Sunday, 11 October 2015

What I've been up to....

I'ts been a while since I've blogged, so I thought I'd do a bit of a catch up.

It's been a busy period at Craft Arena; lots of workshops, the Minerva exhibition to prepare for and I've been making plans with Lisa McNally for our joint enterprise - working together towards an exhibition in 2017 and in the process recording our progress on our joint blog, Two hours with... and our Facebook page, where we show you what we have been playing with. We've had a bit of an hiatus over the last couple of weeks, but will be back playing with different media next week, so keep an eye out for our next posts.

I'm also on a campaign to use up some of my stash, working with bits and pieces I've had lying around for ages, and recycling some of the fabric, threads etc that have been stuck in drawers and boxes for the last few (many!) years. The aim is to make at least one thing every month, and you can see here what I have achieved
so far.
Silk Paper collage

This is a piece I made using silk paper. The bits had been around for ages, left over from a class I did with Sarah Lawrence some years ago and didn't get round to completing.  It is for our exhibition, so I've only shown a snippet. 

Scrap Book Wrap - Front

Scrap Book Wrap - Inside
This is a sketch book wrap I made from of fabric that I had used to test out patterns on our Brother embroidery machines. I cut them into strips, wove them and machined over the top. I added machine wrapped cord, embroidered butterflies and Tyvek beads to the front, and made some pockets for pens and pencils inside. I haven't put it on the wrong side by the way; I'm left-handed! It is bodged a bit - I didn't decide to add the pockets until I'd nearly finished - but as it's for me, it doesn't really matter. 

Inspiration seems to be my watch-word at the moment. I went on a workshop with Bobby Britnell at the Knit & Stitch show, and she has inspired me to carry a sketchbook with me, something I haven't done for ages! I also did a workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden, someone else who has inspired me over the years, and I'm hoping to use what I learned there in the next few months too!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Latest Brother Special Offers

A selected range of Brother Sewing Machines are available at Craft Arena. We offer a demonstration and hands-on service to help you decide which machine is right for you, and Free training after purchase on machines over £200 to ensure you get the most from your new machine.

Contact us for more details

The offers shown are available from 1st October to 31st December 2015

Current Offers

XR27NT £189 with Free - Get to Know your Sewing Machine Book

XR 37NT £289 with Free - Get to Know your Sewing Machine Book

Innov-is 10A Reduced from £249 to £219

Plus Free - Get to Know your Sewing Machine Book

Innov-is 20 Reduced from £329 to £289 

Plus Free - Get to Know your Sewing Machine Book

Innov-is 350 SE £599 with Free Creative Quilt Kit worth £149

Innov-is 1300 £899 with Free Creative Quilt Kit worth £149

Innov-is 955 Reduced from £799 to £599

Innov-is 800E £1,299 with Free PE Design Plus

Innov-is XV £6,499 with Free PE Design 10

PR655 Free Machine stand Plus either Free Cap Frame or PE-Design 10

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Brother Specials for September

Innov-is 35

Offer valid 1st August- 30th September 2015
Brother Innov-is 35 promotion August - September 2015

Innov-is 1100

Offer valid 1st August- 30th September 2015

Brother Innov-is 1100 promotion August - September 2015

Innov-is 750E

Offer valid 1st August- 30th September 2015Brother Innov-is 750E  promotion August - September 2015

Innov-is V5

Offer valid 1st August- 30th September 2015Brother Innov-is V5  promotion August - September 2015

Friday, 31 July 2015

Lynda Monk - Wire & Form

I thought you might like to see some of the work that was carried out at the Lynda Monk workshop last weekend. I had intended to attribute all the work to the people who made it, but time restraints today mean that I can only put them up for you to see, and say thank you to Wendy, Pam, Jackie, Jenny, Yvonne, Sue, Lisa, Vicki and Janice - and of course Lynda Monk for a fabulous day. I know they all worked incredibly hard and achieved some fantastic results.


I'm looking forward to seeing the finished results displayed at our workshop exhibition next year - just giving you a gentle nudge girls!

Lynda will be back in July 2016 with another exciting workshop.


Friday, 19 June 2015

Brother Specials June and July 2015

All offers are available from 1st June to 31st July 2015


Innov-is V7

 Innov-is 2600


Innov-is 550SE

Innov-is 55


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Latest Stampington Magazines

The latest issues of Sew Somerset and Art Quilting Studios have arrived at Craft Arena. These magazines are the most popular of those that we stock, and always sell out quickly. 

In Art Quilting Studio, Joan Schulze shares her amazing mixed-media quilts in the Artist Portfolio; the Series Showcase contains the artwork of cover artist Debbie Lyddon, whose stitched fabric collages were inspired by the Norfolk Broads and the Sussex coast; Kathy M. Forzley defies dimensions by turning art quilts into 3D bowls and Debbie Feist uses 'fusion' to turn silk into paper.

Sew Somerset has Andrea Ockey Parr traveling the globe with her pieced tins; Carrie Payne uses canvas sheets with wood veneer tape and fabric embellishments, there is fabric collage with Wendy Goodbred Truax and textured collage with Erin Geagon. The featured work includes felt, ephemera, fabric and more - lots to inspire and delight!

If you would like me to put a copy of either magazine (or both!) aside for you, just contact me. I'm happy to save them for up to 10 days until you can come and collect them. (Longer if you pay for them first!)


Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Last week saw the eighth anniversary of the opening of Craft Arena at Barleylands. It sort of crept up on me so I didn't get a chance to organise a formal celebration; perhaps next year!

I thought though, that you might like to see some photographs to show how we have evolved over the years.

It was all hands to the grindstone to get things ready for the opening on 8th May 2007.

Grandaughter Emily helping to clear up using the old sink
So where is all this stuff going to go?
I knew you'd change your mind!
Getting there!
Finally finished!
The counter area; nearly ready to open
Look at all the stock!
A few months later - a few more books!
A bit more stock now
Just before we extended into Studio 55. Note the size of the gallery!
Time to extend and the gallery in Studio 55 takes shape
View from the doorway into Studio 48 after the move into Studio 55
Funny how the books seem to take over! .......
.... and the thread
The Opening Celebration
Our opening exhibition by the Nine Textile Group
The Gallery set up for our first Brother Open Day
The Material Girls first exhibition in The Gallery in 2011
So, that is Craft Arena up to the opening of our Gallery in 2010. I did document our expansion into 49 and 50 in 2013 at the time, so if you would like to see how we managed it, follow the links below: