Thursday, 16 March 2017

Craft Arena 10th Anniversary Celebration

We will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Craft Arena arriving at Barleylands in a very special way - by extending! We hope to have our official opening on 1st June 2017 and will be posting pictures of our progress here and on our Facebook page as it happens.

This is the first picture of Studio 51 as it is at the moment, and shows where the counter and door through to Studio 50 will be. The walls are currently covered in white display boards which will be removed soon.

I'll be letting go of Studio 48, which was our original studio when we opened in 2007 - it will be a bit sad to let it go, but exciting at the same time.

More soon.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Tantalising Textiles Entries 2017

We've had terrific entries for our Tantalising Textiles competition this year. You can see a sneek peak from some them below - you will have to visit the exhibition in Gallery 50 to see them all!

They will be on display until Friday 31st March, so don't miss the chance to vote for your favourite and get the chance to win a Craft Arena gift voucher. The winning entry will also receive a voucher and we will also be donating some of the entry fees to St. Luke's Hospice in Basildon.

The winner will be announced on Sunday 2nd April on our Craft Arena Facebook page.

Up in the Air - Stella Cockard

Fizz - Sue Shaper

Flower Power - Anne Crowther

Through Coloured Lenses - Sue Shaper

Rolling Sea - Sheena Booth

Scrap Happy - Sheena Booth

Tree Silhouette - Margaret Salt

Light at the end of the Tunnel - Linda Legrand

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Tantalising Textiles 2017

Following the survey of our customers in our newsletter recently, we have decided to bring our Tantalising Textiles competition forward a little earlier in the year and change the format. The exhibition will be held in Gallery 50 at Craft Arena from Tuesday 14th February until Friday 31st March.

We are dividing the competition into two sections; one with a theme which this year is Perspective and another open section in which you can submit work on a theme of your choice. Some things stay the same; there will be a £5 entrance fee for each piece of work you enter, with no limit on the number submitted. Customers of Craft Arena will be asked to vote for their favourite piece, and the winner (or winners, depending on how many entries we receive) will receive a Craft Arena Gift Voucher with another voucher going to the winner of our voters draw. The Application Form and entrance fee must be submitted by Tuesday 31st January 2017 although your work does not have to be with us until Saturday 12th February 2017.

The theme Perspective can be interpreted in any way. Here is the definition from the dictionary:
  • a way of regarding situations, facts, etc., and judging their relative importance
  • the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it
  • the theory or art of suggesting three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface, in order to recreate the appearance and spatial relationships that objects or a scent in recession present to the eye
  • the appearance of objects, buildings etc., relative to each other, as determined by their distance from the viewer, or the effects of this distance on their appearance
  • a view over some distance in space or time; vista; prospect
  • a picture showing perspective
So, you could submit a piece of work depicting a building, scene or object; for example a view from your window, a landscape scene, a street scene, a still life composition in a figurative or abstract form.
These are just a few ideas to help you, but remember you can take the theme in any direction you wish. Full terms and conditions, with more information, are on the entry form which you can find on our website
I'm really looking forward to seeing what you come up with. 

The previous winners of Tantalising Textiles


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Tantalising Textiles 2016 Exhibition

I thought you may like to see the submissions for this year's Tantalising Textiles competition. We have 5 entries from three people which are all stunning!

Read more about the criteria for entry

Tantalising Textiles 2016

A Month of Lace: An Inch Each Day
Freestyle bobbin lace by
Christine Gibson
Sunrise over Sidmouth
Freestyle bobbin lace by
Christine Gibson
Fragililty and Solitude
Freestyle bobbin lace by
Christine Gibson
Reflections of Life
Freestyle lace by

Linda Legrand
River of Reflections
Laminated stitch work
Anne Crowther

We are conducting a survey to help us structure next year's competition. You can help us by completing the survey which you can find here

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Potter & Pooh Exhibition

A Celebration of Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, and also the 90th anniversary of the publishing of Winnie the Pooh Craft Arena is holding an exhibition in July 2016.
If you would like to be part of this exhibition, you can submit work that has already been completed, or it can be new. Your work may have been shown elsewhere, can be any size and constructed in any media. You may submit work of your own design or made from kits, although this must be stated on the application form which is now available. Your work will need to be with us by Thursday 30th June and the exhibition will run from Saturday 2nd to Sunday 31st July. This is an open exhibition, which is free to enter, and everyone is welcome to submit their work.
The application form, which must be included with your work, is available online, in the studio or via email. If you need any more information, please contact us. I look forward to seeing your work.
One tablespoon to be taken at bedtime...

Tantalising Textiles 2016

Tantalising Textiles exhibition is a competition for our customers. You are invited to submit work on a theme which this year is 'Reflections'. The definition below is from the Collins English Dictionary:
  1. the act of reflecting or the state of being reflected
  2. something reflected or the image so produced, as by a mirror
  3. careful or long consideration or thought
  4. implicit or explicit attribution of discredit or blame
  5. (mathematics) a transformation in which the direction of one axis is reversed or which changes the sign of one of the variables
  6. (anatomy) the bending back of a structure or part upon itself
The work can be any technique in any media and this year we are lifting the usual size limitation. If however your piece is very large, you will have to supply your own display (for example a quilt stand if you submit a quilt).
Judging will be by members of the public and the artwork with the most votes will win a prize.  There will also be a separate prize draw for the voters. There is a nominal, non-refundable, £5 charge for each entry with the monies raised being divided between the prizes and a donation to St. Luke's Hospice in Basildon. 
Closing date for applications is Sunday 15th May 2016. You may enter as many times as you wish, but entries must not have been exhibited before. The work will need to be with me by Sunday 29th May 2016.
One Frosty Morning by Linda Legrand - The winner in 2015
The application form is available online, from the studio or via  If you have any queries, please do ring me on 01268 523780 or pop into the studio.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

A New Look

Well, it's been a long haul, but the new website is now up and running. You can take a look at our usual URL Let me know what you think, and if you find anything out of place, do let me know. We will be adding more products over the next few weeks, so if there is anything you would like to see added, do email me and we will do our best. 

I'd like to give a very big hug and a thank you to my wonderful husband, Ray, who has been tirelessly slaving over a keyboard for the last 9 months or so! At times I think he thought it would never be finished, particularly when I kept changing my mind about how I wanted it to look, the colours and size of the fonts among other things!

I think we've got it about right - any comments would be welcome. 

So now, all we have to do is add the rest of our stock. There will be things which won't be added - the turnover on some stock is just too quick to keep the website updated, and some ranges would just take too long (DMC stranded cotton for example). So, keep visiting to see what is new - you can see our recently added items on the home page, and look out for our Bag a Bargain offers. There are currently two online, and I'll add to these when I can.