Monday, 20 December 2010
However the amount of snow that fell on Friday pm and Saturday am has caused lots of problems and was completely unexpected. It's nigh on impossible to access Eccles Farm as the drive and car park are under a foot of snow and the entrance from the lane is treacherous.
Not sure, as yet, if we'll be able to open as we'd planned to this week - to be honest its not looking too likely, unless an completely unforcast thaw takes place. Fingers crossed for a little raise in the outside temperature!! Please do understand and bear with us if none of us manage to access the office this week, won't you..........we'll do our very best, but nothing is worth risking life and limb.
Have a very happy Christmas and a great New Year
Friday, 10 December 2010
Thursday, 9 December 2010
We're just starting to rough in the dates and compile into a downloadable pdf which will eventually be available from our site. Hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks.............
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Anyhow the upshot is that rather than tell you about all the modules we’ve been re-writing or altering this week, or how hard we’ve worked at assessing student work, we though the best thing may be to post our all time favourite funny clips from Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre. Really hope they give you a bit of a chuckle during all the miserable weather. Anyone who has every travelled with Ryanair will love the first one and the second one is just funny…………..
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
I've just treated myself to a pair of anti-slip grips for putting over shoes - maybe this could be the week to road test them..........
As far as what's on at the moment locally, I found this for the Manchester area:
The Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall, Wilmslow Road, Manchester M14 5LL
Telling Fortunes: New work by Alice Kettle
Until 24 December 2010: Wed - Sat 1.30 - 4.30. Details 0161 245 7245
Thursday, 25 November 2010
A busy week spent mainly on the phones, collecting data from study participants in our Research Study. Great talking to everyone and finding our where they’re up to – I’ll very much look forward to seeing the work come in after Christmas and actually seeing some of the finished samples and designs.
SST is usually pretty quiet in the respect of new enrolments in the run up to Christmas, but busy in January when all the presents are unwrapped and the turkey is eaten. It tends to get dark, cold and frankly rather boring so lots of people turn to some textile work and consider enrolling in a course or even two!!
Having said that we’re still receiving lots of work for assessment – I guess some of your are trying to clear your decks before all the Christmas stuff intrudes? We’re not complaining, though – October was our busiest month ever with more enrolments that we’ve ever taken previously, and the downtime gives us chance to work on new projects………………our level 2 delivery is now well underway with Marj taking some wonderful photos on her new camera for the modules.
Thursday, 18 November 2010
We've been toying with the idea of awarding a bursary each year which will completely pay for either a certificate or diploma student to complete their studies with us and had thought of running a competition of some sort to award it. Whatever the competition or challenge for this was it could become one of the events for the year.
Other ideas were to include an open day at the same time as the annual exhibition for this who were near the centre to visit and view at the same time as speaking with the tutors and we'd also like to include at least one of the events for a charitable cause..............mmmm. Lots to think about! If you have any unusual/innovative ideas, then please do drop me a line. I'd love to get your input
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Yesterday and today have been mainly spent working on a new pdf brochure to send out via email to prospective students enquiring about courses.The theory goes that it would also be good to get the same brochure done in hard copy for those who prefer their details posted, so this requires a specialist print package to assemble it.
Should be a really interesting little project – I usually love doing stuff like that - BUT this time we’re doing a little light experiential learning (or should that be fighting with!!?) by using a new package called Adobe InDesign (part of the CS5 suite) to assemble it. I’m sure it will be very useful in 10 years time or so, when we’ve worked out what all the buttons and switches do, but just now its looking kinda overwhelming.
Maybe enough today and a fresh start tomorrow!!
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Just realised that its nearly over and I still haven’t managed to see it!
If any of you have a little time on your hands and want to visit a beautiful part of the country, then why not go along and stop off at Kirby Lonsdale for a look around the square (lots of gorgeous galleries) and some lunch.
Farfield Mill, Garsdale Rd, Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5LW
Stitched textiles by Alice Kettle
Until 14 November 2010 : 10.30 - 5 daily. Details from 015396 21958 www.farfieldmill.org.
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
We’ve been waiting for Bob (yes – I know Bob the Builder!) to replace a rotten doorframe for some time and he unexpectedly phoned Friday to say he would do it straight away, throwing us into total confusion!
Well it’s all done now – he completed at 12ish today, but after putting the office back together we’ve decided we can’t stand the varnish smell much longer and are having an ‘early bath’ today until it has all dried out and the fumes have dissipated a bit. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow morning!
Thursday, 28 October 2010
A really interesting week speaking to our 23 research group students…………….all just starting certificate in embroidery and with half supporting each other via a closed Facebook site as well as collaborating on some parts of their course research.
I’ve been phoning everyone to check that they have all received their course materials and don’t have any problems before they commence. This has actually been a really nice job (although the prospect of sitting down with the Skype headphones on and making 23 calls didn’t really appeal at the time!) as its been great to hear about their plans, concerns and aspirations and in general find out more about them. Really nice to put a voice to the name and hopefully has been good for them too, in that they can do the same…………
Thursday, 21 October 2010
It’s been a hive of activity at Eccles Farm this week – all our outside woodwork has been painted ready for the onset of winter, along with the conifers and shrubs being trimmed back, borders being tidied and re-planted with heathers, ivy and shrubs. Paths pressure washed and looking super clean. Outside windows cleaned. Boiler serviced. Next in line are the main automatic gates – they’re getting their annual spruce up and re-paint on Monday. I’m guessing that its a bit like hibernation – a feeling of urgency to get everything done before the bad weather draws in and it becomes impossible to venture out and do anything useful because of the weather and the lack of daylight hours. Whatever the reasoning, it’s certainly brightened up the place for all the attending students and staff alike.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Went to Bents Garden Centre a couple of days ago. If ever anything could get you in the mood for Christmas, Bents can. I think they’ve been voted the best garden centre for a couple of years now – I’ll post their addy for you to take a look if you wish.
Forests of trees, tonnes of decorations, table dressings, lights etc……….somehow it seemed to really match the autumn nip that’s now in the air. I also have to say, that it’s a paradise for innovative embroiderers or patchworkers as well. Some of the foils, beads and decorations convert wonderfully well for inclusion into all forms of textiles. It’s also the time of the year where excess just seems right, bright colours can be used in abundance and no-one seems to mind…….
Monday, 18 October 2010
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
The gossip grapevine has just told me that we are to get a re-hab facility for soldiers returning from Iraq/Afghanistan in the area.
Marj and I know that there is quite a tradition of soldiers undertaking needlework in order to combat stress/boredom and generally pass the time away, so we were thinking of offering our services for a day each moth to teach some simple stitches and techniques to them. I gather the printed tapestry canvases are very popular and pretty easy for beginners. Wonder who we’d apply to in order to find out more? Anyone any ideas?
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
I can’t believe how summer seems to have slipped away this week – there’s a real autumn smell and feel in the air now. The nights seem to have really shortened and its dark around 8pm. Also I’ve caught a cold – my first of the season – this week, so it does really feel as though winter is here already as I balance my laptop and juggle with feedback and tissues at the same time!
An invitation to organise a course in Portugal dropped into my inbox last night - I guess that’s particularly appealing at the moment, with the thought of some nice weather, but I guess it wouldn’t be so appealing when trying to squash samples, clothes etc onto a Ryanair flight to Faro……..but we’ll see.
Friday, 10 September 2010
Mmmm – been thinking about bringing in a lower course level in some subjects . The new suite of courses by C&G give an interesting range of subjects and allow us to mix subjects as well, which may make for an interesting delivery. If you’d like to check them out details are online at City & Guilds’ own site – addy is http://www.cityandguilds.com/50469.html?s=2
The units available are as follows at level 2.
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Steve is still working on it today so it should be 100% completed by tomorrow. Lots of niggly little things which have taken quite a while in the end to alter or tweak!!
You don’t need to do anything special to find it, it will simply load instead of the old homepage when you logon. http://www.sofst.org/
Friday, 3 September 2010
Steve, our web designer, has been in touch today to say that he will be putting our new look site live some time over the weekend, or at the latest Monday.
The new machine embroidery city and guilds courses will be available on it, as will the new advanced practitioner masters courses in both embroidery and patchwork and quilting. When we've checked everything over to make sure it's all working correctly we would drop everyone a line, so that they can check it out too.
Exciting, isn't it?!
Well, hope you all have a really great weekend - the weather here in the UK has been great over the last couple of days and is forecast to last over the weekend, fingers crossed. I'm meeting friends for lunch tomorrow and then taking my mum out to lunch on Sunday, as it's her birthday.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Goodness – it seems only a week or two ago that we had such high hopes for summer. I realised that in my excitement about the machine embroidery courses yesterday, I diudn’#t mention the bank holiday weekend at all. I’ll put that right now!
Saturday – shopping to Southport for food and a cardigan. Then stopped off at the Farm for lunch. If you’re in the area, its really homely and nice. I’ll put a link below. Great home-made cake (or so I’m assured by others!!!). Also they have 3 or 4 really nice rooms for B&B – flat screen tvs and nice, modern bathrooms. Walk in the afternoon sunshine. Sunday – donned our waterproofs and walked around Rufford early – got home soaked. Cleared out my sewing room – yessssssssssss. Now have no excuses for not getting on. Monday: beautiful day – wall to wall sunshine. Walked Mawdsley and it seemed such a shame not to spend more time out, walked Rufford as well – around 4 miles in total.Completed some outstanding accounts for the accountant and then early night. I really enjoyed the stay at home weekend and felt renewed for this week – long may it last!
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
We have often been asked if we’d do machine embroidery at C&G diploma and certificate level and have resisted, maintaining that it should be possible to bias the existing courses towards a machine embroidered delivery if that’s a student’s area of interest.
After realising that this was causing some disappointment because there are very few, if any, other places now delivering these qualifications,(and none that we know of by distance learning) we’ve decided to make them available. We are just completing the modules and they will both be open to enrolments on our site from towards the end of next week………..it’ll be interesting to see how much interest they attract now that they’re finally available.
Friday, 27 August 2010
Yeah……….a whole three days off after today! Now I’m one of the lucky people who generally really enjoy their job, but every now and then a little feet up time is very welcome. What is everyone else up to over the long weekend?
Off at a tangent, I have a new toy today – ordered myself a lap desk from amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lap-Tray-Table-Flexi-Light/dp/B001G3TIO4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=kitchen&qid=1282835489&sr=8-3
I can’t believe how handy it is for the price (around £6.50). I use it for the keyboard when typing, so I can move around more and not give myself back ache through bending over the keyboard. I’m not sure what use it would be for crafts, as the light is a little too dim for close work, but the keyboard fits really well on it, whereas with ordinary lap trays it catches the raised edges – problem solved. It even has a well for keeping cans or beakers in (although I think that could be an invitation to a soaked keyboard party!)
Thursday, 26 August 2010
We’ve put together a quick video on YouTube to let those who can’t attend have a flavour of what's there. Apologies if we haven’t done them full justice. Still getting used to this new camcorder + the editing suite!
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
I know its irritating to listen to someone complaining about how busy they are – but wow, its been a frantic week and its only Tuesday! I want to know what happened to the traditionally ‘quiet’ time during the summer when we unfailingly had chance to update modules, work on new projects and generally catch up? Maybe this is the result of all the staycations in the uK this year?
Two working full time just typing up feedback. Strangely this week there have been 4 new students all of whom have opted for the postal option – now that’s quite unusual now. Most of the new enrolments tend to request an online delivery. However we have dutifully fired up the printers and a huge pile of ‘to posts’ is now waiting in the lobby……..if the weather wasn’t so awful that would be my excuse for an outing to the local post office, but with alternating torrential downpours and sunshine I think I may just leave it for a little while longer!!!
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Friday, 20 August 2010
I was really shocked to discover today that the Classic Stitches magazine has gone out of business. What a shame. ………I’m noticing more and more that magazines (or books for that matter) based around wider embroidery techniques (meaning not just cross stitch) are becoming harder and harder to find.
Don’t get me wrong – ideas books are great and I love some of the Sandra Meech and Jan Beaney inspirational ones, but at some point you just want to know exactly how to DO something and the sort of books that give general instruction across a range of techniques now seem quite rare. Search Press tell me that the one we used for the embroidery course, The Encyclopaedia of Embroidery Techniques by Pauline Brown, aren’t good sellers – they sold less than 200 a year worldwide, which is quite a thought really (especially as SST must have bought most of those!!). Still got my eye out for something similar – if you know of anything do let me know……….
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Before anything gets ‘rendered’ into textiles I so need to clear out my sewing room. It’s a total tip at the moment . Push anything on one end and something drops off another. There are also two sacks of ‘stuff’ waiting to be transported to the charity shop and a large Swiss ball which is taking up a considerable amount of floor space.
Must get on with it – I must, I must………………………..
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
We’ve been thinking whilst compiling this masters course that it would be a really nice idea to award one each year to a student who wished to carry on with their studies – not quite sure how we’d do this yet. Anybody have any ideas?
It’s going really well, but as with all these things, progress tends to be slow at first. However it is coming along nicely, so a few more sessions like yesterday and we should be ready to rumble!
Today is back to ‘business as usual’ with lots of sets of feedback for existing students. We’re never short of things to do here at SST!
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Just started to work on the new masters course delivery – really exciting!
We’re compiling 3 modules with different themes – something along the lines of Poetry in Motion for the first, Highways and Byways for the second and Memories are made of this for the third. The titles may change if we think of something catchier, but meanwhile this is what we’re working with.
Each module will end with a completed piece – lets face it, once someone has completed either a certificate or a diploma or both, they have probably had enough of just sampling for a while, not to mention colour theory or line drawing……………….just guessing here!!
Mmmm – love days like this when there’s chance to do some really ‘blue sky’ thinking.
Monday, 16 August 2010
I really don’t know where the summer has gone to (what summer!!?).
I’ve been emailing and speaking to onsite tutors today who will be starting back in a couple of weeks time about course sequencing, delivery, content etc ………………every year we review how the C&G delivery went last year and if there is any way we can improve this year. It’s never been known for some form of alteration not to be made. I guess that’s all part of trying to do the best for our students.
This year we’re thinking of pushing harder and longer on the Research for Design for the diploma students – we find this front ended approach seems to benefit most. Poor lambs – they don’t know what they’re in for!!! I’ve just been compiling lists for the first couple of sessions which include wallpaper lining paper and twigs…………….!!
Thursday, 12 August 2010
I found some lovely photos last night from my trip to New Zealand last year – they’re of a fish sculpture/carving in local wood. Amazing thing – at least 10 feet tall and so textural with a really ‘immediate’ feeling about them, as though the artist got up that morning and just went to work on them without hesitating about the design, method, finish etc. I was so impressed with them at the time and felt I could translate some aspects of them into textiles.
Time to come up with some further ideas/sketches, I think…………………
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Well I’ve spent an interesting morning looking at new needlework books, as one of the ones we use for our certificate courses has just been removed from print. There;s one just ready for publishing by Dorling Kindersley caught my eye – unfortunately its not available until 1st September, but I’ve placed my order at Amazon! Trouble is it has no Search facility on it, but I’ve contacted DK to ask if I could see a rush………..maybe they’ll take pity on me!
Do you remember the days when we all went to book shops to look through the stock? In some ways very limiting, as the choice wasn’t always there, but ooohh – wasn’t it nice to feel the book in your hands, see every page, smell the new print……….I’m getting all nostalgic now!
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
OK – the morning of truth. Not the moment, cos it will take us longer than a moment to figure out how everything works after Steve’s new installation at the weekend. Monday I was on my own in the office, so there was no need to investigate the new equipment, but today the rest of the ‘team’ are in and there will be no hiding place.
What’s the password for this – can’t access the server…….you all know the tune, so feel free to hum along now…………..
Monday, 9 August 2010
OK – now for a moan. I’ll get it out of the way quickly, I promised!
I’m grouchy cos I’ve had very little sleep this weekend – the next door neighbours have gone to their villa in Spain(!) again – which is great news as it SHOULD be really quiet for once. Bad news is they have left their teenage daughter + boyfriend/s behind who seems to have burglar alarm fixations(soooo glad I’m not that age anymore – horrible!). which we’ve kinda become accustomed to (well after at least 20 times over the last 10 days, you do, don’t you?!!). Now, day time is irritating, but late at night and 3am on Sunday morning just isn’t funny, especially when it carries on going off for 20 mins, then goes off them comes back on 30 mins later and the cycle is repeated and repeated. What is it that is so intellectually challenging about JUST NOT SETTING IT WHEN YOU KNOW IT’S FAULTY???
Right moaning over and regular service resumed………the morning ahead is to do with post, email and master plans (that’s for new Master Class courses, not world domination, although now I come to think about it……….!)
Also I have to put my thinking cap on over the new homepage and work out enty and landing pages. Does anyone reading this notice that there is very little in that schedule to do with actual hands-on textiles?
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Steve, our tech support has been here all afternoon, setting up a new computer for our new colleague, Marj. It’s much needed – we’re getting fed up of sharing – but of course it means someone has to be here with Steve whilst it all happens. Sunday tends to be the day of choice for any office alterations so that business can carry on as usual during the week.
This means that I’m here, making drinks, supplying kitkats, finding discs, locating plugs, sockets, cables etc etc. Sooooo glad the sun hasn’t been out today……………….
Saturday, 7 August 2010
The new designs for the site have just come in from our web designer, Steve.
We all really like them, but now the thought has to go into how the new homepage will link to the rest of the site and how it will affect the navigation. I feel a weekend of checking and testing coming on!
There will also be a new look to the gallery and news parts of the site, with areas for photos and also for videos, which is new. It’ll be lovely to see them up and running shortly…………..
Friday, 6 August 2010
Well another busy day – I have promised myself that I’ll get up to date with all the socail networking stuff and have redesigned this blog, posted on facebook and twitter – phew!
Chatted to Helen from a new magazine called CLOTH – she sent me a copy in the post last week and I wasn’t too impressed with the less than glossy exterior, until I read a little futher and realised that its actually printed on recycled paper with vegetable dyes. It also has lots of young and trendy ideas in it and a sort of picture progression on quite a few techniques. Only published quarterley and kept by a few retailers and not available in the large chains such as WH Smith. You can catch them online if you want to have a look at cloth magazine
Now I REALLY need to get on with this PhD writing up – today was the D day (deadline day) self-imposed, but I still don’t like to miss it……………my bottom is starting to take on the shape of this chair!!