What we're up to
Win tickets to the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair April 23, 2017 11:00 1 Comment
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 email@example.com. Good luck!
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!
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
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
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.
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!!!
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!!!
I 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!!!
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”.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
And luckily for us they have an event space that is completely beautiful and perfect for us.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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/
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
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
|Urbran Fabric Friday Late
The London Transport Museum
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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
I 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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
20- 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
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
Sod Black Friday - shop handmade instead! November 25, 2016 14:30
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.
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.
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.
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
The 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.
Saturday 26th November - Stoke Newington
Stokey Christmas market
Winter Design Market
Visit for design stalls, mulled wine and mince pies, foodie gifts, music.
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!
Sunday 27th November - Bethnal Green
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
22nd November - 4th December - Hackney
Alloy at the Hackney Shop
99 Morning Lane
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
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!
SHOP LOCAL SHOP HANDMADE!!!!
What's the real reason Christmas Jumpers are making me agitated? November 13, 2016 00:36 1 Comment
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...
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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)
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)
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
Next date TBC
Burgundy craft goals October 23, 2016 08:46
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
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!
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
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
5 things that make Autumn the most inspiring season of the year September 25, 2016 06:00
I love Autumn, it's the best season of the year. Here's why it's my favourite
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
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?
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.
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 email@example.com 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 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mash-ups, Mess-ups and Making New Friends September 17, 2016 22:35 15 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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
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.
Utensils0 wonderful paper illustration - check out her One Year Anniversary celebration here
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!
Saucer and Spritz, our lovely venue is lovely and cool in this roasty weather and they do a mean cocktail too!
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.
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.
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!
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...
And here's my favouite speedy knit project ever created by the brilliant Riannon Selcuk
This is the reason I want to learn to crochet - look at that gorgeous texture. Click here for the free pattern
(London Craft Club HQ)
We're hiring! July 14, 2016 10:57 3 Comments
5 top tips if you're organising a baby shower July 09, 2016 13:11
You're doing a lovely thing for the Mum-to-be and she's going to be really chuffed. But don't stress about it too much. Ultimately it's friendship that matters, and that can't be measured in party accessories.
If you'd like to throw a crafty baby shower, click here to visit our craft parties page.
How simplicity kept our crafternoon creative July 02, 2016 23:28
Today I found myself saying the same thing over and over....
Simple is best! Simple is best!
I was at Saucer and Spritz, one of my absolute favourite venues, where we were printing onto cotton napkins. The point that I was trying to get across was that sometimes you don't need to overcomplicate the creative process.
The first part of the printing workshop is all about deciding what to print, and the second half is actually getting inky and printing. The danger with the first part is feeling the pressure to come up with an amazing drawing or detailed design.
But the great thing about printing is that you can use repeating shapes to brilliant effect. And often the simpler the better, like this grey on grey print. Just one super simple shape, repeated and overlapped in two slightly different greys. Brilliant!
This flamingo and palm combination works really well too. Simple strong shapes and a great colour combination - there was a lot of oooh-ing over this when it was finished!
It was a creative and energetic afternoon of printing, cocktails and cake. By the end of it we had between us created at least fourteen designs based on the principle of repeating a simple shape. Everyone learned some printing techniques - and the building blocks to create a successful design from the most basic of shapes.
If you want some more inspiration for printing designs, check out our Pinterest board on simple printing shapes, or just take a few minutes to marvel at the versatility of the humble triangle, one of my favourite design motifs ever.
by Sonia Bownes, founder of London Craft Club
Craft Club Yeah! The next date is 30th July July 01, 2016 01:41
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 monthwe're meeting on Saturday 30th July and we'll be making fabric flower brooches. Either bring your own lightweight fabric or put £1 in the kitty for fabric.
The wonderfully glam Saucer & Spritz are hosting us again, we love them! There's cocktails, cakes and a brilliant light lunch menu too, so I tend to get there at 1pm and have the set lunch which they put on specially for us. If you'd like to join me for lunch just look for the London Craft Club flags on the table and come and sit down! Crafting kicks off at 2pm
See you there on Saturday July 30th - Saucer and Spritz, upstairs in Oasis, 22 Tottenham Court Road
PS this meetup can get really busy - we ask you to RSVP to email@example.com so we can get an idea of how much craft supplies to bring. Please do change your RSVP if you change your plans! Thanks
Saturday Social June 25, 2016 19:29
And here's a link to a fingerknitting tute http://www.icreativeideas.com/how-to-diy-stylish-finger-knitted-bracelet/
Craft workshops help you in two totally different ways June 18, 2016 21:08 1 Comment
We all know exercise is good for you - but craft is holding it's own in terms of wellbeing benefits too!
Future proofing your brain
As you get older, your brain gets smaller. I find that a bit alarming, as I really rather like my brain and the various jobs it does for me. But it turns out, as with so many things in life, that size isn’t everything when it comes to your mental agility.
You can’t stop your brain from shrinking, but you can improve the neural links in your brain, and that’s what actually matters. Happily for me, learning new things is one of the best way to boost your brain activity. Doctors recommend taking up something that challenges you at least every decade…
Craft in particular improves your cognitive function. Take quilting. There’s now evidence from a study by the University of Glasgow that quilters' brains are challenged not only by dexterity but geometry too, and it helps keep them sharp as a quilters pin for years to come.
Find the flow and wash away worries
Serena Williams, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Beth Tweddle will all recognise the concept of flow – the state of mind conjured up when someone is truly immersed in something and doing it intuitively and often brilliantly. It's often thought of as a purely sporting phenomenon, but it’s a recognised psychological state that can occur when you concentrate on anything physical
Flow was first defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who pointed out that we aren’t actually very good at multitasking. Think about what it’s like to have two people talking to you at once – you can't take either conversation in. It’s the same when you’re doing a physical task, because you can only really concentrate on one thing. If you are immersed in doing something, you just don’t have the headspace to worry, stress, or dwell on negative things. So that’s why when you’re crafting, the time flies, and you lose yourself totally in the moment. And dropping your worries, even briefly, is good for you.
by Sonia Bownes, Founder of London Craft Club
#MayDoandMend is here! April 30, 2016 00:00
We all know fashion moves fast. Take flared jeans. Two months ago I was looking at them in horror - now I'm considering embracing my 90s look all over again.
But much as I love fashion trends, I know full well that low-cost high-turnover fashion has costs for people all over the world that I'm not so keen to run up. So this May, London Craft Club has teamed up with the fashion-friendly sustainability charity Hubbub for the #MayDoandMend challenge.
It's super simple! Just tag a pic of something you've mended, upcycled or swapped with #maydoandmend, and share your top tip for bringing clothes back to life.
Get started with my 7 favourite mending hacks here ...
Check out Hubbub's guide to mending and more here...
Or recycle those jeans into a little bag here...
It doesn't matter whether it's mending a little hole in a jumper or organising a huge clothes swap, take the #MayDoandMend challenge and show us how you're fixing fashion one step at a time!
Don't fear Adobe Illustrator! April 26, 2016 12:30
I'm all excited about our upcoming Laser Cutting session with the awesome Hub Workshop, but that also means I'm also going to have to overcome my distrust of Adobe Illustrator and all things "vector".
Whether you're a newbie to digital image stuff or you're confident in Adobe Photoshop but baffled by Adobe Illustrator, we've hunted out some tips to get you on track.
First the basics....
Laser cutting is the process of using a laser to cut shapes out of sheet of materials like plywood, plastic or metal. Sadly you can't just pick up a laser gun and use it to freehand zap out the shape you want. Instead you'll need to tell a computer what you want to cut and the computer then guides the laser. So far so good. But how do you turn your lovely line drawing into something the computer understands?
Well, you need a vector file.
Sounds super technical. But it just means a file that's made up of lines, like a pen drawing. (Photoshop is made up of blocks of colour, like a painting.) A vector file is a bit like a dot-to-dot drawing:
You create anchors (the dots) and then join them up with lines. You can make the lines between the dots straight or curvy. The lines are called "strokes", as in pen strokes.
And that's it.
To make vector files you need Adobe Illustrator, which you can get from Adobe.com on 30 days free trial. Once you've done that, I REALLY recommend half an hour spent on YouTube with the fabulous TastyTuts. If you're a 100% beginner, check out their full beginners guide here. It's 19 episodes (eek), but get as far as Episode four and you'll get the basics on vectors. If you want to cut to the chase and just learn about vectors, jump to episode four here. These are really clear tutorials that don't assume any previous knowledge, so you may as well go through the whole course and finish up with some serious new Adobe Illustrator skills!
The best way to learn is to get on and try it out - so what are you waiting for! If you are coming to our Laser Cutting for Crafters session and you don't get time to do this first, don't worry. We'll be supplying the files for this session, and will be topping up your Illustrator skills as a group after the session. You'll be just like Buzz Lightyear in no time!
Laser cutting in action (but sadly not with a handheld laser gun...)
How to handle our new favourite interiors trend without taking a sledgehammer to your home! April 15, 2016 06:00
Over the last few months I've been watching a new trend take hold in interiors. I love it, but it's a tricky one to do without coming over all sledgehammer on your home!
Rustic industrial is here in a big way. It's all exposed brick, steel frameworks and open ducting, mixed up with farmhouse tables and artisan pottery. We've made a Pinterest board of course, and I've been trying to sell the idea of smashing all the plaster off the walls in the stairs.
Unfortunately Mr Craft Club doesn't seem up for that! During my search for less destructive ways to get the brick thing into our home I met Christian Marsden from StolenForm.
Christian's collection of ceramic homewares is exactly the right look, and he was kind enough to take some time out to chat with us about his work. Have a look at the StolenForm shop , and for the rest of April you can get £5 in his shop with our exclusive London Craft Club discount promo code LCCAP16. I want all of it!
LCC - Hi Christian, thanks for chatting to us. How did you get started with Stolen Form? Did you have a formal ceramics training?
LCC - What's the best thing about running your own craft business?
16th & 17th April: Best Of Britannia (BOB) at The Classic Car Boot, Lewis Cubitt Square, Kings Cross N1C 4UZ 10am - 6pm
15th May: Urban Village Fete Greenwich Peninsula, London. 12.00am-7pm
24th - 26th June: Grow London, Hampstead Heath
14th - 17th July: Art In Action, Waterperry House, South Oxfordshire,
Craft and Coffee… and maybe a Cocktail too April 03, 2016 00:00
Craft and Coffee is our regular crafternoon meetup in cafes around 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’re making a paper clouds and we might even indulge in a cocktail or two to celebrate our newest venue….
We are super excited to be at Saucer and Spritz because it turns out the manager is also a bit of a craft fan! We’ll be kicking off the craft at 2pm but you can make a bit of an afternoon of it because they’ve also organised an exclusive London Craft Club lunch menu, available from 12pm. It’s a great deal at £9.50, which includes a 10% discount and the service charge. They’re even doing happy hour prices on cocktails and wine for us so it should be quite jolly! You just need to rock up any time from 12pm and explain you’re here for the crafting – myself, I’ll be arriving for lunch at 1.15. If you’re coming on your own I’ll have a London Craft Club flag so come and join me!
Here’s the craft project designed by Utensils0 that I'll be bringing – you can have a go at making a batch of these cute clouds, or just bring whatever you’re working on. I’ll bring all the paper and supplies you’ll need – as usual there’s no charge for crafting!
See you there - just drop us an email if you're thinking of coming to help us predict numbers, we get pretty busy sometimes!
Images courtesy of Nic Crilly-Hargrave
Our expert's top tips on buying original vintage posters April 01, 2016 17:46
Finding the right artwork to complete a room can be a daunting business. Magazines are full of photoshoots where a carefully selected piece effortlessly conveys the owner’s style and personality. But how can you achieve the same impact without the help of an interior stylist and the bank balance of Bill Gates? Happily, David Bownes of Twentieth Century Posters (aka Mr. London Craft Club) has the answer: original, vintage posters, which not only look amazing but also have the potential to dramatically increase in value.
So over to David for the basics…
“What types of posters are out there?
Illustrated posters have been around since the late nineteenth Century, selling everything from consumer products, travel, propaganda and entertainment. Although an individual design might be very rare, the overall survival rate of original posters is astonishingly high, meaning that no matter how niche your interests are the likelihood is that there’s a perfect match out there. So whether you’re looking for a Modernist inspired view of Kew Gardens or a gig poster for your favourite 80s band the chances are that that you’ll find the right poster – eventually!
How much should I spend?
Prices for original posters vary enormously and can reach into the tens of thousands (or more) for iconic designs by the likes of Toulouse Lautrec (C19th French) or Rodchenko (interwar Russian) – but don’t despair. Many truly outstanding twentieth century posters can be had for less than £1500, with the majority costing between £100 and £500.
Why should I buy an original vintage poster?
Quality, originality, size, value for money and investment! Most posters made before about 1960 are lithographs – a printing process which produces a very high quality image with a rich depth of colour, considered Fine Art standard today. Put simply, original posters are often much better printed than modern mass-produced ‘wall-art’ available from the High Street. And, of course, an original poster is the ‘real thing’, linking us directly with with earlier times.
Where should I shop for posters?
Authentic posters can still be found cheaply in online auctions (like EBay) or at fairs, but caution is needed due to the alarming number of reproductions that have flooded the market in recent years. A safer bet is to buy from an auction house, or an established poster dealer. Always compare prices online first and talk to dealers before making a purchase. Most established dealers are poster enthusiasts and only too happy to offer advice. Few, if any, will be looking to make a quick buck by ripping you off. And avoid sellers who don’t offer a guarantee of authenticity, unless you are primarily interested in the image rather than originality/investment.
How can I tell original from a fake?
Although straight forward for an expert to spot, the unwary can be easily caught out. Authentic posters were usually printed in standard sizes that are no longer readily available (LINK). Similarly, a genuine lithographic poster will be printed on thin paper and the matt image can be ‘read’ from the reverse by holding it up to the light. In general, avoid glossy finishes, modern paper sizes, and anything which looks like a digital print.
Is a bit of damage acceptable?
By their very nature, posters are likely to have suffered some damage over the years, such as folding, small tears, creasing and edge ‘nicks’. Some collectors like to preserve their posters in this condition, and evidence of wear and tear can look great when framed. Others prefer to have posters professionally conserved on either linen or Japan tissue backing, which makes them easier to handle and can improve physical appearance. Ultimately it’s a matter of personal taste, but don’t be tempted to over-restore a poster by having missing areas filled-in as this can adversely affect value.
How should I display an original poster?
The best option is a conservation grade mount and UV filtered glass, both of which are widely available from High Street framers and will extend the poster’s life, especially if displayed out of direct sunlight. Whether you’re going for a traditional card or a ‘floating’ mount always ask the framer to use PH neutral glues and tapes. Never trim or fold a poster to size!
What are your Top Tips for acquiring amazing designs with great investment potential?
Interwar women designers. There is growing interest in the outstanding, and pioneering, contribution of British women commercial artists from the 20s and 30s. Recent publications and planned museum exhibitions will only enhance this reputation. Names to look out for include: Freda Lingstrom, Doris and Anna Zinkeisen, Dora Batty, Sybil Andrews, Rosemary Ellis and Vera Willoughby.
‘Mid-century’ British designers. Posters by the very best of these, such as Abram Games and Tom Eckersley, already command quite high prices, but there are many superb designs by the likes of Daphne Padden, Dorrit Dekk, Royston Cooper and Hans Unger that can still be had for a few hundred pounds (or less). Buy them while you can!
Hans Unger, Ideal Homes (1958) £150
Lastly, airline posters. Designs from the 50s and 60s are still surprisingly affordable, stylishly conveying the glamour and modernism of the ‘Jet Age’. My bet is that these will go the way of classic railway posters from the thirties and be seen as emblematic of their times – with a price tag to match.
David Bownes is a poster dealer and former curator specializing in C20th British design. Check his website www.twentiethcenturyposters.com but he loves to talk posters so do always free to call him direct on 07718 064 205
Just in case you didn’t spot the reference, David is married to Sonia Bownes, Founder of London Craft Club! He still knows everything there is to know about poster though…
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