Looking for a studio share?

I’ve been on my own in my studio for about a month now and it’s time to face the inevitable situation that I knew would crop up sooner or later; either to find a bit of extra part time work or look for a like minded person to share my studio with.  We now have 2 studios to fund in our house as well as supporting Owen whilst he starts to make again, a very exciting prospect, but it does mean him cutting down on some of his extra work. He’s a great web designer but he’s an even better designer/artist and I can’t wait to see what he works on next.  So I’m exploring both possibilities equally at the moment, I’ve started looking for a little extra work which is odd seeing as I haven’t worked outside of my studio in just over 2 years now. Before that I’d worked since I was 16 but even so, going back into the ‘outside world’ would definitely take some getting used to. Also finding work may be hard especially as my work experience/references go way back to 2010 when I worked for the library service. The other possibility, a studio share, is something that I’d always considered, in fact I’ve shared a studio for the past 2 years, but then again that was with my husband so it’s slightly different ;) The reason it’s a little more difficult is that I’m wondering how easy it is to find another eco printer who is looking to share a studio?

Here is what I have; a 70 sq. metre studio space at Yorkshire Artspace in the centre of Sheffield. It has a 8.5m professional textile printing table so would suit a textile printer looking to print either small or by the metre fabrics. A washout booth big enough for large full metre screens and pressure washer. Plus extras such as a cutting table and space to mix inks, the studio also has great light plus an overhead fan and heating system which is great for drying fabrics. I also hope to add an exposure unit to the space over the next year.

There would also be benefits for someone who has until now not been able to order larger amounts of eco fabrics or supplies, as doubling up with another maker would make this easier.

I’m an eco textile printer so there are no harsh chemicals or solvents used in my studio, ideally I’d like to keep it that way so I’d be looking to share with someone who works in a similar way. Also it would have to be someone who was dog friendly as my life is shared with an adorable but ageing and increasingly blind pug who tends to bump into things and people occasionally. She spends most of her day sleeping under my desk.  Plus my husband pops in to use his computer in my nice clean metal free environment ever now and then (he’s a silversmith based in the same building).

The building houses around 70 artists, we have our own secure access 24 hours a day, no parking though I’m afraid (although we sometimes have a spot at the weekends) and we have wonderfully helpful office staff who work Mon-Fri, plus access to a meeting room for meetings. Post can be delivered in working hours and is kindly taken in by the office staff.

So if you are a person looking to share please get in touch, or if you know anyone then please pass on my details. You can email me at hello@sarahwaterhouse.co.uk


Matisse Cut Outs

Matisse Live in Cinemas

Matisse Live in Cinemas

I went to see the Matisse exhibition at the Tate Modern the very first chance I could get, I was there one of the first weeks and the exhibition was simply breathtaking. So there was no doubt that I was going to quickly book a ticket for the Live at the Tate screening of behind the scenes at the Matisse exhibition.  The film was shown last night simultaneously in cinemas across in the country, I caught it at the Showroom Cinema and it didn’t disappoint.  There was music, dance, behind the scenes set up and short films about this late period in Matisse’s life as well as interviews with the curator and some of Matisse’s assistants and family.  I found the film fascinating on so many levels, as an art history student, as a musician, as a dance fan and also as a previous gallery employee – all the familiar installation shots were there that fondly reminded me of hanging exhibitions at Museums Sheffield.

The Sheaf 1953

The Sheaf 1953

The film was a great reminder of the exhibition, although there was obviously not enough time in the 90 minute film to show the 100+ works on display, but it was also a fascinating insight into the bigger picture of Matisse and his life and the people he inspired. I’ve already made up my mind that I am going to try and see the exhibition one more time before in closes in September.

I, like many people, came away completely inspired by the works on display at the Tate and it reinvigorated my appreciation for works I haven’t really looked at since studying art at college, although what I had seen then was just a small number of the most famous works.  It is of course amazing to see the work in person and I have had the privilege to see many of Matisse’s paintings over the years but never the cut outs.  All of these years later though I see these cut outs in a new light. I’ve always been an appreciator of colour (although my obsession has grown ten fold in the last 8 years I’ve been printing) but this time I saw these cut outs under the influence of pattern too. I was struck by the clean forms and the patterns Matisse created with them, this is probably a side effect of seeing pattern in everything now which I find is both my curse and blessing, but seeing the Priest’s robes was something else.  Here was a direct translation of a pattern designed for cloth.  These robes were part of the project for the Chapel of the Rosary in Venice which Matisse designed, he created many works for the chapel including murals and stained glass windows.  Matisse came from a textile town so patterns and textiles will have been a large part of his early life and it was easy to see that influence in the cut outs, especially in The Sheaf (1953) and Large Decoration with Masks (1953) where strong motifs are repeated.  The film last night featured interviews with many writers and curators but one speech that stuck out was about how Matisse’s cut outs were both “decoration but also more than decoration”.  The exhibition has already inspired me to get out my paint and scissors and employ Matisse’s cut out method to help with my own design and colour work, I hope it inspires you too.

Matisse Cut Outs, Tate Modern. 17th April to 7th September

Here are some sneak peeks of the ballet and music sections of the film, I’ll replace these with the full versions if the Tate make them available.

Both busy and bored

Printed fabrics

The past 6 weeks have been full of contrasts, going from extremely busy work filled days to very empty days due to recovering from illness. The busy days are always fun, if a little hectic and I’ll admit that whilst I’ve been ill, I have got a little bored, but it’s been nice to have a good rest and recuperate.

In amongst all of this me and Owen have been trying to make a plan come together and unfortunately it hasn’t, but we won’t be deterred or dragged down as it’s now just something we’re more determined to work towards. It involved moving studios to Nottinghamshire and we found the most perfect and wonderful studio, 4x our current size to fit in a nice large 20 metre table. The only thing that needed to fall into place was getting funds together to extend my current 8.5m table to 20m.  That was unfortunately a stretch too far though so we’ll just have to work a little harder to get there.  The main worry is that in the meantime we are completely out of room in our current studio which means making the difficult decision to only release one collection this year instead of two. Screens need storage and our current space is about to burst at the seams.  After two years in our current space we’ve now outgrown it, we really didn’t think it would be so fast to be honest but life is full of little surprises!

As usual the studio days have been full of printing, my own fabrics and customer designs, but I’ve also been busy adding some new colours to the Geometrics range.  There are 6 new colours to perfectly compliment the new Spring/Summer collection. In fact one of these has just been printed up for the sofa so watch out for the photos of that soon. I’ve also been working on a new fabric base cloth range I hope to be able to share with you soon.

New Geometrics

All of the fabric books are finished and anyone who watches my Facebook or Instagram accounts will have spotted pictures of those. I’m offering these to my trade customers  in two different sizes, so far the largest size has been the most popular.

Three large fabric books SS14 Collections

These were really fun to design and make and have had a really positive reaction so far. It’s funny as they started off as a way to make a cheaper version than the usual professional sample books you can have made, as they proved just too expensive for me to have made. We decided to give it a go ourselves and the response has been great with customers saying they really stand out in amongst the usual books so all the effort was worth it.

I’m still not back to work full time but the next few weeks will be spent preparing for the Sheffield Print fair at the Millennium Gallery.  I don’t do craft fairs anymore, just trade fairs, so it’s really nice to get back to my roots and do a local fair in Sheffield. The fact that this was a print fair was just too good an opportunity to miss.  More on that next time :)

New SS14 fabric collection: Botany

I’m delighted to introduce Botany, my new hand printed fabric collection featuring three brand new designs; Bloom, Bud and Frond.  This collection takes its inspiration from studies of Yorkshire plants and flowers and is printed is fresh Spring and Summer brights and pastels.  I hope you love the new designs and colours and find something here that can add a splash of colour to your home.

Bloom is available in Sunflower, Ticked Pink, Lime Burst and Electric Blue.

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Bud is available in Lemonade, Spice, Meadow and Seagreen

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Frond is available in Banana, Tickled Pink, Meadow and Blue Skies 

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The collection is available in both my medium and upholstery weight fabrics of hemp and organic cotton and printed in organic inks.  You can find the whole range of fabrics in my Shop.

All photography by In Two Dimensions.


Artists Textiles Picasso to Warhol

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This is just the kind of exhibition that comes up once in a blue moon and I just HAD to see it.  I was planning a trip to London for a few meetings and I made it all work so that I could also take a trip to Bermondsey and spend a couple of hours at the Fashion and Textile Museum.  For a fabric designer this exhibition is heaven and whilst I had seen most of the fabrics before in books, there was nothing like being able to actually see them in person.  I had been excitedly waiting for this exhibition for many months and I wasn’t disappointed.

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The Fashion and Textile Museum always has amazing exhibitions but this was far the best I had ever seen.  There were many different pieces and both fashion and interiors fabrics were very evenly covered so there was enough to satisfy both interests.  Of course it was the interior fabrics that fascinated me the most but I loved being able to see the fashion prints, especially those that were shown as they were made to be seen, on the wonderful fifties and sixties clothes. The Horrockses dresses were so beautiful, I was happily daydreaming put them on and strutting around the exhibition hall. As a collector of vintage silk scarves, seeing some of the beautifully printed scarves in the exhibition was a real treat.

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It was lovely being able to see some of my favourite fabrics up close. These were fabrics that I had poured over in books for their design beauty, but now I could study the skilfully printed fabrics and their wonderful texture.  Apologies to anyone who was getting frustrated with a small blonde who had her face inches from the fabrics, I did try to not get in the way but I just had to see the fabrics up close.  Two of the highlights for me was seeing some of the Edinburgh Weavers fabrics and also the beautiful printed Picasso fabrics.

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The study room had a wonderful mini exhibition celebrating the Collier-Campbell archive which was a lovely addition to the show.  I always find the study room a lovely treasure  trove and this look at the work of sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell was no exception, showing a range of mood moods, drawings and fabrics from the collection and accompanied by a video about the sisters work.  Susan sadly died in 2011, Sarah continues to work as a designer, you can see her work here.

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I would highly recommend a visit to the exhibition, whether you are a designer, printer or just fabric obsessed, you will love it.  Take a look at the website to see related talks and events that will be running alongside the exhibition.  Artists Textiles runs until the 17th May 2014.



Looking towards Autumn

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A lot has happened over the past couple of months, hundreds of metres of fabric has gone through the studio and been printed, my ‘new’ and rather fabulous (but slightly damaged) table was installed, I said a sad goodbye to Aimee (my intern) who unfortunately had to leave due to illness but I said a happy hello to Vanessa and James who have joined me to help out with the printing.  There has also been a lot of building going on in the studio as we re-organised the space to make it more efficient and make room for more people to work in there.

Now I’ve just taken delivery of my new SS14 collection screens and I can’t wait to share the new designs with you, you’ll just have to wait a little longer.  For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on the designs for the AW14 though as you always have to be one step ahead of yourself in the world of fabric.  It always feels a bit strange to be so ahead of yourself and looking towards Autumn 2014, especially when we haven’t had any summer sunshine yet. For inspiration I’ve been turning to my hometown of Sheffield and the many shapes and forms on display in our city centre. Here are some of the intriguing pattern I captured with my camera and there is plenty here to get the ideas flowing and keep my sketchbook full.

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An opportunity

Would you be interested in working for me? I’m looking for some helpers to work with me in my studio in Sheffield.

I’m looking for a person or two who can help with general admin (dealing with orders, stock and packing up fabric orders) and someone with strong arms who can help with screen printing.  These can be two separate positions done by two people or can be worked into one job done by one person.  The screen printing is a physically demanding job due to the size of the screens used and also requires you to be on your feet for long periods of time.

Both of these jobs are suitable for someone who is flexible with their working week so may have other commitments. These are freelance positions and so there are no set hours or days, but any work will be done during the studios usual working days of Monday to Friday and can be done at any time between 7am to 4pm.

I’m looking for someone reliable who wants to work in a busy printing environment and who is interested in either position turning into a more permanent job in the future.

Full training will be provided for the screen printing work.  This position isn’t suitable for someone who is just looking for experience in screen printing, I run internships throughout the year which are more appropriate for that purpose.

(Please note, you must also be able to cope with a very small dog who works with us)

If you are interested then please email me and get in touch with your experience, why you’d like the job and details of your flexibility.



What a wonderful event

Open Studios

The Yorkshire Artspace Open Studios event was a great success and as usual, a fantastic experience.  It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been able to take part, last year I was ill and the year before I was in-between studios, so it was great to be back chatting to all the visitors and fellow studio holders.  It was also wonderful to be featured on Our Favourite Places, a website dedicated to all the wonderful things about Sheffield.  I was chosen along with some of my fellow YAS artists, we all had a mini interviewed and were photographed in our studios. Being photographed is always a painful experience for me but Nigel Barker was brilliant and really put me at ease.

Ercol sofa

The preparation for the event starts months in advance but as usual is always a little bit of a rush in the last few weeks, especially as I knew that November was going to prove a very busy month for me.  I knew I wanted to be able to get a few pieces of furniture covered and so I was very glad to be able to get the Ercol sofa and 2 of the G Plan chairs finished.  They were all the stars of the event with lots of people saying such wonderful things about them so the effort was definitely worth it.


The only disappointment for me was that I wasn’t able to get the new table fitted in time so the studio was crammed full of table parts which we managed to sneakily hide underneath and behind as many things as we could, luckily I don’t think many people noticed.

Another of the big-hits of the event was the Sheffieldish tea towel, I had hoped to sell a few on the night but they positively flew out of the door!  I think I was lucky that the event is so close to Christmas as many people were buying them as gifts, it was great to hear visitors reading out the many words and trying to figure out what they meant.  Many people told me who the tea towel would make the perfect gift for, or where in the world they were going to send it.  It makes me happy to know that there will be quite a few Christmas pots and pans being dried with Sheffieldish tea towels.


Now with my last event of the year out of the way, the next month will be spent doing nothing but printing as I catch up with wholesale orders.  I can’t wait to do all of this printing on the new table – watch out for a post next week on the set up which will no doubt be full of photos of my messy dismantled studio.

Open Studios 2013

I’m taking part in Open Studios, our yearly event, this Friday and Saturday at Persistence Works, Yorkshire Artspace.

You’ll be invited to look around my studio and will also get a chance to see my current collection of fabrics. I will also have a few items for sale such as notebooks and tea towels.

Please do come and visit if you can, it would be nice to meet some of my readers.

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Mini tour of the South

Printing screens

The past month has flown by. I’ve been busy printing fabrics for both wholesale and retail as well as printing for one of my print services clients, in total over 100 metres of fabric has left my poor little 8 metre printing table. I’ve also run two printing workshops, bought a ‘new’ printing table (which meant a round trip to Edinburgh for my husband and his brother) and I travelled down to the south of the country twice in one week.

Printed fabrics

My busiest week was last week when I went to Plymouth and back and then Farnham and back within a matter of days.  First on the list was Plymouth College of Art where I was teaching as part of the Crysalis Skills Tour. I was invited to be the programme’s eco-friendly printing tutor, my role was to teach and share some of my knowledge of printing using environmentally friendly inks and fabrics.  The session was a full morning of printing, both with exposed and stencilled screens, and the group of students (which included international students as well as UK-based practitioners) were a delight to teach.

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After a quick two days back in Sheffield where more frantic printing continued, I was ready to set off down south again for Thread, the festival of Textiles at Farnham Maltings.  I knew of course about Unravel, the famous knitting festival held at the same location, this was a chance to show my work at a specific textiles event so I couldn’t turn it down when invited to take part.

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It’s been a couple of years since I’ve sold at a fair as when I started specialising specifically in fabrics I knew my time at ordinary craft fairs was up.  This was something different though, a textiles fair with an emphasis on hand crafted textiles. I had a great day and met so many lovely people.  The visitors to the event were all wonderful and said so many lovely things about my fabrics.  My fellow stall holders were fabulous too, I was in the great hall downstairs and the group of lovely ladies I was surrounded with were all such a lovely bunch.

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My next door neighbour on one side was the fantastic Floss & Mischief. Genevieve was a pleasure to chat to all day and her work was amazing.

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I was also lucky to be situated so close to Helen Foot whose talent as a weaver was blatantly obvious from the glance at the wonderful textiles that were flowing past me during set up. I went away with a couple of her scrap packs, I would have happily walked away with one of these beautiful scarves though.

Here are just a few more of wonderful artists (and lovely people) exhibiting who I was lucky enough to have a chin wag with:

Craig Fellows
Duck and Duffel
Guthrie and Ghani
Jen Moules Textile Design
The Little Grey Sheep
Warren and Gamble

Please take a look at their lovely work, I hope to see some of them again at next years event.