the work in the gallery -it's early days but the signs are exceptionally healthy. The response from the customers so far has been magnificent and I have been praised for choosing such a wonderful selection of work. So I'm passing that on to my clever artists and makers who actually make the work!

I've already had a few commissions and have had to re-order from several artists, so I am chuffed to pieces. I need to keep re-jigging the space and looking at the best way to make the most of those huge windows. I want to keep it clean and clutter free as that's been something that people have really liked, plus it makes it easy to get wheelchairs and pushchairs around, which was something I felt to be important.

So watch this space and let's see what the first month brings!


Friday, 16 July 2010

An update

Before ....

And after ...
Well we're now officially open. Photo has been taken mid-set up. I need to take more pics for you.
Had a 'do' on Tuesday night and 60+ people turned up. Three days in and I've almost made my weekly target ... a target that I didn't expect to achieve until a few month's time. So I am chuffed to pieces.
I'm also a little bit nervous about my stock levels and will need to reorder stock very soon. I guess that's a good place to be. Everyone that has come through the doors ( which includes 40 paying customers!!!) has said that they love the atmosphere and love the range of work.
A huge thank you to my Mum for helping out. And a huge thank you to my artists and makers for having the faith to let me sell their stuff.
Lots more space to fill than I thought, along with a great deal more time needed to set this thing up. Looking good but need more makers. I already have gaps because work is selling!!!
Luckily, 1st exhibition starts in a couple of weeks so more work on its way. Website now up and running at and the PR machine is cranking into action now that the paintbrushes have been put to rest.
Lots of Love
T x

Monday, 28 June 2010

Atelier - starting to look like a gallery

Isn't it amazing what a splash of white paint can do? Slowly, slowly starting to look like a gallery in the making. A few more coats of white paint and job done!

See that ceiling and how shiny and clean it looks - took me 4 days. Yup 4 days to clean it up. Had to clean all the grid work and then take down AND paint each individual tile. Was worth the effort though as it looks one hundred times better.

We did have a minor casualty on the day - my gorgeous (and very helpful) daughter managed to take a small puncture. A bit of blood and lots of OMG's and a big patch-up job later and here we go ....

On a much sadder note, I had to postpone my trip to Bristol last week as the vet found a lump on my cat's neck and scheduled her in for an emergency op the next day. Results back today and poor scrummy Squeaky has the 'c' word. Booked in for another op Friday and the kitty oncologist is looking into other treatments as they suspect it has spread into her lymphatic system. Big sobs, she's a gorgeous, happy cat and I love her to pieces.
Here's how her sister Bubble (aka Fat Cat) took the news ....

She sneaked into the dog's bed and refused to budge!

Monday, 21 June 2010

A Clean Sheet

Remember that horrid glass unit? Boy was it ugly. It was also flippin' well nailed to the floor and then build up from there. An absolute nightmare to get rid of. Took a whole afternoon.

But now here's all that's left ...

And now (after several more tip runs) the space is now clear. I've cleaned up since this photo was taken but at least you can see that it's not a bad space at all. I can now really visualise a gallery here. Lovely big windows and 450 sq ft of space to play around with. It feels like I have a blank canvas now and can start the process of making it look lovely.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Hammersville - before and after

Blimey - this knocking down walls business was much harder work than I thought and, of course, took three times longer too. But hip hip hooray, I huffed and I puffed and I knocked those walls down.

Had some help from the very lovely Marie and my gorgeous girl Ellie on the Sunday. Two extraordinarily young sparkies were sorting out the electrics and helped during the week whenever it got to a tricky bit that needed more muscle than I possess.
The offending partition walls .... it's a silly flimsy room built into the unit ...

Taken down the plasterboard and that horrid, itchy fibre glass stuff on the inside ...

And then - after several tip runs - there was lots of space - oh and a really ugly glass counter. Off to dismantle that today and clean up so that I can start planning the decoration. Needs the ceiling and floors sorting too. I feel like I've made a good start now ...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Ta Da....

Well folks, it's official. Today I exchanged contracts with the landlord of this commercial premises and in 4 weeks and 4 days Atelier will fling open it's doors to reveal oodles of gorgeous contemporary crafts. All the work has been hand-picked by moi so that I could ensure a good mix across a range of disciplines, styles and budgets. The work is unbelievably amazing and I have been blown away by the reception I've had from the artists that I have approached, all of whom are extremely talented.

I have about 32ft of window space - there's another 5ft to the right. It's about 450 sq ft in total. The outside will be painted white and the local sign-writer has done a little mock-up of my logo on the fascia.

The fabulous Ziggi (who did my posters for the Handmade Here craft fair last year) has been working hard on logos and literature as well as a quick and dirtyweb site. Simple but professional. Long term I will be looking at the on-line presence but for starters I'll be keeping things simple so that I can focus on the bricks and mortar.

Tomorrow I'm heading off to the Craft Show at Bovey Tracey to meet some artists, pick up some work and generally have a noss around.

Sunday I'm heading to Tuly Street with some scuzzy clothes, a flask of coffee and a big hammer and I'm gonna knock me some walls down ....

Wish me luck
T x