Artisan Community Art Studio

May 17, 2017 , In: Culture, Embroidery, General, Inspiration, Studio

Ever since I gave up the corporate life to follow a more creative path I’ve tried to make sure that I do at least one course or workshop each year both the extend my skills and keep me motivated. To begin with these tended to be jewellery related – silversmithing, metal clay and enameling courses to bolster my technique repertoire but, now that I’ve broadened my creative pursuits I’ve been on the look out for workshops in other areas. A few months ago I began searching online for some sort of textile course to help me develop my latest passion for all things thread and fibre. There are some great colleges in my region that hold wonderful artist led courses but they do tend to be quite pricey. Then I stumbled across  a series of workshops called ‘Creative Hand stitched Scapes’ run by ‘Artisan Community Art Studio’. This is a “series of NINE monthly workshops, each one concentrating on a distinctive theme (sky scapes, garden scapes, autumn scapes…) designed to encourage experimentation and the creative use of stitch but each one was also available independently at a very economical price. So I bit the bullet and booked myself onto the next available ‘skyscapes’ workshop and it turns out that I’ve found myself a real gem of a creative resource!

Artisan Community Art Studio is a Non Profit organisations run by a lovely lady called Pauline Stanley,  an arts and health Practitioner, passionate about art and creativity and with extensive experience in leading art, craft and textile workshops  working with a wide range of ages and disabilities. The studio is unlike anything I have come across before. From Monday to Friday Pauline and fellow tutor Nicola Bath run ‘Diverse Abilities’ art groups offering a supported art studio space where all abilities are welcomed to explore a range of art mediums and techniques in relaxed, friendly non-judgemental art sessions. Current groups include adult Aspergers, stroke and physical disability, mental health, learning disability, dementia and ME/chronic fatigue They also offer classes for children who are being home schooled and  CPD (continued professional development) sessions for Art Therapists who work in the field of mental health. The studio is not funded and has created a unique sustainable working practice with strong links to the local community and care organisations.

Work from the home schooled and diverse abilities groups

As if that weren’t enough the studio offers affordable weekend and evening art and craft classes for all abilities in a relaxed and friendly environment…this is here I came in! Having booked myself onto that first class I had such a good time with a lovely group of people I immediately booked 2 more classes in the series. I haven’t finished any of my pieces yet but they have worked their way to the top of my project pile so I’m hoping  to back to them shortly. This is the piece I’m working on from the ‘Tree scapes’ workshop – the area behind the tree trunks will be cut away to reveal a contrasting background…when I decide what that is!

Pauline works very hard to source artists and tutors to teach a diverse range of creative techniques and the studio is currently offering classes in:

Cyanotype printmaking

Intaglio Collograph printmaking          

Woodblock printing


Print pattern and stamp


Creative handstitched ‘scapes’

Needle felting textile and stitch              

Needle felted Squirrel

Natural plant dyed silk scarves              

Dorset Buttons

Green willow satchel making

Women’s woodworking – pallet furniture

Beginners stone carving

Abstract painting and mixed media

Chinese folded secrets book

Felted Christmas decorations

Felted robins

Collograph christmas cards 

Christmas wreaths.


Intaglio Collograph


Woodblock printing

The studio’s brand spanking new printing press!

Women’s woodworking and Green Willow Baskets.


Chinese folded secrets book

Needle felted squirrel

Christmas workshops

Apart from the ‘Scapes’ courses I’ve also signed up for some other textile and printmaking sessions and the Chinese folded secrets book making class which looks fascinating but there are many other classes I would happily do if I had more time and money. I really am spoilt for choice so you can see why I think the studio is such a great place. I’m also very excited because in August I will be joining the ranks of tutors at the studio when I will be running a workshop to make beads and button bracelets like these…

Bead and button bracelet

Artisan Community Art Studio has recently relocated to new premises as part of the Branksome Recreation Centre so, if like me you’re fortunate enough to live in Dorset, UK and are interested in finding out more you might be interested in a couple of open days that are coming up:

Thursday 15th June 12-1.30pm ~ official opening for support agencies, care workers etc. Free Refreshments! Please visit to find out more about what’s on offer for people who have had a stroke, have a learning disability, a mental health condition, Aspergers/Autism, Dementia or Chronic Fatigue.

Sunday 18th June 1am-3pm Grand Open Day with Bouncy Castle, stalls, free family drop in art and craft workshops etc. Everyone welcome. Please come and visit us in our wonderful new studio.

Artisan Community Art Studio
Branksome Centre (Previously Parkstone Arts & Sports Centre)
Recreation Road 9 (Off Alder Rd)
Branksome, BH12  2EA

You can also find out more about the studio and book courses trough their website.

If you don’t live near enough to take advantage of this great little community treasure, well I’m very sorry about that but I would thoroughly recommend searching out arts facilities in your own community. This has certainly been a great find for me and I bet there are lots of similar projects out there. Please feel free to leave a comments below if you know of something you’d like to share.



Lesley Watt

Lesley Watt started making jewellery in 2009 with a handful of hobby store beads but quickly discovered art beads and became completely smitten. Taking courses in metal clay, metal smithing, enamelling and etching she began making her own components in 2011 and has never looked back. Always looking to try new things she has branched out into ceramics, bead embroidery, mixed media and textiles.
  1. Reply

    This is *exactly* the direction I’m trying to take with the art space I have adjacent to my retail bead shop! I’ve been very discouraged of late because beading seems to be on the downturn, and I find myself more interested in fibers, fabric, paint, and whatnot, as a background for beads, rather than the other way around. This article has really inspired me today! Thank you so much for sharing it!!!! You have made my day and possibly helped save my sanity by showing that such a concept is truly viable. Thank you!

    • Reply

      I’m so glad the post inspired you Helen. I think it’s a great goal to aim for and I wish you every success.

  2. Reply

    That’s a great resource Lesley! So excited for you!

  3. Reply

    What a great write-up Lesley. I am the tutor for the Collagraph and monoprinting workshop, and thank you for featuring my monoprint – it’s currently being exhibited in the Engine Room restaurant, Poundbury, alongside other prints for “Open for Art” (open studios and art trail starts today!). Look forward to seeing you on a workshop!

    • Reply

      Thanks Genevieve – looking forward to meeting you.

  4. Reply

    What a wonderful local resource! I’m quite envious!

    • niky sayers
    • May 21, 2017

    This sounds utterly amazing I shall have to look and see if there is anything like this local to me!

  5. This sounds like such an amazing community of talented folks! I am jealous of the variety of classes you have access to.
    I think I need to come visit 🙂 I want to see more of your tree piece please.

Leave a Comment