Teamwork at Ally Pally….

Teamwork at Ally Pally….

Evenin’ all!
So glad you dropped in.
What a day!
Ally Pally Day 1 – brilliant.
Great fun, stonking day!
Loads of happy customers, restoring our faith in the shows.
After the NEC, I have to say, the worm of doubt set in….
Well the Gods have been gracious to us!
Traffic was a slide today, both on the way up to Ally Pally,
and on the way home.
Which I am very happy about, 
because it’s our Susan’s birthday today, and you don’t want to spend your birthday on traffic on the M25!
Susan brought our Maria down from oop norf on Thursday.
10 hours on the road….
 God knows which route they took, 
but apparently it was the M6 which caused the snarl up.
And the M40.
And the M25.
In fact, it sounds as though the only bit of clear road was our drive! 
Do you know Maria Simms?
She doesn’t like having her photo taken…
and someone really needs to tell her 
that her name plaque is oh so last year!
But she is a diamond; a real arty talent.
I just received an Email from a customer from today.
This is what she said:
My friends and I just wanted to say how much we enjoyed the demonstration by Maria Simms.
She was so patient and nothing was too much trouble, and we are now looking forward to putting all the goodies we bought into practice.
Just think credit where credit’s due.

Praise indeed.
Maria is one of the shining lights on the Clarity Team.
One of those unsung heros, who just quietly gets on with it…
Apart from being on the Design Team for many years,
backing and supporting and helping every month,
she is also one of the main Clarity tutors.
She runs workshops all through the north,
in Preston, Catterick, the Wirral and down as far as Shrewsbury.
(She wants to organise a new group in Leeds, so if you are from that area and you know of a good church hall, please contact her)
Years ago, she and I made a plan, and we are sticking to it. 
I was really struggling doing regional workshops and running the company; it was too much.
Maria volunteered to cover the North.
And the rest is history.
She has done such a stellar job, that more and more workshops have sprung up around the country.
Maria, Jo Rice, Janet Pring and Sally-Ann Hanes 
all cover different regions, which I couldn’t possible get to.
So whilst I cover the 2-day retreats down here in the south,
Maria & Co look after hundreds of Clarity Crafters around the country. 
She is Clarity through and through.
Even has a Clarity Hub in the Wirral, which is open to the public.
There really is so much on offer, 
and so many of you don’t even know all this.
Here is a list of all the activities and workshops Maria has planned in the coming months….
Wirral classes, 10.30am-3.30pm
Thursday 2 April
Thursday 7 May
Thursday 18 June
Thursday 16 July
Wirral £15 classes, 10.30am-3.00pm
Thursday 16 April
Thursday 4 June
Wirral evening class, 6.45-8.45pm
Thursday 23rd April
Thursday 21 May
Wirral mixed media Sundays, 11-4. 
Sunday 31 May
Sunday 19 July
PRESTON 11am-4pm
SUNDAY 19 April
Saturday 23 May
Saturday 11 July
SHREWSBURY 10.30am-3.30pm
Saturday 18 April
Saturday 16 May
Saturday 6 June
Saturday 4 July
          Saturday April 25th
          Saturday May 30th
          Saturday July 18th
          Leeds, coming soon! We just need a venue!!
It is a thriving community, 
and I hear nothing but goodness about Clarity Life up north!
In the coming days, I will procure list from the other lovely Clarity tutors too, but today let’s just give Maria a round of applause.
Because this is one hell of a tall order,
and she rises to the challenge amazingly.
Great artwork, great teacher.
Oh. And great friend.
If you know Maria, or attend her classes,
leave us a message and pray do share!
If you live up north, and you would like to find out more,
join in,
then contact Maria directly. 
Much easier that way!
Unit 45 Price Street Business Centre
          CH41 4JQ

More news about other regions coming soon…
lots of love,

51 thoughts on “Teamwork at Ally Pally….

  1. For she's a jolly good fellow! Had that sing to me last night so it came into my head as I was reading about Maria! Well done Maria – you provide inspiration to us all!! Xx. Had to laugh when I read what you said about the roads and your drive Barbara! Have felt the same this week just getting home from work – even walked one day! Glad the show is going well xxxx

    Ps Oxford won both races so all good today even if I didn't get anything in the National!

  2. I would echo all that your customer said about Maria. Her patience seems endless and she will always make sure you leave her classes having succeeded in your projects. A true crafter, generous with her time and inspiration, and a real ambassador for the Clarity ethos. Glad you had a better time today that at the dismal NEC, xxx Maggie

  3. So pleased that the day went well and that you have such good support. I didn't know about these classes! How big a place do you need? Bet I could find you one in the Sheffield/Rotherham area-straight off M1 or M18!?
    Hope tomorrow goes as well as today. Take care! Jan x

  4. Don't know why Maria does not like having photo taken she is lovely, such a pretty smiley face. She is a wealth of knowledge as well. I have been to Sally-Ann's workshop today and now I am hooked, she really took me out of my comfort zone but sooooo enjoyable. So from my experience your team are amazing. Glad show going well and restoring your faith. x

  5. Glad all went well. I think Maria is wonderful too. I attended one of her classes last year and loved every second. I must organise myself and get booked in again x

  6. Evening Barbara! Glad you've had a better day today than at the NEC!
    Happy birthday Susan….I hope you have a better journey home!!
    And Maria…get your face in front of that camera and smile….no arguments!!
    I agree with you about her being a tremendous tutor! I love going to Maria's workshops… She has such fabulous ideas and uses different techniques! She rocks!
    Hope you all have a good day tomorrow! Love and hugs Xxxx

  7. Maria lovely Maria sooo inspirational. I love her workshop's at Preston, I have also been to her hub on the Wirral several times..would like to go more often but don't get the chance. Every time we do fantastic projects and it's always a very enjoyable day. Oh and her hub?…packed with ClarIty goodies…heaven. I am glad you had a good day today Barbara as I have seen a few negative posts about the show and missing companies. I hope you have another great day tomorrow. Your new set up looks fantastic. Looking forward to Port Sunny I got my tickets….yay.

  8. Very well deserved recommendation of Maria!s talents. Have loved meeting her and Jo and SECC in the past and they're both so friendly, talented and generous with their time and advice. Workshops in Scotland likely to be on the list? Glad today went to well. Please come back to Glasgow xx

  9. I'm not going to Port Sunlight this year, too packed out for me. I did visit the Lady Leverhulme Museum last time. The quilling work displayed there is fantastic and very old. Worth every penny it didn't cost to go in. Glad Ally Pally was fruitful- I haven't been there either. It's the NEC for me. We go in a group of 3/4, stay at the Travel Lodge for a few nights and have two full days at the NEC. Our little group has such a good laugh and always end up in trouble when we get home! I think the cost of parking spoils the NEC and the restricted choice of taxis sully the 'Crafter atmosphere'. Still we enjoy 'hanging round' Clarity Corner. Where else would we be!

  10. Glad you are having a good time at Ally Pally. Maria is one amazing lady. Uber talented, generous, patient… she is an absolute inspiration, and I love, Love, LOVE her workshops in Shrewsbury. Xxx

  11. it looked and felt so much better than NEC. thank you for today Barb. you made my little man very happy. he felt so proud and so enjoyed watching you. he was telling me all about it in the car on the way home. he watched Maria too and she also commented at how polite he was when asking for a shopping basket from on of your helpers.
    and Maria you should have had a pic taken today. you look so much better now. losing weight has shed years off you as well, so come on don't do a Theresa and hide. you really don't have too, hugs xx

  12. I'm so pleased that Ally Pally was a success today. Happy birthday wishes to Susan, you lovely lady.
    I couldn't agree more with all your praise for Maria. It changed my life when I was at the SECC a few years ago and I asked Dave about Clarity classes in the North and he told me to go see the lady doing the demonstrations at the end. Maria has been so welcoming and and I now consider her a good friend. Her patience and skill has helped me improve so much. She also has great design ideas for us to try. We have a fantastic time and I've made many good & supportive friends. We also have a good laugh and eat cake.
    So no more hiding under black sheets Maria! Stand up and take credit where credit is due.
    Love to all
    Jeanette xx

  13. Well done Maria, I'll say hello tomorrow,,.
    Do you do work shops near Cambridge as would love to come to one , ???
    Also where do you do your retreats , ????

  14. barbara what a wonderful dedicated team you have and they deserve your praise clarity wouldn't be clarity with out you all happy crafting to all xxx

  15. Hi Barb,
    So pleased you've had a good day today at Ally Pally. Lovely compliment to Maria too. You certainly have a fantastic team at Clarity. Love Alison xx

  16. wonderful post Barb – and so glad it was a good day for you – I go to Jo Rice's clarity cumbria – and couldn't be happier – she is a wonderful tutor and a wonderful person – when my husband was in hospital she even offered to come round for a chat and a brew at the hospital – how nice is that! She is a shining star! You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful team – but I'm sure you know that!!!! Big huggles rachel x

  17. Hi Barbara I am so pleased to hear ally pally is going well, you sound more upbeat today than you did after the NEC . Lovely tribute to Maria, it would be lovely to meet her one day having heard so much about her and seen her samples on TV. Happy birthday Susan I hope you have enjoyed your day with the gang. I hope it's takeaway at your house tonight with a tad of wine and a lot of laughter as you get ready for tomorrow. Enjoy yourself tomorrow.
    Love Diane xxx

  18. I met Maria a few years ago when you still did shows at Newbury. It was near the end of the day and I was struggling and feeling very poorly – Maria was so kind and helped me out and I never forgot it! She is so kind and talented and it's so nice you have recognised this on your post. Everyone I have ever dealt with at Clarity, at shows or on the phone, have all been helpful and lovely. Thank you! xxx

  19. I went to NEC and saw Maria demo new fresco chalk paints. Absolutely inspiring, had to go get some then and there. Given me the confidence to try something bigger, I've gone A4 on canvas board too ready for my mum's birthday at end of month. All because of Maria and of course your good self Barbara. What more can you say, unsung hero not today. Here's to the two of you, all the hard work you do, we do appreciate it and time to give back a little of what we get from people like you two, inspiration, encouragement and general cheers all round. Have a ball tomorrow and long may you both continue. Karen

  20. Hi Barbara
    So very pleased that today has been so much better than the nec!
    Were your ears burning this evening? I was chuckling as I re-read your Christmas blog post with your plum recipe – it seems to have gone quite well, tho the truth of the pud is in the eating which won't happen until tomorrow. Can't wait! Thanks for sharing it.
    I hope tomorrow goes as well as today.

  21. Evening Barbara . Glad to hear all went well. Happy Birthday Susan, hope you had a good one. As for our lovely Maria, I am very much a fan of her work. She is such a lovely person too. I have met Maria up in Glasgow and she was ever so kind. She gives great hugs too. Wish her workshops were a bit more ' up north' as I would certainly attend. Hugs to all xxxx

  22. So glad a good day was had by all Barbara and lets give a round of applause to Maria who is obviously a valued member of the clarity team. x

  23. Sounds like it's been a fun day. I am one of the lucky ones who has been over to the hub and had the pleasure of a day with Maria and a coupe of her regulars. A very talented, warm and generous lady, who I have a lot to thank for. Hope you have an even better tomorrow and save a little of yourself for the P man. LOL That M6 is a joke at the moment.

  24. Love Maria's class in Shrewsbury, she is so patient with everyone and such a great inspiration to us all. Only wish she did one in the Stoke area so I didn't have to travel so far. However do car share with Barbara Lancaster which is good. Keep up the good work all of you in the Clarity team. Think you are all fantastic. xx

    1. Hi all, very please it all went well at Ally Pally. I'll be going to Maria's workshop in Shrewsbury on 18th April, can't wait. I am a regular follower of Barbara's blog, you tube Tuesday and monthly appearances on C&C and love looking at all her team's work. Keep hoping their talent will rub on me eventually!!!!

      Hi Pearl (and Barbara Lancaster), I live in the Stoke area and wonder whether you would consider another person to do car sharing in the future when you attend Maria's workshops.

  25. Heĺlo Barb, so fantastic to hear that you had such a successful day. You have a fabulous team, and hats off to them all. I have never had the pleasure of meeting Maria, but having seen her work on the Clarity site and on the TV shows, I have no doubt that anyone attending any of her events comes away inspired. Thank you for sharing the pics. Hope today is just as good. Bx

  26. Hi Barbara, Yes all of us from her Wirral Classes will agree with you Maria is fantastic. She is a great teacher. We always leave having had a fab day. When Maria finds a demo room in Leeds the class will soon be full. Have a great day. Claire.x

  27. So good to know your day was better, I just wish they were not so far away. Remember Barbara you have huge support out here in Clarity world and we love you all. Keep up the good inspirational work that you and your team give us every day.

  28. Sorry Maria is too shy to say hello on tinternet – but very glad you had a good day at Ally Pally, and your faith in us is restored. Now all I need is a Maria who sets up classes in the N West of Ireland. Not to much to ask, is it? LOL

  29. I have been to a fair few of Maria's classes in Preston and Birkenhead, and have always enjoyed them. You come away buzzing and full of ideas, raring to go. Love having a little shop at the Hub too.
    Glad to hear things are going well at Ally Pally x

  30. Hi Barbara, very pleased to hear it is going really well at your show, it sounds like you are all having a ball. I only know Maria from when she demonstrated Clarity products on the telly in between your monthly shows. She comes across as a very gentle, very kind, will do anything for anyone to help, lovely soul. She is very talented and I used to enjoy those shows, and picked up some new ideas and techniques from them. Maria, how can you be so shy and do live TV, what a very brave person. Hope today is at least as good for you all.
    Love Brenda xx

  31. Managed to get to ally pally after all and saw the clarity stand in action!! How do you manage to bring all that stock? also. Great demo from Barbara of the Gelli plate – and saw the step I have been missing out! It's been working out ok though bit I can see how to be even more creative now. Show quieter than I expected – although I've never been to one before so what do I know! From a customers perspective though it was great because we got to see everything and it was easy to get round. Hope it didn't have too much impact on trade though as we rely on these shows to see new stuff and reawaken our creative mojo (mine has been asleep for a while!) thanks for a lovely day!!

  32. My message seems to have disappeared so I apolgise if 2 pop up!

    I wish i lived up North to do classes

    I only discovered Clarity stamps at the last NEC where I was hooked by a demo by Barb, I ended up buying masks.

    This year I wanted to buy a set of stamps. Maria gave me the first demo of the weekend with the buny stamps. She was lovley. Patient answering all my daft questions and very friendly! I ended up buying masks, stamps, paper and brushes. Spending most my budget before 10:10 but it was so worth it as they are such god quality. I will definitely be back!

  33. This is my 3rd attempt at a comment on here, technologies great when it works, haha.
    Miss Maria is our wonderful Clarity Mama in The North !
    A lovely lady, witty full of fun and classes are always a joy to attend. Full of new techniques, interesting projects lots to learn and practice. I wish I could get to everyone.
    Maria " You Rock " xxx

  34. Hello everybody, I have just arrived home from Ally Pally and properly read this blog post, I feel hugely privileged to have been featured like this on Barb's blog, thank you very very much Barb xxx
    And all of the lovely complimentary comments, I'm smiling from ear to ear, thank you all for your kindness, you've made my day! xxx

  35. I'm a bit late reading your blog Barbara, just wanted to say I met Maria at the NEC last November and she was lovely, I was so pleased to meet and chat with her, I look forward to seeing her again sometime 🙂 Glad you had a good weekend too Barbara xxx

  36. I attend Maria's workshops and can 100% recommend them. She is a very talented lady, a great tutor, so many ideas and so so patient. Have been to both the Wirrall and Preston and both groups are very welcoming so if you fancy attending you will be made welcome.
    P.S clarity Stamps aren't bad either !!

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