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Bridge of Weir was glistening in the sunshine as I visited Workshop Eve a few days ago. Nestled into the heart of the village, Workshop Eve is pretty easy to spot with the great wooden signs which guide you in. Once you head up the steps, you’re met with an open door, inviting you to have a nosey at the workshop, a browse of the shop…or maybe you’re even about to try your hand at making yourself, at one of Eve’s workshop classes.

Eve Campbell is a textile designer who creates surface pattern inspired by Scottish nature and architecture. Her process is particularly interesting as she uses a paper stencilling method to screen print her abstract designs which have become synonymous with her aesthetic. Walking into her workshop is like stepping back into a university print room with the print tables, heat press and the beautiful paint splatters evidencing a history of past work. As someone who adored the print room at art school, I can’t help but get excited. As I walk in, Eve is busily examining her work on the print table.

Eve Campbell (the artist behind ‘Workshop Eve’) only opened her doors to her Bridge of Weir studio this January, but she is already off to a flying start. Eve is from Bridge of Weir, having grown up and lived there until she moved to university to study Textile Design at The Glasgow School of Art back in 2014. Ten years later, having lived and worked both in Glasgow and Tighnabruaich (where her parents now live), Eve is back making Bridge of Weir her home once again.

I’m keen to hear how she has found moving home and what she makes of the Renfrewshire creative scene as she returns as a professional artist. “Being back, it feels like there’s a lot more creative businesses than before”“or maybe I just wasn’t aware of them before!” she adds. Eve is in the early days of setting up her space in Bridge of Weir, which makes it nice when she comments, “I feel like I’m part of a creative community”. Eve had been keeping an eye out for studio spaces for a while – a space big enough for print tables, massive sinks and ones that you can get messy, there was lots of criteria! Luckily, a space came up that fit the bill – although Eve’s done a lot of work to get it to where it is now! “There’s something quite appealing about an off the road space… Creative people can make use of unusual spaces. It’s nice there’s room for that”.

I’ve known of Eve for a few years through social media, eagerly following and admiring her textile account (you can find her here on Instagram). Like many artists, Eve has expanded on her own artistic work and commissions to also facilitating workshops in screen printing and ceramics. “It’s a nice thing to be working with other people. I’ve been pretty much doing my own work since I graduated in 2018. So much of it was on my own. The workshops bring a little bit of something different”. The workshops also bring a sense of regularity. We speak about the ups and downs of being a maker and selling your own work – planning out the workshops enables a slight routine to the weeks and months, enabling her to look further ahead.

Eve has facilitated ceramics workshops with her mum -who is a ceramicist! I learn Eve has a very creative family and that both her parents work is stocked in the shop- in Tighnabruaich on Thursdays for the last two years of so. “It’s great getting people in here who are enthusiastic and are keen to try something different…people get properly into it!”. Over the last few years there has been a move towards people spending money on experiences and Eve has found herself with a busy schedule of classes. As always, I’m interested to know how Eve has managed to market and advertise her workshops as well as her own work in Renfrewshire. “I’m still finding my feet” she admits, “Tighnabruiach was easy because people just knew who you were”. Eve has found that in Renfrewshire, the last few months have been about trying to get the word out and testing out what workshops to do, when to host them etc. “Advertising has mainly been through social media…but it’s hard to know where to advertise!”. Eve puts a lot of the current marketing down to word-of-mouth and a lovely post The Mill Magazine did which reached lots of people. “It’s that element of curiosity…what’s here? What’s going on? People just pop in”.

Eve’s care for and connection with the community here is so lovely and refreshing to see. It feels like a pivotal time for her and it is hard not to reminisce on the past and reflect on how lovely this full circle moment of returning home is. The sound of school children drifts past us outside and we look out the window, “It’s funny that I used to be one of those kids!”.

In the time that I’m visiting the workshop, several people pop in. It’s a testament to Eve’s ‘open door’ policy where people can pop in to have a nosey, have a chat and browse the shop. A boy from the local primary school pops in with his dad and Eve tells me he had been in the day before and was so interested by what she was doing, that he had a go painting his own design, which he was now back to heat press onto fabric. Eve kindly shares the ‘magic’ of dye transfer and chats away about her workshop, the process of printing and her plans for the future. “It’s really nice to have people just come in. It breaks your day up a little. Lots of people are like ‘I’m sure it’s really distracting’…but not really!”.

Eve is generous with her time and, clearly a natural at teaching others, it’s exciting to think of the prospects for future workshops (there already appears to be a demand for kids classes!). Spaces like these are often blocked off or hidden away from the public, only available or known about by fellow artists and designers. But there is a particular magic in engaging with the community and those who wander in to a print studio for the first time. A space like this, led by Eve, is such a special and fantastic thing to have in Bridge of Weir, and in Renfrewshire more widely. It is incredible to see the impact Eve has already made in these last few months and it is exciting to think that this is only the beginning!

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Written by Creative Renfrewshire’s Creative Networks Promoter, Jodie Barnacle-Best.

March, 2024.

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