Village Green 2019

The countdown is on… 3 days to go!

We are so thrilled to be part of Village Green festival this year; it’s such an exciting and diverse event right in the heart of our lovely little town. The support the Village Green festival gets every year is so amazing and shows the best of our Southend community spirit!
Every year the festival gets better and better so we are looking forward to seeing what’s in store on Saturday!

Our amazing team have been super busy at the studio this week; prepping headbands, making decorations, and organising a whole host of sparkly items for our ‘Festival Heads’ making marquee! 

We can’t wait too see lots of you there, ready to make your own free festival head dress to wear at Village Green. Will you go for a natural foliage and raffia crown, a boho chic band or a glam feather headdress?! We have lots of different styles to choose from so each head dress can be unique!

Head dress made

Why not complete your festival look by having your hair professionally plaited by the brilliant Jude Raphael. Think fishtail, French, dutch, reverse plaits – you name it, she can plait it! 

Hair plaited

Just a small selection of the pretty things available!

When your Festival Heads look is complete, you can head over to our photobooth where pro photographer, Simon Fowler, will take your photo in front of our festival backdrop. All photos will be uploaded to our Facebook page (@create98leigh) next week for you to find your snap. If you can’t wait that long, feel free to take a selfie –  if you upload to socials and tag us, you’ll be put in a prize draw to win a Create98 £45 voucher! 

Photo taken
Competition entered

Once you’ve explored all the corners of our huge tent, there are so many other brilliantly creative things to go and see and do! Check out the latest Trawler mag or VG website for all the info.

One way you could make your festival head dress!

Our Making Marquee will be open from 11am until 5pm (of course, we can’t miss Fun Loving Criminals and Busted!)
We’ll be located on the Cricket Pitch, right next to the bar – so grab yourself a G&T and come and get your festival craft on! 

Art Trail Adventures

A couple of weeks have passed since the LAT and I have been looking over the photos I took as I trotted around the venues, trying to see as much as I could on a Sunday afternoon (and probably bidding on too many pieces in the secret auction). I was so impressed by the variation this year, in mediums and in content. I grew up in Leigh so could not count how many times I have explored the trail but this one stuck for me, particularly as I was so involved this year from working at Create98.

In our studios at Create98 we had two artists: Bronwyn Oldham (photographer) and Lauren Stranks (embroiderer). It was fantastic seeing their works come together after all the prep and thought that went in! We had a buzzing private view, and a busy week including a day to meet the artists and a late night opening. The top it off we held a free kids workshop called Snap and Stitch which was led by our two artists. The workshop was a combination of both artists’ ideas and talents and resulted in beautiful works!

Snap and Stitch workshop results!

Some of the highlights for me included seeing the works of some of our tutors and neighbouring artists. Lola Swain’s pottery (Venue 9) showed how she was inspired by her world travels and Susan Allen’s paintings in the Two Tree Gallery (Venue 21) illustrated her ability to play with scale and mark making.

Lola Swain
Susan Allen

As a budding curator, I found myself drawn to how the works were displayed. The LAT artists face the challenge of tackling the public space they are exhibiting in in terms of safety of their works, best exposure of the works and not to mention trying not to disrupt the flow of the business itself!

I liked Number 70’s (venue 37) use of the window space to display the jewellery as it created varied levels in the space. Also Jonathan Trim’s (Venue 40) scenic painting contrasted well with the bathroom space and the works displayed in the window were very impactful with the sun bouncing off of them. Overall, I just enjoyed that each temporary gallery was bustling and a bit awkward to get around because it broke the mould of the empty, large commercial gallery space that art is most often displayed in. It is good to enjoy viewing art!

Jonathan Trim

We’d love to hear what you thought of Leigh Art Trail this year!

Get to know our LAT Artists: Lauren Stranks

We are so excited that Create98 is an official venue in the Leigh Art Trail this year. Plus we have not one, but two, fantastic artists exhibiting their work here. Here are a few words from embroiderer, Lauren Stranks.

The Little Leigh Stitchery is my first entry into the Art Trail. The collection of hand-embroidered familiar views and local buildings is the result of taking time to slowly and carefully capture the detail of the everyday. I try to capture the fine detail of the familiar, using needle and thread like pen or paint. 
Since specialising in photography at art college, my career has focused mainly on architecture and conservation. A brief stint as a milliner’s apprentice encouraged me to explore the world of slow, traditional hand-crafting, and I am self-taught in sewing, embroidery and weaving.
I love combining my knowledge and appreciation of architecture with traditional craft skills, and approach embroidery hoops in the same way I fill sketchbooks – preferring a sketchy, illustrative approach over traditional embroidery techniques. 

Leigh Art Trail will run from Saturday 8th June to Saturday 15th June. 
Private View: Friday 7th June 7-9pm
Meet the Artists: Sunday 9th June 2-4pm
Late night opening: Thursday 13th June until 9pm

For more information please visit

Get to know our LAT Artists: Bronwyn Oldham

We are so excited that Create98 is an official venue in the Leigh Art Trail this year. Plus we have not one, but two, fantastic artists exhibiting their work here. Here is a little bit about photographer, Bronwyn Oldham…

Bronwyn played a major role in organising the Leigh Art Trail for over 5 years, before stepping down as Chairperson in 2017 to focus on her own work and concentrate on her academic studies. With 2019 being Bronwyn’s 10th year in the Trail, she has decided to look back at the work she has created over the years, culminating in the form of a mini-retrospective of work which will be published in a book especially to mark the anniversary. This will be launched at the ‘Artist’s Talk’, here at Create 98 on Sunday 9th June, where Bronwyn will talk about how she has got to the current stage in her artistic journey and talk a bit about her future project regarding women and the menopause.

Leigh Art Trail will run from Saturday 8th June to Saturday 15th June.
Private View: Friday 7th June 7-9pm
Meet the Artists: Sunday 9th June 2-4pm
Late night opening: Thursday 13th June until 9pm

For more information please visit

Welcome to the Kitchen Table

A series of workshops in partnership with Kinetika, as part of the T100 project.

We are teaming up with renowned arts organisation Kinetika to offer exclusive workshops for 2019’s T100 walking festival – Welcome to the Kitchen Table. The programme is building on last year’s very successful T100 Recipes and invites people to share personal stories, recollections and recipes connected with food and join a series of walks around and along the estuary in Essex and Kent.

We have curated a series of workshops (available as individual sessions or a package) each of which will explore food and the Kitchen Table in a variety of media- including drawing, fabric printing and large scale silk printing. You can also make a book to record your recipes, or take out walking with you to capture your inspirations. The workshops take place at our studio in Leigh and Kinetika’s brilliant space in Purfleet.

Roses are red…

Valentines day is fast approaching, and we’re embracing the spirit of the season with an evening of love poetry. Join tutor Jen Feroze for an inspiring writing workshop and some prosecco, to help get those creative juices flowing. 

‘Writing about love should feel fresh and surprising, whether you’re composing heartfelt messages to a partner, a long lost love or even to yourself. In this workshop, I’ll be guiding you through a series of creative exercises to help you step away from the greetings card cliches, and come up with something raw, real and romantic that’ll make the perfect Valentines gift. I know that the idea of poetry can sometimes feel intimidating, so promise a gentle evening of writing, fizz and creativity, with no enforced sonnets or rhyme schemes in sight!’

Get to know our garden guru…

We want to introduce our Create98ers to one of our brand new tutors for 2019: Katrina Kieffer-wells, of Earth Designs and Bud to Bloom.

Katrina, in a nutshell:

  • Katrina has been a keen gardener since childhood and worked as a florist for many years.
  • After graduating from university in 1998 with a degree in Creative Arts, Katrina went to work as a producer for a prestigious design and events company based in London’s West End.
  • She left in 2002 and decided to couple her love and knowledge of gardening with her creative skills and experience of event management. Earth Designs was born.
  • Since then Katrina and her husband Matt have grown Earth Designs into a successful company with over 250 designs and 100 builds under their belt.

Impressive, huh?!

Now you can come and learn all about transforming your own garden from the lady herself by attending Katrina’s ‘Design Your Own Garden’ and ‘Garden Masterclass’ sessions at Create98. Become green-fingered just in time Spring!

Welcome to the gang, Katrina!

98 Ways to Change

After asking you all to share how you will be more creative in 2019, your comments started flooding into our facebook and instagram pages. When there’s a £98 voucher up for grabs, why wouldn’t you?! We saw such a variety of creative goals; from simply making the time to be creative, to wanting to start exploring specific arts and crafts, to committing to spend some time with us at Create98. What creative bunch you are!

We loved hearing about your creative plans, so we thought it’s only fair that we share the creative goals of the Create98 team. So, here goes…

Christine: To cook more creatively and be more adventurous with my cooking, using healthy recipes!
Hannah: I am a printmaker and painter, so I plan to continue to develop my practice by accessing a new studio space, or creating my own, so I can exhibit my work and continue to grow as an emerging artist.
Liz: I really want to try my hand at pottery. It’s something I’ve never had a go at and have always been slightly put off by getting mucky hands! But this year, I will beat my fear of dirty fingernails.
Daisy: I want to try some of the creative activities we do at Create98 at home with my little one.
Lorraine: I’ll be joining Liz in a pottery class, definitely! I just need to make sure I book it in my busy schedule!

Finally, a big congratulations to Amanda Sones for winning a £98 course voucher – we look forward to seeing you soon.

We all need “me-time”

We all get to January and promise ourselves that we will make that positive change we’ve been thinking about or swear we’ll try that thing we’ve meaning to do for ages. January soon becomes February and these goals have become a distant memory because, more often than not, life just gets in the way!

We all need to get better at having some “me-time!” It’s super important to stay emotionally, mentally and physically healthy (not to mention far more chilled!) “Me-time” can be as simple as sitting down for a quiet coffee on your own, taking time to read a book, or doing something creative.

Schedule some “me-time” before January is over and New Year Resolutions have been and gone! We know we are 🙂

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