It’s a really busy, exciting time at Paula Armstrong Ceramics at the moment as I am finally the proud joint owner with my fabulous sister (who runs a great dance school!) of my new studio in Fenstanton, Cambs, UK! I am now working with the builders to make it into my dream studio space perfect for making and teaching.
My current studio has been great and there’s lots I will miss like the fabulous natural light but I feel like the business has outgrown it 😀 (which is something I’m still amazed that I can say!). The new studio will have a sink in the studio with a clay trap, a toilet inside the studio, a separate room for the kilns and drying shelves and more than enough electricity to fire all of my kilns – all things my current space doesn’t have.
As well as dealing with the studio move I’m exhibiting at Art Unequalled at the Maltings in Ely on 1st & 2nd June then at Wymondham Arts Centre as part of the Garden inspired exhibition 11th – 23rd June while still teaching classes and running workshops, so I apologise if I seem a bit distracted at the moment, I’m working on keeping better organised….
I’m living my dream and am so grateful to everyone who has made it possible – my Mum and sister for always believing and backing me, my wonderful family for supporting me and putting up with the odd hours and gallivanting for exhibitions, my amazing students who couldn’t be nicer or more supportive and many others that I’ve met along this journey… you have all inspired me (and continue to inspire me) and made this all possible, so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart <3
It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post and things have been super busy. I’ve been teaching classes at my studio, as well as classes for Cambourne Village College and the Wellcome Trust social club; working with schools on mural commissions and curriculum inspired workshops where the children get to follow the process of clay from malleable beginning to the beautifully glossy, glazed finished piece; making a few small commission pieces; and making some of my own work.
You notice how making my own work is at the end of the list…well for 2017 my goal is to move it up the list a bit and to get my work back out into galleries and shows around the UK, and further afield if the opportunity arises. I’m going to set time aside to develop my current work and turn some of the ideas swimming around in head into test pieces to build and develop new pieces. I have so many ideas about hidden beauty, layering up and using lights more… I’m super excited to get started so I’m going to have to work super hard to make sure I don’t get caught up in the day to day work too much (two school murals, a beautiful greyhound commission and 7 classes a week starting January…). I do have two lovely studio assistants who have started helping me out so I should be able to find some time with their help 🙂 Look out 2017, here I come!
Here is my first e-newsletter with details of lots of up-coming events and classes for Paula Armstrong Ceramics. If you’d like to be added to the subscribers list just let me know 🙂
Dates for classes, Saturday workshops and special events along with project news for the summer term.
** Welcome to the first e-newsletter from Paula Armstrong Ceramics.
The aim of the newsletters are to keep you informed of everything going on at the studio from term dates fro regular classes to details of Saturday and guest workshops and special project updates. There will be one main e-newsletter per term with the occasional news bulletins when something fantastic happens!
For this first newsletter I’ve included everyone who has given me their email since opening the studio in October 2014 so I hope you all enjoy it. However, if you do not wish to receive any future newsletters please let me know and I will remove you from the list, or click the Mailchimp remove subscription button at the end of this message.
Dates for your diary:
* Clay Play day – 31st March
* Start of next term’s regular classes – week beginning the 18th April
* Saturday workshops – 16th April, 21st May and 11th June
* Fused glass workshop – 7th May
* Open Studios – 9th & 10th, 23rd & 24th July
The course costs £130 including all materials and firing. Current students have priority but there remains spaces on each course although they are booking fast. To confirm your place please get in touch for the best way to make payment. I look forward to seeing everyone after a lovely Easter.
There is a series of monthly Saturday workshops for anyone who would enjoy a day of working with clay. They run 10am – 3pm with a 2 hour glazing session 2 or 3 weeks later to finish the pieces made during the workshop.
Each has a theme and the next one on 16th April is Dragons in honour of St George’s Day. After that the themes are 21st May – the Sea and 11th June – Animals.
The cost per person is £75 including materials and firing.
Clay Play Day
Thursday 31st March 10am – 12pm & 2-4pm
A workshop for all ages to have some fun with clay at the affordable price of £20 each. Great for individuals, families or groups just get in touch to book your place.
Crafty Clay Parties
A fabulous fun activity for parties. A chance for all your guests to make their own piece of ceramic which will then be fired and finished ready for everyone collection 2/3 weeks after the party. The activity can be inspired by your party theme. Suitable for all ages and abilities, parties cost £150 for up to 12 participants which includes materials and firing. Parties can be at the studio, your home or other suitable venue. Just get in touch for more information.
This is a fabulous afternoon offering the chance to make your own fused glass tile and pendant. You will learn how to cut glass, about the properties of glass for fusing and what you need to consider when creating a piece.
The cost is £35 including materials and firing. This workshop is limited to a maximum of 8 people so booking early is advised!
The Over Primary School commission is well under way now with all the in school workshops complete. Every child in school should have had the opportunity to make at least one piece for the tile mural. Now it’s down to getting everything fired and glazed as well as making the remaining tiles. The aim is to have the piece installed before the school breaks for summer holidays.
Open from 11am – 6pm each day many studios and galleries will be opening their doors each weekend in July for visitors to have a look at what they do, how and where fabulous work is created. For more information about the event and who will be opening their doors please visit their website at http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk
As we’re heading into the longer days and warmer months Paula Armstrong Ceramics and Crafty Parties will be attending more events, from community fetes to craft fairs and more. Come and say hi if you’re at any of the following in the next few months 🙂
* Mind, Body and Spirit Fayre, 2nd April at Over Community Centre https://www.facebook.com/events/1698843213686167/
* St George’s Day event, 23rd April at Longstanton recreation ground
* Spring Fling, 30th April at Hatton Primary School, Longstanton
* WSA Summer Fete, 21st June at Willingham Primary School
* Swavesey Festival, 25th June on the village green
* Over Carnival, 16th July on the village green
I’ve opened my first Etsy shop to sell my smaller pieces that can be posted, from cute dogs,cats and owls to ceramic jewellery and trinket boxes. Please have a look if you’re looking for something unique as a gift.
Wishing you a lovely Easter break. I look forward to seeing you again soon 🙂
A very short blog but one that comes from the heart.
I love being busy and I love having lots of different things to be working on but this past week I have begun to understand that I’m losing myself in the busy. My to do list is getting longer and longer, especially with Christmas coming up and I have made a couple of mistakes that, with some clear thinking time I might have avoided, maybe… I am living my dream but reality is trying to invade from all sides and my time to make work for myself has become severely limited by the call on my time from other business tasks that must be completed. While I actually also enjoy most of these tasks, I have realised I have the balance wrong.
Work-Life balance is well known, and part of the reason I chose to follow this path, but I have come to realise I need balance within my work as well. I have a terrible habit of trying to fit more in than I realistically can (I’ve always been one to want everything!) but I have finally realised it’s not only bad for me but also bad for my art and business.
So my advice to myself, and anyone else who wishes to take it, is to pick what you want to do carefully and don’t get taken on too many tangents (whilst also being open to opportunities that arise). Plan and review the plan regularly. When you accept something new you need to consider what you will no longer do as a result and accept that, be it temporary or permanent and, most of all ‘breathe and relax’!
Wow! I’ve been super busy lately, so sorry for not getting back to my blog sooner. It has made me realise that my restless creative soul thrives on the variety of creative activities I work in. I’ve been making new work ready for exhibition during Cambridge Open Studios (always great to have a reason to prioritise making new work), making a commission and designing a mural for a possible school commission, teaching my regular classes, hosted lots of crafty parties in both clay and crafts as well as lots of face painting events…and I’m looking to do some training in henna painting too! I’m exhausted but happy 🙂 I can’t imagine having a job where I did the same thing all the time. For me that just wouldn’t work, although I know it’s perfect for others.
I think it’s technically called a portfolio career where you work across a range of skills (making, teaching, event organising and face painting). I know most of my creative friends tend to make/sell their work and do at least one other job. I think the principle driving force for this variety in most cases is finances although I’m sure most also enjoy the variety the same as me. Having said this, I have a small niggling little voice that pops up now and again which says “don’t you want to be expert in something, just that one thing that everyone recognises you for?” I believe I am good at lots of things and certainly am a confident ceramicist but am I expert? Do I need to be? Or is it just recognition I’m seeking, some official someone to say “This is great!”? I’m still pondering this but at the moment I am too busy to find the time to give it any more serious thought and enjoying being ‘good’ too much to worry 🙂
I’m loving the fact that in my little business I’ve been able to incorporate so much of what I love to do. All that and fit it around having time to spend with my lively, lovable little girl. Here’s to a fabulous future of creative fun and business!