Watershed Studio 
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What a relief to be up and running again this year with no threat of cancellations! In 2020 and 2021 we had to cancel the first half of our courses and reschedule them to later in the year so it's a delight to be able to welcome everyone at the correct time this year!  
We are still observing a lot of social distancing recommendations with space in between tables, plenty of ventilation and masks when in close contact with othger people but everyone is quite happy about that if it helps to keep, and make people feel, safe! 
It's great to be welcoming people into the studio - such a lovely atmosphere and the creativity and the imagination of folk has been enhanced by the deprivations of the last two years we think! 
We've been working hard to sand and rewax the studio floor!! Getting there! 
Despite the disappointing start to 2021 with the announcement that restrictions would still be in place we used the time shut productively! 
After rescheduling all of the earlier courses until later in the year we got going with more improvements to our facilities and cracked on with revamping an old shed into a new dining room (called The Pantry to make life easy!) which boasts recycled windows looking out over our water meadows and sheep - very bucolic! This means that there will be no treking up to the house for lunches and it makes access much easier for those less mobile as we are all on one level. It also means we can do much better with social distancing, and ventilation as there are big barn doors on the front. We are assuming that these issues will continue to be a big part of our lives we think for some time to come especially as we like to ensure everyone feels very safe and relaxed whilst here. 
We also hired in a digger to level out some of the grass below the Studio and created a new lawn area where we can erect our big tent to use for craft courses - definitely lots of fresh and and good ventilation there!! It's a fabulous spot for willow weaving, mosaics and plein air painting. I managed to lay 160 new turfs on my own which only had to be watered for a short time to establish before nature stepped in and provided regular soakings for the rest of the year! 
We started back with courses towards the end of May when England opened up again - it was so wonderful to see everyone again, new and old (in the nicest possible way) faces, new tutors too as well to join the programme along with our regulars and favourite teachers. Everyone seemed genuinely delighted to be doing something 'normal' even if it still wasn't quite 'normal' yet as masks were required and tables were arranged to create as much space as possible in between folk. 
It was an intensive time with more courses running concurrently than usual due to rescheduling but it was a total joy in every respect. Just a very big thank you to everyone who came for their support and friendship and also a massive thanks to our wonderful tutors who all embraced changes, restrictions, adaptations etc to make each course such a fabulous success. We finished the year with our wreath making week - the perfect start to Christmas! 
This winter we continue to make improvements - the studio floor has been sanded and we are currently retreating it so it can cope with paint etc for another twenty years! 
This content will be shown in the summary on the main blog page. 2020 has been a year like no other. Early optimism for a fabulous year was soon replaced by one of shock and disbelief. In March we had been able to run three events before the enormity of what was happening hit us and all our subsequent courses were then cancelled until the Autumn . We were extremely grateful that most students opted to defer their bookings to 2021 and to all our tutors who happily swopped their dates for a year ahead. It was very quiet here for a long time! Quiet with very blue skies and no vapour trails!! 
Happily, by the summer we were able to run a few mosaic courses which were a good test of our Covid security arrangements and we were able to get back on track, with reduced class numbers, but with confidence, in September and October. 
It was such a joy to have the Studio come alive again and everyone was very happy with how we were managing with the restrictions which allowed them to feel safe whilst being creative. We want to thank all our wonderful Tutors who adapted their teaching practices to enable us to remain Covid Secure and we also wish to thank all the Students who embraced all the changes with great willingness and good spirit - everyone was just so grateful to be able to get out again to take part in such events. 
After closing again in November, which was a blow, we were fortunately able to run our Christmas wreath workshops in December. Instead of the usual packed party atmosphere of these festive events we rethought it all and booked morning and evening sessions, a week later than normal, for a limited number of wreath makers at a time, and these proved very popular. They were still happy events, just a bit quieter than usual but the wreaths that were made were fantastic. 
We must say a big thank you to everyone who has come and supported us during 2020. We appreciate the trust you put in us and I am glad we were able to deliver. We fully understand that many people couldn't come due to age, sheilding, circumstances beyond their control etc but we do hope that eventually 2021 will pick up and turn out to be a much better and brighter year in the end and we look forward to welcoming as many of you back as are able!! 
We are continuing to make alterations and additions to the studio to improve our facilities and ensure we can carry on social distancing comfortably for as long as needs be. We will not be eating in the house any more but a new Pantry is currently being constructed, adjacent to the Studio, where we can serve lunches and practice social distance dining too!! 
So roll on 2021 - we look forward to the continued challenge and we look forward to seeing as many of you possible over the coming months. 
We are looking ahead to better and brighter times!! Whilst there is still a lot of uncertainty about how long covid restrictions will be in place we are determined to look forward to starting our courses in the Spring. We envisage we will still have to observe social distancing rules and maintain a Covid Secure premises but after the success of this here last Autumn we are ready to continue and improve on the measures we have adopted. 
I am sure there will be many people just desperate to get back to being creative with expert tuition and we will be here for you when you are ready to venture out. We look forward to seeing you again!!  
It has been a strange and difficult time for all of us with our 2020 not exactly panning out as we expected. For me, instead of enjoying a bumper year with full courses and many new tutors I found myself having to cancel everything for the foreseeable future and it was such a shock! It seemed unbelievable, and still seems very unreal sometimes. 
Back in the middle of March I should have been getting back on a plane and heading to Darwin to visit my youngest daughter and new baby in Australia. Instead I found myself ringing tutors to see if we could reschedule their courses and then emailing everyone booked in, course by course, to see if they were happy to move their spaces across to 2021. Everything happened so quickly and it was hard to process and I couldn’t take in that I was now having to undo all the work I had spent months preparing for, never mind mourning the fact that I wasn't going to get to see my daughter and grandson. 
Everyone else I contacted was also in shock but were happy to do whatever was necessary at the time and we got through the first initial stage of lockdown still reeling from the speed that things were changing and the speed at which the virus was taking hold in our communities. 
Now we are trying to come out of lockdown and the uncertainty is even greater. We hope to be able to continue with our Autumn programme but we don’t yet know how much more the rules will be relaxed or even if people will want to attend group gatherings. 
Baby steps are needed and whilst we have worked out how to enable social distancing in the studio, and how we might manage meal times we still wait to hear how our students feel……. 
Far from being a quiet month I feel we have thrown ourselves into February with a vengeance!. 
This week the front of the studio was dug up and a big slab of concrete laid to create a new, larger deck area outside the double doors. Once we have landscaped around it all I hope it will form a natural extension to the studio in fine weather and it links neatly around to the veranda too – good job I can see the end picture in my head though when it’s windy and rainy and there are piles of dirt everywhere! 
Our resident pheasant, Philip, decided to take a stroll across the wet cement before it set so his presence has been preserved for posterity now! 
Another slab of concrete is being laid on the lower lawn – not the whole lawn I hasten to add, just for the floor of a new shed. Ultimately, I am hoping this will be my own personal work shed but it will double up as a kitchen shed for us to work from when we do afternoon teas in the marquee. 
Finally, the digger pulled out old tree stumps up by the house and I am now redesigning the terrace area outside our Garden Room. Don’t get excited, it’s nothing grand, just a stoned extension to what there is already. I am hoping to get a lot of plants I have in tubs and pots planted up either through the stones, or around the studio to cut down on the rather onerous amount of watering I have to do in the summer. As I said, we have not been idle this month and we are only a few days into it!!! 
Happy New Year to you all! 
Wishing you all the best for a healthy and very creative 2019! I hope we can help you with the creative side of things this year—all of our new and exciting courses are now on the website. You will see that as well as our very popular painting courses we have also included a few more craft events to appeal to a wider audience. The new brochure will be posted out this month so keep a look out for that too. 
2018 was an exciting if slightly exhausting year! We were hit by bad weather and tutor illness in March and had to reschedule a couple of courses, but I think the tutors and students were happy to return in warmer times. 
The new marquee was a bit hit – a fabulous space and atmosphere for both craft workshops and our, now famous, afternoon farmhouse teas. 
We hosted some amazing events in the marquee (and studio) this summer and learned a lot in the process. We plan to put up a new shed to replace our kitchen tent that finally gave up the ghost after a very windy autumn. This will make life a lot easier and make us more efficient as well as providing extra storage and maybe somewhere to do some of my own painting and crafting too when not in use??? Who knows…..?? 
Our foray into craft workshops was also very popular and allowed new people who aren’t painters to get a taste of the ‘Watershed’ experience. We have had some very exciting and inspiring art courses last year – fabulous work was created, and new friends made too. 
Our wreath making workshops were the final events of the year and were more popular than ever – we had to put on an overflow night! I know these evenings signal the start of Christmas for so many people, so they are always joyous occasions. 
So, roll on 2019 – do have a look at the courses listed on the website – some completely new ones sit alongside favourites but even these are different each year so you won’t get bored. I do try to match the right people with the right courses so always ring or email to find out what would suit you best. 
Happy New Year to you all. 
Its actually raining and proper rain too! After record temperatures again this week it’s a bit of a relief, especially as we managed to get the last bit of wheat harvested this morning before the deluge began. 
Yesterday we had perfect weather for a wonderful wet felting course which Kris Marriott ran. We were able to use the marquee which was ideal with all the water involved and it meant we could feel like we were outdoors without actually being outdoors! I also had no idea quite how much physical effort was involved. So not only do you get to make a beautiful felt article but you also experience a full workout! Kris is very inspiring and encouraging and everyone enjoyed the relaxed and creative experience in our countryside location. It was a very happy day. There are some pictures on the Gallery Page. 
Just over a week before we had hosted a 75th birthday party for a local girl. It was a ladies only event and it was joyous. However, we had to make the decision to move from the marquee to the studio when the wind decided to really get lively as the morning progressed. We are very lucky to be able to have this option and it worked very well. Whilst it was harder for us because we had lost the larger kitchen space it didn’t matter – everyone had a wonderful time and were relieved to not have to sit for ages being blown to bits, and I was relieved the glass and crockery remained in tact. 
We have another tea coming up this weekend and fortunately the weather appears fine…fingers crossed! 
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