Ever since I gave up the corporate life to follow a more creative path I’ve tried to make sure that I do at least one course or workshop each year both the extend my skills and keep me motivated. To begin with these tended to be jewellery related – silversmithing, metal clay and enameling courses to bolster my technique repertoire but, now that I’ve broadened my creative pursuits I’ve been on the look out for workshops in other areas. A few months ago I began searching online for some sort of textile course to help me develop my latest passion for all things thread and fibre. There are some great colleges in my region that hold wonderful artist led courses but they do tend to be quite pricey. Then I stumbled across a series of workshops called ‘Creative Hand stitched Scapes’ run by ‘Artisan Community Art Studio’. This is a “series of NINE monthly workshops, each one concentrating on a distinctive theme (sky scapes, garden scapes, autumn scapes…) designed to encourage experimentation and the creative use of stitch but each one was also available independently at a very economical price. So I bit the bullet and booked myself onto the next available ‘skyscapes’ workshop and it turns out that I’ve found myself a real gem of a creative resource!
Artisan Community Art Studio is a Non Profit organisations run by a lovely lady called Pauline Stanley, an arts and health Practitioner, passionate about art and creativity and with extensive experience in leading art, craft and textile workshops working with a wide range of ages and disabilities. The studio is unlike anything I have come across before. From Monday to Friday Pauline and fellow tutor Nicola Bath run ‘Diverse Abilities’ art groups offering a supported art studio space where all abilities are welcomed to explore a range of art mediums and techniques in relaxed, friendly non-judgemental art sessions. Current groups include adult Aspergers, stroke and physical disability, mental health, learning disability, dementia and ME/chronic fatigue They also offer classes for children who are being home schooled and CPD (continued professional development) sessions for Art Therapists who work in the field of mental health. The studio is not funded and has created a unique sustainable working practice with strong links to the local community and care organisations.
As if that weren’t enough the studio offers affordable weekend and evening art and craft classes for all abilities in a relaxed and friendly environment…this is here I came in! Having booked myself onto that first class I had such a good time with a lovely group of people I immediately booked 2 more classes in the series. I haven’t finished any of my pieces yet but they have worked their way to the top of my project pile so I’m hoping to back to them shortly. This is the piece I’m working on from the ‘Tree scapes’ workshop – the area behind the tree trunks will be cut away to reveal a contrasting background…when I decide what that is!
Pauline works very hard to source artists and tutors to teach a diverse range of creative techniques and the studio is currently offering classes in:
Intaglio Collograph printmaking
Print pattern and stamp
Creative handstitched ‘scapes’
Needle felting textile and stitch
Needle felted Squirrel
Natural plant dyed silk scarves
Green willow satchel making
Women’s woodworking – pallet furniture
Beginners stone carving
Abstract painting and mixed media
Chinese folded secrets book
Felted Christmas decorations
Collograph christmas cards
Apart from the ‘Scapes’ courses I’ve also signed up for some other textile and printmaking sessions and the Chinese folded secrets book making class which looks fascinating but there are many other classes I would happily do if I had more time and money. I really am spoilt for choice so you can see why I think the studio is such a great place. I’m also very excited because in August I will be joining the ranks of tutors at the studio when I will be running a workshop to make beads and button bracelets like these…
Artisan Community Art Studio has recently relocated to new premises as part of the Branksome Recreation Centre so, if like me you’re fortunate enough to live in Dorset, UK and are interested in finding out more you might be interested in a couple of open days that are coming up:
Thursday 15th June 12-1.30pm ~ official opening for support agencies, care workers etc. Free Refreshments! Please visit to find out more about what’s on offer for people who have had a stroke, have a learning disability, a mental health condition, Aspergers/Autism, Dementia or Chronic Fatigue.
Sunday 18th June 1am-3pm Grand Open Day with Bouncy Castle, stalls, free family drop in art and craft workshops etc. Everyone welcome. Please come and visit us in our wonderful new studio.
Artisan Community Art Studio
Branksome Centre (Previously Parkstone Arts & Sports Centre)
Recreation Road 9 (Off Alder Rd)
Branksome, BH12 2EA
You can also find out more about the studio and book courses trough their website.
If you don’t live near enough to take advantage of this great little community treasure, well I’m very sorry about that but I would thoroughly recommend searching out arts facilities in your own community. This has certainly been a great find for me and I bet there are lots of similar projects out there. Please feel free to leave a comments below if you know of something you’d like to share.