A year ago on 18th January 2021 Sparky Ink Studio began a new chapter when we moved into Church Way, Chesterfield. We moved in on an icy winter’s day, during lockdown with only our immediate family and our two friends from our bubble and it was was super hard work.
We had spent all Christmas break and the beginning of the year packing boxes at our previous tenancy and lugging boxes and furniture down the steep stairs in the listed building that we had been the home of our Studio on Holywell Street in Chesterfield for the past 18months. Slipping and Sliding around carrying boxes to the van. The few onlookers probably got a few laughs. Below are some of the moving in and setting up photographs we managed to take on those first days in our new studio.
The moment we walked into Church way that day it was empty and I remember breathing in the cold air and standing looking out of the windows. I think I stood and gazed out of every single one of them. Each having its own story to tell of the shops or businesses and the few people venturing out. Our New neighbor, now the Crooked Spire, which we had only seen the tip of from our old address. Now we could see the clock and the West Facing stained glass window.
Our first year has come to an end and we have spent all seasons in our new space watching our new friend the Old tree in the Spire Gardens go through the seasons with us. Heard the bells of the Church, seen weddings and funerals, deliveries and a lot of pigeons, seen life filter back from the heavy lockdown to now where everyone is enjoying the freedom we all took for granted before March 2020. Our little Studio has been a part of so many events without even having to lift a finger, as many happened in the square just below our window, seen marches and protests, evangelists and 1940’s singers. Had a Spitfire parked outside our front door and a huge statue created from armistice knives. We spent the hot summer with all the windows open and now the winter with heaters on and some windows still open. Our camera has caught the sun rise and the moon rise around the Spire. We feel the luckiest ever to be in the most inspiring and brilliant place for our Studio.
Our students have returned from the lockdowns and each one we are happy to say have settled in, we are pleased to say we have even welcomed some new students and participants too, which means such a lot to us and has given us the reward of knowing we are on the right track.
Sparky Ink Studio has always been about creating ‘a place for inkers and thinkers’ and the people we work with, many who are on the Autistic Spectrum, are comfortable and enjoying this new space. The studio has always had the ethos of Imagination, Communication and Confidence. Our mission is to support those who come along to the studio and help them realize and understand their creative potential inspiring imagination which can be communicated through digital story telling with the eventual confidence to share those stories with others.
2021 was an epic year for the studio, we have gone through a lockdown, followed the Covid procedures, welcomed our students back and started new workshops and welcomed new students and participants to our studio. We kickstarted our Events again and imagined the new events we can begin, celebrated our 5th Birthday, designed video games, trained in new software’s, filmed, photographed, video gamed, broadcasted and produced, created Art and made models. We welcomed two interns from University; Katie and Sherry and gained two Volunteer’s both named David and were supported by family and friends. Then we raised money for Charity and we had our first Christmas yay!
We work in a place which feels brilliantly creative, professional and fun. Having done the lockdowns, returns, mask wearing, distancing, hand gelling and the chaos of the world outside we have been able to chat about all these topics and built friendships. 2021 was also the year we became an officially registered Arts Award Centre and became Chesterfield Champions with Destination Chesterfield.
While we had a good year for the Studio we know it wasn’t brilliant for some of our friends and families. Losing loved ones, the frustration of living in a pandemic and trying to keep your head screwed in place while everything feels in turmoil.
Our heart goes out to everyone who has lost so much and gained little during 2021. You are remembered in our hearts and thoughts. R.I.P to friends of our Studio: Father to Leo – Arron Middleton & Comic-book Artist & Writer – Russell Wall. Both sadly passed away in January 2021
Before we sign off to start our New Year we would like to say a fantastic BIG THANK YOU to all those who have supported our Studio in the last year. From our Students, their families, the schools we work with, Friends of Sparky Ink, our landlord and the Church Way Community and everyone who watched our studio content or interacted with us. You know who you are.