Thursday, 13 September 2012

Backroom Creatives - new awards for emerging artists and makers

Today Journal 2 - the newly re-launched What's On supplement in the North Devon Journal - launched Backroom Creatives, a new award scheme which aims to discover and nurture emerging artists and makers in the North Devon area. Atelier is very proud to be sponsoring the new award scheme alongside Stella Levy from the prestigious annual arts and craft show Art Bazaar.

So if you are an undiscovered talent - or know someone who is - this could be a great opportunity to help you launch your career as a professional artist and maker.

Backroom Creatives is open to all ages and it doesn't matter if you have received professional training at art school or, through your own hard graft, are completely self taught.
Perhaps you are retired and have discovered your talent later in life? You might have recently graduated or are a busy parent, juggling home, work and creativity.
What does matter, however, is that you are at the point where you have started to develop a small body of work that showcases your own unique creative style and you are now looking to take things to the next level. Backroom Creatives is designed to celebrate emerging artists and makers and is therefore not open to anyone who has previously exhibited or sold their work in a professional capacity.

There are two Journal2 Awards up for grabs. One for the most promising artist and one for the most promising maker.

Each winner will receive:
A profile of you and your work in Journal2.
Professional mentoring over a six month period from Atelier Contemporary Craft Gallery owner Tracey Benton and Art Bazaar founder Stella Levy.
A media relations workshop with the North Devon Journal's leisure editor Rosanna Rothery, showing you the very best way to approach the media and begin to build your profile.
A free exhibition space at Art Bazaar 2013 where you will launch your new creative career to a discerning buying public.

To find out more grab a copy of the North Devon Journal today! You can also go to their website here and we have posted information on the Atelier website here.
The Journal will be publishing regular updates which we will feature here on our blog, in our email newsletter (sign up here) and on our facebook pages.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

THE very best way to clean silver jewellery

I've been re-arranging the Atelier jewellery cabinets to create space for some new pieces (I'll post a pic later in the week). Anyhoos it's always a good time to give some of the work a bit of a polish because we all know that silver does tend to tarnish as soon as it's exposed to air (baaah!). And when it comes to cleaning intricate pieces, such as Jemima Lumley's gorgeous daisy and love bird range, a buff up with a silver cloth can do more harm than good.

Don't worry there's a super easy - and chemical free - way of cleaning your silver just using ingredients that you have in your kitchen cupboards.

All you need is a bowl. Line it with kitchen foil and fill it with hand hot water. Add a good splash of bicarbonate of soda and a good splash of salt. Then all you have to do is pop your jewellery in the bowl, move it around a little bit and you can actually see it clean up before your very eyes - you even get wee whiff of a sulphery smell as the oxide is drawn from the silver to the foil. Leave it in there for a couple of minutes - or slightly longer if it's very tarnished - and then fish it out, rinse in a bowl fresh water and pop it onto a clean tea towel to dry. A weeny and very gentle buff with a silver polishing cloth if you feel it needs it and Ta Da your jewellery is as good as new.

Not a chemist so have no clue as to why or how it works. But it does as I use this to keep jewellery like Jemima's all sparkly in the cabinets. A word of warning however - this only works on precious metal don't try with work that has stones as the stones could be porous and end up being damaged by the salt.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

We're in the Journal

Really lovely feature in the North Devon Journal on our last cake stand workshop. Rosanna from the journal came along and, with a small group of ladies, spent a relaxed afternoon playing with clay. Some ladies made two tier cake stands and others - having spotted one that I'd made earlier - asked if they could make a slightly more complex pedestal cake stand. You can see photos of the results on the Journal website.

We are running more workshops later in the year. Unfortunately the next cake stand workshop has literally just sold out (sold the last space about 10 minutes ago) but we will try and schedule in another in the spring. We do, however, have a couple of spaces left on the make a jug workshop, where you can slab build, design, decorate and embellish your very own jug.

For more info go to our website

Friday, 20 April 2012

We're in the Journal

Grab a copy of this week's North Devon Journal, thumb your way through to the arts pages and Ta Da! there's a lovely feature on our forthcoming Spectacular Jubilee Craftacular on May 27th.

This will be a leisurely Sunday 'Crafternoon' with a 50's inspired make-do-and-mend twist. There's a printing project and you can create your own jubilee inspired masterpiece that you can take home and frame OR you can print your own commemorative tea towel. On top of that you will be making a vintage inspired jam-jar sewing kit ... just bring a clean jam jar (or sauce jar) along.

There's be crafty demonstrations showing you how to turn odd bits of vintage crockery into cake stands and we'll show you how to turn vintage containers into lovely candles.

And Lilico's will be laying on a vintage style tea party (INCLUDED in the ticket price!!)

The ladies from Nirvana will be there showing you how to perfect a 50's style up do and we're also hosting a vintage boutique with Country House Vintage.

Dig out your vintage clobber because we'll be getting dressed up!

The Vintage Boutique will be open to the public from 1 - 5pm the workshops and tea party are strictly ticket only. Tickets are £16 each and include all materials - all we ask is that you bring along an empty jam jar. Tickets are available online here or from Atelier on Tuly Street. You can also pay over the phone on 01271 268244

It's going to be a fantastic event so we're looking forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Emma Cocker's in Devon Life Magazine

If you grab a copy of this month's Devon Life magazine you will find not one, not two, but THREE whole pages dedicated to the very lovely and exceptionally talented Atelier artist and maker Emma Cocker.
Atelier met the journalist Caroline Rees when we were at the Country Living Christmas Fair back in November and introduced her to the wonderfully quirky world of stitchery and knit that is Ms Cocker. In fact I have a sneaky feeling that Mr Fox may have flirted with the the journalist a wee bit when I wasn't looking, which might have gained us an extra page. The upshot is a lovely feature looking at the inspiration behind Emma's body of work.
Emma has been working with Atelier since we opened the Barnstaple gallery back in July 2010. At the time, the focus of her work was her gorgeous hand-stitched applique art works on vintage linens and tableware and her quirky knitted characters. We showcased Emma's characters when they featured in our Winter Wonderland Christmas window display ... isn't it stunning? ... snow flake cuts outs in the window made from vintage doilies and little Christmas scenes featuring her characters doing Christmassy stuff like wrapping presents

One of the perks of this job is working closely with your artists and seeing them grow and flourish as they gain confidence in their distinctive creative voice. So last year when Emma was one of a small group of artists invited by Atelier to develop new works for our Craftdermy exhibition - taxidermy with a craft twist - Emma excelled herself and introduced the world to Mr Fox, a rather dashing creature decked out in the finest hunting tweeds, and knitted antlers. We never knew we needed them until now - and now we can't do with out them ...

We are keeping Emma rather busy again this year as she'll be working closely with local ceramicist Fiona Bates on some brand new works for a window installation for North Devon's Art Trek in July. Watch this space!

We have Emma's work here at the gallery as well as selected pieces online here.

And here's a chance for you to see Emma in action. She was out and about taking photos of her work with her talented photographer friend Mikey and they turned it into a brilliant short film. It's a little bit of Emma magic perfectly captured on film ...

You can find out more about Mikey here

Saturday, 31 March 2012

A spectacular jubilee craftacular

Ta da - here it is crafting fans - our spectacular crafting event is back - this time with a vintage vibe in honour of the Queen's 60th jubilee.

You'll be able to design and print either your own commemorative tea towel or your own jubilee inspired piece of wall art AND make a vintage jam jar sewing kit. We'll also have some craft demonstrations showing you how to upcycle vintage crockery into gorgeous cake stands and how to turn vintage containers into lovely candles using soy wax. If that's not enough there'll be a vintage style tea party thrown in courtesy of Lilico's, the ladies from local salon Nirvana will be showing you how to create the perfect 50's style up do and we're also hosting a super cool Vintage Boutique in association with Country House Vintage. All materials are provided we just ask you to bring a clean jam jar with you. All this for just £16 - booking is essential. Staff and tutors will be dressed up for the event so why not dig out your best vintage clobber and join us on Sunday May 27th from 1pm. Tickets from

This event is a social crafting event encouraged to foster the appreciation of all things handmade and to spend some quality time with working artists and makers. Atelier runs it on a not-for-profit basis because we are passionate about crafting and the handmade ethos. We host Craftacular Craftacular events 2-3 times a year. If you're not in the area it's definitely worth a trip as - on top of a brilliant crafting event and a gorgeous gallery (smiley face) - we have some of the most breathtaking coastlines in the UK right on our doorstep.

Friday, 30 March 2012

We're in Vogue ...

Strictly speaking We're not in Vogue - as in Atelier being featured in the magazine - but one of our artists is. See the Fab bright pink letter press print from masters of typography Wasted & Wounded.

And in a stroke of pure, unexpected genius, the said same print just happens to be gracing the Atelier window as we speak. Does that make us 'in vogue' kind of?

Anyways chuffed to pieces for John Cheves the maestro behind the new series of 'Punk Rock' inspired prints we have here in the gallery. They're based on lyrics from key works by bands from the punk era such as: the Sex Pistols debut album 'Never Mind The Bollocks', the Ramones album 'Rocket To Russia' and The Clash's first ten singles

They're a great addition to his 60's collection featuring the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and The Beatles.

We have all the prints in the gallery framed (£60) and unframed (£36) , we also have selection online

Saturday, 24 March 2012


The hugely talented screen print artist Jane Ormes was one of the first artists to work with Atelier when we opened back in July 2010. She's been a hit ever since and keeps her work fresh by introducing new work each year. Interesting fact is that Jane's mum used to live on Sticklepath Hill in Barnstaple so Jane is very familair with the area and has popped in to say hello when she's in the area for a wee visit.
Last year Jane was approached by high street giant Marks and Spencer to illustrate their Easter confectionery range. How unbelievably cool is that? So her gorgeous bunnies have hopped out of her Bristol studio and onto some boxes choc full of Easter choccies.

To celebrate Jane's success we're giving away a goodie bag full of chocolate treats with Jane's lovely designs on them ... if we don't eat them all ourselves that is ... no, no promise to just taste a few to check that they are yummy enough for Atelier's discerning customers.

The lucky winner will receive goodie bag full of chocolates including a big chocolate bunny, some little bags of mini eggs ready to hide for your Easter egg hunt and some chocolate bars. The whole package is worth £10!
All you have to do is leave a comment here on the Atelier blog, you can also enter by leaving a comment on our facebook page or sending us a direct tweet at @galleryatelier and we'll automatically enter you into the free prize draw. Closing date is midnight Monday 2nd April and is only open to UK residents (sorry oversea's fans). You've only got a week so quickerty quick, first name pulled out of the hat wins the goodie bag.
Jane has been super busy because on top of all the work for M&S she's also designed some new prints. We have a selection here at the gallery and we've popped some of her new gocco prints on the Atelier online shop. At only £20 each they're just as irresistible as those M&S choccies ...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Emily's work is in Mollie Makes

Those of you who, like me, have swooned over Emily Hogarth's screen prints and paper cuts in Atelier will be delighted to know that a piece of the artist's work has been featured in an article on Edinburgh by Mollie Makes.

Here's more info on the article from the journalist and blogger Zoe Pearson who wrote the original article.

Emily was introduced to me by a close friend who lives in Edinburgh when we were looking for a paper cut artist for a commission. I tried popping over to her studio in Leith when I was last there but it was shut - my fault as I should have called first. Doh! Leith is fab BTW, it's just a hop and a skip away from Edingburgh with lovely galleries and eateries and THE coolest place called Roseleaf where you can have cocktails that you pour out of vintage teapots. I know - how fab is that? You can also get authentic Chinese food at Chop Chop too - it was the only place that I've ever been to that serves the same food that you eat in mainland China. Green beans Chinese style yum yum.

Anyhoos I digress, Emily's a lovely friendly young lady who makes really cool screen prints from hand cut paper cuts. She has a very steady hand and oodles of patience. We have a small selection on our online shop. This is my personal favourite - it makes me happy, especially on rainy days.

And a quick word about Blue Bird. I got very excited and told absolutely everyone that I knew ... and many more that I don't ... that Emily's Blue Bird print would be appearing in the April issue of Country Living magazine. The editorial team had a re-jig of their features and Emily's print will now appear in the May issue instead as part of a 50's style photo shoot, can't wait to see how they've used it. I'll post a pic once the issue is out.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

We're in the Journal this week

The lovely Rosanna from the North Devon Journal has done a great feature on Atelier's new workshop programme. The Journal (and Rosanna in particular) is very supportive of the local arts and crafts scene, so a great big Thank You on behalf of all of us x

Here's a link to the article:

And while we're at it, here's a link to the 5* review we received from local news listings site Barnstaple People:

Friday, 2 March 2012

You saw her here first ...

(one of Kayleigh's card designs for Sainsbury)

A huge and hearty very well done to the talented and rather blingalicious Kayleigh Moore who, in just her very first year as a professional maker, has been doing freelance designs for both the fashion designer Henry Holland AND Sainsbury's.

I first saw Kayleigh's work at the graduate show New Designers where degree students show off their work to the public for the first time. Her work caught my eye immediately. We got in touch and started working together towards the end of last year. Here at the gallery we have one-off originals from Kayleigh's degree show. The designs are printed onto fabric and then embellished with crysals and other lovely shiny things. It's not in the least bit surprising that they're been going down a treat. Look ...

They're cool, colourful and oooo that bling is just perfect! More work is at the framers and will be back in the gallery next week. Each piece is a completely unique and one-off piece.

In the mean time Kayleigh has told us that she has been a very busy bee since graduating. Apart from working with Atelier she's also been snapped up by the fashion designer Henry Holland for his Designers At Debenhams collection. So expect some gramaphones, lots of pink and some serious bling next season!! AND she's designed some greetings cards for the supermarket giant Sainsbury (see the image at the top of the page and the one below)

All this in just her first year since graduating. Amazing and very well deserved. Kayleigh is definitely one to watch and remember folks you saw her here first!

*Scratches chin for a moment * I'm thinking it might even be prudent to snap up some of her work before she gets hugely famous and out of reach of my wee pocket ... maybe there'll be one less piece in the gallery next week and I'll have a gorgeous piece on my wall at home ...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

'Happy prints' new in stock

We had glimpses of it over the weekend - sunshine. Let's hope more is on its way as I for one am 100% bored and fed up of cold, wet, rainy days.

But hey never mind that - some fab new screen prints from Mr & Mrs Yoke have just arrived at Atelier - and they're bright enough and bold enough to cheer up even the gloomiest of days.

They're giant A2 sized so make a lovely bold statement in any room. And at only £40 a pop the price will make you smile too. A selection is available unframed from our online shop and we also have some framed pieces which will be making their way to the gallery window at the end of the week. Pop by if you need a bit of cheering up!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Dobbing in the big boys ...

One of the great things about buying work made by small independent artists is that you know you're getting something very special and unique. Designers spend a great amount of time getting their work just right and will have done many sketches and made up many samples before you get to see the end product in galleries like Atelier. So it pains me to tell you that the giant retailer Claire's Accessories has been stealing designs from the London based jewellery design duo Tatty Devine. Do they not have any designers of their own to come up with ideas - surely with the profits they make they can afford a whole team of them. What's particularly annoying, other than the whole plagiarism malarkey (which quite frankly is bad enough), Tatty Devine, who are pretty big on the indie scene - design and make their jewellery themselves here in the UK. Claire's Accessories, however, will no doubt send their designs off to some far flung corner of the world where people are paid pence an hour. This means that NOT only do they steal the original design they also go the whole horrible hog and and undercut the original artist. They should be ashamed of themselves. The find out more read Tatty Devine's blog.

This isn't the first time I've heard of this happening, back when I first opened the gallery a small indie designer had just had an original design stolen by Paperchase. After embarrassing coverage in the national press, Paperchase claimed it was an outsourced design agency responsible for the error and retracted it.

Only a month or so ago I was approached by a maker who sent me images of her work asking if Atelier would represent her. The work had come straight out of the book The Artful Bird by Abby Glassenberg (which happens to be a favourite craft reference book of mine). It made me hopping mad as the maker had done a big mailer to lots of UK galleries claiming the work as her own. I contacted the maker and Abby and the first reply back from the maker was that she hadn't copied the design because she'd used different fabric. WHAT? Anyway in fairness, once she'd had an email from Abby pointing out that being inspired by a piece of work is one thing downright copying it is actually very very wrong and against copyright, so the maker withdrew the work.

On the British high street money talks so it's up to canny shoppers to make a statement with their hard earned cash. Support small independent designers, buy from independent retailers and shop local where you can. That's how you change things. Quoting Gandhi - BE the change you want to see in the world.

Oh and in case you're wondering the photo at the top of the blog isn't mine. I checked that I could use it before I did and I have added a link to the original owner - just click on the pic.

Friday, 17 February 2012

New creative workshops

It might have been cold (very cold) and miserable outside but inside Atelier it's been a veritable hive of creative activity. We've repainted and re-jigged the space and now have a wonderful giant chalk board so that you can see what's going on. We've also brought back our wonderfully huge table for making and a doing. And talking of making and a doing - we've been busy making up gorgeous samples ready to launch our new creative workshop programme. Now you can see what lovely things you'll be able to make here at the gallery. We have a workshop programme for grown ups as well as programmes for older children.

It's very exciting as this was the original vision for Atelier way back in July 2010 - can it be that long now? The plan was to have a beautiful space offering gorgeous hand made goodies from talented local and British makers AND to have a space where people could come along and learn new skills, have fun in a relaxed environment and make really cool stuff. Hopefully our new workshop programme fits the bill - you'll have to let us know! The next phase in Atelier fulfilling the original vision is for me to get back to ceramics and have a fully functioning working gallery ... I'll keep you posted on that one ...