Welcome to our all-too-infrequently updated little blog about goings on at Art Van Go - art suppliers to the stars.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Exciting New Publications!!

After lengthy gestations we are proud to announce the birth of three new additions to the Art Van Go family!! All three publications were ‘born’ just in time for the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace on the 7th October. Like proud parents of new babies we would like to introduce you to:

‘Paintstiks: Marvellous Markal - Sumptuous Shiva’
by Ruth Issett

The long-awaited book, from the guru herself, will show you just how versatile Paintstiks are. This book can be used as a starting point for those new to this medium, or as a means of stretching your work further into areas of mixed media. The results will be ‘sizzling’ whether used on paper, or directly onto fabric!
And also ......

‘Page After Page: Making Individual Books and Journals’
by Frances Pickering
Presented as though one her own stitched and hand-illustrated books, Frances explains some of the techniques she uses to create the books and reveals some of the inspiration behind them. A glorious book for anyone who has any creative interest.
And, just in case anyone missed the news in my previous post ....
Last, but by no means least,
The new 80 page Art Van Go Catalogue!!
After months & months of work it’s finally here! We’ve already had very positive feedback about it being ‘worth the wait’ and we hope you will agree. Lots of new products and exciting new ranges. You can get hold of a hard copy by sending three first class stamps (here in the UK) or for £1.00 when you see us at shows etc, or by asking for one to be included in your order if the order is over £10.00. The PDF of the catalogue is available to download at no charge.
If you have sent stamps in previously, and not yet received your copy of the new catalogue, please let us know.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Knitting and Stitching Alexandra Palace

It's that time of year again - Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally.
This isn't going to be a long post, as, along with everyone else, I've been frantically busy on the stand all day, and my back's sore - but thought I should just let you see a couple of photos. Firstly the stand, all pristine and ready for customers. And Ruth, of course, in much the same condition.
Here we see one of the judges of "The Oldest Teaboy at the Show" competition, having a quiet word with one of the contestants about the state of his tray. And then, I have REALLY EXCITING NEWS!!!!!!
Are you ready for this???? ...... Ta ta da da da ta daaaaa!

Yes, it's the long-awaited, much-requested, often-promised, time-consuming, nail-biting, hankered-after, glossy-paged, art goods-packed, full colour.......

Available for the very first time at the show today.
I think when you see it, you'll understand what a mammoth job it was to produce, and of course Viv does have one or two other little jobs to attend to.
Anyway, I've got a signed copy, so you're not having mine, you get your own. And, to all those people who have sent in stamps, back at the shop they are busy putting catalogues in envelopes to post out to you. It's busier than Santa's Grotto, with considerably fewer elves. Hopefully you should get them (postal strike permitting) in the next couple of weeks.
Right I'm off now to get some rest before going back tomorrow - but this time to look round, not to work. I'll be back on the stand on Saturday though, so if any of you who read this are there on Saturday, come and say 'Hello'
Night night
Gill x

Friday, 18 September 2009

Open Studios - Private View

This is a very late reminder of the Private View which is on tonight, Friday 18th September at The Studios from 7pm. I would have mentioned it earlier, but I called into the shop by chance this morning and only found out about it then. It is in the workshop programme, so hopefully you hadn't forgotten about it, and are all getting ready to make your way to Art Van Go as we speak.
There is work from five artists -
Kim Major-George, with atmospheric art using collagraph printing, hand finished using oils, foils and metallic threads .....
Jill Winch, a botanical artist diploma at Chelsea Physic Garden, Member of SSP, Exhibited at SBA London, Local Art societies and ArtVanGo .....

Sara Button, detailed textile work incorporating mixed techniques and media. Complex textures, machine embroidery and angelina feature heavily in the intricate pieces.

Denise Allen, who says she is exploring media and subject, enjoying the journey, always loving the sea and play of light on waters surface ....
and last but not least, Aileen Lawrence, who paints flowers and landscapes in a loose, exuberant and vibrant way using watercolour, mixed media and pastels ....

Really sorry about the standard of the dodgy looking photos - they were done in a bit of a rush this morning, but you get the general idea.

AND, as an added bonus, as well as all that wonderful artwork to look at, there will be free booze, there will definitely be cake, and there will be men. I was going to say naked men, but Kevin says that's only if more than 250 of you turn up.

Incidentally, while I was there this morning, I enquired about the catalogue. Now, I know you're going to say you've heard it all before, but ......... it's nearly ready. Viv and Jen are just putting the finishing touches to it, the designers are working on the completed sections, and the printers are lined up ready to go. It will definitely (and I've been told I can say this) be ready in time for Knit and Stitch at Allly Pally. It'll obviously take a while to send out to all the people who have sent in stamps, so bear with us. As soon as I know that they have all been despatched I'll let you know.
And, talking of the K&S - two other 'new releases' will also be launched at the show.
Ruth Issett's new book on Markal, called "PAINTSTIKS". And no, that's not a spelling error by Ruth, it's what Markals are called in the States. Those Americans sure are wacky when it comes to spelling, aren't they.
The second book to be launched at Ally Pally is Frances Pickering's long awaited book "PAGE AFTER PAGE".
I can't wait, and I'm just glad I've recently had new bookshelves at home and have a little bit of spare space now.
Finally, for those of you who can't get along tonight the exhibition will be open this weekend, when you can take part in an event to produce "The World's Longest Painting" (maybe it's Knebworth's answer to the Bayeux Tapestry - a pictorial story of the production of the catalogue?) Anyway, come along and join in and add your own kind of art to it - outside if weather permits, and in the Studio if not.
The exhibition then runs from Tues 22nd until Sunday 27th.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


We know that a lot of you have been asking about the new catalogue - and I still can't tell you when it's going to be ready - it's a mammoth job to produce - but we really hope it will be ready by the autumn.
Needless to say, we have had a number of telephone calls asking what's happening - but a letter from one lady went beyond the call of duty - and I felt we should share it with you so you'll know you're not alone!
Oh how I'd like a catalogue
To make a shopping spree
And Art Van Go are keeping one
Especially for me
Three times I have requested it -
With stamps - as advertised!
But postie always passes by -
One day I'll be surprised!!
Magazines and book I read
With projects to impress
But where to get the goods I ask -
It's Art Van Go's address!
Shows and computers baffle me
And are beyond my dreams
So shopping via catalogues -
The only way it seems
So Art Van Go please hear my plea
And let me be inspired
Crafts and Textiles fill my life
I'm old and I'm retired.
From Miriam Pugsley, aged 80
Member of West Country Embroiderers.
I thought the least I could do was respond in a similar vein!
Thank you for your letter
That you sent to us in rhyme
We would have answered sooner
But we get so little time!
And therein lies the problem
If you'd allow me to explain
Why you asked us for a catalogue
And then asked us once again
You sent off your request - with stamps
And now you feel dejected
But we've noted down your details
Please - don't feel neglected!
Viv's working hard on the catalogue
And there's such a lot to do
But rest assured, when it's complete
We'll post one off to you.
In the meantime - if you need something
And you're feeling all alone
Don't despair - we're always here
Just call us on the phone!
Gill xx
Seriously, we know that a lot of you have been waiting for some time, and as soon we possibly can, we'll get it to the printers and get them off to you. We have kept details of all the people who have written in and sent stamps, so you won't be forgotten. In the meantime, if there's anything you want, even if you don't know exactly what it's called, or the catalogue number, just give us a call and we'll do our very best to help.
Does anyone know if there is still a position for Poet Laureate - I'm going to see if Miriam and I can do a Job Share.

Monday, 30 March 2009

You may remember that a couple of posts ago, I talked about the exhibitions at 'Textiles in Focus' held at Cottenham in February. Specifically, I posted a photograph of the sales table comprising work of the Facets group of textile artists. I was later contacted by Rhona of Facets, who has kindly sent me photographs of the work that they had displayed at the Exhibition. I did take some photographs myself, but unfortunately, due to lighting, (oh, ok then, my ineptitude as a photographer!) they didn't really turn out well enough to include here, so my thanks to Rhona for supplying these. Facets will be holding their own exhibition within the next 12 months, so I will let you know more details when we have them. Meanwhile, here are the aforementioned photos ....

Beautiful and varied work, I'm sure you'll agree. Thanks again Rhona.
Meanwhile, if anyone else out there would like us to mention their exhibitions, or send us photographs of their work (come on, don't be shy!) please contact us via the website at http://www.artvango.co.uk/

Friday, 6 March 2009

Upcoming workshops

Just a quick post to remind you of some of the great workshops we have lined up in the near future - some of them are fully booked already, but amongst those which still have some vacancies include the following:-
Creative Metal Clay with Sarah Lamb on Friday 13th March. Create objects in silver by simply modelling the metal clay using non-traditional jewellery methods. Sarah has great experience using this revolutionary silver clay, and it will be possible to create small pieces of jewellery by the end of the day. £49 (inc £20 materials charge)
Embellish to Stitch - a two day workshop by Pauline Verrinder on Wed 28th and Thurs 29th May - this has proved very popular in the past with new owners of Embellisher machines to help them comes to grips with all the wonderful work that can be produced by these machines. So if you've got one that you haven't fully explored, this is the course for you. Previous classes have been oversubscribed - so get in quick! £57 (inc £3.00 materials charge)
Another two day workshop of interest to those of you with Embellishers (but not exclusively) is
It's a Wrap! by Christine Benson on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th May. Using silk fibres and machine lace you will produce beautiful surfaces for quilting and embroidery from which you can go on to create a distinctive and unique scarf. £70 (inc £6.00 materials charge)
Then we have workshops being run by no less than three artists currently exhibiting with the Prism group at the Mall Galleries in London:
Machines Textures by Gina Ferrari on Friday 3rd April.
This is a machine embroidery workshop where you will learn more techniques for creating rich textures and combine them to produce a landscape style embroidery. This will develop techniques from a previous class but is also suitable for beginners, although students will need to be familiar with their machines. £32 (inc £2 materials charge
Layers in the Landscape - a Textile Approach by Amanda Hislop over the weekend of Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th April.
Taking the landscape as inspiration, explore the effects of layering papers, threads and found materials to form surfaces for stitch. Add texture and overlay washes of colour. Cut back and reveal textile and image, fragment and reassemblage. Explore the potential of this flexible method. £82 (inc £8.00 materials charge)
Colour and Paper - What If??! a three day workshop from Ruth Issett on Wednesday 22nd to Friday 24th April.
Explore the possibilities of working with colour and paper - build paper surfaces, add print, plus a variety of mixed media such as gesso, wax resists and acruylic mediums to give uniquely colourful finishes. A course for those who like to experiment and wish to expand and develop their knowledge with colour on paper. £115 (inc £8.00 materials charge)
To book a course, for more information about these and other courses, or to request a copy of the workshop programme, please call us at the shop on 01438 814946 or email us via our website

Monday, 23 February 2009

Textiles in Focus

We had a very busy and enjoyable weekend at the Textiles in Focus show in Cottenham, near Cambridge, organised brilliantly as always by Pauline Verrinder and her team. You can just see AVG up against the wall at the end!Pauline suggested/insisted that the organisers wear hats, which made them easier to identify! Here's Pauline setting a fine example
There were some great stands, including one run by the textile group Fibrefusion

And other by Fen Edge Textiles
Sharon Osbourne, frequently demonstrator (and visitor) to AVG was demonstrating her work
And in the main exhibition area, there was some fantastic work by the Sleaford Embroiderers, who amongst other things had a vibrant display of ATCs (Artist Trading Cards, for the uninitiated)
And then the beautiful and varied work produced for their Group Challenge "On the Waterfront"
And finally, last but by no means least, some really beautiful work from a group of textile artists known collectively as "Facets"

Textiles in Focus is a small but wonderfully friendly show, and if you haven't been, and live within reasonable travelling distance of Cottenham, I can't recommend it highly enough. There are dozens of 2 hour workshops to attend, and all the participants that we spoke to had really enjoyed them. The lecture this year, on Saturday afternoon, was by Mary Sleigh, author of African Inspirations in Embroidery.
If you didn't manage to get there this year, and would like to be added to the database to ensure you get advance notification of next year's show, contact the organisers via http://www.textilesinfocus.com/

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Viv and Kevin have been up at the NEC in Birmingham for a few days with a stand at the Craft Hobby and Stitch Trade Show. Myself and Ann went up for the last day (yesterday) to have a look around and see what new products are available, with a view to stocking them at the Studios (watch this space!) Lots of lovely new books on the way - which were ordered on the basis of "will Pam buy this?" I hope she's been saving her pennies, 'cos there are lots to tempt her!
Towards the end of the day, after Ann and I had identified things for Viv to look at she went off the check them out. I had a text from her saying "meet me at the Efco stand" and this is the scene when I arrived ... William from Efco and Viv enjoying a beer and a laugh.
Meanwhile, Kev was still busy on the stand, here seen chatting to Margaret Beal. Please note, Kev is wearing matching shoes for once - apparently it's because it's a Trade Show and he needs to look professional!You tell him not to look at the camera, but in the end, he just can't stop himself.
Anyway, it was a successful show with lots of Trade orders - and with new stock coming to the Studios very soon.

Don't forget, AVG will be at the Textiles in Focus show in Cottenham this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

New Workshop Programme!!

At long last, after much ado, and many enquiries, the time has now come (Fanfare please).....


Viv was sent to her room with NO SUPPER until she had completed the workshop programme. Even worse, we told her she wouldn't be allowed to go on holiday until it was done. So, it's now finished and should be winging it's way out to you as we speak. Have a look through, and I think you'll agree, it was worth waiting for! Some of the workshops get filled very quickly, as you know, so to avoid disappointment - don't delay!
Anyway, as it is now done, Viv has been 'un-grounded' and has been permitted to go off with Kevin for a week in Luxor. (On the basis that, if the Pyramids won't come to Knebworth ....)
I'm sure we all wish them a great holiday - they certainly deserve it.
What other news??
Sadly, there will be a couple of shows missing from the calendar in 2009. We have recently learned that there will be no Fashion and Embroidery Show in Harrogate this year. Also, there will not be a Knitting and Stitching Show at the NEC, although you will, of course, still be able to visit AVG at the K&S shows at Alexandra Palace, Harrogate and Dublin (oh, and Kevin says to tell you that there are some great plans afoot for Harrogate and Dublin this year).
In the meantime, and much nearer on the calendar, there is "Textiles in Focus" at Cottenham in Cambridgeshire, on 20th/21st and 22nd February.
See http://www.textilesinfocus.com/ for more details.
As usual, Viv will be running a couple of workshops there on the Friday and Sunday.
I think that's all the current news - I hope to be able to show you some of Viv and Kev's holiday photos when they get back.