It is thirteen years since the idea to start the studio came to me. In that year we worked furiously to apply for permissions and grants, then months of building and decorating etc followed before we opened in September 2001. Richard Taylor, Sylvia Paul and Lavinia Hamer were our first tutors that autumn and they are still with us now along with twenty five other professional tutors. Watershed is now firmly established as a popular and successful venue for top quality art courses. The Watershed is a real family business with many relatives helping out at various times including my mother in law Karen, generally helping out at meal times, and even my own parents assisting with accommodation for tutors!
We have just nearly 60 courses on offer during 2013. This is slightly more than last year because we have brought in a few new tutors again to keep the programme fresh and exciting. All our tutors are excellent and we feel that we have something for everyone, whatever their level of ability or preferred medium.
We offer a warm welcome to students at our rural studio that lies on the edge of our family farm in North Essex. The studio was converted eleven years ago and I can safely say that hosting art courses is infinitely preferable to feeding calves on cold and damp winter mornings! With views over open farmland, chickens and geese strutting around the garden, plus the occasional visit from an inquisitive farm dog, it is all very peaceful and conducive to the creative process!
2012 was a very busy and successful year again for us here - it was lovely to see so many familiar faces returning, some wanting to try new courses and different tutors and some preferring to come to familiar favourites. We were also thrilled to welcome new students and hope they will be back this year too along with some new faces hopefully.
A huge thanks must go to all of our excellent tutors who come down to Watershed - we might provide a warm welcome with good food but it is the tutors that make the courses so stimulating, inspiring and enjoyable - a truly winning combination! The courses are listed on the following pages but please do call, or email, if you would like further information or want to talk about the various courses. It is always a good idea to get in touch anyway to check availability of spaces before booking. As we also run the family farm from the house you might have to leave a message but I will endeavour to get back in touch with you as soon as possible.
The Studio Facilities
The Studio was converted from a redundant farm building nearly eleven years ago, and we could never have imagined that the old calf rearing barn would prove such an ideal venue for the many scores of successful courses that have been run there since. Students agree that the atmosphere is welcoming and friendly and the Studio deceptively spacious. We are wheelchair friendly and there is ample parking. The Studio looks out on to meadows and paddocks with walks around the fields and down to the Brook – there is always plenty of wildlife to enjoy.
St Osyth is an historic and attractive village with some excellent painting locations. The community is active and friendly -find out more by logging on to www.stosyth.gov.uk.
Home-cooked farmhouse lunches form an important part of the day with students eating either in the conservatory or outside on the terrace, depending on the weather. Special dietary needs are catered for provided you inform me well in advance, preferably at the time of booking. Karen, my mother in law or my friend Sally Anne are usually about at lunchtimes and we all enjoy catering for such an appreciative clientele! All courses include lunch in the price and homemade cake in the afternoon with tea and coffee etc on tap during the day.
We have a broad range of one and two day courses covering all media. We hope that there is something for everyone, from beginners to the more experienced painter who wants to try something different. On average we only have twelve people on each course as we are always mindful that everyone should receive plenty of individual attention. Most courses run from 10am until 4.30pm unless otherwise stated.
It is a very rare event when an advertised tutor has to pull out of a course but if this does happen I will always endeavour to find an appropriate replacement. I will then make every effort to contact everyone booked on the course to give them an opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to still remain on that course or pull out with a full refund.
Special Breaks and Studio Hire
I am still happy to organise special days for art groups and clubs wishing to try something different or want a change of scene. We have excellent facilities in a lovely environment and we can organise a tutor, meals etc if required too. Unfortunately, because the programme is so full we cannot offer longer breaks but please call me, Allison, to chat over the options - I am always happy to help where I can.
Why not give Watershed Gift Vouchers as a present for Christmas or for a Birthday? I will send a card with an insert indicating the value of the voucher.
Most people arrive by car and we have parking adjacent to the studio. The surface is loose and slightly uneven. The doors to the studio are low threshold and we have wide doorways suitable for wheelchairs. The studio is on one level. The inside toilet is roomy and there is a frame for disabled users. There is a paved path with a slight incline up to the house where we eat our meals and this is slightly uneven. There are two steps up into the conservatory.
We can now accept debit and credit card payments over the phone, as well as the usual cheque or cash. Unfortunately we have to make an additional charge of £1.50 for Credit Cards.