What we're up to

Don't mourn August! August 20, 2017 09:43

Don’t mourn August! September is 100% better. Better outfits, better stuff to do. Here’s just a few things I am excited about along with beautiful Autumn colours and handsome new stationary!

10-12 September Top Drawer (Olympia)
This is  bit of an insider's treat - it's a show for designers and makers to show their stuff off to potential stockists. It includes a lot of crafters showing their work, and the visitors are a mix of stylists and buyers for shops so it's more about taking large orders than one off purchases. But you can go and have a nosey. Register and a get a free ticket or buy one for £20

15-17 September The Handmade Fair (Hampton Court)
Kirstie Allsopp's outdoor crafty festival has quickly become one of the loveliest days out in the crafty calendar. There's fabulous shopping and a lot of workshops to keep you busy, it's probably worth a two day ticket. We're giving  away four pairs of tickets this August, and to claim a ticket just tag us on Instagram or Twitter (@londoncraftclub)

16-17 September 2017 Crafty Fox Bussey Building, Peckham (part of Peckham Festival)
The regular Crafty Fox craft market is always worth a visit. London has a wonderful community of makers and crafters who took the plunge and ditch the day job, and at Crafty Fox you can feel meet them face to face and use your pounds to support them. Plus it's great shopping!

21-24 September The Great British Sewing Bee Live (Excel)
This one is a new addition - apparently the demise of Bake Off took Sewing Bee off our TVs too, but Patrick and  Esme have still been busy! Sewing Bee Live looks set to be a sewists dream - I hear a lot of the workshops are excellent but booked up. Today there is a half price ticket offer on. 

21-24 London Fashion Week Festival, Store Studios WC2R
Really beautifully-crafted clothes, made with the finest materials, are like catnip to a sewist like me! Head to some of the talks and events that run alongside the shows and parties, to get some great inspiration for your own Autumn collection. Use up all that fabric you bought at Sewing Bee and the Handmade Fair

21-24 London Design Festival (WH Craft Prize, Kensington)
There's so much to see at LDF, including lots at the V&A but I'm most keen to see the Woman's Hour Craft Prize. As a long time devotee of Woman's Hour and the even more awesome late night version with Lauren Lavern, this prize is two of my favourite things coming together. 

That's just a few of the things that are coming up in September, not to mention Underbelly at the South Bank, the Raindance Film Festival and the Vinyl Festival. So let's get in the mood for Autumn.

What are you looking forward to most in September, and have you got your tickets? 


Find out about our day at the live antiques auction July 22, 2017 22:26 1 Comment

If you love a good market, you'll most likely enjoy going to a live antiques auction. Yesterday we went to one looking for Mid Century ceramics , rare posters and some cutlery. We did find some real gems and it was a lovely afternoon, so I thought I'd describe what it's like to go and bid at one.

Henry Aldridge and Son

It's not fancy but it is fun!

Mr London Craft Club is a dealer in antique posters which means we regularly find ourselves at auctions around the country looking for rare posters.  This Saturday we visited Henry Aldridge and Son Auction Rooms in Devizes, Wiltshire, looking for posters for him and any nice little gems for me. We drove to Devizes and while I drove, Mr LCC bid on, and won some, cutlery using The Saleroom.com (a way to bid online at live auctions)

Mr Bownes looking casual while bidding

Mr LCC looking casual as he bids

When you arrive you have to register, and  then you're issued a bidding number to wave around. But don't wave it around unless you really mean to buy, as once your bid is accepted, you will be invoiced and there's no going back! To bid on something, raise your number for the auctioneer to see - be quick as he does around 100 lots per hour! This is also a good rule of thumb if you only want to see one or two lots, then you don't have to be there all day and you can work out what time to rock up. 

 

necklace

Lot 376 a necklace by Graham Watling, British Silversmith. Mine all mine!!! 

There will be people bidding on the phone and on the internet, so it moves really fast. If you win, hold your number up again so they can take a note of who won that lot.

One of the best things about vintage or antiques is that your money goes so much further. Good stuff isn’t gong for peanuts, but it’s often better quality than new items at the same price. Plus it has a story, a provenance, all of it’s own. eBay can be a good way to buy - but you can't see your potential purchases in the flesh. With vintage that's really important… as I was reminded this weekend! And as with markets and charity shops, you need to be ready to rummage.

Random stuff at the auction

 A mix of bonkers tat and total gems (depending on your opinion!)

 

When we got there, we looked out the posters we’d come to see and then browsed the sale room for things that might not have stood out in the catalogue. We also had a look at our internet-won cutlery, which turned out to be a pile of total tat. That’s what you get for not viewing it in person!

Some sweet mustard spoons

Actually, when we got home we found some lovely little silver mustard spoons that made up for how awful and knackered the knives were!  

There were also a couple of totally wonderful finds. We bought 6 pieces of ceramics by Penelope Ellis, daughter of Mid Century Modern design power-couple Rosemary and Clifford Ellis.

One huge tip is to remember you pay about 21% extra on top of what you bid because of commission and VAT. You can also be charged about 3% extra for bidding on line. And if you buy something big, don't forget you may need it delivered. A courier from Devizes to London - ouch... 

  Lovely ceramics

Posters, bowls, plates, vases, and the rubbish cutlery

 

 Edward Lear prints hand coloured by Rosemary Ellis

A print by Edward Lear the writer, poet and author

 

Vase by Inge Lisa Koeford

Inge Lisa Koeford vase. It's looking down from a shelf at me now with it's two mad eyes!

Elvis's PJs

 Elvis Presley wore these hideous PJs for one week while he was in hospital. They made £8,000 yesterday. I am stunned.

 At the end of the day, you pay for your stuff at the saleroom office, and they give you a slip to prove you've paid. Then you can pick up your stuff, and race home to play with it all! Buying at auction is fun, competitive and you can get anything from a great bargain to a total ripoff! 

Both Mr LCC and I have one big tip tip. Buy for love not money. You can't predict the market, but if you love it, you'll love living with it. 

Have you ever been to a live auction? Do you think it sounds a bit scary or would you be happy to go for it? 


Flora is uncovering London's wild colour secrets for us July 16, 2017 00:17

Nature creeps in to every corner of London and you don't have to live in the wilderness to be able to create colour with plants. Flora Arbuthnott  has been teaching our eye opening Wild Colour workshops and walks in London this Summer, and they are wonderful! 

London Craft Club's wild colour Summer where you can learn how to use plants to dye fabric Flora's recipe book

Flora has been sharing her knowledge of how to identify plants that can be used to dye fabric on our outdoor walks. She brings her beautiful "recipe book" to shows the colours plants produce when used to dye different fabrics and yarn. Her Battersea walk is already one of our highest rated sessions, and her next one at Hampstead promises to be even better. (Click to see our Facebook pics)

Learn to use plants to dye silk Learn how to identify plants that you can use for dye colours

 

As well as the walks, Flora has been leading us through the dye techniques in her workshops too. So far this year we've done both bundle dye and Shibori, with wonderful results. We use Habotai silk scarves, which have a floaty light texture and a beautiful sheen, and at 72 inches long they are a really good size. 

Bundle dyed silk scarf

Bundle dyed fabric from our workshop

 

Natural dyeing is one of the most direct and exciting crafts we do - when you open out your fabric and reveal what you've created it's a wonderful moment. It's always slightly unpredictably but that's the great joy of it! 

Find out more about Flora here

Learn natural dye techniques and understand how plants can be used to create colour

 Flora's bundle dye workshops

 


5 of my favourite ways to find creative inspiration July 09, 2017 10:04

Some days I want to make stuff because I love making, but I'm not sure what I want to make. These are the days when I feel I need to look actively for inspiration, and here's some things I like to start with

1 - handle my raw materials
Sometimes I find that just handling the fabric, leather, metal, paper or whatever it is can kick start my thinking. This works best if it's a materials I know well, but feeling the way materials behave in my hands of ten prompts ideas

Handling leather

handling leather to find out what it likes to do

2 - go back to my own themes
We all have our own creative themes, even if you haven't consciously identified them yet. Whether it's a love of neutral colours, or geometric shapes, or big leaves, you've probably got visual things you're often drawn to. Think of your favourite clothes and things in your house, the ones that make you feel nice, and look for similarities you can use as a creative starting point

My favourite themes

these are my current favourite colours, shapes and textures

3 -find a problem to solve
A totally blank canvas can be overwhelming. Some of the best creative work is done in response to a brief, because a brief is basically a problem that needs a creative solution. So for instance - "make some jewellery" is very broad.. But "make a necklace that I can  wear with my favourite orange halter-neck summer dress" is specific and gives you a starting point. 

work to a brief

this bag was made to go with a bright orange dress that I wore to a wedding

4 - activate your eyes
In London inspiration is everywhere, and that's why it's so great! So if you're running out of ideas, look up. Consciously activate your eyes. Lift your head and look at colours, shapes, textures, other people and floating plastic bags. Take photos in your head (and on your phone) of visual things that inspire you everywhere from the corner shop to the museums

looking around

visual surprises are everywhere

5 - free your ideas from "perfect"
Get a pen and doodle ideas and words down on a piece of paper, with a bin (recycling bin of course) next to you. Write, doodle, draw, and then bin each page as you go. That way there's no pressure on your output to be any good, and you can just free up your thinking without any need to be perfect. 

 drawing

 


FFS feminism is just a word June 18, 2017 02:05

 

I used to be very wary of the label Feminist, but I have to say with the possibility of the DUP getting into government and pushing women's and LGBT rights backwards, I am freaking out. about feminism.  The Handmaid's Tale isn't helping.  

Being a feminist means that you have a plain and simple belief that all men and women have equal value and equal rights. 

In fact, how on earth did even the word feminism get taken away from women in the first place? Despite Emma Watson's efforts, it's still an awkward tag. Like even still, wanting equality makes you a ranty, tree-hugging, badly-dressed pain in the arse. 

Right now, with our hard won progress towards all sorts of equality under threat, frankly I  don't care if people do think I'm awkward. We have a Feminist Embroidery workshop coming up, which we put on because we thought it would be fun to celebrate some of the great characters of feminism. Since then, things have changed and it feels more urgent.

I know almost no feminist theory. My feminism is born of experience, and hearing women's stories. I absolutely do not think this invalidates my opinions, it means there is more exciting stuff to learn, more opinions for me to hear. 

So... I'm up for a bit political stitching if you are. Join us at Drink Shop Do or the Nines. No theory required, just come to share thoughts, stories and stitches.  

 

stitch   

 

 


Help out a researcher studying crafting stories June 16, 2017 23:23

 

Take part in research 

This week Naomi Clarke got in touch with us out of the blue. Naomi is a craft blogger, but she's also doing her MSc in Social Work Research. Like any resourceful, creative person would, she's found a way to delve into her two interests at the same time and is doing her MSC research into the stories of the new crafty generation. 

You can help her out by taking part here. It's a lovely project, and great craft blog too. We all wish Naomi the best of luck, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the results. 

 


The paper I made June 16, 2017 22:24

Here we go - the paper that I made at West Dean. Dried, flat, and ready to write on.  I will defintitely be doing this again! See the blog post where I made it here

Paper making

 

paper making


Hello Epping - come see us at Todd Sloane June 10, 2017 13:47

Hello to you Epping! What a lovely forest you have, and how cool is your High Street with all it's fantastic independent shops. I've been visiting for years, so I'm really pleased to have teamed up with Todd Sloane, a lovely homewares and gift shop. Together we'll be bringing you our very best workshops from August. 

Todd Sloane

Todd Sloane is one of those shops that's so full of cute things it's almost dangerous! They also have an excellent coffee shop and the brunch is BRILLIANT. Check out their Instagram @toddsloaneshop to whet your appetite. 

 Todd Sloane

 Our first workshop is the super popular Make Summer Espadrilles workshop followed by a new workshop every month.

Espadrilles Lampshade Macrame 
Box Clutch
So pop on the Central line and head over for a lovely creative outing

My turn to be the student June 10, 2017 00:27 1 Comment

Last weekend I went to the West Dean craft fair and lay in the sunshine on the grass listening to music, and went to two lovely craft workshops. 

Here's my day in pictures

The south downs

Paper making workshop

This was so much fun! Making paper is messy, immediate and colourful. We did a little intro workshop and there was tons of wonderful terminology like couching (pronounced kooching) and kissing off. I would most definitely recommend it! 

smush

dipping

dipping again

couching

couching

pressing

Folded copper jewellery workshop

I loved this, hammering and heating copper up. It reminded me of the glass blowing studio of my student days. I made a wierd looking thing but had a great time exploring copper and what it can do. Plus it's always great hitting things with a hammer. 

cutting

hammering

flames

hammering

flame studio

pliers

 In between workshops we had a lovely potter around the grounds

all types of min

plants

circle

flowers


The last three years May 28, 2017 12:07

We are hiring

This last three years have been huge for me. Incredible. Life changing. 

London Craft Club, my little passion project that I started back in 2014, has taken on a life of its own, and grown bigger than I ever expected.

London Craft Club modern craft workshops for adults

When we started in 2014, I designed and taught all the workshops myself. All the materials lived in a cupboard under the telly. I drove everything about in my little car, and handed out fliers all over the place by hand.

A year later and I’d starting asking hand-picked guest teachers to create and teach brand new workshops – the first two were the wonderful Riannon of I Make Knots and brilliant Rhiannon of Rhiannon Palmer Jewellery. It was hugely successful and our beloved #crafttarts* joined in droves because of the variety of workshops we offered.

London Craft Club the craft workshops for grownups in London

Bounce on to 2016 and we’re still growing! Darling wonderful Hannah Miles joined, kicking our social media into order and coordinating our schedule brilliantly. Between us we found our gang of awesome craft hosts. The originals were Dee, Will, Eleanor, Kat and Zuz, and their arrival meant that I could actually spend evenings and weekends at home with my family at last.

London Craft Club modern craft workshops

And now it’s halfway through 2017. In January Briony joined the gang, initially as a volunteer but now as our Live Events Manager, and our events programme is going through the roof. We have an amazing (but top secret project) taking shape, and things are looking rosy for London Craft Club. It has definitely had it’s ups and downs, but here we are, three years on, and I can’t believe how well its gone.

I am totally in love with London Craft Club, and how it unleashes creativity, kicks off new friendships, builds confidence and brings happiness to so many people. It helps the professional and aspiring professional craft community in London and educates people about the products they consume. The community gathering around it is truly beautiful and I’m so grateful to everyone for being part of it. I really feel that it’s one drop of good in the world, and all the drops combine to form a flood of positivity that can carry us through anything.

Modern craft workshops with London Craft Club

And now, if we are going to keep up with this movement, we are going to need help.  If you are the kind of person who loves a goal, is confident, fascinated by people, and enjoys social media, you might want to join us as our Sales and Marketing Coordinator. Or if you like nothing better than having everything in its right place, and have a head for dates and details, you might be interested in being our Logistics Coordinator. They’re both part-time and very flexible, on a temp to perm basis, and based in North London

If you’d like to know more, email sonia@londoncraftclub.co.uk and join us on this wonderful, creative, journey building a social enterprise that makes the world a better place

 * What's a craft tart? It's a very affectionate term that I coined the term for me but it fits tons of us! Someone who loves trying new crafts all the time, and can't resist a new kit or a new technique!


South London! You called and we came! May 28, 2017 12:06 2 Comments

We finally found ourselves a lovely South London home! We know the Bussey building in Peckham from lots of crafty related events like Crafty Fox, and one afternoon I was pottering around exploring the creative spaces and stumbled across the NINES.

The Nines

It was perfect, in the heart of a creative hub, with lovely people and a great space for us to work in. Plus excellent coffee and cake! It was a match made in heaven, and so we're bringing some of our most creative and unusual workshops to you South London. Find out everything that's on here, or check out our workshops at the NINES. 

 Copper Candelabra with Melodie
Feminist stitching with Eleanor
 

Win tickets to the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair April 23, 2017 11:00 3 Comments

We're at the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair, come and see us at Stand H48. If you'd like to win a pair of tickets, just drop us an email with your name and the day you'd like to come, and we'll enter you in the draw. It's sonia@londoncraftclub.co.uk. Good luck! 

Country Living Magazine Spring Fair


What's the best thing about wedding season? April 16, 2017 11:25

Yesterday I got invited to a wedding, which really got me excited about Summer! I do love going to weddings – people are happy and up for dancing, and it’s an excuse to dress right up. I don’t mind whether it’s a super informal do or the whole huge white shebang, it’s always a happy occasion to be part of. Plus my own wedding is safely under my belt, so I don’t feel the need to take notes, I can just coo and ooh and wobble about in fancy shoes. And look, these things exist now!

 London Craft Club wedding ideas

So here are my four favourite things about weddings season! 

Wearing a hat
The right occasion to wear a hat is any occasion where you want to feel fabulous. You can never ever be overdressed in a hat! Make your own at our workshop

London Craft Club and Sahar Freemantle of UglyLovely sinamy hat workshop

 Multi-generational dancing
At my wedding my uncles all got up and hit the dance floor, along with the kids and all our friends. The photos look insane! 

Tiny fancy bags
So lovely, so impractical under normal circumstances but suddenly at a wedding it's perfect because it wont take up all your shoulder and mangle your dress. Make one at our workshop 

London Craft Club leather clutch workshop

 Love

The single best thing about weddings is all the love in the room. Two people love each other, and loads of other people love them, and everyone is there to celebrate all the love. I always cry.



 


Which Crafter's Colour Personality are you? March 25, 2017 19:36

Since Spring hit and the blossom appeared, I've been making everything in pinky colours, which is odd as I am not really a pink person. But then there's a lot made of colour and how it relates to personality. If you like blue you're tranquil, and if you like red you're a fiery type. 

London Craft Club's Sonia keeps making things in pink since the blossom arrived this March adn April

I've been looking at colour a lot recently - I did my Makelight.com colour report on Instagram which I highly recommend you do for some colour fun. I didn't come out as very consistent in palette, which frankly didn't surprise me as I'm a colour magpie, just like I am with everything else!  But I have noticed that people, including me, are fairly consisting in HOW we use colour, rather than what colours we use. 

So on the basis of zero scientific research, here is my guide to Crafter's Colour Personalities! Have fun... 

NUMBER 1 - FLAIR!!! 

The London Loom tapestry weaving workshops with colour with London Craft Club

If you like colour you have to check out @thelondonloom girls Brooke and Francesca! That is one crazy colourful grid going on! I was totally smitten the second I saw it. They throw colour around like it's going out of fashion, with freedom and fun. All the people weaving with them seem to embrace colour wholeheartedly, and I cannot wait to weave with them at our first workshop in April. It's going to be colour monster and I plan to really let go and throw myself into it!

NUMBER 2 - CHIC!!!

Tent Living macrame workshops with London Craft Club are beautiful and chicI love the word chic. I would love to be chic I would love my house to be chic. I imagine myself living in the world of @tentliving, where everything is insanely and effortlessly beautiful and chic. Susana, the maker behind the macrame and weaving of Tent Living, has gorgeous kids, a gorgeous house and even makes dungarees look great (I look like a cross between Ricky from Eastenders and a 70's ten year old in them) This would be infuriating but she is so incredibly nice and down to earth. Her colours are a mix of gorgeous neutrals and blush, as loveable as hugge but with style rather than a onesie. Grab at bit of her style at our next macrame workshop 

NUMBER 3 - GRAPHIC!!!

Beautiful bold colour with Suede and Co leather clutch craft workshops from London Craft Club

This is probably where my heart is. I love colour - if it's going to be red, it should be Ruby Woo.  I had a neon pink kitchen for a long time, and blue hair in 1996. I like just one, strong, super punch of colour and most everything else is white, black or silver. Clear, graphic, decisive. For this reason I want to own everything by @suede_and_co's Dee. Her super graphic accessories press every button in my colour personality! Have a go yourself at making a graphic leather clutch with her at our next clutch workshop

So what do you think of my off-the-cuff weekend theory? Are you one of these or something completely different? Let me know in the comments!


What does Mother's Day mean to you? March 19, 2017 08:50 2 Comments

So, Mother's Day. What does it mean to you? When I was growing up, my mum always said that it was made up by card companies to make money. Even so, I do remember her being rather pleased when I got her a card with a ribbon rosette saying "Best Mum Ever”. 

Mother's Day craft workshops at London Craft Club 2017

Me and my brilliant Mum back when I was little. Mum, you actually are the Best. Mum. Ever. (And best Granny ever too!)

I'm a mum now myself and I like telling my mum that I love her because I know how nice it feels. Even if I am a bit cynical about the day itself. I look forward to the wonky little handcrafted gifts I get given by my little one. These days I think "Sod it, it may have been invented by card companies but you can never tell mums too many times that you love them." I've gone soppy! 

I do love the idea of giving and receiving giving lots of handmade gifts. The reason I probably don't give as many as I like is time. I keep my personal (as opposed to professional) creative time as a way of unwinding. On Instagram, lately there's been a lot about making for relaxation, and for me that means making without pressure! No pressure to be done on time, or to a pattern, or to a giftable standard. It's cool for a five year old to give something cute but unrecognisable, but I feel I should be able to do a bit better! 

London Craft Club Mother's Day craft workshops for a creative day with mum in 2017

But a sure-fire way to spoil the pleasure of giving a handmade gift is if it turns into a chore. It's easy to over commit. Then life happens and your lovely make has turned into one more thing to do on a list that's already as long as your arm. That's why for “makey” gifts, I think it’s hard to top just spending some proper time together on a creative activity. So here are my  suggestions for some great ways to hang out and craft with Mum:

Super cute workshop brought to you by the awesome Girl Bosses behind the Etsy London Local team, wtih lovely Nanna's cafe in Islington is the venue. This is a brilliant way to show the love to our local London entrepreneurs and have a great creative night out. 

Tickets available here 

  So, Mother's Day. What does it mean to you? When I was growing up, my mum always said that it was made up by card companies to make money. Even so, I do remember her being rather pleased when I got her a card with a ribbon rosette saying "Best Mum Ever”!  I'm a mum now myself and I like telling my mum that I love her even more. And I look forward to the wonky little handcrafted gifts I get given by my little one, they are agonisingly cute.   I love the idea of giving and receiving giving lots of handmade gifts. The reason I probably don't give as many as I like is time. I keep my personal (as opposed to professional) creative time as a way of unwinding. On Instagram, lately there's been a lot about making for relaxation, and for me that means making without pressure! No pressure to be done on time, or to a pattern, or to a giftable standard.   So I have to fit gift making in to my working headspace or they just don't happen! Luckily, I do have an idea for a nice gift for mum and a bit of time to make it happen.   But a sure-fire way to spoil the pleasure of giving a handmade gift is if it turns into a chore. It's easy to over commit. Then life happens and your lovely make has turned into one more thing to do on a list that's already as long as your arm. For “makey” gifts, I think it’s hard to top just spending some proper time together. Here are our suggestions for some great ways to hang out and craft with Mum:

Super good value ticket includes a fascinating guided tour with one of the Courtauld Curators around the Bloomsbury Special Collections, and a Bloomsbury inspired tapestry kit. Zuzana Lalikova (drool over her Instagram here) is leading this introduction to tapestry class, so you'll make really sweet brooches and leave with all the skills to complete your free kit. Now only £25! 

Tickets available here 

Mother's Day workshops with London Craft Club for a creative day out with mum this 2017

The Museum of London's Make It series is becoming a regular feature on the crafty calendar. It makes for a great day out because after the worksho you can grab lunch at the rather nice Italian by the Museum entrance, and then take in the fascinating collection. This workshop is great fun because you make a lampsh1ade from scratch and then dip dye it. Aprons supplied! 

Tickets available here

Mother's Day workshops with London Craft Club for a creative day out with mum this 2017

Or do it the other way round - a gently meander round Museum of London (maybe take in the Great Fire of London display), then after lunch try decoupage on glass. Our teacher Gabriela Szulman is inspirational and you'll learn one of the most widely applicable (and addictive) craft skills there is. 

Tickets available here 

Mother's Day workshops with London Craft Club for a creative day out with mum this 2017

Macrame is such a hot craft right now, but your mum may be well ahead of you if she did it in the 70's when it was first a phenomenon. It's a fast skill, and very enjoyable, so why not bring Mum along for a blast from the past and make yourselves a lovely wall hanging each.  

Tickets available here

 

Mother's Day workshops with London Craft Club for a creative day out with mum this 2017

Meet the wonderful London Loom girls Brooke and Francesca for the most fun weaving can be! With a wonderful selection of colourful yarn to pick from, this is a brilliant way to learn the skill and make something lovely - and you even get to take a locally made hand craft wooden loom and all the kit home with you. 

Tickets available here 

 


New West London Venue Alert March 12, 2017 14:48 2 Comments

Finally, for those of you who have been asking us to come a bit further West, we've got ourselves a gorgeous venue near Ravenscourt Park and Hammersmith! Whoop!! Yay!! 

Craft Workshops at Drink Me Eat Me West London Hammersmith Ravenscourt Park

We are supper pleased to introduce our new friends at Drink Me Eat Me, a veritable treat boutique. Not only can you get delicious food and drinks in this adorable cafe, but it is the cutest place you could wish for.

Craft Workshops at Drink Me Eat Me West London Hammersmith Ravenscourt Park

 And luckily for us they have an event space that is completely beautiful and perfect for us. 

Craft Workshops at Drink Me Eat Me West London Hammersmith Ravenscourt Park

Our first workshop is Mindful Quilting in May, so grab a place now and if you life West, spread the word that we're here at last. Click here to find out more or book tickets

Craft Workshops at Drink Me Eat Me West London Hammersmith Ravenscourt Park

It's really close to Ravenscourt Park Tube, but also Stamford Book and Hammersmith, and Goldhawk Road so super good to get to. We're so excited to be able to bring you all the workshops you've been asking for at long last, and we're really looking forward to seeing you! 

Craft Workshops West London


Wild and free and unfettered by underwear. What?? March 03, 2017 16:15

So I have been thinking about how far to go with the idea of living the creative life. We've been working with the Courtauld Gallery Shop recently, and so I've been looking at all things Bloomsbury related. If you don't know the Bloomsbury set, it included Virginia Wood, Vanessa and Duncan Bell and host of other famous wild creative type who didn't hold back in art or life generally. Read my blog post for the Courtauld Gallery shop, and find out how far I'm prepared to go for my art!

Oh and there's some good ideas for Mother's Day over there too. Go figure. 

Mother's Day


Would you like to see my crochet fail? February 25, 2017 19:36

This is for anyone out there who's ever given themselves a hard time about not doing something perfectly.  Are you guilty of that? 

Crochet fail!

Recently we hosted a lovely yarn day at the Museum of London.  The morning was spent arm knitting and the afternoon doing macrame. In both sessions Riannon, Valentina and I noticed yet again the huge range of ways that people craft. One big difference is how people treat their mistakes. Some get very frustrated at their mistakes, and others just don't care! I'm genuinely on the fence about it. I do purr over a bit of ultra neat handiwork, but I also love the glorious freedom with which some people laugh off the five stitches they got wrong and instead focus on the 245 they got right.

 I think they may be having more fun!

Museum of London Yarn Day

So I decided to do a test. You may or may not know that I took up crochet recently. I've not had a lot of time to work on it, and anyway I'd stalled because I got annoyed that my second ever project - slippers - had come out willfully wrong.

But the yarn day made me think I could try a different approach. I started  again with the slippers, to see if I can learn to appreciate my mistakes.

The experiment went like this: I looked at some crochet slippers on the internet, grabbed a hook and went for it. No pattern, only one stitch in my repertoire, and  a refusal to worry about messing up. Here's what I was trying to make 

 And here's the result! Who knows what the other one will turn out like... 

I made loads of mistakes but I learned so much from it

I learned so much from this thing, and it does keep one foot warm! I'm hoping this will be a lesson I can take with me for my craft more generally. And as is so often the case, I hope my craft can teach me a useful lesson about how to live a little more gently. 

How about you? Are you all about the perfect end result? Or do you like to just focus on the process? Tell us in the comments 


Do you ever doubt your own creativity? February 11, 2017 23:35

 

I have a confession. I have had a nagging worry that I am not very creative. I'm good at making, there's enough evidence of that. I do my best to bring out the creativity in other people when I teach too. But compared to my creative heroes, I have major moments of doubt that I can lay claim to creativity at all. 

I don't think I'm alone in this. I meet a lot of people who come to London Craft Club sessions and say that they aren't creative. Some say they had no talent at art at school, or that they have "non-creative" professions. Others says that they are rubbish at making things, or that they can only copy and aren't truly creative. So it's one of my great joys in life when someone sits back at the end of the session and looks with surprise and satisfaction at the unique item they have made.

The pleasure of working with materials can inspire creativity

I love seeing those moments in other people because I get them myself pretty much every week and I'll never get used to it, or bored of it. Last week I made a pair of earrings. They are a mash-up of a couple of different things I saw on Pinterest, but I really liked them, and I wore them to the supermarket with a spring in my step.

I'm very pleased with some lovely little earrings I made!

Those moments do a great job of reminding me that creativity is not about being recognised, or about other people's opinions, but about the process of creating itself. It's not about comparing ourselves to people we admire either, it's about immersing ourselves in the process and forgetting about being judged. 

For me, the best way to do that is to get hands on with materials. There's a lot to be said for thinking about what you will make, but nothing turns on creativity and wipes out self-consciousness like actually getting involved with making.

Some people just don't have this problem, but for those of us who do the answer is simple - stop worrying about it and start making. Head over to our What's On page and take your pick from any one of our expert led craft workshops now. 

 Just start maivityur creatking and you'll be more likely to find yo

 

 


Why is all this classed as "mancraft"? January 30, 2017 18:58 2 Comments

I love working with resistant materials (RMs). Recently at London Craft Club we've branded wood, etched glass and used laser cutters, and our next RM session is metal working with copper to create a candelabra. 

Every time we do these RM workshops, they get referred to as "mancraft". So why is it that anything that's not textiles is still perceived that way? Don't us ladies get to use the power tools? Will metal work ruin our nails? 

I remember how in primary school, my teachers wanted us to explore all kinds of materials and how they worked.  I was encouraged to paint, to stitch, to chop things out of balsa wood and to mould clay. One teacher even gave me a little hacksaw to work with. 

London Craft Club's Sonia Bownes was encouraged to play with materials in primary school and learn crafts

But my secondary school was for girls, and the only material we got to carry on with was textiles. Don’t get me wrong – I love to sew and I’m grateful to my Home Ec teacher for showing me how to put in an invisible zip and ease a sleeve. She taught me about how fabric is made and why it behaves as it does. But still, girls didn’t do DT. My school's approach was considered "traditional" rather than outrageously sexist, and that's the context we crafted in as kids. How to put in an invisible zip

How to put in an invisible zip at Made To Sew

Luckily my Dad was on hand, and quite happy to show my how to use his circular saw, router and the rest of the woodworking power tools in the garage. When I got to art college and discovered the Wood Metals and Plastic workshops I went machinery bonkers for the first term.  

I hammered, punched, sawed, drilled, filed, and welded to my heart’s content. It was joyous to switch on all that industrial sized machinery and discover that there was nothing stopping me from slicing up stuff on a huge scale. 

Metal work

It’s different in school now - a bit more like my art college experience. DT is a broad ranging subject, about exploring design processes and ideas and understanding materials. It’s for boys and girls, and includes textiles alongside technology.

London Craft Club's last Resistant Materials workshops were snapped up by 95% women - indeed our upcoming metal work session is led by the very glam Melodie Telliez, We most of us don't relish the idea of craft being divided on gender lines, but you don't see that much RM craft being offered to women. So, ladies of London Craft Club - here it is. Metal work and Pyrography for February, and look out for more coming up this Spring and Summer. 

(Don't think we're giving up on textiles - Mr X Stitch is at the top of his game and we need to give him a run for his money... )

What was school craft like for you? Cushion covers and meatloaf in Home Ec? Inspirational design insight? And did you like craft at school, or only rediscover it later on? Let me know in the comments what it was like for you

Get £8 of our metal work session with code METAL

 


110 people in 24 hours of museums January 29, 2017 11:39

What an incredible 24 hours.

From 5pm on Friday night to 4pm on Saturday afternoon, we introduced 110 people to  new creative activities. And we were lucky enough to do it in some of the most stunning London surroundings. 

On Friday night we were crafting among a selection of the world's most famous paintings as Eleanor, Kat and I taught landscape quilting at the National Gallery's Australia Late.

Check it out on Instagram - how many Van Gogh's and Cezanne's can you name check in this video? And today we spotted Caroline's lovely blog post about it - have a read here http://carolinejoynson.blogspot.co.uk/

National Gallery Australia Late with London Craft Club

And the very next day I was with Valentina and Riannon at the Museum of London teaching Arm Knitting and Macrame to an enthusiastic crowd.  It was a intensely creative day in the Garden Room, part of the London Wall overhead walkways.  Check it out here

Museum of London

Next month catch us at two more museum Lates, the Jewish Museum Claytime and London Transport Museum's Urban Fabric Late


Creativity at Museums January 22, 2017 09:26

We've teamed up with four different museums in the next four weeks - here's what's on

London Craft Club at the Museum of London Make It! Arm Knitting and Macrame

Make It!
The Museum of London

Claytime - London Craft Club at the Jewish Museum Late

Claytime!
The Jewish Museum, London

London Craft Club at the London Transport Museum Friday Late Urban Fabric LTM London Craft Club at the National Gallery Australia Late quilting workshop based on landscape
Urbran Fabric Friday Late
The London Transport Museum

Australia Late
The National Gallery


This weeknd is the BIG CRAFT SWISH!!! January 19, 2017 13:24

I'm sitting here surrounded by three huge piles of craft materials. There's a lot of paper, yarn, some fabric, some very nice stripey aprons, and loads of random assorted craft bits. It's the result of a hugely cathartic clearout of the London Craft Club stores, and I'm taking it all to the Swish on Sunday.

The London Craft Club Big Craft Swish

We have too much stuff. Not just "we" generally, but specifically us at London Craft Club. Our stores are overflowing. We hate throwing stuff away, and as a result we have a huge storage space full of left over crafty materials. It's a common story for crafters though, because let's face it, a lot of the joy of crafting is going to the craft shops!

So when I met Daisy over at Wardrobe Workshop and she told me about how she runs huge clohtes swishes, it got me thinking that we could do the same with crafty stuff. Swishing was invented originally as a way to refresh your wardrobe without adding to the mountain of textiles going to landfill. The principle is simple. Give your unwanted stuff to the swish, and take othere stuff you really do want back out. One man's trash is another's treaure, as they say.

So if you're looking for something to do this weekend, why not have a look at your crafty stash and streamline it a bit! Bring along books, mags, materials, wierd bit of kit or whatever you don't use, and swap it for something you do want. Join us on Sunday afternoon in Camden Town for a the Big Craft Swish. You can book tickets here or pay £3 on the door.

See you there!

 

 


The silent part January 15, 2017 00:10

The silent part of a craft workshop when everyone is immersed and concentrating

At a social event, it's not normally a sign that things are going well if everyone is sat in silence. But at London Craft Club events, it's pretty much always a mark of having done our job well. 

The wonderful part, about an hour in, is when the conversation turns to concentration, and all you can hear are the little noises of making. Paper being cut, the hiss of burning wood, the click click of knitting needles, and not much else. Mindful Pyrography craft workshops allow you to become immersed in creating and making

Getting in the flow of crafting is one of the great rewards of making things with your own hands. You stop thinking about the world, and focus entirely on what you are doing as time flies by. 

It's great having a lovely thing that you've made, and there's definitely a buzz from learning a new skill. But most of all I love the sense of zooming in on one activity and immersing yourself in getting to know the material you are working with.

Craft workshops are a great way to relax and meditate

Silence over a shared activity feels like an extra luxury. Normally I find myself filling the time I spend with people by talking, whether I have something to say or not. A shared activity opens the door to sitting in comfortable, companionable silence where I'd normally be pulling out the stops to be interesting and entertaining. It makes for a good mix of sociable and relaxing. 

I've lost track of the number of times I've noticed a tired shoulder or wrist, and looked up to realise hours have passed by and I haven't thought about anything except what I'm working on. This year one of my resolutions has been to do more making where the end result is in the distant future, so I can focus on mastering the skill and the material. 

Have you got a craft you can totally lose yourself in? Or if you're looking to find one, check out our What's On page


Clarissa Hulse's studio sale this weekend January 13, 2017 17:24

This weekend is busy for us - we'll be swinging by the AFE Excel Art and Antiques Fair, to visit Mr London Craft Club (aka Twentieth Century Posters.) It looks much more like a modern interiors fair than a traditional antiques fair, if you like a bit of Mid Century Modern you'll love it! 

Then on Sunday, we'll be going to Clarissa Hulse's studio sale in Highbury and Islington. I LOVE seeing inside people's studios, and this one looks like inky heaven. If you don't know Clarissa's work, check it out here

And if you're thinking you don't have space to buy anything more, don't worry because you can streamline your stash at our Big Craft Swish next weekend

Enjoy the weekend! 

Clarissa Hulse studio

Clarissa Hulse studio

Clarissa Hulse studio

Clarissa Hulme studio sale

 


The perfect planner for the perfect week January 06, 2017 16:33

I have a new planner. A good friend of mine is really really into planners (including watching videos of people leafing through planners.) Up until now I have thought all this a pleasant but not necessarily useful. That all changed  yesterday

London Craft Club's Sonia Bownes is planning the perfect crafty week with pen, ink and beautiful planner from Marby and Elm

While running errands in Clerkenwell I popped into Marby and Elm. If you haven't been there, it is worth a visit because they have an actual letter press in the shop. They do sell online, but they hand print lots products and the shop smells lovely and inky. It's full of stuff you just want to pick up and hold, like propelling pencils that have leads as thick as a stick of charcoal, Bakerlite pencil sharpeners and weighty cloth bound journals. 

London Craft Club's Sonia Bownes is planning the perfect crafty week with pen, ink and beautiful planner from Marby and Elm

I fell totally in love with their writing inks. The range includes Blackfriars Black, Leather Lane Brown, Shoreditch Orange and my favourite Bethnal Green. I bought the planner really for something to write on with my beautiful new green ink, which is apparently pine scented but to me smells of pure art college turps and paint. Bethnal Green was a very happy home for many years, so the name alone sold me.

London Craft Club's Sonia Bownes is planning the perfect crafty week with pen, ink and beautiful planner from Marby and Elm

The upshot is that I need a perfect week. Can I put "take duvets to laundrette" "take cardboard to tip" or "Aldi shop" on here? I think not! I must up my game next week.

I decided to take a bit of time out and grab a coffee at Workshop, a few doors up from Marby and Elm. The coffee was amazing and they made it precisely as I asked, with the exception of choco sprinkles*. I planned the week in my iPhone, and my plan for this weekend is to scribe it beautifully into my desk planner. 

Do you use a planner? I know lots of people love Kiki K, do you like them or do you have another favourite brand? Let me know in the comments. 

 

*I'm not embarrassed, I love the sprinkles!


The London Loom and Columbia Road January 05, 2017 01:51

London Craft Club meets the London LoomI used to live ten minutes walk from East London's famous Columbia Road Flower market. Even then in the early 00s, it was just as much about handmade quirky design and cafes with artfully mismatched  crockery as trade-price flowers and. Also pubs that legendarily opened at 4am for the traders, but I never tested that out to see if it was true.

Generally, it's a great morning out for people watching, shoppping and cheapish flowers. It can get ridiculously busy too, way more so than Oxford Street in the sales but I'd still really recommend it. 

London Craft Club highly recommends Columbia Road market for great crafty and design shopping and making

This week, I found myself on Hackney Road, at the end of Columbia Road, tracking down Francesca and Brooke of the London Loom. I'm so glad I did because they are my new favourite ace ladies! 

Brooke and Francesca of the London Loom are London Craft Club's new favourite ace crafty creative weaving ladies!

Francesca and Brooke in their studio on Hackney Road

The studio has a colour coded wall of yarn, whiich is so gratifying.  I could not stop staring at it and ended up all apologies because I kept drifting back to it! Once I was over that, I got to have a look at the three Japanese looms. If you know me at all, you know how much I love craft gadgetry, and these things are gadget-PLUS. Yarn, threads, soft moving pedals, lovely solid wood, little metals bitty bits, and all with super gadgety names to learn. 

Brooke and Francesca of the London Loom are London Craft Club's new favourite ace crafty creative weaving ladies!

Francesca and I chatted about weaving, workshops, colour and yarn hoarding while Brooke did something enormously detailed and technical on the loom. Watching her, I was a bit worried it might be one of those super slow processes, meaning that you'd be hamstrung by limited access to a big loom, but apparently it rattles along once you get going and you can make really quite large pieces in one 2 hour sitting. 

Brooke and Francesca of the London Loom are London Craft Club's new favourite ace crafty creative weaving ladies!

You can pop in to the studio on Hackney Road and see what's going on, or even book a 121 weaving session. If you're stuck for something to do on Sunday I'd definitely recommend a trip to the flower market, popping your head round the door of the London Loom and having a browse around the other shops housing creative, independent businesses that have popped up right on the mouth of Columbia Road. It's the perfect does of colour in January. 


Five ways to achieve joy through de-cluttering! January 01, 2017 11:50 1 Comment

London Craft Club is decluttering this year, preparing a clear space for creative making and crafting

I have long thought that I am intrinsically a hoarder and that the mess that follows me around is an unavoidable part of my creative process. 

But during 2016 I began to get a taste for de-cluttering. We only have a small space for our two creative businesses (Twentieth Century Posters also operates from our HQ) and we simply ran out of space. So we made some very conscious changes and I have to say that I am genuinely a happier and calmer person as a result.

Here are my top tips for a calmer, easier, clearer space.

1 - Touch It Once

I have a friend at book club to thank for this. As the most easily distracted human alive, I have a tendency to put things down everywhere.Touch It Once is a mantra that says if you touch it, you have to sort it out. Whether that's putting it back where it lives, fixing it if it's broken, or chucking it if it's useless. I now repeat this under my breath all day long. 

2 - One in One Out

If we bring a new thing in, we have to donate or recycle another thing. When I started this one, I was horrified at how much stuff we were bringing in every month. No wonder we are at capacity. Maybe it's time to get rid of the Amazon and Ebay apps...

3 - Fit for purpose

Over the years I have realised that anything in a pile of more than four will eventually get scruffled up and fall into chaos. London living and working spaces are notorious for not having enough storage, so the storage we do have needs to be fit for purpose. I spent a long time thinking about what we use and how accessible it needs to be before investing in the right boxes, drawers, shelves and racks. Deeply satisfying! 

4 - Swishing

My friend Daisy over at Wardrobe Workshop has shown me that swishing is the way to go. She's passionate about reducing waste and organises amazing clothes swishes. I love love love clothes and shopping but I lack space, and swishing is the absolute best way to prune your wardrobe still  get great new stuff. I'm so hooked on it that we are having a craft swish this January. It's simple - you put an item into the swish, and you can take what you like out in return.

5 - Time

I have found that it's when I'm in a hurry that the clutter starts to re-appear, and that the more stressed I am the less likely I am to remember my new strategies. Ironically, when I do follow them, I am less stressed and time pressured. As a result, my new year resolution is to value my time more and be more thoughtful about committing my time. And so tidiness shall reign! 

So what are your top tips for keeping on top of clutter and mess? I've made progress but I haven't cracked it yet so I'd love to know what your tricks and tips are. 

 


You don't need a whole sewing room... December 21, 2016 18:23

Sales of sewing machines have exploded in the last five years, with purchases of some models increasing by 500%. But here in the capital, most of us just don’t have space for a sewing room – or even a sewing corner. If that’s you, you should be sewing by hand instead!

Hand sewing workshops with London Craft Club are a great way for space squeezed Londoners to take up a creative crafty hobby20- and 30-something Londoners are embracing the trend for stitching but despite lots of enthusiasm, often find their sewing machines end up stuck in the bottom of the wardrobe because of the lack of space to spread out and sew.

Hand sewing could be the answer. It’s so small it can fit in your bag, there’s no need to pack it all away at night and you can make endless useful, stylish accessories. Here's a little headphone case we made in almost the same time it would take on a sewing machine

Learn the art of hand sewing and make lovely, small stylish craft project with London Craft Club

Hand -sewing includes all the same principals of machine sewing, like working with the nice side of the fabric on the inside until the last minute, or putting a zip in position. It’s slower for sure but not as slow as you might think, and it’s a great way to have a go at sewing and see if you enjoy it in general.

London Craft Club founder Sonia Bownes is running a Hand Sewing session where you can make handy headphone case in one short evening.  Sonia says “hand sewing is really satisfying. You can really lose yourself in it, and there are so many good modern projects out there for you to make with nothing more than scissors, needle and thread and a few scraps of fabric”  

You Can Sewing without a Sewing Machine runs on Saturday 14th January 2017 2-5pm at the Create Place in Bethnal Green. 

 


Six ways to get everyone to make their own Christmas gifts. December 17, 2016 00:38 1 Comment

It's the time of year when we buy lots of stuff for people, knowing in our heart of hearts that it's not what they really want.
STOP....
Give the gift of making instead. They do all the hard work and you get the pat on the back for a really thoughtful, well chosen present. Much better!
You can give the gift of making with leather jewellery kits from Rosanna Clare Accessories
Get the perfect crafty starter kits with Ragged Life;s Rag Rug Starter kits and give the gift of making
Sewing classes with Sew Over It for beginners and intermediate level sewists make the perfect Crafty gift at Christmas
For the crafty gift you cant go wrong with, give a subscription to Mollie Makes magazine
If you're stuck for a gift for a crafty loved one this extreme knitting site Woolly Mahoosive has the best kits and yarn for you
London Craft Club vouchers mean you can give the gift of a creative, inspirational craft workshop!
Have you got any brilliant creative gift tips? This is a post I'll go back to for birthdays too, so l'd love to know what you'd recommend! 

Sod Black Friday - shop handmade instead! November 25, 2016 14:30

This weekend I shall be ignoring the 8 million billion emails I've received about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead I'll be going to Made in Clerkenwell to buy handmade direct from the makers.
Made IN Clerkenwell

 I love open studios - partly because I'm nosy of course! But there is nothing nicer than than buying direct from a maker. It makes me value a thing so much more knowing who made it and how. And it makes me feel like I have a little part to play in that maker's creative career from then on. Head down to Craft Central this weekend and get involved with the artists and makers there.

 Make In Clerkenwell

I am decluttering at the moment, which means buying lots of stuff isn't really what I want to be doing. So I'm embracing the Just a Card Campaign. The idea is, if you love a maker's work but aren't in the market for a  big purchase, you can still support the maker by buying just a card. Brilliant! You can frame them up as mini wall-art to store them till you have a card emergency.

Just a Card

 

If you're in Crouch End next weekend, you could swing by the Etsy London Local market and try this  lovely paper mistletoe workshop with Utensils0 at the same time.

Mistletoe

 So step away from the crazy online deals, and take an altogether calmer approach to supporting the creative economy with your spending power.

What's your favourite handmade buy ever? At the moment I'm in love with my handmade mugs by Hackney Potter!  


Where to find the best hand-made stuff... November 20, 2016 09:10

London Craft Club brings you the best edit of Christmas Craft Markets to buy handmade gifts in LondonThe Christmas Craft market and pop-up season is here and all our favourite makers will be bringing out their best and most beautiful wares for you. Let's shop handmade and local this year. 

MARKETS!!

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Saturday 26th November - Stoke Newington

Stokey Christmas market
Winter Design Market
Visit for design stalls, mulled wine and mince pies, foodie gifts, music.

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Sunday 27th November - Bethnal Green

Cabaret vs Cancer
Visit for Crafts, Vintage Clothes, Oysters, Massages, Live Entertainment and a fully stocked bar.  Meat Raffle with Jerry Bakewell & Steakley Bakewell and LIVE entertainment from Tom Carradine and Champagne Charlie!

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Sunday 27th November - Bethnal Green

Bust Craftacular
Time Out says this is  "London's coolest craft Fair"! Featuring over 70 carefully curated crafty vendors, pop-up cafe and bar, DJs and DIY workshops! Confirmed programme so far includes Rob Ryan, Tatty Devine, Craftivist Collective, Drink Shop & Do Cafe. and DJ sets from Rubyy Jones/Mammory Tapes/ Hula Hoop Troupe/Marawa's Majorettes

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Sat 3rd & Sun 4th December - Crouch End 
Etsy Made Local Crouch End

The Etsy London Local team are hosting another curated Christmas Market with over 60 London based Etsy sellers over 2 days, bringing you a variety of handmade products! There will be workshops on each day so you can get your craft on and lots of festive spirit too to get you in the mood.

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Thursday 8th December - Docklands
Crafty Fox Market Museum of London

We'll be bringing a hand-picked selection of 70+ designer makers to showcase their work at the Museum of London Docklands. There will also be workshops so you can even make your own gifts and DJs keeping the vibes just right. Entry is free and children are welcome. Join us from 4-9pm. Full trader listings can be viewed at www.craftyfoxmarket.co.uk

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Sat 10th & Sun 11 December - Mile End 
Urban Makers East

There are over 100 designer makers trading over the weekend selling jewellery, art, ceramics, textiles, homewares and more with tasty sweet and savoury food at Urban Makers Feast, coffee and Christmas cocktails, workshops and a craft room for the kids.
Entry is free. 

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Sunday 11 December - Peckham 
Crafty fox Peckham
There will be 55+ different designer/makers and artists taking part each day alongside an inspiring mix of workshops. The bar will be well stocked with mulled-wine and DJs will be spinning, keeping the vibe just right!

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Thursday 15th December - Hoxton
Crafty Fox Geffrye Museum 
The second of two special edition 'Night Markets' at the Geffrye Museum, Hoxton.
Featuring 65+ designer-makers and artists. This atmospheric venue is the perfect place to get into the festive spirit! Browse the stalls with a mulled wine in hand, meet the makers and buy unique gifts for friends and family. Along with the buzz of the traders, there’ll be live DJs, festive drinks and maker-led workshops throughout the evening. Entry is free and children are welcome.

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POP-UPS

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22nd November - 4th December - Hackney 
Alloy at the Hackney Shop
99 Morning Lane
E9 6ND
Local London jewellers, including our own Rhiannon Palmer of concrete jewellery fame, are getting together to create a popup shop in Hackney. Buy direct from the makers and hear the stories behind the pieces

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22nd November - 19 December - Edinburgh
Makers and Friends
If you happen to be in Edinburgh any time soon, don't forget to visit the wonderful Makers and Friends at 17 Dundas St. Full of great works and fun workshops, it's always a treat! 

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SHOP LOCAL SHOP HANDMADE!!!! 

 


What's the real reason Christmas Jumpers are making me agitated? November 13, 2016 00:36 1 Comment

Right now the shops are full of Christmas Jumpers and I am a bit annoyed about it. 
-  It's not the early arrival of Christmas. I love Christmas, we can do Christmas from the moment the last sparkler goes out after bonfire night as far as I'm concerned. 
Stitchy hollyStitchy hollyStitchy hollyStitchy holly
-  It's not the fact that festive knitwear is getting more and more ridiculous, or that everyone is upping the kitsch level until its bumping around on the ceiling. That's fine; anything stylish should be suspended for Yule. 
Stitchy hollyStitchy hollyStitchy hollyStitchy holly
-  It's not the acrylic or the shoddy workmanship that often I find peeves me about fast fashion clothing.
Stitchy hollyStitchy hollyStitchy hollyStitchy holly
- It's this... I really think Christmas Jumpers should be home made not shop bought! That is rather the point of them. I know we're all busy but that's exactly why cobbled together is fine. In fact, cobbled together is in the spirit of things because this is one time where being a bit crap is an actual advantage! 
So - I have found you this book! Make Your Own Christmas Jumper by Nicolette Lafonseca. You absolutely do not need to knit, the projects are doable in a short evening and It's even got all the templates in the back, so you can't go wrong. Buy it for yourself, buy it for everyone else, and really let your Christmas creativity rip!  Plus it's really cute and Nicolette the author has an excellent blog over at Archie and the Rug.
My favourite Christmas book Make Your Own Christmas Jumper by Nicolette Lafonseca
I actually got on the phone to Nicolette, and we had a great chat about being the ladyboss of a create enterprise, what it's really like behind the cameras (she's a regular TV presenter) and, most intriguingly, a red-wine-hot-chocolate-drink she had last week. Awesome lady all round. 
Nicolette Lafonseca - craft author, blogger and TV presenter from Archie and the Rug
The upshot was that I invited Nicolette to host a Christmas Jumper afternoon in Highgate in December. You have got to be there!!! If you don't get a space on the workshop, come anyway and meet Nicolette and buy a signed copy of her book. 
Make your own Christmas Jumper by Nicolette Lafonseca
The session is being hosted by the Duckpond Market, which is returning to the newly refurbished Lauderdale House. The Duckpond Markets are put together by Caron Pook, another excellent and very entrepreneurial creative lady, and I love them because they always feature fantastic handmade local crafts. 
So - are you with me on this? I'm going to make Nicolette's reindeer design. Will you be making your own or will you be buying? Have you got a genuine vintage Christmas Jumper? Send us your pics or tag us on Instagram or Twitter and show us what you'll be wearing on the 25th Dec this year! 

Museums know how much we love craft! November 05, 2016 23:08

Everyone knows London has world class museums. Of course it does. So for us crafty types, how cool is it to be able to make and create, all the while surrounded by the inspirational collections of our museums?

If that sounds good to you, you're in the right place! We're regularly partnering up with museusm - check out what's coming up...

London Transport Museum Late

London Transport Museum Late

Museum Makers - London Transport Museum Christmas Crafting

LTM Moquette

Make It! Arm Knitting at the Museum of London

Museum of London Arm Knitting

Make it! Macrame at the Museum of London

Macrame at Museum of London

What do you think of mixing up museums and craft? Have you ever been to crafty museum event, and did you have fun?

 

 

 To eep an eye on our newsletter and social media to hear more dates, and join us for plenty of creativity and inspiration

 


Crafternoons everywhere! October 25, 2016 21:18

You might have spotted our regular crafternoons at Saucer and Spritz on Tottenham Court Road? They're our super-friendly meetups where you can bring whatever craft you're working on or join in with our little free craft project of the day. Recently they've been going from strength to strength, with tons of you turning up, hanging out and making all sorts of friendships and craftiness! It's amazing to see so many people getting together to create and share their ideas and tips

Crafty social

Each month we see beginners sitting along side skilled knitters, paper artists and sewists, sharing a common interest and swapping tips and stories. We love welcoming newbies and try to introduce you to people who like similar crafts, plus we sometimes have craft celebrities giving talks or just joining in the craft. 

London Craft Club invites crafty celebrities and personalities along to craft with us

It's been so popular we've had to expand, so from last month we've also got a Coffee and Craft West at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising and a Crafternoon South at Brewdog Clapham Junction on Battersea Rise. 

We'd love to see you - if you'd like to join us you can just turn up on the day, but it's helpful if you can drop us an email at hello@londoncraftclub.co.uk so we have a rough idea of how many people are coming and how much materials we'll need to bring. Have a look at our What's On page 

Upcoming dates are:

 

Brewdog Clapham Junction (Batttersea Rise)

20th November, 18th December (making Christmas bows from scrap paper)

London Craft Club's regular craft meetups are a great way to make crafty friends over coffee or cocktails

 Spooky craft at Brewdog!

 

Saucer and Spritz (inside Oasis, 22 Tottenham Court Road)

29th October (bring your own craft or make mini pom-pom earrings)

3rd December (make gift bows out of scrap wrapping paper)

London Craft Club free social crafternoons are a great way to meet crafty friends and have fun over craft and coffee

 

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Next date TBC 

London Craft Club's regular craft meetups are a great way to make crafty friends over coffee or cocktails

 


Burgundy craft goals October 23, 2016 08:46

My burgundy craft goal with yarn, ribbon, paint and paper

Yes I love Autumn, we know that now! One reason is the Autumn colours. Each year this colour comes back. Pantone called it Marsala a couple of year ago, and thankfully it's back again this year. Here's my burgundy craft goals board on Pinterest- what are yours?

1- Mohair! (A new form of self-punishment) Knitting with mohair is my new obsession, except I can't get the cast on neat enough so I frog it each time. It will be years before I wear anything I've knitted in mohair. 

2 - Ceramics. Recently I bought tons of mugs from the Hackney Potter and now I really really want to take up ceramics so I can make mugs. I will still buy Hackney Potter mugs though, becuase they make my tea taste magic

3 - New Handbag. My current little suede mini bag is covered in coffee, biro and general London grime. I want to make a new one - or just buy Rosanna Clare ones. 

4 - Christmas. Poinsettas are hitting the top of my list for handmade Christmas themese this year. I love them - retro and nostalgic, but also big bold and graphic. 

5 - Sewing Renaissance - I have discovered one of my neighbours is an obsessive sewist! It has got me sewing again after a phase of loving print, and I want to make perfect fitting dresses. 

I'd love to know what your craft goals are at the moment! Am I the only one who gets overexcited and sets crazy ambitious craft goals? And do you ever get that thing where you're determined to master something tricky and it becomes a bit obsessive? I love hearing about what you're up to 


Halloween challenge! October 15, 2016 21:38 1 Comment

Halloween challenge

You might be surprised to hear that not everyone is prepare to craft until the small hours to create the most freaky Trick or Treat doorway. There's bound to be a good number of people who are caught unprepared... so let's help them out! 

spookey

You're a pretty creative bunch, so my challenge to you is to tell me what's the best Halloween doorway decoration you can think of that's made with nothing but bin bags (and maybe a bit tat from around the house) If you've got a great suggestion worthy of Buffy and Willow then we'll make it here at HQ

Bad Willow!

So what do you think? Got a great idea? See something totally brilliant on Pinterest? Let me know and I'll give it a go! 


Who's up for some weekend inspiration? October 07, 2016 17:29 4 Comments

This last month or two has been rather heavy on admin and not as much random creative productivity as I'd have liked! So this weekend I've decided to consciously look for inspiration. Here's the plan...

1 I'm going to a museum

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising to be precise. While I'm there I'm going to be looking for colour combinations that I wouldn't have thought of, and checking out the feast of vintage fonts. 

We're going to the Museum of Brands Packaging and Advertising to get a bit of creative inspiration

2 I'm hanging with creative friends

I took up crochet last week and my crochet buddies are coming to hang out. I'm really looking forward to chatting ideas! What's a good second project? I'm thinking a laptop case. What do you think I should crochet?

 I'm hanging with creative friends to share ideas

3 I'm quitting multitasking

Has anyone been listening to Oliver Burkeman is Busy? I love a podcast and this BBC mini series has got me thinking about the effect of being busy on my creative output. After listening to these bite size reflections on modern busy-ness, I've decided to quit pretending to multitask and instead focus on flow. In practise, this means I'll be locking myself away with my sketch book and a sewing machine for 6 hours at a time... and no I will not hem your trousers while I'm there!

I'm locking myself away with a sketch book and a sewing machine

4 I'm looking back

Do you keep a sketch book, or a notebook? What about Pinterest, or a scrapbook? I do a bit of all of those, and when I'm a bit lacking in inspiration I find looking back at ideas I toyed with but never developed can kindle a creative storm. Moodboards are having a moment and I'm filling up a book with ideas ripped from magazines for the next time I need inspiration.

I'm using Pinterest to remind me of old ideas I had

5 I'm going for a run

Oh how much do I not feel like pulling on those trainers, but I really believe that exercise and making have a similar thing going on. The brain stretches itself around in a different way when you're actively doing and it seems to open my brain to lateral thinking. So this weekend I'll be running up that hill.

Running and making stretch your brain around

What do you do when your brain isn't exactly full of ideas? I'd love to know your tricks! 


I just learned a new skill I really should have had for years.. October 01, 2016 23:14 2 Comments

I'm definitely what we at London Craft Club fondly call a "craft tart". I flit from one new craft to another, toying with air dry clay for a while, then shifting my affections to sock knitting. But I've been doing this for well over two decades. I've ended up with a pretty comprehensive set of craft skills, and now that I do this fuIl-time I think I can justifiably call myself a craft expert. 

Err why can't I crochet

So it's always been a bit of an embarrassment that I can't crochet. I don't know why I never learned. Maybe it's because ....

....I knit. I love knitting and it looks like a big jump to change from two handed knotting to one handed.

....I'm not into granny squares. Just not. No real reason.

....I might be rubbish at it. It looks complicated, and nothing like knitting or macrame at all. If I don't manage to master it I'd never live it down #craftexpertnot

....YouTube is not as helpful as it promises. Clips entitled "Super easy beginners crochet tutorial" either assume a bit of knowledge, or rattle through the stitches way too fast to make out what they are doing.

....No one seems able to decide what a Double Crochet actually is! What is with the US or UK thing? What is with that?

But on Wednesday this week, I decided that it's always the right time to learn a new skill. So I've done it! I've learned to crochet, and here's the evidence. Learning is one of life's huge joys, and I'm delighted with myself for finally doing it!My first ever crochet project


5 things that make Autumn the most inspiring season of the year September 25, 2016 06:00

Autumn

I love Autumn, it's the best season of the year. Here's why it's my favourite

London in Autumn

1 London gets gross in the heat

Wonderful London does get a bit scratchy and sweaty by the end of August. By mid September, I'm totally ready for the refreshing cooler weather, the crisp light, and an end to being roasted alive on public transport. Going in to Central London is suddenly a treat again 

Colour

2 The colours

What more can I say. Bright beautiful oranges, yellows, rich tans. Conkers, berries, blue skies. Every year I fall for it all over again.  

I love sewing

3  New season's collections arrive

Each year lots of tweed and textured fabrics come back in Autumn and shops roll out the chiffon, cord and leather in deep rich colours. I've whipped out my sewing machine and overlocker and am bursting with ideas for stuff to make!  

Knitwear

4  Knitwear

Oh yeah, big fat chunky knits! Show me what you're knitting - and if you don't know how to knit, now is the time to learn! 

Pumpkins

5 The best festivals are in Autumn

Nothing beats dressing up for Halloween or smokey Bonfire Night parties. I'm already decorating the house in my head and this year I want to carve the ULTIMATE PUMPKIN!

Getting into shot

5.5 New School Term (because for some of us it just means worse traffic..)

The new term feels like a fresh start even if you haven't been in school for decades! New stationery and new stuff to learn, without the hideous uniform. And for some it's a chance to get on top of things after Summer with the kids!

So let's get out there and take inspiration from this year's lovely, mild and beautiful Autumn! What's inspiring you this year?

What's On

 


Win a pair of tickets to "In the Groove" Late at the Jewish Museum September 24, 2016 00:00

Enter the draw to win a pair of ticket to "In the Groove" Late at the Jewish Museum on Thursday 29 September 2016. Running from  6-9pm, it's a great chance to unwind with a drink and explore the museum and the exhibition Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl after hours.

Win tickets to the Jewish Museum's Late!

During the event you can: 

  • Capture that '50s Jukebox vibe with an energetic 45 minute Swing dance class from the fantastic Swing Patrol 
     
  • Experience an experimental DJ performance from Jake Williams ofLondon’s School of Sound Recording 
     
  • Get up close to objects from Handel & Hendrix in London, including a record player and costumes, with Michelle Graabek, Learning and Participation Officer.
     
  • Be inspired by Rock Star style and pose in our Jukebox photobooth
     
  • Learn more about the stories behind Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl with** a curator's tour** from Head of Exhibitions, Jo Rosenthal
     
  • Share your favourite musical memories in our response area

To enter the draw to win, email info@londoncraftclub.co.uk with In the Groove in the subject line! Make sure to enter before midnight on 28th September 2016. SEe you tehre for dancing, craft, drinks and tunes! 

Box Office: 020 7284 7384 / admin@jewishmuseum.org.uk

Ages 18+

Swing Patrol


Mash-ups, Mess-ups and Making New Friends September 17, 2016 22:35 16 Comments

This weekend we’ve been at Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. It’s a crafter's paradise, with the big craft brands pulling out all the stops to entertain us and a host of independent makers and designers showing their wares and sharing their skills.Our stand

Hannah at the London Craft Club Stand, E70

If you were there on Friday you might have seen me in the Super Theatre for the Mollie Makes Mashup, competing against Lisa Comfort. Lisa is the sewing guru and all round craft hero of Sew Over it, and the battle was hosted by the lovely Cath Dean, editor of our favourite craft mag Mollie Makes.

Lisa and Sonia
Cath Dean of Mollile Makes, me, and Lisa of Sew Over It.

In true Ready Steady Cook style, Lisa and I were both given a straw tote and a bag of unseen craft materials, and challenged to upcycle it in just 45 minutes. I got some yellow, black and white paint, black chunky yarn, wooden beads, masking tape and a glue gun, along with a few bits and bobs to stitch and paint with. Lisa got some trims and a tin of spray paint. We were rigged up to our mikes and battle commenced!
lisa spraying paint

Lisa doing her best not to spray paint the rug or Cath's shoes!

As we crafted away, the two of us got chatting with Cath about the latest trends in craft, the disastrous potential of jumpsuits for camel toe, the size of our secret craft stashes and the pleasure we both get from helping people discover their latent crafty talents. Sonias bag
My final bag - probably still damp!

Lisa’s bag came out really well – mine was sort-of along the lines I’d hoped for but the paint wouldn’t dry and it was a bit of mess as a result! When it came to the final vote, Lisa definitely had it. It would have been nice to win but I had such a brilliant time making friends with Lisa, who’ve I’ve long admired for her sewing, her vlogs and her all-round ladyboss chops that the time spent chatting more than made up for it.

 

Find out more about Lisa and Sew Over it here, and subscribe to Mollie Makes here

by Sonia Bownes


If I can't get these in the shops then I'll make them myself September 02, 2016 15:30

I'm not quite sure why, but shop-bought lampshades don't seem to follow fabric trends in the same way that cushions or curtains do. Which is odd, because they're relatively affordable and easy to change. You'd think they'd be the best place for a fickle trend-follower like me (I know what I am!) to show off my newest interiors crush.  

So September sees London Craft Club taking the matter in hand. We're bringing back one of our most popular workshops - but we've super sized it! We're making BIG ASS lampshades, with some of the  hottest fabric of 2016/17.

Make a really big 40cm drum lampshade using our brilliant selection of prints. A large lampshade can really finish a room off

We've had a tropical leaf print fabric created specially for this workshop, and sourced a gorgeously elegant marble print, a delightfully colourful painterly dab print and a decisive monochrome crosses print too. The Marimekko prints were snapped up for private workshops straight away. I am unashamed to admit that this is my personal fabric wishlist for the foreseeable future and it was no hardship getting a lot of it in! 

This specially printed tropical jungle banana and palm print fabric was made just for our London Craft Club Big Lampshade workshop

A too-small lampshade can look pokey and mean. A big one, in a great print, can make a room look like it's lived in by someone who really knows their own mind. But it's not just about the type of light fitting or shade you choose. Where you put the thing makes a difference too. Have a look at this Pinterest board of rooms we've found that make the most of the lighting by thinking about where to put it. https://uk.pinterest.com/londoncraftclub/lampshades-that-make-the-room/

I'm now off to buy a extra long lampshade cord to go with my new massive lampshade. What do you think? If you could use any fabric or print for your lampshade, what would it be? Do you think about where you put the lights or are you happy to plonk them somewhere in reach of the plug socket?


We've all been invited to Bake Off - An Extra Slice!!! August 28, 2016 01:44 1 Comment

So exciting!! The guys from Great British Bake Off - An Extra Slice, have invited London Craft Club to their TV studios to show off our creative baking!!!! (Sorry in advance for all the exclamation marks...)

We're all invited

We're getting a group together to take over The Bakers Area is the front section of the studio audience! It's the bit with the tables and chairs where people sit with their bakes while Jo Brand tastes or talks about what they’ve brought in.

The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice is looking for really creative baking enthusiasts. They invited us all to come down on Sunday 25th September, so if you want to join us for a behind the scene day out and an advance preview of that week's Bake Off, you just need to bake something creative or ambitious to bring with you. It doesn't matter if it works or not - they actually love a good baking fail! The studios are Central London and it's a full day, 1pm to 8pm but it will be a blast with all of us together!!!

Put your name down by emailing me and let's show em what we've got! 

Email me on Sonia@londoncraftclub.co.uk telling me your name, what you plan to bake and a couple of lines (attention grabbing!) about why you're a creative baker! 

SEE YOU THERE!!!!!!!!


Cool things with cork! July 31, 2016 06:24

We've been seeing so much gorgeous stuff made with cork recently, from handbags to shoes to chairs. It's a 70's staple but it's got wonderful qualities that make it easy to see why it's back in force. Warm and soft to the touch, with the wobbles and blobs of an organic material, cork makes a lovely foil to shiny metals and plastics.

Browse our Pinterest board Cool Things With Craft

Cool things with cork

 

We've been looking for the perfect craft cork for a while and we think we've found it. A lot of the sticky-back craft cork sheets or craft coasters you can buy have a tiny, crumbly grain that doesn't look as good as the big-grain, really corky-looking expensive materials. Our superior quality cork doesn't crumble or flake when you cut it, and it's treated to make it tough and durable. It's a brand new product and as far as we know it's only made by our suppiers. It's a tiny bit pricey but you get what you pay for! We haven't stop making stuff with it since we found it and you can get it here http://www.dannells.com/cork--100cm--clear-pvc-1995-p.asp

To have a play with our superior quality cork, check out our Cork Jewellery workshop at the London Artisan Market coming up soon.


Find inspiration from London's wildflowers July 23, 2016 22:02 1 Comment

London can feel a bit dry and built up in this sweltering weather. Hannah, our resident paper artist, took a walk at Alexandra Palace to check out the wildflowers and remember that nature is still here to inspire us! Scroll down for flowers and the craftworks they inspired. Tag us with your wildflower images #LCCMakes to show us what's inspiring you this week.

Wildflowers at Alexandra Palace

Purple flowers

Utensils0 wonderful paper illustration - check out her One Year Anniversary celebration here

Utensils0 wildflower paper art

 Rosha Nutt's beautiful wildflower paintings

Rosha Nutt wildflower paintings

 Anna Wiscombe's eternally fresh wooden wildflowers

Anna Wiscombe wooden flowers

Got any favourite wildflower inspired makers? Lets us know!

 

 


Meet Poppy Chancellor at Coffee and Craft ! July 22, 2016 08:35 1 Comment

Craft and Coffee is our regular free crafternoon meetup in Central London, usually on a Saturday. Anyone is welcome to come along and chat over a bit of gentle craft. Bring something you're working on or have a go at the little project we supply.

This month we'll be welcoming papercut artist Poppy Chancellor for a chat and to soak up her top tips for paper cutting ready for her new book 'Cut It Out' available September 1st. We'll have some paper and scissors for you to experiment with, as always you can bring along any crafty projects you've been working on! It's going to be fantastic!

Poppy Chancellor

Saucer and Spritz, our lovely venue is lovely and cool in this roasty weather and they do a mean cocktail too!

Saucer and Spritz


How we got Hoooked July 17, 2016 10:32 1 Comment

Thursday was one of those lovely afternoons that reminds me why running Craft Club is the coolest job ever. Hannah and I spend the afternoon experimenting with making  animations and taking delivery of a stream of parcels full of crafty goodies.

The best of the deliveries was an enormous pair of boxes from the guys at Hoooked, with tons and tons Zpagetti jersey yarn - jackpot!

London Craft Club and Zpagetti

Hoooked and London Craft Club

Starting London Craft Club has been a crazy journey, and one of the best things about it has been discovering that the craft community's warmth and friendliness extends to the businesses involved in it too. The team at Hoooked has supported us from almost the beginning, with helpful advice, patterns, ideas and yarn to experiment with.

Hoooked zpagetti and London Craft Clulb

What I love so much about the Hoooked range (apart from the enormungous choice of colour and texture) is the way it knits or knots up. This week at the 50+ Show we met tons of dedicated, skilled crafters and they were fascinated with Hoooked Zpagetti. Our Arm Knitting sessions were mobbed with people, proving that even the most experienced crafters can still get excited about new crafty finds!

London Craft Club teaches Arm Knitting with Hoooked Zpagetti at the 50+ Show

So scroll down for some of my favourite examples of how using jersey yarn for simple modern patterns give stylish results. It's super fast to work with, and it's one of the few crafty supplies that is genuinely recyled, being made from the jersey offcuts of the fashion industry.

We do macrame with it - it's lovely to work with as it's soft...

Macrame with London Craft Club

And here's my favouite speedy knit project ever created by the brilliant Riannon Selcuk

Knitted by I Make Knotes

This is the reason I want to learn to crochet - look at that gorgeous texture. Click here for the free pattern

ipod sleeve with Hoooked

So a massive thanks to Hoooked for all the support over the years - come and try it out yourself at our next Macrame class in August!

London Craft Club macrame

(London Craft Club HQ)