Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A workshop update

This is a quick little update on the upcoming workshops at Workaid Chesham and St Joseph's Boxmoor. 
I'm sorry it has taken me so long to publicise these. I have been working on all kinds of  new things and will have some exciting news to reveal soon.

Firstly the Workaid Workshops for 2017 and 2018. There are photos of these workshops further down on this blog.

13th and 14th October 2017

Altered Books

10am -3.30

A 2 day workshop on making Altered Books.


25th November 2017

Fabric Books

10am -3.30

A 1 day workshop on painted and embroidered

 fabric books


27thJanuary 2018

The Art of Whimsical Illustration

10am -3.30

A 1 day workshop on drawing, colouring and

 layering illustrations


24th February 2018

A Mixed Media Canvas

10am -3.30

A 1 day workshop using a variety of specialist

 materials and mixed

 media techniques to make a textured and layered canvas picture.


24th March 2018

Folk Art Embroidered Hearts


A 1 day workshop of Folk Art inspired hand

 embroidery on vintage  wool blankets using

 vintage found objects


28th April 2018

Scrap Stitching and Embroidery

10am -3.30

A 1 day workshop using precious scraps of silk

 and vintage fabrics  with hand embroidery and

 found objects.


30th June 2018

A Folk Art Painted Chair


A one day workshop using hand painting and

 stencilling to 

decorate a small wooden chair. You will need to

 supply a chair or I  may be able to source a small 

 Ercol school chair  for you at an extra cost.


Workaid, 71 Townsend Road, Chesham, Bucks,

 HP5 2AA

The Boxmoor Art Journalling Workshops are at St

Joseph's Hall,

 Horsecroft Road, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1NR

A very short 5 minute walk from Hemel 

Hempstead Station on the line from Euston.

Each 3 hour workshop will build on the skills 

learned previously to 

make up a very varied and comprehensive mixed

media course.

The sessions will be relaxed and fun and the

 techniques will be simple to achieve.

You will be amazed at the beautiful pages you will

 make. You will need to bring an A5 or small 

6"x6"square journal to  use.

I can provide one for £4 if you let me know in


Session times may vary so please check the times

of each workshop.

£35 per session.

21st October 2017

12pm -3pm

Starting right at the beginning of this course on

Art Journalling, 

we will learn how to apply paint and decorate the

surface of our pages using stencils. 

We will be painting the pages for using at the next

session to make 'Waterfall Pages'

18th November 2017

2pm- 5pm

At this session we will be using the pages we

decorated at the last session to make 

'Waterfall Pages' We will learn to

use punches to enhance our pages and embellish

 them with drawing techniques.

9th December 2017


At this session we will explore the use of die

cutting, layering and painting to make a textured


Saturday, 2 September 2017

New Workshops at Workaid

I am starting to book dates for the new workshops for 2017 and 2018. There will be a whole new Art Journalling Club which will build into a comprehensive mixed media course. 
I will also be teaching Art Journalling for adults, for families and in schools.
On January 27th I will also be holding a workshop on Whimsical Illustration.
We will be making hand drawn illustrations and manipulating them to make exciting multi page art.

Also coming this academic year:
Lots more mixed media, hand stitch, book making, handmade felt and folk art and embroidery on vintage textiles.
Keep watching because I'd love you to join us.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Folk Art Swallow at the Festival of Quilts

In a couple of days the wonderful Festival of Quilts will open at the NEC in Birmingham.

It truly is a festival of creativity, not only for quilters but for visitors from around the world who love textiles of all kinds.

Next Sunday I will be teaching one of the 3 hour workshops using the most beautiful materials. A joy to stitch with.

We will be making an applique Folk Art inspired Swallow picture using Donegal Wool Tweed by Fabric Affair and Embroidering it with WonderFil Ellana wool threads.

I am so looking forward to the show and even more looking forward to teaching this lovely workshop.

I hope to see you there

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Folk Art Sailor Pincushions

July's workshop is coming up very soon and I thought you might like to see what we will be making.

This is an antique Sailor's sweetheart pincushion from the V&A museum collection.

Sailors made them on the long journeys at sea for their sweethearts back home. Often they were made with beautiful embroidery, motifs which reminded them of the subjects closest to their hearts, patriotic or religious themes.

They featured pins which were pushed into the cushions in decorative patterns. They are heirlooms and social history and things of wonderous beauty!

We will be using these as our inspiration to make an heirloom of our own. We will use embroidery, needle felting, beading and found objects to make an exquisite picture. 

If you fancy joining us for the day on the 8th July 2017, in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, there are a couple of spaces still available. The cost is £65 and includes all materials. Leave a comment and contact me through my website: www.paulawatkins.co.uk

Birthday Shoes!

Sometimes when the big things are making us sad, the little things can make us so happy!

Like new Birthday shoes from people who love us! I think I will be happy every time I wear them.

Monday, 15 May 2017

A House of Secrets, waiting to be told...

There are some days in our lives that start in a very ordinary way and end with an experience which you know you will never forget.

Today was one of those days...

I was invited by my friend Jo to visit Di, her friend, and to see her house. She told me that Di has an amazing story to tell and a very unusual secret to show me.

Di is nearing her 70th birthday and lives alone in an ordinary council house in a part of town with lots of similar looking houses but as I stepped through the door, what I saw was certainly not like any other house I've seen! Every wall and every ceiling was decorated with paintings.

The paintings blend over the walls and ceilings seamlessly and are full of colour and detail.

These oil paintings have been many years in the making. The paint has mostly been applied with her fingers. Many of the scenes have been painted over and altered as the years have passed and will continue to be added to as time goes by.

Hardly anyone has seen them. They have remained her secret life's work and her solace. But now she would like to share them and to have her life story told.

The scenes are of subjects that give her comfort; Faith, Nature, Birds and Animals. All are done freehand and from memory. The more I looked, the more details I saw; the shadows on the horses bodies, the way the sun shines through the trees, the tiny animals and birds in the distance.

Di's life story is even more astonishing than her paintings. I only know very little. 

But she has a story to tell the world. Hopefully a world which is more enlightened than the one she has experienced almost since the day she was born. A story of tragedy but perhaps with its own kind of peace now.

And yet her spirit shines out through her lovely paintings. A peaceful world which she has created for herself at last, in her home, where she feels safe and can be her true self.

Jo is going to document Di's story and her artwork through photographs and try to make the world aware of this talented lady. I am going to help if I can.

Thank you for sharing a little bit with me. I know I will be thinking about it all for a very long time.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Calling All Superheroes!

Just recently I was asked to run a very special set of 2 workshops as one of the range of Family Learning courses that I often teach. This one was going to be especially for Dads and their children.


For many reasons, Dads can be very difficult to reach when we recruit for Family Learning.

They may find it difficult to take time off work, be less confident in taking part in this kind of activity or think they will be the only Dad present in a female dominated environment. There can also be more complex
social situations which make them hard to reach but for all of these reasons, Family Learning workshops for Dads are a bit of a special occasion.

The Dads arrived with their wonderful children, boys mostly but also one girl. The ages of the children ranged from 3 to 12. We could see their excitement at having their Dad to themselves for a whole day. It was evident how important Dads are to their children and how special this day was going to be.

One little boy had his 5th Birthday that day. Such a cool way to spend a special occasion.

Their task for the day was to make a Family Crest. I had large Shields cut from MDF and the Dads and Children had to design a Crest with their Superhero Family Values. We discussed what values were most important to us. LOVE being the centre of everything we do as a family and how it made us care for one another through good times and bad. I was so impressed and almost tearful at some of the responses from such young children, showing an understanding of bravery, support, courage, truth and love. 

There was no talk during the day about Superheroes fighting or killing their enemies. There was an extraordinary feeling about the strengths of humans to overcome!

It is summed up in this brilliant design by Martin and his little son Daniel. Martin's knowledge of Superheroes was supreme in that room. We all bowed to his superior knowledge of all things Super!

He knew that the HULK stood for strength, SUPERMAN for the Truth, SPIDERMAN for Responsibility and BATMAN for Bravery. I LOVED this! We all did. It made us look at those comic books stories in a different way altogether.

This is his Shield finished. Fabulous! isn't it!

Here are the others, close up, so you can see the details. 

Aren't they just amazing!

The workshop was 5 hours long. They all worked so hard and concentrated so well on fairly advanced mixed media techniques. They shared,encouraged and praised one another. A room full of Superheroes! Big and small. I'm so proud of them.

PS. The Birthday boy Alex had cake! His Mum, Tracey, had a day to herself. This is what she said when she got home:

'My 3 had a fantastic day and the birthday boy said he had the best day ever. Precious memories from my boys. Thank you so much for making the day so memorable.'

For myself and Tina, my fantastic assistant, the day will be memorable too for so many great reasons. We can't wait to have them all back again this week to make Superhero costumes and a Shoebox Cityscape Diorama. They are going to design a superhero to fly across the city to protect us all!

Day 2 Cityscape Dioramas and Costumes
We have had another wonderful day with the Superheroes today!

Here are a few of the amazing dioramas and costumes they made today. We cut and glued, stitched and shaped. We imagined and designed and had so much fun together. Such a great day!