What we're up to
Black Friday Sale November 23, 2017 09:54
Being independent creatives we have always shunned Black Friday on the high street and all its consumerism craziness! We prefer handmade items that pay a fair living wage to the maker. But here is one Black Friday sale we can get behind - 30% off ALL our amazing workshops AND gift vouchers for one day only. No code needed - just book your tickets/gift vouchers on Friday 24th November before midnight and the price will be already discounted!
That's right folks, it's our biggest ever workshop sale AND the best part is you can shop safe in the knowledge that not only are you supporting a thriving local, independent business rather than a huge chain store, but you're also investing in yourself by learning a new craft skill.
Why not purchase two tickets and give one to a friend for Christmas? Workshops are the perfect gift - come along, enjoy a drink, have a chat, and make something beautiful together. Or surprise them with a gift voucher and let them choose their own workshop - all our gift vouchers come as a physical product, beautifully packaged and ready to give.
And the savings don't end there - if you've previously booked a ticket through our ticket partner Obby then you can get £20 off any workshop by leaving a review on their site! (You will receive an email from Obby in the next week prompting you to leave a review. Make sure you do this by midnight on Thursday 23rd or it won't count!)
Head to our Workshops page to see all the classes we currently have available - with everything from Brush Lettering to Neon Style Signs the hardest part will be choosing which one to book! (Top Tip: book them all and you'll always have something crafty and fun to look forward to.) Don't miss out - put Friday in your diaries, tell your friends, set an alarm, and get those clicking fingers ready!
Happiness really is a Handmade Christmas November 16, 2017 20:22
The Spring 2018 Programme of workshops! November 12, 2017 10:44
We'll be steadily announcing more and more of our Spring workshops over the next couple of weeks, but to whet your appetite here are the first five! There will be more coming soon so keep an eye on the newsletter and our social media.
I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas... November 12, 2017 10:08
Although here at London Craft Club HQ we love crafting all year round (I mean, who doesn't?!) there's something about the colder weather that's been creeping in that makes us want to craft constantly. But not just any crafts - we are pulling out all the 'cold weather crafts.' Those projects that you can snuggle up with on the sofa with a huge mug of tea while watching Elf. (Yeah, we have started watching Christmas movies already, someone should really stage an intervention.)
Despite it not being the most Christmassy colour ever, we've definitely noticed a colour scheme running through our current projects. Except we liked pink before it became the 'millennial pink' colour of choice.
Nothing says warm and cosy like a spot of knitting. Sonia knitted up these Bjork-inspired fluffy pink mohair wrist warmers recently and we are totally smitten with how soft and snuggly they are!
And if knitting is a bit outside your comfort zone then why not give arm knitting a go? It's much easier than regular knitting and a hundred times faster too! In fact, it's so quick that you can whip up a scarf in two hours, so perfect for when relatives turn up unannounced and you have nothing to give them. Our Arm Knitting Workshop has you covered.
Christmas is the season for PARTIES. Whether it's the work party, a family get together, dinner and drinks with your friends, everyone's social calendars seem full to bursting at this time of year. And if you're in need of new accessories without breaking the bank then fear not, our Box Clutch Workshop will save the day! Not only will you make your own bespoke party clutch bag, but you'll be able to use your new found skills to make more bags after the workshop - one to go with every outfit maybe?
And of course no Christmas celebration is complete without a Christmas tree, and no tree is complete without DECORATIONS. While you can buy some lovely ones in the shops, there is nothing as special and meaningful as a handmade decoration. Our Heirloom Tree Decoration Workshop will show you how to make your own luxury hand-stitched ornament that would make a thoughtful gift, or a beautiful addition to your own tree. What do you think about pink for Christmas? Do you love quirky new colours or good old red and green?
Happy Christmas memories still live in these little ornaments November 05, 2017 10:11
When you think of Christmas, chances are you think of Christmas trees and, more specifically, of decorating that tree. Most of my earliest memories of Christmas involve getting our decorations out of the loft, unwrapping them, and hanging them carefully on the branches one by one. Each decoration holds so many memories, of times and places and people, that I wanted to share some of my favourites with you, and hopefully you'll want to share some of your decorations and the memories attached to them with us.
These are from my distant childhood, and I can't remember a Christmas without a them.They are a bit grubby now and their satin finish is looking a bit worse for wear, but I still love them and the memories they evoke.
What would Christmas be without handmade decorations? The one on the left was made by my step-daughter when she was about ten, and the gingerbread house on the right was made by my little boy when he was three. I love these ones so much as they were the first ones they each made for our tree.
Poor little guy - he's lost his ride! But my hubby loves this weird little chap as he remembers him from his childhood Christmases.
These baubles marked my entry into the world of grown up Christmas ornaments. They were the first decorations I bought that were not glittery, and every time I look at them I think that if I wanted, I could have an elegant and stylish Christmas. But the truth is I don't - I want a tinsel smothered sparklefest with mince pies, inflatable santas, and cheesy Christmas songs. But I can have a few fancy ornaments on the tree...
Why not add to your collection of Christmas memories by decorating your tree with a handmade ornament or two? We have two wonderful workshops coming up that will show you how to create your own decorations such as the handstitched leather decorations pictured above. And once you've mastered it you'll be able to make them to gift to friends and family too, and spread the memories and love even further.
Zoe and Sonia at The Knitting and Stitching Show October 20, 2017 16:41
If there is one thing Team London Craft Club loves more than making things, it's shopping for supplies to make things with. Fabric, yarn, ribbon, thread, scissors (don't get us started on our scissor obsession) we love it all. So when we were offered press passes for The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace we couldn't say no (plus we felt super cool all day wearing our fancy lanyard passes all day!) It's one of our favourite crafting events of the year and it's easy to see why with so many talented creatives under one roof.
Although there are lots of finished items for sale, the main focus of the event is craft supplies, with stalls selling everything you could need for crafts ranging from yarn dyeing, to crochet, to shibori, to embroidery. If you love craft supplies (and who doesn't?) then this is the place to come. And while we are both what I like to politely call 'unfocused crafters' (because we love every craft going!) we noticed we were being drawn towards particular crafts. Sonia was eyeing up fabrics, with plans of recreating one of her favourite jackets in a jazzy colour or print. However it was a DIY shibori fabric patchwork quilt from Changs Fabrics that had us making serious heart eyes. How gorgeous would this look on the back of a sofa or on the end of your bed?
Having recently become addicted to punch needle rug hooking I was on the hunt for some quirky handyed or handspun yarns, so I was VERY excited to find the gorgeous Spin City stand. Packed full of vibrant rainbow coloured batts and gorgeous handspun art yarns, it was definitely a feast for the eyes. As well as creating incredible things, owner Louise also teaches spinning workshops (the yarn kind not the gym bike kind!) on both drop spindles and on spinning wheels. She kindly demonstrated both for us, and now Sonia and I have decided we need to learn to spin our own yarn!
The Knitting and Stitching Show is always so packed full of inspiration - not just from the array of products on offer, but also the displays themselves. One of our favourites was this ingenious way of displaying yarn by Toft Alpaca. How awesome would it be to have something like this at home? You could easily see all your yarns, even the ones at the bottom! Toft also make gorgeous yarns, and have kits to make up some of the cutest amigurumi animals you ever did see.
Both Sonia and I fell instantly in love with the Flat Mannie cardboard Tailor Dummies, used to store and show off your favourite craft supplies. Such a simple idea, but they looked so effective, and they provide practical storage whilst also being aesthetically pleasing. We'd like one in every size please!
Unfortunately (or fortunately in the case of our bank balances!) we couldn't spend all day staring at beautiful crafty things. However we both left feeling inspired and full of ideas for London Craft Club, and with pockets full of business cards from the lovely people we met. We may even have started planning some new workshops.... Stay tuned! Did anyone else visit The Knitting and Stitching Show last weekend? What were your favourite finds or buys? If you missed it then fear not - it's held twice a year in London so pop the next date in your diary and start saving those pennies!
5 Things on My Autumn Checklist October 08, 2017 09:14
Who else can't believe it's October already? Time is flying by, and we are trying to remember to do all our favourite Autumnal things, so we thought we would put together a little checklist to remind us of the things we love to do during our favourite season.
1. Autumnal Decorating - Although we can't exactly redecorate our entire house every season (though wouldn't that be fun?!), its always nice to change things up every so often. In Autumn we bring out the cosy sofa blankets, buy new candles, and add little hints of Autumnal colours everywhere. Copper is so on trend right now for homewares, so the candleholder I made in our Copper Candelabra Workshop has pride of place on the dining room table. If you'd like to make one of your own there are a few spaces left!
2. Baking - Anything baked with apples, pumpkin or cinnamon gets my vote. There's something so Autumnal about those flavours, and I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a good book, a cup of tea, and a slice of homemade cake. One of my current favourites is this Pumpkin, Chocolate and Ginger Bread Wreath by Domestic Gothess.
3. Get Cosy - There are few things in life I love more than getting cosy in an oversized jumper, or wrapping up warm in a chunky scarf. Especially if they are a yummy Autumnal colour like mustard or burnt orange. And if, like me, you're a fan of getting snug as a bug in a rug, then our Arm Knitting Workshop is THE place to be. Learn to make your own super cosy scarf, and use the arm knitting technique to make other things such as a blanket. Because, let's face it, you can never have too many blankets...
4. Go Outside - Yes, I know I've been going on about how much I love staying inside in Autumn but it's good to get outside too, even if it is only to show off your new jumper! Wrap up warm and go for a walk in your local park to take in all the gorgeous Autumn colours. Crunch through the leaves and, while you're there, gather up a few particularly attractive ones and use them in a craft project. We particularly love these DIY Autumn Leaves Fairy Lights by Wallflower Kitchen. Perfect for bringing a bit of the outside inside.
5. Learn a New Craft - As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, most of us find ourselves spending more and more time indoors and in particular, if you're anything like me, more time snuggled on the sofa. Although it may be tempting to use that time to binge watch your current favourite TV show (hello Game of Thrones!) why not learn a new craft skill instead? Our Hand Sewing Workshop is perfect for keeping your hands busy, and doesn't require any fancy tools like a sewing machine. Plus you can get a headstart on Christmas presents by making some!
And in case you need any more Autumnal Inspiration (because you can never have too much of a good thing, right?) be sure to check out our Pinterest board dedicated to our favourite season.
What are your favourite things to do in Autumn? Do you have any special traditions you take part in at this time of year?
The Handmade Fair v Sewing Bee Live September 24, 2017 09:23
It’s no secret that crafting and handmade is back in a big way, and with TV shows such as Channel 4’s ‘Craft It Yourself’ being watched by millions of viewers, craft is definitely no longer a pastime of the minority.
And as craft has become more mainstream there have been an increasing number of events popping up around the UK catering for crafters. With so many to choose from we decided to take one for the team and review two of the most recent events – The Handmade Fair and The Great British Sewing Bee.
Artcuts fabulous stand at the Handmade Fair
First up was The Handmade Fair. Held in The Green at Hampton Court Palace, and spearheaded by Queen of Crafts Kirstie Allsopp, The Handmade Fair is like a mini festival dedicated entirely to crafting (and with much nicer toilets.) There are food trucks, talks, workshops, book signings, demonstrations, and of course plenty of things to buy. Handmade items from some of the countries best designer makers are available to purchase – from jewellery, to bags, to artisanal brownies (yes, we taste-tested those for you too and they were incredible.) And for those who enjoy getting in on the craft action there are plenty of stalls selling all manner of craft supplies. So whether you’re a fabric junkie, a yarn hoarder, or looking to take up needle felting, there will be materials and tools to tempt you.
The Super Theatre where lots of talks take place
But it’s not all about the shopping, as we had to keep reminding ourselves. The Handmade Fair has an amazing selection of workshops on offer too – ranging from origami, to basket weaving, to paper quilling, each one is a perfect introduction to a new craft. And who knows, maybe you’ll find your new craft obsession (or three if you’re anything like us!)
The lovely lady from Selvedge Magazine was caught in the rain a few times
The Great British Sewing Bee Live is held at the ExCel London, and showcases everything sewing related. Sewing workshops, sewing talks, drop is sewing clinics, sewing supplies to buy… you get the picture! Plus if you’re lucky you might even spot Patrick Grant himself wandering around (form an orderly queue ladies!)
Sewing Bee Live is big!
Like The Handmade Fair it’s much more than just a shopping event, but if you’re in the mood to spend some dosh then there’s no shortage of beautiful things to buy. The focus here is much more heavily on items you can use to make things, rather than handmade items, but they have everything you could ever need if you are a sewer, including every kind of fabric imaginable.
Sewing workshops for all skill levels
Fancy brushing up on your sewing skills? They’ve got you covered with workshops including pattern drafting, mastering an overlocker, and tailoring techniques. There’s a drop in sewing clinic where you can get one to one advice and tips from the experts, as well as some of the biggest names in sewing machines showcasing their latest offerings for you to test out.
Tilly and the Buttons lovely stall at Sewing Bee Live
So which one should you visit? Well if you’re a sewer then you will find nirvana at The Great British Sewing Bee as the entire show is dedicated to the one craft. However if you’re more of a general crafter like us, or a wannabe crafty type who just wants an inspiring day out, then The Handmade Fair is the place to go as there is a much larger variety of crafts on offer. Whichever event you choose we know you’ll have a great time – and who knows, maybe we will see you there? Don't forget to head to our Facebook page for more pics from both events.
If you’ve been to any brilliant crafty events then do please let us know – we love any excuse to get out of the office for a ‘business trip’! And if you can’t wait till next year to get your craft one, then why not check out our calendar of workshops - we’d love to have you join us.
The Pom Maker! September 18, 2017 20:39
“Why do we need a pom pom maker that looks like a donut, when we can use a bit of old cardboard?” is what we naively asked ourselves, mainly because old habits die hard and we have been using circles cut from cereal boxes since we were kids. Well the answer is threefold…
Firstly, let’s talk aesthetics. Not only does the Donut Pom Maker come in the most gorgeous packaging ever (a screenprinted cotton drawstring bag with a witty tag attached) but the Pom Maker itself is a thing of beauty. Let’s face it, there is nothing Instagrammable about a mangled bit of old cardboard, but the Donut Pom Maker is so adorable you’ll want to make pom poms every day just so you can photograph your new FCT (favourite craft tool – because we all have one, right?)
Secondly, and some would say most importantly, it makes really good pom poms. There is nothing more disappointing than a sparse, uneven, sad looking pom pom, but those are a thing of the past with the Pom Maker. It holds much more yarn than other pom pom makers, which gives you a really dense and super fluffy pom pom every single time. And let’s face it, that’s the name of the game when you’re making pom poms. You’ll still need to give your pom poms a good trim though, because trimming is key to a nice even pom pom.
Thirdly, and probably our favourite reason, when you buy a Pom Maker you are supporting an independent handmade business that makes each one from sustainable beech wood, paints each piece using non-toxic paint, and lovingly packages and ships them to you. The end result is something beautiful yet functional, that you’ll love having as part of your crafting kit.
We took our Donut Pom Maker along to our most recent Craft Life social event and everyone was impressed with it – there were of course lots of cries of “ITS SO CUTE” but that’s to be expected. I think it’s safe to say we have converted more than a few lovely crafters to using the Pom Maker for all their pom pom needs!
And if you’re now desperate to make pom poms, why not check out the competition over on our Instagram page where you can win a Donut Pom Maker of your own! If you don't win, get one here!
By Zoe aka Too Cute To Quit
In the interest of honesty, you should know that we were sent this Pom Maker for free to try out, in return for an unbiased review. Zoe genuinely loves a pom pom so seemed the perfect person to review it.
What should we do about craft and wellness? September 03, 2017 10:41
Anyone who’s got a creative hobby will have a sense that it’s doing them good in some way. Whether it’s cross-stitch or screen-printing, as soon as you immerse yourself in it, the world and its worries wash away and are replaced by the gentile but exhilarating sense of flow. It’s your own thing, and it feels really good to do it.
The media are increasingly recognising that there’s more to the modern craft movement than just cutesie cottage décor too. Like yoga before it, craft is starting to move away from eccentric to mainstream, partly because of its undeniable benefits both physical and mental. There is plenty of evidence of the benefit of craft to health and wellbeing, from the success of the prison stitching project Fine Cell Work to the research around quilting improving mental agility with its spacial problem solving challenge. A couple of years ago I blogged on a similar topic and didn’t find a lot of evidence, whereas now there’s more, and what there is, is easier to find.
This week I was lucky enough to take part in the Holborn Magazines’ panel discussion Craft And Wellness, along with Rachel of Ray Stitch (the stand-out best fabric store in North London), Lottie of the new-wave WI Shoreditch Sisters and Sarah of the Craftivist Collective, award-winning campaigner. Before the event, the four of us sat down for a drink and a chat about some of the issues we were due to discuss.
Ray Stitch is going from strength to strength as the demand for modern, on-trend dress-making fabric grows. The Shoreditch Sisters WI is thriving as a diverse local community with craft at its heart, and Sarah’s quiet craftivism is regularly recognised for its impressive results in changing attitudes and influencing politicians. London Craft Club’s own events are full of people wanting to explore craft, many citing stress and a wish a for a supportive community as their reason. (Don't forget to look at our programme of workshops!)
In a room full of crafters, the idea that craft is good for you is not a hard sell. But beyond that – well who hasn’t had a friend who thinks your crafting is a bit grannyish, geeky or just a bit boring despite the rising trend? The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throw Down have definitely improved the public perception of craft to some extent, but laughingly we all confessed to moments when we’ve kept quiet about our crafty obsessions as if they were a guilty pleasure.
For me, the mark of an event that was worth going to is one that changes your opinion or influences your behaviour for the better. The audience this week were well versed in the benefits of craft and suggested lots of interventions, but the discussion often came back to how a widespread lack of understanding about these benefits preventing craft being widely used as a tool for good. The logical action for me is to be a better ambassador for the benefits of craft.
So London Craft Club’s contribution to this is two-fold. First, to actively encourage all our community to share how craft improves their lives. For everyone it’s different, but please do think on it and share your thoughts in person and anywhere else you can.
And secondly, we’re working on an event, which we think is rather special and that anyone at all can join in. Watch this space, craft ambassadors!
Coffee and Craft is getting a makeover! August 27, 2017 10:53
Our monthly social Coffee and Craft and maybe a Cocktail has been running for over 3 years now, and it's time for a bit of a makeover!
London Craft Club is all about how to live your best (craft) life, so we decided to give our socials a name that reflected that. So... welcome to Craft Life!
We welcome totally craft newbies and craftaholics alike, and there's always a waiting list to come along. There's always a free taster craft for everyone to try, and we invite people to bring something they're working on for show and tell. It's warm, friendly and a whirlwind of creativity. I love it from the bottom of my heart!
This month we are making keyrings made from pleather and recycled leather. We've got a secret weapon when it comes to working with pleather that we'll reveal on the day! Come and experiment!
We'll also be showing off our newest craft crush, the Pom Maker! Made of sustainable birch and off the scale cute, these make perfect poms and feel heavenly in your hand. Come along a see one in action, and enter our September giveaway for a chance to win one of your own.
Join us at Saucer and Spritz on Saturday 16th September, don't forget to RSVP to get your place here!
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 3 Comments
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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...
Posters, bowls, plates, vases, and the rubbish cutlery
A print by Edward Lear the writer, poet and author
Inge Lisa Koeford vase. It's looking down from a shelf at me now with it's two mad eyes!
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
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)
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 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
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 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
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.
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
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.
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.
Help out a researcher studying crafting stories June 16, 2017 23:23
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
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 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.
Our first workshop is the super popular Make Summer Espadrilles workshop followed by a new workshop every month.
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
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!
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.
In between workshops we had a lovely potter around the grounds
The last three years May 28, 2017 12:07
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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 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!
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