Monday, 1 November 2010

Rag Rugs with Debbie Siniska

What a deliciously colourful way to round off the year’s textile courses! We spent the weekend under the expert tuition of Debbie Siniska making ‘Gorgeous Rag Rugs’. We chopped and snipped, prodded and poked with hooks and bodgers to fasten strips and snippets of fabric – all recycled – into lovely natural hessian to make our samplers and first experiments in this most rewarding of traditional crafts.

I have childhood memories, as I expect many of you may have, of sitting in front of the fire playing with the tufts of reworked tweeds, calicos and cottons. There was often quite a bit of grey or black flannel (former jackets, trousers and ‘costumes’ – remember them!!??) which contrasted with bright cherry reds and smokey blues.

Whilst the basic principles of these techniques are very straightforward, Debbie showed us how to master the differing ways of handling the variety of fabrics with different tools in order to achieve our designs using loops and tufts to their best advantage.

One of this year’s students Jane Anne Walton worked on a beautiful piece based on her design taken from a cranesbill. This is destined to be a seat pad. Just lovely and much admired. Jane Anne coordinates a rag rug group which meets at her house in North Norfolk monthly. Give her a ring on 01263 861369 to find out more.

Debbie will also be a guest artist on Kirsty Allsopp’s new series which begins this week, see Radio Times article etc. for more details. I’m not sure yet which programme in the series that Debbie will be showing Kirsty about rag rugs. Keep an eye open as the series should be a wonderful ‘craft’ exploration.

I’m so pleased to announce that Debbie Siniska will be returning to BAC next autumn to draw absolute beginners to this fascinating craft and to help those who have some experience to develop their designs and skills further. Look on Debbie’s website to see the lovely work she does, including commissions for restoration projects such as the ‘Bloomsbury’ rugs. Guaranteed to make you smile!

Our new 2011 course listings will soon be finalised and put on this blog, so WATCH THIS SPACE!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Skies and Sunsets in Pastel with John Patchett

Another great pastel course ably delivered by professional Norfolk based artist and experienced tutor, John Patchett. John is one of our most popular visiting tutors and this was a real cracker of a course. The title 'Skies and sunsets' brought out the very best in everyone on the course who as you can see produced some exceptional work.

There are still a few spaces on John's last weekend pastel course with us this year on OCTOBER 9/10th - 'IMPRESSIONIST PASTELS' - A great opportunity to explore the loose Impressionistic approach to pastel painting which typifies John's own beautiful work.

Contact Angela on or ring on 01692 536486

Friday, 3 September 2010

Printmaking with collagraphs.

How does the weather know when it's a Bank Holiday? I'm sorry if your activities this last weekend were dampened or even washed out. However it made not a jot of difference to our three days in the studio where a group of very enthusiastic printers ( some beginners, some more experienced ) joined Laurie Rudling to create and print Collagraphs. This year we extended the course to three days - well worthwhile. It meant that plates could be more detailed and finished and thus enhance the quality of the work.

It involves collaging ( as the name suggests ) papers, card, fine fabric or textiles, threads, sometimes with carborundum powder, onto a card plate. It is then varnished and can be further detailed by pressing or incising into the dried varnish. This method of printing gives the subject a transparency and an almost ethereal quality.
Laurie is an absolute master of this technique. Do look on his website. His work will be on show at the Norwich Print Fair which opens next week in St Margarets Church (St Benedicts Street, Norwich) and also from the following week he is taking part in the valedictory exhibition Twenty by Twenty at the King of Hearts Gallery in Fye Bridge Street, Norwich.

Next year 2011 Laurie will tutor two courses at BAC. July 30th and 31st will be two plate etching using 'safe' materials and processes. Then October 15th to 17th will be three days of collagraph printmaking. Email me at for further details. In the meantime here are some more images of last weekend to whet your appetite!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Exploring textures in watercolour, pencil, pen and ink.

A report from Angela

A lovely group of people on this course - a delight to teach and so responsive. We had a lot of fun and humour throughout. Weather was pretty attrocious but we made the best of it by nipping out for the odd hour to some lovely nearby locations and then back in the studio to work on the paintings and drawings. Mixed media is so versatile and with added collage a lot of fun too. Have a look at some examples of the students work on this course and one lady was a complete beginner. It's amazing what you can make out of a pile of old logs!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Painting Reality with William Calladine, President of the Guild of Norwich Painters

A very enthusiastic group joined William Calladine last week to set out on the adventure of ‘Painting Reality’. This five day course is the first of a three part series, making a practical in-depth study of the methods and craftsmanship of the great masters of classical European oil painting.

This year’s group, as with previous years, were astounded and in awe of William’s vast knowledge and expertise. He delights in showing them how to gesso their boards, grind pigments and add various mediums to obtain their paint. Then there’s the painting in of the underlying structure of the composition and over successive days building up the layers of paint to achieve the form and luminosity of the subject. The work produced by the students was terrific as you can see and all intend to be back for Part II next spring to further their quest.

A quote from one student summed up the feeling of the group. ‘If I’d had to go home after the first two days, it would still have been worth every penny and more.

If you would like to know more about 'Painting Reality' with William, get in touch with Angela. or 01692 536486

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Renaissance Art Experience with Andrew Fawcett

Last week we welcomed back Andrew Fawcett, a regular tutor at BAC who has a wonderful fund of knowledge and experience painting icons and frescos as well as a lesser known technique of incising on glass known as Verre E'Glomise. All these techniques were in common use from the 11th - 16th centuries in Europe and have provided the background to our present day painting methods.

Andrew’s own work is truly beautiful and he also has a terrific gift of being able to pass on these methods of working to his students.

We are delighted that he will be tutoring again for us next year so watch this space for forthcoming dates for this.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Inspired by Summer in Norfolk ; report from Angela

Sue Williams and John Shave from Sussex have recently visited us to tutor hugely popular courses inspired by the hedgerows, gardens and landscape of Norfolk.

Sue's two day flower painting workshop using acrylic inks showed our students how to branch out and explore the potential of this lovely new media and John's patient and informative landscape painting course in oils attracted some new as well as regular students. The weather was kind and many delightful small oils were achieved working in the studio and outdoors in some of the favourite haunts immortalised by Edward Seago.

Sue and John have agreed to tutor for us again in 2011.
Sue will be taking students 'Around the Farm' from July 19th - 21st and also offering a two-day workshop 'The mystery of Venice' in acrylic inks on 10/11th Sept.. So even if you may never have the opportunity to travel to Venice, you can still learn how to achieve its fascinating colours, textures and atmospheric qualities working in our studio.

John will show you how to 'Paint sunshine in UK and abroad’ on July 22/23/24th.

John and Sue will join forces for a one day workshop on Sept 12th 'Extract - Subtract and Abstract' - An introduction into Abstract painting in any medium.

Also in Sept John will be taking you to some lesser known beauty spots for painting in oils the 'Wide skies and watery landscapes' which make up the beautiful and unique Broads scenery. Dates for this are Sept 13 - 16th.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Sketch the Broads on 'Golden Sunset'

Angela's own classic Edwardian motor launch 'Golden Sunset' makes an ideal form of water borne transport for three days experiencing the delights of the Broads in summer. This was an additional course by popular demand from students and entailed three full days of sketching and cruising to some of the choice painting sites on the Northern Broads system of inland waterways which are largely inaccessible by foot or road.

We are planning a similar course for 2011 and are already taking bookings. Only 5 maximum on this unique course.
Contact Angela 01692 536486 or 01702 475361.

Sail and Paint the Broads - report from Angela

For all you active folk who love sailing and want to see the Broads from the water, we have recently had our annual cruise on 'White Moth' a beautifully restored Edwardian pleasure wherry. With eight people aboard we set off from her home berth at Horning for four glorious days afloat accommodated on board in her comfortable cabins and spacious saloon.

In June when the Broads are at their best with so much wildlife and flowers everywhere, it was a tossup as to whether we would paint and sketch or just watch the world go by, as Kim our professional skipper sailed this majestic craft.

If you would like to join our 2011 cruise on 'White Moth', then get in touch with Angela on 01692 536486 or 01702 475361. Do it soon as these cruises are always very popular and fill up quickly.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

I'm spitting feathers..........!!

Yesterday I called in at the King of Hearts Art Centre, as I usually do whenever I'm in the Magdelen Street area of Norwich. I was delighted to find a terrific exhibition by Liz McGowan and Malca Shotten, Studies of Happisburgh Shoreline. Really powerful drawings, paintings and sculpture in response to the crumbling cliffs and the resultant forms on the beach. It's not to be missed and the sort of exhibition that the King of Hearts does superbly.

Upstairs music was being played and other visitors were sitting out in the beautiful courtyard enjoying lunch from the restaurant in the sunshine.

Imagine then my horror to find that the centre is to close at the end of the year due to financial problems brought about by the current climate. I'm furious that this oasis of all that is good about the arts today is to go, and that the Arts Council won't help because it's 'too small'. No funding can be found to support it. I am tempted to think that a few bankers' bonuses should be raided, as their negligence is the main cause of this. How many other small and very worthwhile arts foundations are in similar trouble.

If you are in the area and can get to the centre and enjoy its facilities please do so. Then, if like me you feel it's a gem, get in touch with the EDP newspaper and rant a bit to see if there's anything to be done even at the eleventh hour.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Exhibition by Kathy Henderson in Cambridge

Kathy Henderson, who has joined our print workshops with Richard Bawden this year at BAC, has an exhibition opening at the Primavera Gallery, 10 King's Parade in Cambridge this weekend.
Her illustrations for her book 'The Storm' which are for sale are just beautiful, so evocative that you can feel the wind whistling around you and hear all the sounds of the approaching storm. No wonder it was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Prize. The exhibition is on till the end of August and not to be missed I feel.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Jean Littlejohn and 'Waterscapes in Creative Textiles'

We recently welcomed Jean Littlejohn back to BAC for Waterscapes in Creative Textiles. Her annual visit is always eagerly anticipated. She is such an innovative textile artist and she enthused one and all with her energy and vision.
We knitted or crocheted small pieces in a variety of yarns which were then felted into submission under the needles of the embellishing machines to make our own unique backcloths. Very satisfying! If you haven't yet met an embellishing machine, I can highly recommend it; a great innovation and addition to textile technology and simpler to use than a sewing machine.
We then worked on these cloths with a wide variety of yarns and threads to develop our designs.
Our choice of materials was greatly enhanced by the kind sponsorship of Coats UK who sent us a wonderful selection of yarns and threads to help us explore our theme. As our stitching progressed, the embellishers and felting needles came in to play to embed stitches and enhance with sheer fabrics, ribbon, tape etc.
The second project explored further the theme of water, using sheer fabrics to create a multi-layered cloth which could then be detailed with stitch and embellishment. The results were absolutely unique and stunning, and set us up with a wide diversity of avenues to pursue......can't wait.
We are so grateful to Jean for her unstinting inspiration and look forward to her next visit to BAC in 2011 at the end of September, when she will help us to take 'A Fresh Look At Flowers'.
We are already taking deposits for this course, and also for Jan Beaney's course on the theme of 'Trees' and Ewa Kuniczak's two felting courses. Get in touch with me, Kit Calladine, for further information.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The amazing things you can do in felt

Isn't it stunning what you can make out of wool fibres!
Ewa Kuniczak has once more cast her spell over the studio at Dilham and the gorgeous pieces that were made amazed one and all - lots of laughter too at some very witty results. On the Friday we were treated to a day workshop entitled 'Precious Purses and Pockets with Poetic Licence'. Ewa brought along her wonderful bag that she had made with many pockets, inspired by the nursery poem 'Winken Blinken and Nod'. I wish I could post all the purses and pockets that evolved over the day, but here are two to make you smile; Marilyn, a complete beginner to felt making with her pansy purse and Diane's pocket for her copy of 'Warning - when I am an old woman I shall wear purple'!

Light, Space and Structures, Ewa's two day course which followed meant a new departure for all of us, using very fine felt to diffuse light, both natural and artificial. We trapped fibres and natural materials between cobweb-like felt and then gently stretched it in frames created from thin twigs and stems. The sunlight streaming in through the studio windows was diffused in a magical way. Then on the second day the shades for artificial lights cast a welcoming glow quite unlike any lamps I have ever seen - mysterious but warm and friendly.
If you fancy having a go at making felt objects, think about joining Ewa at BAC next year for 'Felt Fripperies' - jewellery, corsages and fascinators, or 'Fashion Felt Accessories' including slippers, mittens and sculptoral collars.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Jan Beaney at BAC

Jan Beaney arrived recently for her annual two-day visit to the Centre. What a treat was in store for one and all! She is just an amazing tutor. Some of the class were regulars who come every year and wouldn't miss it for the world. Others have been itching to get on a course with Jan for many years.
This year she based the work around the theme of Stitched Landscapes. She lead us deftly through a design process which gave us the basis for our compositions. We then used snippets of fibres, yarns etc held between two layers of soluble fabric to build our designs. Once this was in place we could both machine and hand stitch into it, knocking it back with an embellisher if needed, before washing away the soluble fabric. Two days of gorgeous creative textiles.

As well as the photo of Jan demonstrating sorbello stitch are two of the pieces by students - work in progress.
If you'd like to know more about working with soluble fabrics, check out the series of books written by Jan and Jean Littlejohn (Double Trouble Enterprises), and don't miss their courses next year. Jan's course will be centred on the theme of 'trees' and will be 7th and 8th of September. This course is already booking!
We are also indebted to Coats Crafts UK who regularly sponsor these two courses by sending us lovely threads and yarns to experiment with. Aren't we lucky!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Sad News

Doris Sherer and her youngest great grandson

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Doris Sherer. She died suddenly at her home in Dilham last week.
Doris had helped Angela at the school right from the opening of the Centre until she 'retired' only about a year or so ago. Many of you probably met Doris for the first time at our Open Weekends, when she was often the first person you met at the door.
Visiting students enjoyed her lovely lunches and she always had time for a chat and to take a keen interest in all that was going on in the studio and out on location. She often sat for portraiture courses so I suspect some of you may have drawings and paintings of her in your folios. Whenever she could, she loved to join in the courses too. The walls of her cottage boasted several lovely pieces that she completed with Andrew Fawcett's groups, and she also enjoyed working with the textile groups.
Her funeral will take place next week. We shall miss her greatly and remember her with much affection, gratitude and smiles.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Welcome back....... our blog - sorry we've been missing for a while, but now we're back to bring you news of all the goings on at Broadland Arts Centre in the little Norfolk village of Dilham.
Our year is well underway and the last few weeks have seen a flurry of creative activity.
Richard Bawden returned for his annual three days teaching lino printing. The results were spectacular, and I wish we could show them all. Many of them will be shown in exhibitions around the country during the next few months.

Vanessa Burroughes is a regular student of Richard's. She is a wonderful printer making these large, beautiful prints by placing the paper and lino between boards and treading firmly and methodically up and down! Her work is at present on exhibition at The Gibberd Garden in Harlow, Essex. Do go along and see it if you can. To find out more go to
Richard Bawden will be back at BAC to tutor a course on Drypoint and Mezzotint at the end of October. If you'd like to know more about this or any of our courses ring me (Kit) on 01692 536778 or email