Our Sewing Unit

This week we are continuing to show you the faces behind the products and are featuring the managers of our sewing unit, Jenny Laud and Sue Pickering.

Jenny, our overall Production Manager, is also in charge of a 30 plus strong team of sewing machinists, who in turn are responsible for making a huge range of products from tea towels, bags, aprons and kitchen textiles through to other items such as cushions and make-up bags. (All our products can be seen on our website at www.countrysideart.co.uk).


Jenny sits at the heart of our large sewing unit where she controls all aspects of production

There is a huge amount of organisation required as much of what we produce is very bespoke.  This includes requirements such as labelling, different coloured bindings, pipings and ties, varied colours and lengths for bag handles etc, etc.  In addition Jenny keeps a keen eye on the despatch dates to make sure we also deliver on time.

When not at work keeping all her machinists working to plan, Jenny and her husband enjoy running (they have both competed on numerous occasions in the London marathon) rambling and fell walking. As a lifelong vegetarian, Jenny is also very keenly interested in nutrition.  She has even encouraged our Sales Manager Paul (committed carnivore and bon viveur) to start drinking vegetable-based smoothies for breakfast!

Karen Sewing_Final for Blog

One of our highly experienced sewing machinists, Karen, working on a Liberty apron


As well as covering all the above, Jenny’s second in command, Sue, is also in charge of new product development. Sue is incredibly skilled at making new products from scratch.  More and more customers are coming to us asking for bespoke products.  So Sue will break the item down in to its component parts, manufacture a blank prototype for the customer to approve and then produce costings for our sales team for quoting purposes.  This bespoke service is proving very popular and is widening the scope of products we can offer to our customers enormously.


Sue busy at work on a cosmetic bag which involved creating a bespoke sized product

Sue is also incredibly active and her hobbies outside of work include cycling, walking and camping in the great outdoors.

For our next blog featuring our staff and processes we will be looking at the role of our Design Co-ordinator Kim and her colleague China.

Kind regards and best wishes

Kathy Only (No Brookes) Signature

Kathy Brookes – Sales Director

The Countryside Art Team

It’s always nice to know more about the people who produce your lovely products so we’d like to introduce you, week by week, to the Countryside Art team.

You may have looked at our recent blog videos showing the installation of our fantastic new Aeoon digital printing machine.

These videos were produced by our talented Sales Manager, Paul Murrell. Paul has been with us since January.  In addition to being a really tuned in and helpful Sales Manager, Paul is also a fantastic musician, playing world class clarinet and saxophone.  (His previous life was as Musical Director for the British Army).

Paul To Use 2

Paul hard at work at an unusually tidy desk!

Paul also has a lot of other talents, including being an experienced photographer and film maker.  Using Paul’s talents to the full, we are going to follow up with lots more videos showing different aspects of the company.  (There may even be some nice music thrown in too!).

We’d like to also introduce you to our two digital printers, Callum McPhail and Connor North. As a company we have always had no age restrictions when it comes to our employment policy.  Our oldest employee (one of our seamstresses) recently retired at the age of 75!  We also believe in employing young people as we find a good cross section of ages and experience leads to a balanced company. To this end Callum and Connor represent the enthusiasm and excitement that youth brings when embracing new technology.

Callum & Connor To Use 2

Callum and Connor in front of their new Aeoon digital printing machine

Callum, in addition to being a great master of the digital printing machine, enjoys playing professional poker. He also originally trained as a sound engineer so enjoys sound-mastering for local music events at weekends.  (A very clever and talented young man!).

Connor, his assistant, is one of our youngest employees. Connor shows the most amazing enthusiasm for learning everything related to printing and is incredibly quick at mastering new tasks.  Always ready with a winning smile, Connor is a real asset to our company.  When not at work Connor enjoys socialising with friends and playing sports.

We’ll follow up with further blogs introducing you to more of the Countryside Art team in the near future.

Kind regards and best wishes

Kathy Only (No Brookes) Signature

Kathy Brookes, Sales Director


New Digital Printing Machine Installed

It’s official – Countryside Art now has the latest and most up-to-date Aeoon digital printing machine in the UK!  We led the way three years ago by being the first UK company to invest in Aeoon’s innovative new digital textile printing technology.  We now lead the way yet again by having recently upgraded our digital printing machine to the most technically advanced machine Aeoon has yet made.

You can see the exciting installation by clicking on these YouTube links to two excellent videos made by our talented Sales Manager Paul Murrell (more about Paul and our digital machine operators Callum and Connor to follow soon).

Our New Printer Delivery

The Installation


Callum – our senior digital printer enjoying working with our lovely new machine

We already held the advantage over our competitors in the superior colours we were able to produce from our original digital machine.  This was due to the fact our designers are two of the most experienced colour separators in the UK. But now, with this excellent new machine, we are offering by far-and-away the best colour reproduction and quality available.

Find out why many of the top organisations in the country from the National Trust, Liberty and the British Museum (to name but a few) trust us with their digitally printed textile giftware ranges.  Request samples and a brochure via sales@countrysideart.co.uk or give us a call to discuss our digital printing services on 01790 754 806.

Kind regards and best wishes as always

Kathy Only (No Brookes) Signature

Kathy Brookes – Sales Director

10% Discount on Cotton bags

Countryside Art_Bag Voucher_For Social Media ONLY

Following the happy demise of the planet-polluting plastic carrier bag there has been a big increase in the sales of low cost sustainable cotton bags.
So to help our customers fill that demand we are offering the following incentives on our low cost canvas and calico cotton bags:-

A BIG 10% discount on the cost of the printed bag plus FREE set-up.
The offer is valid from the 1st July 2016 to the 31st October 2016 and is open to both new and repeat customers for new designs.  Just mention this offer when ordering.

The bags featured from left to right are:-

  • Flat bag on 10oz heavy-weight bleached canvas – digital print
  • Gusseted bag on 10oz heavy-weight bleached canvas – digital print
  • Gusseted unbleached calico bag – single colour print
  • Flat unbleached calico bag – 3 spot colour print
  • All feature medium length handles

We offer both full colour digital printing (minimum order 25 bags) and screen printing in up to 6 spot colours on these bags (minimum order 50 bags in single colour and 100 bags in 2+ spot colours).

Please contact us for free samples so you can see for yourself the excellent quality of our low cost cotton bags plus a brochure with prices and ordering details.

Best wishes

Kathy Only (No Brookes) Signature

Kathy Brookes,  Sales Director

Bring Me Sunshine…

We have just installed solar panels on the roof of our factory. It is great to be helping to reduce our carbon footprint as the protecting the environment is very important to us as a company.

solar panels

Solar panels being installed on the roof of our factory.  All we need now are a few more sunny days!

To further that aim we have always specialised in printing with water-based inks as they have a very low impact on the environment. We also recycle where-ever possible and, by making virtually everything in the one factory, we again cut down on the environmental damage caused by shipping goods unnecessarily from one place to another.

If you want to read our full Ethical & Environmental Policy it is on our website Home Page or click here.

Another interesting issue cropped up this week. They say ‘Imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery’ but sometimes this can be taken a step too far.

We have always specialised in very difficult edge-to-edge printing on products such as aprons, tea towels, oven gloves, bags etc. We are able to do this due to our great printing expertise gained over many years and the fact we have a large experienced in-house sewing unit capable of making anything, however intricate.

Whilst perusing a recently updated website of one of our main competitors we were very surprised to see a photograph featured of a very technically difficult edge-to-edge printed apron and set of tea towels we had been producing for one of our very long established customers for some time now.

Apron Images_Rectangular

Some other examples of our all-over printing on aprons.

Thinking we must have done something to upset our customer, causing them to change suppliers, I called to apologise. However, to my amazement, I found they had only ever had these aprons and tea towels printed by ourselves and had never given permission for this image from their own website to be used on our competitor’s site.  Our customer is now contacting our competitor to insist they remove the image from their website.  Audacious or what!

The moral of this story is that there are some that ‘can do’ and others that only pretend. As a customer we suggest you make sure you choose the company who actually ‘can do’ your printing.

Again and again we hear from our customers ‘We came to you because we know you are the only company that could print this very difficult job to the standard we require’.

We would like to remind everyone that not only can we print the difficult stuff better than anyone else but we also print the easy stuff better too.

If you would like to see our on-line brochures showing our full range of products click on the link here.

Kind regards and best wishes

Kathy Only (No Brookes) Signature

Kathy Brookes, Sales Director

Countryside Art Goes 10 Colour!

Here’s our latest addition to our already fantastic print capabilities – a brand-spanking new 10 spot MHM Screen Print Carousel.

tea towels; aprons, tea towel, printed tea towel, cotton tea towels, apron, printed bags, bags

Our new 10 Colour MHM Screen Print Carousel

Amazingly, within a day of having the machine safely installed, we’d won our first 10 colour tea towel job to be printed on the new machine.  It is a prestigious job for a well-known film company and is being sampled as I write this blog.

We are constantly looking for new innovations in all aspects of our print and production processes.  We update to the latest technology at all opportunities.  As far as our competitors are concerned it seems – where we lead – they follow.  We have always prided ourselves in being forward-looking and trying to provide the best possible quality products and service at all times.

kitchen textiles, tea towels uk, fundraising tea towels, school tea towels, full colour tea towels, multi-colour tea towels

Close up of our new 10 Colour Screen Print Carousel in action

We’ve further exciting plans underway for more new equipment later this year and will update the blog when these items are installed.

In the meantime we’ll carry on with our stated aim of being the best in our field.

Best wishes as always


Kathy Brookes, Sales Director

Two Great Images

Mini Moderns beautiful Margate range

Mini Moderns beautiful Margate range

This month we’ve been sent two great images by our customers.

The first is a beautiful photo, taken of a lovely new Margate range we’ve just printed for Mini Moderns, and is featured in Coast Magazine.

The range consists of tea towels, aprons, a double oven glove and a flat canvas bag and was screen printed on to unbleached cotton, cotton drill and canvas.  Together the range forms part of a beautiful collection commissioned from Mini Moderns by Turner Contemporary in Margate.‎

Mini Moderns is a range of interiors products for design conscious families,
created by UK design agency, Absolute Zero Degrees.

You can visit their website on www.minimoderns.com
The second lovely photograph we’ve been sent was from the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings and shows Sir Quentin Blake, with a canvas gusseted bag we recently produced on their behalf, featuring one of his brilliant sketches.
The Jerwood Gallery are currently having an exhibition, as part of the summer Jerwood Drawing Festival, called ‘Artists on the Beach’.
This exhibition is featuring an exclusive display of Sir Quentin Blakes’ artistic responses to ten of his favourite artists from the Jerwood Collection.  The exhibition of drawings playfully explores the stories of artists in the collection from Sickert to Wallis.
Sir Quentin Blake, looking very happy, with an exclusive bag produced for Jerwood Gallery, featuring his sketch and printed by Countryside Art

Sir Quentin Blake, looking very happy, with an exclusive bag produced for Jerwood Gallery, featuring his sketch and printed by Countryside Art

We were thrilled to be asked to produce tea towels and bags for the exhibition.  Sir Quentin Blake actually commented in his speech at the private viewing that this was the first time his work had been put on a tea towel!  We are honoured.
You can see more at Jerwood Gallery’s website at www.jerwoodgallery.org
Finally we are pleased to announce a new recruit to our Sales and Administration team.
Claire Prendergast has recently joined us enabling our previous Sales Manager, Kim Evison, to start working alongside myself and our design team co-ordinating new artwork and orders.  Dani Albright, previously working with Kim, has now taken over as Sales Manager.
We have made this change as the amount of new designs we are currently receiving is growing enormously.  By taking on an extra person we will be able to reduce our lead times at the artwork stages.
The changes we made to our production processes over the eighteen months have improved our production lead times greatly.  We are now hoping to make similar improvements at the visual and sampling stages too, thereby reducing overall lead times yet further.
As always best wishes and kind regards
Kathy Brookes, Sales Director

Expansion Plans Completed

tea towels, tea towel, bag, bags, aprons, cushions, UK

One of our machinists at work in our the newly enlarged sewing unit

It’s been a while since we last published a blog due to the fact we’ve been in the middle of some major projects, especially throughout the last six months of 2013.

We were incredibly busy in the run up to Christmas, not only producing a huge volume of orders, but also finishing off the extensive expansion of all our production capabilities. It has been ‘all hands on deck’ to make sure we had everything finished as soon as possible.

For most of last year we have been involved in increasing the size of all the production areas, including building on two new extensions to the factory. These extensions have enabled us to enlarge the size of our screen and ink mixing departments, our sewing unit, and our despatch department. The extra space has also enabled us to take on additional staff too.

tea towel, tea towels, cotton bags, digital printing, aprons, UK made, printed bags

Applying swing tickets in our quality control and packing department

In addition we bought a new MHM 4000 automatic screen printing carousel, new sewing machines and cutting equipment. We have also installed a cutting-edge digital textile printing machine. This has proved very popular with our customers wanting to purchase smaller runs of full colour tea towels, bags, aprons,

kitchen textiles, cushion covers and t-shirts. Set-up costs are low and the amazing print quality has to be seen to be believed.

Finally we have put new software programmes in place, enabling us to keep track of the progress of orders throughout the system from start to finish.

Our goal, with this extensive expansion programme, has been to aim to reduce our lead times to their traditional levels whilst maintaining our same superb product quality.

Printed tea towels, tea towel, uk made tea towels, cotton tea towel

Theresa Dever of Magna Colours presenting Lawrence, our Director and Print Manager with our two first prize awards We have become busier and busier ever since moving to our new factory in 2006.

Events such as our company winning Best Overall Water Based Print and Best Softbase print at FESPA 2013, which is the world’s largest digital and screen print show, have raised our profile yet further and are testament to the great care and attention we apply to every order that goes through our company.

We very much appreciated the great loyalty our customers have shown us throughout 2013, when our lead times were more extended than we wished, and thank everyone for their patience. We are looking forward to working with both old and new customers in 2014 with our new and improved production facilities.

Kind regards


Kathy Brookes, Sales Director

Two First Prizes & Latest Digital News

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Theresa Dever of Magna Colours presenting Lawrence, our Director and Print Manager with our two first prize awards

Printed tea towels, uk-made tea towels, printed bags, printed aprons, customised aprons

Our proud award winning Print Room Team – from left to right – Richard, Phil, Gary, Tom, Ben, Marcus & Steve

Well, it’s hard to know what to start the blog off with this month as so many interesting things have been happening recently.

One of the most exciting has been our company winning Best Overall Water Based Print at FESPA 2013, which is the world’s largest digital and screen print show, held recently in London.

In addition, we also won Best Softbase Print at the same show. Competition was stiff, with a high level of entries, so we were thrilled to be chosen by the judges to win these prestigious world-class awards.

British-made tea towels, printed aprons, uk-made aprons, cotton aprons, printed apron

Our new MHM 4000 automatic screen printing carousel in full production

We were delighted when Theresa Dever of Magna Colours, who sponsored the prizes, came up to present us with the awards. It means a great deal to everyone in the company to have our high skill levels and dedication to quality recognised, not only by our customers, but also by our peers within the print industry, and especially so to our great team of printers featured here.

Pictured here is our latest addition to the factory floor; our new MHM 4000 carousel screen printing machine, which was shown being unloaded in to the factory on the last blog. The machine is capable of printing up to 8 spot colours, which is ideal, as much of our work now includes complex printing in both full colour process, spot colours and a mixture of both types of printing within the same design.

The machine has been fully in action for some time now and is turning out some great work. Whilst the state-of-the-art equipment we have is obviously a great factor in the quality of the work we produce, the largest part is also down to the very high skill levels of our great Print Team featured above.

Digitally printed bag produced for The Lowry

Digitally printed bag produced for The Lowry

We also wanted to feature some images of our digital printing in this month’s blog.

The British Museum, The Lowry and The Natural History Museum have all kindly agreed to allow us to show images of the bags we have recently produced on their behalf.

All four bags feature very intricate, all-over prints, with a very high level of detail impossible to achieve using normal screen printing methods.

Superb print quality, in addition to low set up costs and small minimum orders, make the digital printing a very attractive option for a wide variety of products including tea towels, bags, aprons, kitchen textiles and cushion covers.

Last but not least; our latest extension to the factory is nearly finished. This will allow us to expand our Packing & Quality Control and Despatch Department which is bursting to the seams under the very high work load we are currently experiencing.

Digital printing kitchen textiles, one-ff digital prints on to tea towels, short run digital printing tea towels, uk-made digital printed bags

Two digitally printed bags produced for The Natural History Museum

It will be great to have the extra space and should also help make things much easier for our Packing & Quality Control Team, who we’ll feature in the next blog.

Until then, thank you as always, for taking time to read our blog.

Kind regards and best wishes


Kathy Brookes, Sales Director

Reach For The Top!

"Tea Towel" "UK Made Tea Towels" "Full colour tea towels" "Cotton Tea Towels"

The tea towel we recently produced for The Shard, featuring a bespoke packaging wrap – all produced in-house

Recently we were thrilled to be asked, by one of our long-standing clients, to produce a tea towel on behalf of London’s newest and most eagerly awaited attraction, The View from The Shard.

The design required a complex full colour process print and we were delighted with the results. The tea towel packaging also featured a bespoke wrap-around to further enhance the brand image.

The customer has already placed a second order so the tea towel appears to have been a success with visitors too.

To have our tea towels selling, not only in the highest retail outlet in the capital, but also to such a prestigious customer, is very exciting.

On other fronts our expansion plans continue at a great pace. Our new extension is nearly ready. It is going to house an enlarged screen making and storage facility, plus our litho printing department is also moving in there too. This will free up more space in the existing factory, enabling us to have a larger in-house sewing unit.

"Tea towel printers" "UK Tea Towel Printing" "Silk Screen Printers" "Silk Screen Printers UK"

Our new extension early on in the construction phase – it’s nearly finished now

We are already fans of the MHM range of direct screen printing machines and the great quality work they produce. Therefore we were very happy to take delivery of another new MHM 4000 automatic screen printing carousel today. This new machine will enable us to further speed up our sampling and delivery times. We can’t wait to see it go in to full production in a few days.

Finally our new digital textile printing machine is going from strength to strength – we will be featuring some fantastic images of jobs currently going through production on our next blog.

Kind regards and best wishes

Kathy Brookes – Sales Director

"UK Screen Printer" "Silk Screen Printers" "Tea Towel Printers" "Tea Towel Printing"

Our new MHM 4000 screen printing carousel being carefully lifted in to the factory