Sunday, 25 September 2016

Transformations: from empty shop to Happy Planet Studio & Gallery in 3.4 weeks

I collected the keys for our new premises on Friday 26th August, with the decorators starting work the next day and finishing the following Wednesday.

The empty shell on day one
Once the decorators had finished I couldn't wait to start moving in furniture ........ not just because it was exciting to finally have a our new premises, but almost as important was to reclaim my home, which had become part shop, part studio and part furniture store. The majority of our furniture in the gallery is second hand from community furniture stores, or was liberated from skips.......with permission. Some needed a little tlc, some needed a lot.  It took several days to get it all shop ready but I feel it all helps to take ownership of the space, to say nothing of getting it all to match. Most of the preparation work was done in my garden, as sanding is a filthy job.

When the furniture was all repaired and painted, deciding what should go where was the fun part. A new window display ledge was also built, with plenty of storage out of sight, as the space itself had not storage. Once it was put into to place there were only a couple of minor changes, it was almost as if the furniture was made for the space.

Nearly done, the view from my desk

My favourite transformation is the converted darts cabinet, now a jewellery display case,  with the aid of some polystyrene, glue and black velvet, complete with chalk boards to show information.

A few days later and all of the stock is labelled and signage complete, Alan the sign writer has been twice, once to put up our name and logo and again to add 'the planet' and window logos. It's a wonder I wasn't arrested for stalking window cleaners, as both the inside and out were too high and hideously dirty to be cleaned by yours truly. Finally 'Dave', cornered up his ladder at 7am one sunny morning, took pity on us, liked our coffee and says he'll add us to his round .......... result!

The next task was to co-ordinate the stock being brought in by artists and putting together displays, thankfully they all took responsibility for their own and left me to do mine and the shop window.

The seaside corner, which looks like it has always been there

 Finally, the day that felt like it would never arrive, arrived. I was hanging curtains at 5.15am, tidying my desk, sweeping the floor and fighting with a very irritating printer. Eventually, with seven minutes to spare, I lifted the blind, took photos of the shop front and opened the door for the first time.

Opening day in Whitley Bay
 The day was wonderful with a fairly constant stream of customers, both friends and strangers, and the sun shone, nobody could ask for more.  Heart felt thanks to everyone who helped me to complete this undertaking, I absolutely love it and I hope visitors do too.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Poetry with Friends, Tuesday 6th Sept Cancelled

Due to moving premises our scheduled meeting for Tuesday 6th September is cancelled. This is the only change and all scheduled Thursday meetings remain unaffected.

Friday, 12 August 2016

We have a new home

I have now secured new premises on Ilfracombe Gardens in Whitley Bay and will be moving in on Sept 1st. Don't expect to open for 2 - 3 weeks, but will post updates and information as the process flows ........ well at least I hope it flows smoothly.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Summer Workshop Programme Part 1

The first part of our creative summer workshop programme is now available here. Part one contains our more regular activities, but in their new home of The Old Low Lights heritage centre at North Shields. The regular art journaling workshop takes place in the fabulous top floor gallery, which is light and airy with panoramic views of the river, it's the perfect creative space and will also be used for the felt picture workshops.

Part 2 of our workshop programme is just waiting for a few minor details to be ironed out, but is full of new creative workshops to inspire and delight  right up to Christmas and we hope to unveil those to you by the end of July.

You can book securely online through our online shop here. If you would prefer to book by cheque or other method, or have any questions please contact Gail directly either by email or Tel:07752356880

If you are not on our mailing list and would like to be kept up to date on workshops and other happenings at Happy Planet you can either drop us an email or sign up via the form on our website home page. We don't pass your details to anyone else.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

New Summer Programme of Creative Workshops due on July 12th

Our new programme of creative orkshops will be published on Tuesday 12th July.
We have some old favourites and some new ones, so please check back next week.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Poetry with Friends .......... Left to our own devices on Thursday

Poetry with Friends celebrates it's 2nd birthday this month and oh how it has grown in so many ways. From the early days of Elaine and myself reading other people's selections for them, to this week, the group running themselves. Joyce took charge of the pencil and the following were offered by the group, to punctuate lots of stimulating discussion which varied from the almost philosophical to the ribald. Much laughter all round as usual.

The Unimaginative Scout by John Hegley

Getting Older -Elaine Feinstein

Anticipation - June Leader
Life Comment - June Leader

Tattoos - Jeff Price

Faded Vows - Tessa

Dance in the Rain - Rowland Hill

There was also lots of assorted and stimulating discussion which varied from the almost philosophical to the ribald. Much laughter all round. And writing this was almost like re-enjoying it!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Sheer Poetry, Happiness on a Thursday in Whitley Bay

This week's  Poetry with Friends session in Whitley Bay library was perfect: two new attendees, a wonderful range of poems, good conversation and lots of laughter too.
Linda introduced us to the poems of Robert Crawford, Stella shared work by Degna Stone, Mark Waldron as well as her own work. Both she and Gail read some Emily Dickinson and we also heard work by Roger McGough, Stephen Spender, Gabriel Setoun, Stephen Crane, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Gail Curry and Edna St Vincent Millay. Oh yes and newcomer June read one of her poems too. Thank you, June and we hope to see you and Tessa again next time.