And now for something very clever….

And now for something very clever….

Hi there

Thanks for popping in. Forgive my absence over the past few days; I needed a couple of days to catch my breathe after a very memorable few days at the Spa Parchment Retreat in Tunbridge Wells. After so many, many months spent avoiding people and being pretty much isolated, it was quite overwhelming to see so many old friends, familiar faces and loyal Clarity customers all together again. Not in the altogether! All together!! Can you believe I hadn’t seen Linda Williams physically in well over two years. How could that happen, eh? Sure we speak often on the phone, we text even more and we have facetime chats weekly – but we hadn’t been in the same room with each other since 2019. Believe me, we have had the best time catching up though! Yesterday, she even had a go on the pottery wheel. She who doesn’t do messy! And guess what?! She’s a natural!!!


We just waved farewell to her and Rob. Good friends indeed. So while Dave has a little rest – he’s doing much better, thank you for asking – I thought I’d catch up with you good people. Now that the retreats are over, we can shout about the new and fabulous parching technique we launched at the retreats:

Frosted Overlay, we‘re calling it. It was Actually Lynne Jackson who came up with the idea – and an exceedingly good idea it was too! Lynne was teaching at the retreats – she loved watching her arty vision come to life – it was really brilliant. How often did I hear somebody sit back and look at their work, and say “I can’t believe I did that.” or, “I am so chuffed!” or, “I really enjoyed that!”

In a nutshell, we have taken the traditional Shadow embossing technique – and presented it in a very achievable format. The first thing we did was to print the image in white on parchment. Very, VERY finely, pin sharp in fact. Here is a close up. Spot the F top left. F for front xx

Then you can do traditional shadow embossing to that layer of parchment, like so:

You can also rub out the white print line if you prefer…

Actually, in the kits we’ve also included a printed piece with practice elements of the flower in question, so you can practice before you go to your masterpiece.

Here comes the next clever part. You colour in on another piece of parchment – from the top AND the underneath, using a pattern underneath a plain piece of parchment. Look:

Then you can overlay the frosted piece, the shadow embossed piece. See?

And the results are spectacular!

There’s also a black print on parchment in each pack too, which can be either embossed and overlayed…

or used as an indepedent parchment piece, using just graphite pencils…

There‘s a step by step instruction booklet for the shadow embossing, and a coloured sample to give you inspiration.

At the retreat, we focussed on the ROSE, as you can see. I headed up the colouring layer!

We are actually launching 5 different flowers today:

Each pack contains:

  • 4 x Full flower printed in white on A5 parchment
  • 1 x Flower and leaf elements printed in white on A5 parchment
  • 4 x A5 parchment (for the colouring layer)
  • 1 x Full flower printed in black on A5 white paper (for the colouring pattern)
  • 1 x Full flower printed in full colour on A5 white paper
  • 1 x Full flower printed in black on A5 parchment
  • Instructions by Linda Williams on how to Shadow Emboss

The retreat was split into 3 teaching elements:

The shadow embossing – Linda and Lynne headed up that section

The colouring – Paul and I did that bit

The frame – the gridwork. This was down to Josie and hazel. And what a great section this was too!


Josie designed 2 ingenious new A4sq plates just for the special retreat: One grid plate based on the straight bold grid…

Straight Embossed Frames & Corners

One grid plate based on the Diagonal bold grid…


Diagonal Embossed Frames & Corners


I found these new grid plates to be so easy to use! And you should have seen the picot cutting going on! It was fabulous to watch.

Everything is now available for general sale on our website.  Available HERE


We hope you like this new concept. If the Parchment Retreat was the sounding board, to see if our Frosted overlay technique is actually as good as we think, then I can say, hand on heart, YES. it is.

Just want to finish by saying a HUGE Thank you to the team for putting this marvelous concept together, and for making the Retreats what I consider to be the best so far.  To Linda and Lynne, to Josie and Hazel, to Paul and the Clarity Crew. And to all those lovely guests who made all the hard work worth while. Big shout out for the Spa Hotel too!


Stay safe.

Love Barb xx

32 thoughts on “And now for something very clever….

  1. Well is definitely see another spend coming on. This looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it and love the frames. Think I need a bigger craft room. Wish I had had the chance to be at the retreat. Glad Dave is improving..

  2. Big thank you to you all had the best time at the retreat , enjoyed doing all the elements , haven’t got a favourite part , needless to say spent a few pennies in the shop lol lol
    Will we be seeing a new range of Barb and Linda’s pottery pieces soon 😉
    Have a good few days off , rest and relax with Dave you need to have some me/us time
    Take care xx

  3. It is a lovely technique, I was not sure at first but as we got started I certainly changed my mind. I amazed myself with the colouring, ended up being very pleased with my effort. Even hubby said it looked good,now that is praise. Glad you have had chance to catch your breath and also that Dave is steadily improving. In the circumstances you were amazing to carry on as you did. Thank-you. X ❤️

  4. Hello Barbara
    I can endorse everything you have said. Personally I achieved far more with the colouring than I ever have before.
    Each flower pack is a mine of information and techniques. Today I have finished my colouring (I think!) Whilst cat-sitting my #1 son’s cat for the weekend. Now I will return to the embossing to continue with that. Two layers so far so quite a way to go.
    The Retreat was fantastic as usual. It was great spending time with old and new friends whilst learning new things.
    It is good to hear Dave is making progress. It is a time for baby steps, not giant steps and he will be as good as new. Just take heed of the warning.

  5. Nothing to forgive Barbara, we new it would be a busy week for you.
    I am spitting tacks that I am no longer able to attend the retreats and have been itching to see what you were doing. Now I know and I have placed an order for these new goodies.
    Glad Dave is improving, he must have been a good boy while you were away. Have a restful weekend together.
    Stay safe.

  6. Wow, looks like fun. I have never tried parchment embossing before.
    Now that you have had this retreat, will you be planning stamping, stenciling, or other retreats for next year (if all continues to go well)?
    I’d love to travel across the pond for a retreat.

  7. Great to hear Dave is feeling better & sticking to the rules by having a rest. As I said earlier to Grace over on the claritymattersblog I don’t think we realise how the last 18 months has affected us all so that all of a sudden our bodies say ”hey, I am tired you need to slow down”. For those with businesses to keep going even more so as like you have had to keep going but with less staff. Hopefully you will be able to rectify that soon & have some apprentice elves to help you.
    Love Linda’s pot & the look of satisfaction on her face. A hidden talent brought out by an excellent teacher. I bet you had a few laughs in the process which is all good as well !!
    Spotted the new kits last night so placed an order straight away as we had been given a sneaky peek at our meeting in Bromsgrove on Thursday as to what the concept was. I think these will fly once people realise they are on the website.
    Now its time for you to have some down time, make a few pots & perhaps a gentle stroll through the woods. Take care both xx

  8. Like Lynne, I totally agree these kits are real winners. Normally when I come back from a retreat, I don’t touch what we have done for at least a week. This time, I could not wait to get going straight away. I also have lots of different ideas that I want to try with the different elements. The retreat was inspiring. New kits, new techniques, all with so, six talented tutors with lots of patience. My finished piece will not be shown for a while due to a disaster, tearing along the nearly finished border. My tip for the week – do not picot cut if you have sleeves. Linda and Josie went into a huddle to come up with a recovery suggestion. Two top tutors, what could be better. Otherwise, it will be back to an emergency butterfly or flower, or a beautiful bow. Thank you to everyone for making a brilliant retreat. xxx Maggie Craner (Silvercrafter)

  9. Well…a good time was clearly had by all.
    Glad our Dave is getting better, what has he been up to so he doesn’t get too bored?
    Hope there is extra-special healthy birthday cake this year!!
    Maggie (Bendy Yorkite)

  10. Hi Barbara it is good to hear from you. It sounds like you have had an amazing time. That technique looks incredible. You and your team have really knocked it out of the park. It is good to hear that Dave is doing well. Take care. Hugs xxx

  11. Don’t apologise, Barb, you deserve a break. So glad Dave is doing much better. These things are such a worry and you were a star to be so cheerful at the Retreat. My bank balance suffered but I am not complaining! I enjoyed every minute and love the new technique. Can’t wait for next year. Hugs. Xx

  12. We had a wonderful time at our first Parchment Retreat, thanks to all tutors, those they practiced on for the first one and those that made the second one so good. We moved around tables to meet more people, and we did meet some lovely souls, so thank you.
    Please tell Lynne I shall be looking out for her efforts – she knows where!
    Our only regret, that we couldn’t be doing graphite work and picot cutting at the same time!

  13. I had a fantastic time at the retreat and felt I had a real opportunity to learn skills and enhance my existing ones. It was so good to do something with other like minded people. I will definitely be signing up for next time!
    Thank you so much Barbara and all your team for providing such a great experience for us xx

  14. It was so lovely to meet all the team at The Spa instead of talking via Facebook over a coffee. I loved every minute and learnt so much, it also reminded me of everything we had done in the Shac as far as colouring was concerned. The new concept is superb and just calms the soul. Thank you all once again for a fabulous 2 days xx

  15. Such an absolute joy to work with, and such an honour to be taught so wonderfully.
    Delighted with the results, and Now looking forward to more experiments with this technique.
    A fab retreat, and hearfelt thanks to all involved

  16. It was a fantastic two days so thank you one and all for all your hard work, couldn’t believe how much it took out of me though, my eyes have just about recovered! I think I’m definitely getting the owl magnifying glass that Hazel had!
    Glad to hear Dave is heeding the drs advice and resting up. I bet you and Linda had a blast on the pottery wheel! You both had some great results. I know what’s on my Christmas list again, money towards the next retreat if you have one!!! Thank you all again xx

  17. Perfect retreat. Superb tuition. The frosted technique certainly a winner. So enjoyed meeting lovely people. Many thanks to a wonderful team of tutors. My white work is coming on a pace. Speedy recovery for Mr Dave x

  18. Hi Barbara
    Good to hear Dave is making good progress, I hope you are having a good rest too. How wonderful to have your good friends to stay after all this time, Linda looks like she’s thoroughly enjoying pottery. Wow the new parchment concept looks amazing, such a great idea. Think I might put one on my Christmas list ( if I can wait that long!). Have a great evening.
    Love Diane xx

  19. Wow, what an amazing two days on the Retreat! Thank you so much the “Magnificent Six” – magic tutors, one and all! I have learnt so many new techniques, been so inspired and cannot believe what I have achieved with the projects! Thank you so much Barbara, and all of Team Clarity, whether in front of House or behind the scenes – you are the best!

  20. Barbara happy to hear that is going well with Dave.
    This is a great technique and I hope I can find my voucher I won last year. So I can try this new technique. Very busy with the boxes for moving house within 2 months.
    Take care and stay save,Trijntje Huppel

  21. So glad to hear Dave is doing well and had been heeding the doctors advice. You certainly seem to have had a marvellous few days at the retreats. So envious of you all but too far for me to travel. I am not a groovi person but do have a dabble now and again and this concept looks interesting. Have a few well deserved days of rest and will see you on Thursday in the Shac.xx

  22. Glad to hear Dave is doing well, not sure I’ve got the hang of the new concept so will have to read again ! I’ve enjoyed seeing what’s been made at the retreat and glad everyone had a great time !

  23. Hi Barb,
    Glad that both retreats have been such a success. So pleased to hear that Dave is feeling much better. Wow! These look fabulous – both the flowers and the plates. I can definitely feel a spend coming on!!! Love and hugs,Alison xxx

  24. First retreat away from home. Boy oh boy, what a fantastic time I had. Coming on my.own was a daunting but I need not have worried. A massive thanks to everybody who taught us so many different skills. Made new friends and found one lady only lives 15 minutes away from me by car. Have arranged to meet up.Thank you Barbara and the team for all their hard work. Hooe you are all having a well earned rest and that Dave continues to get better. Love the look on Linda’s face at the pottery wheel. Thank you all once again ❤❤❤❤❤

  25. The retreat was marvellous so thank you Team Clarity.

    Good to hear Dave is continuing to travel gently as, I hope, are the rest of you after your mammoth and truly appreciated efforts to get everything in place for us attendees.

  26. Hi Barbara
    Just like to say having attended the retreat the Monday & Tuesday ( a first timer) a big thank you. Had such a lovely time learning the different techniques, appreciation to your wonderful team whom were so helpful and patient! and the lovely ladies Gail, Lynne and Anne I spent time with on those 2 days 😊

  27. Hi Barb, so glad to hear that Dave is doing well and that you had time to spend with Linda and Rob and have a good old catch up. The images shared look gorgeous and I am sure everyone enjoyed doing them. Glad the retreats brought so many lovely people back together. Take care and stay safe everyone. Bx

  28. Wow this looks fabulous and the grids look truly amazing xx will definitely be the basket xx So glad everything went well at the retreats and all worked out xx
    Also glad to hear that Dave is important resting even though he probably hates it xx
    Will look forward to Thursday to hear a little about the retreats
    Thank you so much Barbara and all the clarity team and colleagues/friends xx

  29. Thank you to everyone involved in making the retreat so successful. Happy faces and heavy carrier bags! Well it would have been rude not to have a good spend wouldn’t it ?
    We met some lovely people and had some good laughs, a really good medicine after being deprived of company for so long.
    I thought the wallet would be away for a while but the new stamps look very tempting.

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