Hands on: Creative Classes in London
I don’t know about you but when life gets a little hectic for me, one of the things that I find incredibly appeasing is to come back to doing things with my hands. The sort of pursuits that ground you, give you a creative outlet, and remind you just how important it is to take some time to enjoy yourself a little everyday, even when life gets in the way!
What I’m talking about is plunging your hands in some fresh cookie dough, stirring a fragrant truffle oil pasta sauce, shuffling the decorative items on your bedroom shelf, getting lost in a beautiful magazine and cutting all the pretty things to keep in an inspiration notebook, doodling, crafting a surprise parcel for a friend, complete with washi tape and whimsical wrapping paper, making a flower arrangement with scraps you bought for nothing from the corner store, fixing the damaged hem of a dress, or the tired knitting of a scarf. Taking a creative class.
You may have caught in the last post that November was the month of my birthday, I turned 29, and I had a good think about presents to suggest to relatives who inevitably ask me for something they can get for me online, rather than sending gifts from France through the post. In my research, I’ve come across some great creative workshops and classes in London that you could gift to yourself this holiday season, or surprise someone that you love with. I believe that sometimes the best gifts are really experiences, don’t you think? If you agree, check out the following:
We Make Collective
Let’s start with this kickstarted-funded project by my blogger pal Fran from Fall for DIY that I am very excited to get this December. Fran is spearheading nothing short of a new creative community of makers and everyone is welcome to take part. The principle is simple: every month, she is putting together a new creative kit and tutorials around an original skill such as weaving, hand lettering etc. so you can get just one kit that catches your eye or you can subscribe for a longer period of time. The beauty of it is that you will receive everything you will need for the DIY so that there is no need to purchase extra tools. You get to learn a new technique and explore your creativity, there is even enough materials to make several original items in each kit, which you can then share with the community on Instagram and Facebook. How cool is this? I definitely recommend signing up, it’s one of the gifts I picked for my birthday.
Print Club London
I have heard a lot of nice things about the workshops at Print Club London and you can check our this class review on Natasha’s blog Graphique Fantastique if you’d like. Set over one day, the aim of the Beginners class is to get you up to a standard that will allow you to print on your own in the studios and let your creativity loose. You will learn about the history of screenprinting and be walked through every technical step from art working, exposing your screens and, of course, the actual printing. By the end of the day you will have produced your own A4 image to take home, in several copies, so this could be a nice way to make original presents for friends this Christmas.
I discovered the Indytute around the time I started this blog and attended an event at Battersea Power Station where they had partnered with Everyman Cinemas. This is the project of serial entrepreneur Calypso Rose, who set up a very successful giftware company and grabbed awards such as ITV’s London Young Business Person of the Year, and it celebrates creativity with attitude (with some very colourful branding). What they do is they run pop-up classes around London with fun subjects like hula hoop, ukulele, swing dancing, urban photography, terrarium-making, neon art, or upcycling vintage china. Bonus points: they collaborate with interesting guest teachers and the classes are hosted at venues like Shoreditch House or the Hoxton which, let’s face it, are highly instagrammable.
Tilly and the Buttons
Well, first off, Tilly Walnes in such an inspiring lady. I saw her speak at the first edition of the Blogtacular conference and her enthusiasm and energy was truly infectious. She began sewing six years ago, started a blog, studied pattern-making at the London College of Fashion, launched her own sewing patterns and signed her first book deal (Love at First Stitch), then she quit her day job to focus on what had essentially become a full-fledged business. I mean, the energy! It’s pretty awesome. Now she works with her team from a studio in South London and that’s where you can head to learn how to make friends with a sewing machine, copy your clothes, or embroider a cushion cover.
The School of Life
Finally, something a little different to end this list, but I’ve had my eye on The School of Life for a while, ever since I walked into their bookstore on Marchmont St actually. They have an amazing YouTube channel, range of books and products, and they also offer interesting classes that will make you think hard, and guide you through the changes you want to see happen in your life. Basically, their ethos is to assist people in their quest to be happier. The sort of topics they cover in the workshops are for instance: how to understand one’s past, how to achieve calm, how to master the art of relationships, how to find more fulfilling work etc. They also offer therapy sessions and consulting. Have a look at the calendar, there is something for everyone on there and I think it’s an amazing concept.