What we're up to

20 quotes that make me want paint August 18, 2019 00:28

 Paint right now

I love the quote by Judi Dench - my favourites are numbers 1, 6 and 18. Which do you like? And what do you think of the list? And do you have any quotes you'd like to see in here? 

  1. Painting calmed the chaos that shook my soul. Niki de St. Phalle

 

  1. Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen. Pablo Picasso

 

  1. I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for. Georgia O'Keefe

 

  1. Change is not indecision. Chris Ofili

  1. I was a really lousy artist as a kid. Too abstract expressionist; or I'd draw a big ram's head, really messy. I'd never win painting contests. I remember losing to a guy who did a perfect Spiderman. Jean-Michel Basquiat

 

  1. It is not your paintings I like, it is your painting. Albert Camus

 

  1.  Painting completed my life. Frida Kahlo

  1. Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion. Vincent Van Gogh

 

  1. No matter what you’re saying, people are going to tell you that there’s no need for you to say it. There’s no need for you to paint; there’s no need for you to photograph; there’s no need for you to write music, because in some way, shape or form, you’re not going to be changing anything. That’s all a big bargain game to make sure you never overstep your mark, never go out of yourself, never breach your remit as a woman working as a creative. So persevere to make sure you never let anybody tell you that you don’t have a place in art. Sunayana Bhargava

 

  1. In painting feathers, you want to create the look of feathers, but if you try to paint all the feathers, you have nothing but disaster. John O'Neill

 

  1. Painting is so poetic, while sculpture is more logical and scientific and makes you worry about gravity. Damien Hirst

 

  1. At the point where I'm trying to force something and it's not happening, and I'm getting frustrated with, say, writing a poem, I can go and pick up the brushes and start painting. At the point where the painting seems to not be going anywhere, I go and pick up the guitar. Joni Mitchell

 

  1. I'm still very sure that painting is one of the most basic human capacities, like dancing and singing, that make sense, that stay with us, as something human. Gerhard Richter

 

  1. I paint my tears, my screams, my rage and outrage into something beautiful and moving. Asya Abdrahman

 

  1. I love painting so much that nothing else matters. Yayoi Kusama

 

  1. When I go to an art gallery and stand in front of a painting, I don't want someone telling me what I should be seeing or thinking; I want to feel whatever I feel, see whatever I see, and figure out what I figure out. James Frey

 

  1. I had always planned to make a large painting of the early spring, when the first leaves are at the bottom of the trees, and they seem to float in space in a wonderful way. But the arrival of spring can't be done in one picture. David Hockney

 

  1. I've always loved painting, although I never show anyone what I've done. Mainly because I don't do it well. But it's like a form of visual diary for me. A way of fixing things in my mind. Judi Dench

 

  1. There's something really cool about taking oily coloured paste and pushing it around with these hairy sticks and making something that looks like you. That's the magic of painting. Kehinde Wiley

 

  1. When I finish a painting, it usually looks as surprising to me as to anyone else. Howard Hodgkin

 We have a whole bunch of painting and ink workshops for you to enjoy. 


We are doing the Handmade Festival BIG TIME!! August 17, 2019 23:13

The Handmade Festival London Craft Club

If you haven't heard of the Handmade Festival (formerly the Handmade Fair) then you are missing out! It's a huge great wonderful festival celebrating all things handmade and stuffed to the gunnels with things to make and do. You can meet your favourite makers and designers face to face and of course, come to our very own tent of Glorious Crafty Magical Fun! You'll find us at S17 by the Contemporary Craft sections, and you wont be able to miss it! 

We'll be running taster workshops that you absolutely wont want to miss out on, but you'll need to pop by first thing to book your spot as you can't book before the festival opens. These ones are going to sell out - so check out the schedule below and plan your day. 

  Pyrography and Macrame

Friday

9.30

Bookings open for the day!

 

10.30 am 11.30

Lazy Daisy Crazy! 

A Botanical Embroidery class for beginners 

£7

12.00 – 1.00

Engrave a Glass Tealight

Dinky powertools by Dremel

£15

1.30 – 3.20

Make Mine Macramé

Make a macramé necklace with Zoe from @toocutetoquit

£7

3.00 – 4.00

Burn Baby Burn!

Pyrography taster session for beginners

£15

4.30 – 5.30

Bargello Dreaminess

Try the coolest new craft on the scene

£12

 

Saturday

9.30

Bookings open for the day!

 

10.30 am 11.30

Bargello Dreaminess

Try the coolest new craft on the scene

£12

12.00 – 1.00

Make Mine Macramé

Make a macramé necklace with Zoe from @toocutetoquit

£7

1.30 – 3.20

Burn Baby Burn!

Pyrography taster session for beginners

£15

3.00 – 4.00

Lazy Daisy Crazy!

A Botanical Embroidery class for beginners

£7

4.30 – 5.30

Engrave a Glass Tealight

Dinky powertools by Dremel

£15

 

Sunday

9.30


Bookings open for the day!

 

10.30 am 11.30

Engrave a Glass Tealight

Dinky powertools by Dremel

£15

12.00 – 1.00

Bargello Dreaminess

Try the coolest new craft on the scene

£12

1.30 – 3.20

Make Mine Macramé

Make a macramé necklace with Zoe from @toocutetoquit

£7

3.00 – 4.00

Burn Baby Burn!

Pyrography taster session for beginners

£15

4.30 – 5.30

Lazy Daisy Crazy!

A Botanical Embroidery class for beginners

£7

 

Plus here's what's going on through the Festival in our tent!

The Craft Life Project

Craft Life is our monthly social hangout, which we do because crafty is wonderful way to get together with other creative people. AT the Festival, you can add your touch our to our big Craft Life Craft! We’ll set up a gigantic loom, and you can add your own little bit to a great big weaving. Pop by an have a go. Why? Just because craft brings us together! Sponsored by Paintbox who are providing their lovely colourful yarn.

 

Craft Tombola

Watch the little tickets flutter about in the drum and see what you’ll win! It might be something epic like a fab bundle of crafty amazingness, or it might be a gummy bear.

 

The Vote!

We’ll be sharing our ideas for future craft workshops. You get to vote for what you want us to do, and we’ll even be taking random suggestions! Everything will be considered…

 

Flat Lay Festival Challenge

Come and try your hand at making a glorious flay lay! We’ll have a tripod all set up for you to pop your phone into, and tons of glorious props and backdrops for you play with. Make your Festival themed flat lay, snap and share it on the gram with our hashtag, and each day we’ll announce a winner.

 

General chat and fun

Just pop in! We’ll be there ready to welcome you, so come for a chat, book a workshop for yourself and take advantage of our special Festival-only offers. We can’t wait to meet you!

 So come and find us at S17 and if you can't wait to get making, here's our craft calender to tide you over !

 


Our Five Autumn Treats for you! August 10, 2019 22:15

Five Autumn Treats

It's coming up for the best season of the year! Wonderful Autumn is just around the corner and we'll be at our favourite yarn shops feeling up the snuggliest wool, planning projects for the longer eveninngs and getting into that back-to school-ready-to-try-something-new mood. Here come the glorious Autumn colours and textures, a lovely freshness in the air and of course Halloween and Bonfire Night! Check out our Five Autumn Treats for you now before it's too late! 

TREAT ONE! £5 off your next workshop!!

The best thing about September is that after all the holiday vibes, it feels so good to learn something new. Now is the time to try that  workshop you've always fancied, with a fiver off from us! Use code BACKTOSCHOOL before midnight Saturday 17th August when you're at the check out. 

TREAT TWO! Win a 2kg ball of glorious Woolly Mahoosive Yarn 

Is this Woolly Mahoosive mega chunky yarn not the most gloriously Autumnal thing that ever existed? If you book an Arm Knitting workshop before midnight Saturday 17th August, you'll be entered in the draw to win an extra ball worth £43! Make a second mega chunky blanket - that's one epic Christmas gift sorted! 

TREAT THREE! Crochet Crash Course Mega Deal! 

Book yourself on two different crochet workshops and get the third free. It's basically a crash course in crochet to get you from utter beginner to reading patterns and making everything from granny squares to hats to toys for just £78 . Our Zoe has taught hundreds and hundreds of people to crochet and is a truly fabulous teacher. Book before, yest you guessed it, midnight Saturday 17th August when this offer ends

TREAT FOUR! Win a Pyrography tool! 

Pyrography is the ultimate Autumn craft. Singe patterns permanently into wood and get in the mood for Bonfire Night, while you create the most gorgeous personalised wooden spatulas. And if you book a Pyrography class before midnight Saturday 17th August you'll be entered in the draw to win a Pyrography tool worth £25! You will never look at wood the same way again! 

TREAT FIVE! Win a Glass Engraving taster at the Handmade Festival plus £50 worth of London Craft Club vouchers! 

This month's Insta giveway is extra great! All you have to do is post a picture of something you made tagging both #londoncraftclub and @londoncraftclub on Instagram in August, or leave a review of London Craft Club on our Facebook page to be entered in the prize draw to win a free Glass Engraving taster at the Handmade Festival. You'll need to buy yourself a ticket to the Handmade Festival (use code SHOP for a discount) but once you're in you can come to our tent for a free Glass Engraving taster! 

To see the full terms and conditions for all our competitions, click here. Enjoy!!! 

 


Glue Guns! Love them or hate them? August 10, 2019 16:06

Glue gun debateGlue gun debate time!! This week I have been talking to lots of different crafters about their favourite materials an how they like to craft. I've met some really talented people and the range of things they create has been jaw dropping. One thing has surprised me though - some of the best crafters have never used a glue gun. It's not that I'm obsessed with them, but they're just so useful! I wouldn't use one to make something that I wanted to be really robust, but if you need to bang out something quick and big, they're every crafter's best friend. OR ARE THEY ???  Am I living in a glue gun bubble? Anyone else love them? Or are they your idea of cheating?

But let's remember that not all glue guns are created equal! There's cordless, rechargable, mini, cold melt and my favourite Dremel Glue Gun! Different glue sticks, batteries and heat settings all make a difference. And of course - they are not for everything!  

 Here are three things I love glue guns for. I'd love to hear what you like to use them for - or if you loathe them! 

Gift wrapping

I hate seeing sellotape on gift wrap, but most double sided tape is not strong enough for a really thick paper and I love plush paper that can be used again and again because it's thick enough not to tear. 

Flowers

Fake flowers on ANYTHING. Instant pretty styling, always a win! 

Felt things

The hot runny glue soaks in to the felt to form a really strong bond, but the felt is thick enough that it doesn’t gunge through and burn fingers and give that gunged up look on the good side 

Instant gratification kids projects

The non-toxic nature and the fast drying time is awesome - it’s just that the heat part needs supervision. I think the heat issue is worth it though, because it helps inspire kids who need something fast and fun to keep them off that screen

So! What do you think? The devils work or a crafters best friend? Let us know here in the comments or in Instagram! 


A creative holiday (not a holiday from creativity!) August 8, 2019 23:22

 

Creative Travel Club

You might remember that earlier in the year I took just me and my sewing machine off on holiday together - and it was wonderful! I spent three days in a beautiful cottage in Devon, and the wonderful host Yvonne provided five, yes five, meals a day and all the expert sewing advice I needed. The group included all sorts of women drawn together by a love of sewing and creativity, and we had that lovely balance of socialising and solitude that marks out a truly relaxing break.

The only down-side with my Devon holiday was that it rained sideways the entire time, so my outdoors plans were a bit scuppered. We did go out a couple of times but it was a bit of a mud bath. We ended up staying in the sewing room from 9am -11pm every day, although that wasn’t a trial!

Since then, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a holiday that combines all the things I like – travel, food, warm weather and of course getting my head down to some serious making. I’ve been wanting to go to Lisbon in Portugal for years, so when I saw the Creative Travel Club, I got very excited!

Portugal

The organisers bill it as “for people who love to travel, and who love to create – they will spend an entire week exploring new places, experiencing new tastes, sounds, cultures, and creating new projects every day! Whether they prefer to travel solo or with a friend, the Creative Travel Club will enable them to experience the authentic taste of Portugal” and it runs 22nd – 28the September 2019 and again 17-23 May 2020

The line-up of workshops is frankly brilliant! It’s got everything from bookbinding to mosaics to crafts I don’t know, and there’s something every day. Have a look here to see them all https://www.creativetravelclub.com/studio-projects/ Each day is a mix of workshops and laid back exploring of the local area around Sintra and Lisbon, with time to yourself if you want, or preplanned trips to markets and hidden local spots.

Mosaic making

If you’ve not tried a creative holiday before I cannot recommend it enough. I’ve am the type of person who takes a few days to unwind into a holiday, but having activities I love to do from the outset speeds up that whole process. Instead of suddenly having to change from frantically busy to doing nothing, I find my attention is taken up on an engrossing activity, and it’s a way of resetting without having to do enforced relaxing, which I’m awful at. It bumps you off your phone and into making, which is to my mind the most wonderful form of self care. Oh, and it’s warm and utterly beautiful!

This is a sponsored post – but at London Craft Club we only work with companies that we think are likely to bring a bit of loveliness into your lives and we are extremely selective! I promise you, have a look at the Creative Travel Club website and you will see why we were delighted to work with them. There are a couple of spaces on the September trip, and I am kicking myself that I can’t make the dates. Have a look and see if you can make it. It’s not particularly cheap – but cheap isn’t always value for money and if you are treating to yourself to a wonderful experience, you want it to actually be, well, wonderful!

The Creative Travel Club


How to buy creatively for her (sponsored post) July 30, 2019 14:14

Tips

It’s not true that creative people are all scatty. Some of us are amazing planners, and look out months ahead for big events like birthdays, holidays, festivals and the big events that need a bit of effort put in. But if you’re a creative person and you like to make gifts for other people, you can, from time to time, find that you’ve set the bar a bit too high and you’ve got to plan a full-on production schedule to keep up.

I’ve written a lot of posts about the pleasure you can get from making gifts for people, and it is incredibly satisfying. But it’s also incredibly important that your creative pass-times don’t become a chore, or just another thing on the list of things to do. I run a creative business built around making, and yet it’s certainly not unheard-of that I don’t get time to make personalised gifts for the people I love. So what to do? Well, most importantly – don’t spoil your relationship with crafting by beating yourself up about it. My favourite alternative to making a gift is to buy creatively, and there are plenty of great on-line marketplaces where makers sell direct.  Here are my five reasons to use your spending power to buy from another creative.

 A piece with a story to stays with you for longer

If it’s personalised it’s less likely to end up in landfill. Sounds harsh I know, but it’s true. Something personalised is so much more likely to be kept for a long time, and ultimately stay out of landfill. My husband is amazingly good at gifts, and particularly jewellery. Over the years he has bought me some incredible necklaces. I love jewellery but my four favourite necklaces that I wear year after year are all from him.

The first is a pair of tiny handmade gold scissors that open and close, as a nod to the only rule of Craft Club (don’t use fabric scissors on anything except fabric!).

The second is a vintage silver chain made in the 60’s, which he bought at an auction from the descendants of the original maker. It was thrilling to bid, and to be part of the story of such a wonderful item, but he goes to auctions for his work and not everyone is confident in the auction environment.

The third is a handmade necklace with clusters of coloured stones that he bought secretly at a craft fair we visited together. It’s not pricey but it’s my favourite colours which he carefully checked, and I’ve had it nearly a decade as result.

The last is a just a little E, hung on a chain. It was bought for when my son was born, but it reminds me of the intensely emotional time when our family had a new human in it. I have owned and discarded many pieces of jewellery, but these four will never go, and as the number of special ones goes up, the number of throwaway jewellery I buy goes down because they seem a little empty compared to when I wear things with such history to them.

Your pounds support individual makers and small businesses.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using your spending power to support another creative maker. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do for our blossoming craft industry. And every time you buy from an independent small business, there is a human being doing a little whoop, not only because of the income but also because someone else likes what they do. Let me just reassure you, it’s exhilarating when someone buys something you’ve put your heart and soul into creating, workshops included!

 If you can buy direct from a maker at a stall or market, brilliant, but online is just as good. When I shop online, the seller information is a crucial factor in deciding who to buy from. I read them avidly and I love it when there’s a picture of the person who made the gift, or the story of how they and their business got started. I can’t tell you how excited I am when I get an item in the post that has been made from start to end by someone just for me, it’s so exciting!

You know it wasn’t made in a sweatshop

 My last purchase from Not on the High Street was a gorgeous bag made by a woman with a studio in East London. I know she’s sourced her materials carefully because she’s written about it, and she makes each item by hand. There’s even a picture of her at her sewing machine. So when the #whomademyclothes campaign comes round, I can wear that bag with pride. It feels particularly good to be part of that movement. So I really do encourage you to read up and find out who and how your item was made. You can choose to use your spending power to support smaller ethical businesses and the more we do this, the more bigger businesses will see that we want transparency about manufacturing methods. No-one wants to unwittingly be damaging the planet and exploiting other people, but as ethical buying continues to rise in profile, ignorance isn’t really an excuse any more.

Practise makes perfect

 Handmade is great, but if your own skills aren’t quite there and you want to gift something really stunning, hand over to someone who’s spent a career honing their skills. Pinterest can make it look really easy to turn out fabulous crafted items but often those Pins are made for looking at rather than actually emulating! The amount of times I’ve tested Pins out and discovered that there is a world of technical detail, trial and error, and just great dexterity and skill needed to get that high finish. It takes practise to make it look effortless, so if you choose to buy from someone has put the hours in learning their craft it will show in quality of the gift.

So if you’re looking for a gift for her that’s handmade and filled with creativity, don’t limit your options to just the things you can make. Try somewhere like Not On the High Street where you can support small businesses, be a thoughtful consumer and give something that will stand the test of time. There’s a time and a place for making everything by hand, and it’s not every time!

 Have you ever received a stunning handmade gift? Or is there a handmade item you’d love to receive?

(This post was sponsored by Not on the High Street) 


Discounts for the Handmade Festival 2019 July 28, 2019 08:30

The Handmade Festival

The Handmade Festival tickets are now on sale and we have a discount code for you. Use SHOP to get Entry Tickets for £13* (saving £3), and VIP tickets for £85* (saving £10).

VERY IMPORTANT!!!

if you’re coming to the Festival, make sure you visit our tent first thing so you don’t you don’t miss out on our best  taster workshops. workshops.  

We’ve got a whole tent to ourselves this year, and I’m incredibly excited about it. We’ll be filling it with exciting and wonderful things to make and do, including taster workshops, competitions, giveaways, discounts, games and fun,  and of course lots of friendly chat and craft.

We’re bringing some exciting workshops for you to try out, but you can only book on the day! We’re expecting them to sell out early so make one of your first stops at the fair out tent in the Contemporary Craft section to  book your space. It’s the place to go for the hottest workshops at the Festival, including Pyrography, Glass Engraving, Bargello, raffles, prizes, games and more.  

Plus we’ll have some amazing Festival-Only offers on our workshops for the rest of the year at the London Craft Club HQ. We’ll be giving away £15 vouchers all over the place, plus great group booking discounts. Come and see what incredible bargains you could snap up!

Book your tickets here https://www.thehandmadefestival.com/

Handmade Festival

 

 

 


Giveaway! JOMO July 21, 2019 18:43

Last week I had chance to share a coffee with Christine Boggis, editor of knitting Magazine and author of “JOMO Knits - 21 projects to celebrate the joy of missing out”. We had a great time setting the world to rights, and our conversation has left me with a head fizzing with ideas for projects, both for me and for London Craft Club. You’ll see them popping up in the  coming weeks! In the meantime I highly recommend a look at August’s Knitting mag, it’s an excellent and thought provoking read as well as having all the knitting goodness you’d expect.

Giveaway Time!!! 

JOMO

This month we are giving away a copy of Christine’s book JOMO as part of our monthly giveaway!

Head to Instagram or Facebook (we’re @londoncraftclub) to enter, and here’s a sneak peek of the book.

There’s a good mix of knits but it’s the wonderful sense of embracing time alone with your craft that I love the most. There’s no need to feel bad about just another couple of rows, just revel in the fact that you are definitely not going out tonight.

There are CHristine’s stories of her own craft journey too, which is the kind of tidbits that fascinate me about other makers. Plus as a mag editor she’s made sure the reference section at the back is excellent

It’s a lovely book, and I am already getting myself a boxset binge ready for Friday night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Homemade Icecream! July 14, 2019 11:03 1 Comment

icecream

This week I decided to make homemade ice-cream. Mango sorbet for the kids and stem ginger for Mr Craft Club. This plan was sparked when I discovered an untested ice-cream maker that I was given at least seven years ago, whilst undertaking a massive kitchen reorganisation. 

Everyone at home got very excited about the epic organic handmade amazing ice-cream that was about to appear, and we spent ages pureeing fruit and mixing our various flavoured gunges in readiness. When the ice bowl was sufficiently frozen, we whipped it out, poured our chilled gunge in and set the thing churning. 

Disaster. 

It did not, in any remote way, freeze. Not even to slush. So in the absence of a cool homemade ice-cream to show you, here are some ice lolly recipes that might just work. I wish you better luck than we had!

Slightly overly virtuous lolly recipe selection...

 Gin and Tonic lolly recipe

Gin lolly

This one is for Zoe, it's a bit like a bubble tea pop

tea pop

For me, the most important bit! Where to get great lolly moulds

Not a cook? Check out our craft workshops instead, they're way more fun and likely to work too.


Meet Isabelle who come to London Craft Club! June 23, 2019 09:42

Meet Isabelle

London Craft Club is only a success becasue of the lovely people who come! So we're shining the spotlight on you! First up, meet Isabelle, who learned to Arm Knit with us! 

Isabelle

Sonia: So Isabelle, were you someone who'd done a lot of craft before you first came to London Craft Club? 

Isabelle: Very little, I had knitted a few scarfs when I was a teenager (with help from my mum!) but nothing since then.

Sonia: That's the same as lots of other people who come here. So its nice to see that you made such an excellent blanket in Arm Knitting. It's looks gorgeous!

Isabelle's blanket

Sonia: What was your first impression when you came to London Craft Club?

Isabelle: It was a really welcoming and down to earth environment - the studio was adorable and our tutor was really friendly and attentive. There’s a great range of classes available at the London Craft Club and I definitely want to sign up to some more, the things you can make genuinely look like things I would happily buy in a shop! 

Isabelle and her blanket

Sonia: Yes our Arm Knitting teacher Eleanor is really lovely, isn't she. What she doesn't know about knitting isn't worth knowing! But she's a good teacher too. What would you say to someone who hasn't been to London Craft Club before? 

Isabelle: Give it a go! You don’t need to have any crafting experience, the tutors are excellent at breaking it down for you and they make sure that no one gets left behind! I found it really relaxing to switch off and just focus on crafting for a few hours, plus you get to walk away with a lovely item that you can proudly say you’ve made. 

Sonia: I'm so glad to hear that, we all work really hard to make it as lovely an experience as possible. Thank you so much for coming to Craft Club, and sharing your thoughts on it. I hope we'll see you here again soon for more craftiness!

Isabelle at arm knitting

 


We've got our own tent at the Handmade Festival this year! June 21, 2019 15:51 1 Comment

The Handmade Festival

The Handmade Fair has had a bit of a makeover this year. It's now the Handmade Festival, which actually feels more appropriate for the event, and it's even bigger than it was before. It' now has six main topics that it now covers: Contemporary Craft, Handmade Wellbeing,  Heritage Skills, Food and Drink, Home and Garden and Sewing and Textiles. I've been every year so far, and I have a real soft spot for the event so I'm keen to see what's in the new sections.

Handmade Festival

One other noticeable thing is that there will be more workshops to do on the day... and we've got our very own tent as a result! We'll be filling the London Craft Club tent with wonderful workshops, chat and more throughout the three days of the Festival, and you can sign up for some fantastic events on the day. 

To win a pair of tickets to the Handmade Festival, just email info@londoncraftclub.co.uk with Handmade Festival in the subject before midnight on Friday 28th June 2019. You can also enter via Facebook and Instagram! 

Good luck everyone - and if you can't wait for your crafty fix... have a look at our Homewares Workshops here https://www.londoncraftclub.co.uk/collections/homewares

 

 

 


Our second year at the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards! June 21, 2019 13:58 1 Comment

Mollie Makes Handmade Awards

 

 

Last year Zoe and I had a fabulous time at the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2018 and we are ridiculously excited to be nominated again this year!

If you don't know Mollie Makes, it's a gorgeous modern crafting magazine and a bit of a bible for anyone interested in colour and creativity. Each year they hold their Handmade Awards, with categories like Best Workshop (the coolest category obvs!!) Best Small Business, Handmade Champion and more. The nominees get to go to a brilliant Awards Day with loads of activities, talks and things to do. 

Colour Walk

This is guests and nominees from last year out on our colour walk... can you spot Zoe and me? There's a few proper crafty slebs in there too! Everyone was so friendly and it was such a lovely atmosphere. 

We were asked to do a presentation and PowerPoint didn't seem quite right so we made some massive crafty mood boards! It was blazing hot that day and as I carried them up Upper Street in Islington I kept worrying the glue was going to melt and everything would fall off! A couple of things did but it wasn't a disaster. 

That year the award was won by the lovely Joanne Condon of Kyle Lane, who travelled from Ireland so made my journey from Muswell Hill seem like nothing!! We'd love to win this year, but getting nominated is enough of a boost that we'd be delighted even if we didn't. 

If you'd like to see why we've been nominated... check out our current workshop! We're really pleased with the current programme, and as so many of them are sold out we hope you are too! All workshops are here

https://www.londoncraftclub.co.uk/collections/new-year-2019-workshops

 


Science Says Craft is Good For You June 9, 2019 11:27

Craft is good for you

If you’ve ever had the experience of making something from scratch by hand, you know it’s incredibly rewarding. But there’s more going on than just satisfaction with the end result. The reward and benefit is as much in the process as in the end result. Many of know this intuitively, but there’s good evidence for it too:
We’ve gathered the relevant research together with the help of Dr Claire Jonas

It builds confidence

Some crafting has been shown to build confidence – you make something, and other people tend to be impressed, leading to compliments and which make you feel good. Simple but effective

It's a good way to fail

We can learn from the experience of failure in many ways. Research shows us craft is a particularly good space to experience a little failure and really reap the benefit of it. It doesn’t really matter if you drop a stitch or two, but you do learn from it

It can help you practise concentrating

Crafting can help develop concentration, particularly important in a digital environment where the pull to frantically (and often unproductively) multitask is so strong.

“Being in the zone” is not just a sports thing

Crafting can bring people to a state of “flow” – as documented by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is when time flies as you immerse yourself in an activity, and is great way to leave stress and worries behind and be in the moment. You know it when it happens and it feels great!

It can help with mood repair

While you’re engaged in doing something you love, your brain is saturated with dopamine and serotonin, known as “the happy chemicals.” This reaction is especially powerful when you’re creating something using your hands. Research shows that can be a powerful route to "mood repair"

It's brain exercise

Craft helps keep your brain sharp! Research showed that the challenge of working out complex craft was similar to the “brain exercise” recommended to seniors to help keep their cognitive strength up.

It’s great for reducing stress

Researchers measured stress indicators in people while they did typically stress-reducing activities, including playing cards, playing video games, painting, sewing, and reading. Of the five activities, sewing appeared to be the most relaxing.

Check out all our workshops here 


How to convert your friends to craft! June 9, 2019 11:27

Convert your friends

I know crafting is the best - you know crafting is the best - but your friends still need convincing. Here's how to turn them! 

Your Fashion-Forward Friend

She loves her animal print boilersuit and her house is full of plants and marble. She thinks craft is for her nanna so how will you lure her to Craft Club? Simple! Show her our Homewares Workshops page and let her coo over the terazzo Jesmonite, bespoke scents, and macrame plant hangers. If there's an interiors trend on the go, we're already on it! 

Your Plastic Free Friend

Learning to make things with your hands is a way to slow down the rate at which you consume, because it can teach you the value of material things in terms of time. It's not that craft is inherently plastic free, but it a good way to encourage you to be a responsible consumer. Show your plastic free friends this post on making your clothes last longer! 

Your Busy Friend

That high-functioning friend who does everything, and is always booked up six months in advance is the trickiest to get pinned down but probably the one who will benefit the most. Craft is a form of active rest - which is when you recooperate by changing the type of activity you do rather than by doing nothing all. Rest is good for your productivity in the long run, so it's a win for her! Try showing her this post on crafting at work

 

Your Gym Bunny Friend

Ok crafting isn't going to get you fit but it is good for you in a different way. There's plenty of evidence to support that it's great for your wellbeing, and we've gathered some of it together here. Show your gym bunny friend the evidence! 

Your Friend Who Thinks They'll Be Rubbish at Craft

Lots of people worry that they wont be any good at craft, but that shouldn't put you off. If your friends knows that they wont be the only beginner at London Craft Club, and that we particularly welcome beginners, they might be reassured. This post on starting craft might help! 

 

 


We want to feature you! June 6, 2019 13:43

We want to feature you

London Craft Club would be nothing without the wonderful people who come along and so we're really keen to shine a spotlight on you. If you'd be happy to feature in our newsletter, website and social media, we'll give you a half price ticket to a workshop of your choice!! 

Watercolour workshop

Just send us:

  • a picture of yourself
  • a picture of something you made in at London Craft Club
  • the answers to these three questions!

There are no particular answers that we want, we're just looking for three different, genuine experiences to share.

- Before you came to the workshop, how much crafting had you done before? 

- What do you like about coming to London Craft Club?

- What would you say to someone who hasn't been to LCC before? 

Just email sonia@londoncraftclub.co.uk with your answers by midnight 12th June and if we pick you, you'll be in the following Sundays newsletter! And if you haven't already been to a class, have a look here at all the different classes we offer. 

 


Two gorgeous watercolour books May 31, 2019 16:45

Watercolour art books

So it would seem you all love watercolours as much as we do – our ‘Can’t Draw? You Can Still Paint in Watercolours’ workshops are selling out fast, and it’s not hard to see why. The nature of watercolours mean that you can be free with them – even random blotches of colour are transformed into abstract pieces of art. And, as it says in the title, you don’t need to be able to draw to create something amazing.

Our obsessions with all things watercolour has led us to discover some amazing books on the subject, and we thought we would share a couple of our favourites with you. First up is ‘Paint Yourself Positive’ by Jean Haines. Author of ‘Paint Yourself Calm’ too, Jean uses painting (and specifically watercolours) as a means of therapy and stress-relief, and encourages others to do the same. As well as containing lots of tips and techniques for beginner’s to try, each section of the book also encourages you to reflect and meditate on a particular topic or thought as you paint.

Paint yourself positive

It’s like an art class and a meditation session combined! Here at Craft Club we are passionate about this connection between creating things and improving your mental wellbeing, so this book really resonated with us.

 

 Plant Art

We have been fan of Nikki Strange’s work for a long time here at LCC, so when we saw she had released ‘Watercolour Plant Art’, teaching you how to paint plants using watercolour paints, we knew we had to get our hands on a copy! Watercolours, plants, beautiful styling, and excellent step by step instructions, this book really does have it all. Perfect if you are lacking the confidence to plunge in and start painting – it even has a pad of watercolour paper at the back with the designs from the book printed on ready for you to just paint over (basically like a colouring book for grown ups!)

Plant Art

If you love the idea of painting with watercolours but don’t know where to start then this book is perfect for you – Nikki starts right from the basics, and guides you through each plant painting with detailed instructions, and plenty of photos for you to use as a guide. You’ll be painting like a pro in no time at all!

 Watercolour Books

Fancy checking out these books for yourself? Head over to our Instagram where we are running a competition to win a copy of Watercolour Plant Art, and Paint Yourself Positive.

Tickets to our Can't Draw? You Can Still Paint Watercolours workshop is currently available to book. 


A beginners guide to hand sewing needles May 19, 2019 13:56

Beginners Guide to Needles for Hand-sewing

Anyone can pick up a needle and get sewing, it’s genuinely easy to start. But all the different types of sewing needle can be confusing. What needles are good for embroidery? What’s the standard sewing needle? Why are there so many types of needle?

Never fear! Here’s a guide to needles for sewing that will get you started.

What is a Sharp?

The sharp is the bog-standard hand sewing needle. Thin, with a sharp point and a small eye, this is for using to stitch things together.  Sizes 7-9 are good everyday sizes, and 7 is smaller than 9. Use for general hand sewing and repairs. 

What is a Crewel?

A crewel (not a cruel needle) is for decorative stitching, because it’s got a big enough eye to use with thicker, prettier threads like embroidery floss. It’s got a sharp point, and is a bit thicker than a Sharp, with a slightly bigger eye. It’s a bit too chunky for delicate fabrics because the eye is big, making the needle fatter and more likely to leave a hole in the fabric.  7-9 are standard sizes. Use for embroidery, or blanket stitch on the edges of appliqué or felt.

What is a Tapestry needle?

A thicker needle, with a pretty big eye so you can thread it with tapestry wool (similar to knitting yarn.) It’s for tapestry or big cross-stitch, which is done on fabrics that come with a grid of holes (like Aida). It doesn’t need to be sharp because the idea is you stitch through the ready-made holes, which also keeps your stitches in neat line.

What is a Chenille needle?

A super under-rated needle in my opinion.  It’s  fat and sturdy with a big eye, like a Tapestry needle, but it’s sharp like a Crewel. So you can use it for all sorts of thicker materials - for example sewing fabric on to espadrille soles, or sewing bigger decorative stitches into fabric with no holes. It’s too fat for lighter fabrics, but it’s one of those that does the job in lots of situations for general crafting, and I always have them handy for unusual jobs. They are also great for sewing with ribbon to create a decorative effect

What is a Leather needle?

This is very sharp and has sharp slicing sides too. This is to slice through the leather rather punching a hole through it. It makes small repairs or leather projects much easier, but only on thin soft leather.

What is a Beading needle?

A super skinny needle that is almost all eye. It’s for threading little beads on to thin wire so has to be as thin as possible. It’s also a bit flimsy so not great for sewing things together

 What is a Quilting needle

Thin, short and sharp and with a very small eye, these are for the small, neat stitches of hand quilting. But a Sharp will do the job if you’re getting started with quilting!

What is a good mix of needles for a crafter?

A mix of sharps, larger crewels and a pack of chenilles will cover most bases. If I had to have one needle it would be a medium crewel because the eye is just big enough that I can thread it without glasses! 

So go and try out a bit of stitching! Have a look at our Floral Embroidery mini workshop  or our longer Mindful Embroidery workshop here


Does craft save money? May 12, 2019 10:54 4 Comments

DOES CRAFT SAVE MONEY

I often get asked for my professional opinion on why craft is becoming so more and more popular. The second part of the question is usually, "is it because it saves so much money"

The answer is unequivocally "No"

Not here in the UK, where access to fast fashion and cheap furniture means that it is almost impossible to make something more cheaply that you can buy it. You can't get the raw materials for a dress for less than a high street skirt costs. And then you have to consider the time spend on making it. Creative skills have value, and to many of us in an increasingly freelance/gig-economy, our time literally has a cost. So if you tot up the cost of making the skirt, even working at minimum wage, it's going to be way over £15.99

But that doesn't mean that there is no saving to be made by crafting.

Upcycling
Most upcyclers do it for the creative challenge first and foremost. But you can save a lot of money if you have the time. Skip-diving is going out of fashion but eBay, local auctions and charity shops yield all sorts of good stuff. You have to spend to get the stuff, and some of the materials. It may end up costing the same as some cheap furniture - but not buying new furniture is a great way to reduce your impact on the planet. So you have saved! 

Making skills
If you made something, and it took you 8 hours, and cost you £50, you will value it dearly. It's unlikely to go into landfill! It makes you value things in general so much more. As Zoe said recently - if you know the real cost of making a thing, then you tend to ask yourself who or what was exploited in order to be able to sell it so cheaply. So perhaps spending money with care is better than buying cheap. 

A huge stash!
One of the big expenses of craft is our stashes! There's just so much gorgeousness to buy, and we justify it by saying we'll use it. But increasingly I am trying to avoid this, and to clear out my stash. Since starting The Big Craft Swish, my personal stash is tiny! I have a one in one out rule - i have to make a project up before I can buy for  new one. It keeps the cost of my hobbies down, keeps the number of UFOs (unfinished objects) in my craft cupboard down, and stops me buying for the sake of it. 

So - if you've got a brilliant up cycling project hat saved you money, or an example of something you've made and used a million times to get a load of value out of it, let us know! 

 


Make your clothes last longer April 27, 2019 16:04 1 Comment

Make your clothes last

Can't use a sewing machine? Doesn't matter, you can still upcycle clothes. 

Hand stitching it 

If the hem or seam is ripped, get a needle and thread and have a go at stitching it back together. That's how it was done for centuries, and it still works fine. Do it slowly and carefully, and you'll get better and better. I ripped part of the sleeve of a jacket off recently and fixed it using ladder stitch Favourite smart outfit rescued! 

Darn a jumper

I have a jumper from Whistles that I have owned and worn since 2007. I snagged a hole in the front and was horrified - but it made me take the plunge into darning. It was a black jumper and it worked a million times better than I could have hoped and I still wear it. Here's how (jump to 1 minute in!)

Take it to a tailor

Frankly, this is something you should do if you invest in something really good anyway. They can fit the waist, sleeve length and hem to you perfectly, and if stuff gets broken, they fix rips, take hems up and down and mend all sorts. Just google your local alterations shop and try it. 

Embellish it

Patches can be amazing ways to fix stuff! Try some of these from Etsy but there are loads of other options out there.

Show your mending 

More and more of us are starting to embrace the idea of visible mending - whether its mending broken ceramics with gold or showing your stitching sashiko style. Great for denim!  

We took loads of inspiration from the Fashion Revolution Week #haulternative  This weekend I'll be working on refashioning a badly-fitting dress and top into an entirely new outfit. Show us what you can do at @londoncraftclub, we'd love to see your skills!

 


The Big Craft Picnic is coming to London April 20, 2019 16:30 1 Comment

The Big Craft Picnic

Every year when the sun comes out, talk at London Craft Club HQ turns to the idea having a big crafty picnic in a park somewhere. Imagine sitting on the blankets under the summer sun, drinking cold drinks and learning summery crafts amongst the trees and flowers.  

So this year we're doing it. We'll be giving you the chance to vote on dates, food and crafts! We've already got some really good makes lined up! Think festival fashions, handy holiday items and much more. 

When we first threw a craft party in September 2018, it was a joy to see how many of you came to craft and meet other crafty types. We only ever expected to throw one when we moved in to our new home, but our parties have become part of the life and soul of our creative community. The picnic is something we've wanted to do for ages, so it's wonderful to know that you all love getting together and we're going to do our best to make is the best Summer day out ever!

What would you like to see at the picnic? Should we organise hampers, or have that as an option, or would you prefer to bring your own food? We'll provide craft of course, but would you like lots of little ones, or some big ones we can all join in with or a mix of options? The more you tell us about what you'd like, the better it will be! 

Thank you as ever for all your support, input, and general awesomeness! 

 

 


Record breaking or just plain wierd knitting April 14, 2019 00:22

Odd KnittingAs knitting is the topic today, here are some really big or just really odd knitted things..

1 - Hase/Rabbit.

It's possibly the biggest knitted thing ever made and it's rotting away on a hill in Italy. Artists made it, obvs! 

https://gelitin.net/projects/hase/

2 - The World's Longest Scarft

Helge Johansen from Oslo broke the record on 12 November 2013. He's a guy. 

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-knitted-scarf-individual

3 - Knitted swimwear

Apparently it was a massive thing. I cannot think of anything less appropriate to make swimwear out of, but here's the proof it happened

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/vintageknitting/vintage-knitted-swimwear/?lp=true

4 - Knitted playgrounds that are big enough for actual kids!

These are amazing, beautiful, and joyful installations by artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam. Please look, you'll be missing out if you don't. 

https://www.archdaily.com/297941/meet-the-artist-behind-those-amazing-hand-knitted-playgrounds

5 - Full body jumpers you can buy on Etsy.

I really really want this mohair genius/madness! 

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/228004267/made-to-order-ivory-hand-knitted-mohair

6 - Knitted brain beanie

Such a cool pattern on Ravelry! Knit and wear this science student's awesome brain hat and be the oddest person on the Tube for the day. 

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/brain-hat-knitting-pattern

7 - A Tea Cosy big enough to cover the entire cafe

It's in the running for a world record....

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-35015149

8 - Sartje's Booties

Actually there is nothing odd about these. It's just that it's a rite of passage for knitters to make these once they can follow a pattern. And with good reason, it's just about the perfect improvers knit.  

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/saartjes-bootees

So what are you waiting for? Learn to knit, hit Ravelry.com and start your Knit Life now! 


It's time to start making tiny hats! April 13, 2019 23:19

tiny hats

It's that time of year again! Get out your knitting pins or crochet hooks and start making these little hats of goodness for the Big Knit.

The Big Knit started back in 2003 when Innocent asked people to knit little woolly hats to put on their smoothies. For each hat-wearing smoothie sold, Innocent gave 25p to Age UK. Since then, there have been an astonishing 7.5 million hats sent in, and nearly £2.5 million has been raised by the project for Age UK.

If you want to make a hat, here are the patterns and all the instructions too... 

http://www.thebigknit.co.uk/knitting-patterns

You can knit or crochet them, and there are patterns for beginners and experts. Get them sent in by July to be in time - I'm starting mine now! Even just one hat helps - we should never underestimate the power of sheer numbers and each one of those 25 pennies add up. Let's do our bit, craft-gang! 

 


Should I Quit My Job to Craft? April 6, 2019 18:57

 

Do you hate your job? If so, you’re one of roughly 50% of Brits who feels frustrated and unrewarded at work. And I get it, I really do! There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling unfulfilled at work, particularly if you have skills and talents that you aren’t able to utilise. 

For the creatively inclined, a boring and monotonous job can be tortuous. The urge to just quit your job and make a living from the crafts you love can be tempting, but is that actually an achievable goal?

Can you really wave goodbye to the dayjob and make a living doing something you love and are genuinely good at? Can life really be that sweet?

The answer is yes… but there are some caveats.

 

You’ll need to wear different hats

Metaphorical hats, obviously. Although if you want to rock a hat while you do your crafts, that’s cool too! Being a master of crafts and running a business are two different disciplines… And if you’re serious about making a living from crafts you’ll need to master both. Networking with others who make a living from their arts is a great way to get free advice on walking the line between artist and entrepreneur.

 

You may find that it takes the fun out of crafting

Making a living from crafts is a joyful experience… But it is, in many ways, a job like any other. You’ll have good days and bad days. You’ll have fun days… And you’ll have days where your old job doesn’t seem so bad in hindsight.

When you craft as a hobby you can create what you like, when you like without having to worry about deadlines or quotas. When you craft for a living, however, it’s more about fulfilling the needs of your customers than about fulfilling your need to express yourself.

 

You need to become a shameless self promoter!

You can be the best in the world at what you do… But you can’t expect to make money from it if nobody knows who you are. To make a sustainable living from crafts, you need to become a dab hand at marketing and selling yourself.

 

It can get lonely

Working from home can get lonely. While you may be absolutely happy with your own company, it can make life a lot more enjoyable when you’re part of a craft community. Which brings us to...

 

How the London Craft Club can help

The great news is that you can become part of a wonderful, supportive and helpful community by joining the London Craft Club and trying one of our beginners craft workshops. You can learn the finer points of your craft while interacting with talented and experienced people who make a living doing what they love.

Don’t live in London? No problem at all! Our newsletter and Facebook group are both great resources for people who want to improve their craft and make a living from it.

 

We believe that crafts are for everyone. Our Hashtag is #CommunityNotCompetition and we think that those are great words to live by. Whether you want to start making a little side hustle from your crafts, want to make a living from it full-time or just want to dedicate more of your free time to getting creative, then we would love to see you at one of our workshops.

Click here to get in touch. We can’t wait to welcome you!


What if I'm rubbish at craft? March 30, 2019 17:19

Rubbish at craft

One thing we overhear guests at our workshops saying ALOT is that they ‘aren’t crafty’ or they are ‘rubbish at craft.’ We know that fear of not being good at something puts lots of people off trying - it’s why I waited until last year to go to a yoga class despite having wanted to try it for about four years! So we wanted to reassure you that a) you are probably way better at crafts than you think and, more importantly, b) it doesn’t matter if you are rubbish!

It’s about the journey not the destination.

Yeah, we know how cliched that sounds, but cliches exist for a reason - they are usually true! With craft it’s easy to become fixated on having the perfect end result, something that looks as though it jumped straight off of a Pinterest board. But actually the biggest benefits from crafting come from the process of making something. Craft is a form of mindfulness, and can help improve your mental wellbeing by helping you enter a state of ‘flow’ (basically where you don’t realise how much time has gone by because you’ve been totally in the zone and focused on something!) 

So next time you’re worried that your craft project didn’t quite turn out the way you wanted it to, instead focus on how good you feel having spent a few hours totally in the zone.

We are not the craft police, there is no craft jail.

Picture this - you go along to a craft workshop and you learn a new craft. You’ve given it your best shot but the end result isn’t as good as you thought. So along come to craft police and through you in jail for crimes against craft. Sound about right? Nope, of course not, don’t be ridiculous, there’s no such thing as craft jail (although am I the only one that really likes the sound of a craft jail....)

What I’m trying to say is, so what if it didn’t turn out perfect? What’s the worst that can happen? You try again another time. You have to buy some more craft supplies (as if you need an excuse.) You get to practice and make an even better version next time. Or maybe you decide it’s not for you, and you try something else. That’s okay too!

Practice makes perfect (or better at least!)

You don’t go to one drumming lesson and expect to be the next Dave Grohl. You don’t lace up a pair of trainers and expect to be Usain Bolt. So why do so many of us try a new craft and expect to be turning out masterpieces instantly? I’ve been crocheting for 14 years now and still learn new things on a regular basis! It’s all about practice, trying new things (even if they go wrong!), and constantly learning. 

Embrace those imperfections.

Ok so your crochet project has a bit of a gap in it. That macrame piece you made has a couple of wonky knots. So what? It’s a handmade item, it’s not meant to be perfect! In fact those imperfections are what make it unique, and separate it from mass-produced items.  And remember, those imperfections represent  mistakes you made, which you probably learnt something from. 

You are your own harshest critic.

During every single craft workshop I’ve ever taught I hear people say the same thing - ‘oh wow yours looks so much better than mine.’ We are our own harshest critics, so it’s only natural that we think everyone else’s work looks much better than ours. But it’s just not true. One of my favourite parts of our Jesmonite workshop is when we group all the finished pieces together for a photograph - and one thing I notice is that every piece will get compliments from the group. Whether it’s the colour combo someone has used, the terrazzo effect they’ve achieved, everyone compliments everyone’s piece except for their own! 

Try before you buy - find what works for you.

 Wanna know my dirty crafting secret? I cannot knit. I pride myself on being able to do any craft I turn my hand to, but I have been to roughly SEVEN (yes seven) beginner’s knitting classes, and I can’t do it. I’m not really sure why, but I am rubbish at knitting. It would be really easy for me to then think that I am rubbish at crafts in general. But I’m not - I’m actually quite good at other crafts. It’s just that knitting isn’t my jam. And that’s okay - in fact that’s really quite good because sometimes I think that if I find any more crafts that I really love, I may have to go into crafting rehab! 

My point though is that if you try a craft and you’re not very good at and/or you don’t really enjoy it, that’s totally fine. You don’t have to love every craft, or be good at every crafts. But I honestly do believe there is a craft out there for everyone, it’s just a matter of trying them and seeing which suits you best.


How to get over your first big craft fail! March 24, 2019 00:16

Massive craft fail

I like to say you're not a real crafter until you've had a couple of huge craft fails! 

Do you recognise this scenario? You suddenly get an urge of creativity, you create a mental image of a wonderful piece of artwork or crafty item you’re going to make and you settle down to get started.

But then the journey isn’t quite as enjoyable and enlightening as you might have hoped. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The frustration takes over because the masterpiece you had in mind looks as though a child could have made it. Whether you had an expensive incident with gold leaf foil or managed to stick your burnt fingers together with a glue gun, it’s happened to the best of us.

It genuinely builds resilience
But if it happens to you really early in your craft journey, take heart! Sometimes the most disastrous of creations can bring out a surprising kind of resilience in you. 
When it comes to getting over failure, the only thing you can do it try again (many, many, many!) times. And thankfully, it's practise that pays off with craft. Maybe you went in a bit ambitious, maybe you just need a bit more time to get the skills, but with handmade stuff that's all part of the deal. Just keep at it and you'll look back on the journey with immense satisfaction. 

You learn the best stuff that way
Sometimes, you can look at a piece, and it may look a mess but you can see all the lessons it taught you, so it most certainly wasn't a waste of time. I have that experience with dressmaking a lot - it's how I learned the best tricks I have up my sleeve. It may sound cheesey but it has changed how I feel about things going wrong in life in general - nothing is a waste of time because there's always something I learned from it.

Keep on challenging yourself
You may not be worthy of appearing on Kirstie's Handmade Christmas anytime soon, but you might just create something you’re proud of if you push yourself to step out of your comfort zone. And if you're going to do that, you're going to fail some of the time. The more spectacular the fail, the more you've probably learnt. And stretching yourself a bit mentally to solve a creative problems is pleasing.

You already know Pinterest isn't real life!
So if you recently took on your own project at home and it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, you're not alone. It’s totally normal to have a handful of disasters under your belt. Hey, the only way anyone creates those Pinterest-worthy pieces is through plenty of trial and error, and like lots of social media, you only see the polished end result and not the carnage that went into making it! 

You'e not alone
And as creatives and crafters, some of the best bonding we share is over our worst fails. Be the first one to show yours, and watch as everyone starts to confess their stories of stitching their work to their trouser leg by accident, missing out a page of instructions, putting things together backwards or making something perfect and then just spilling coffee all over it. 

So if you've just got into craft and had your first horror, don't worry! It's all part of the process. You're not a machine so your stuff shouldn't look like it was made by one. 


My favourite reasons for crafting at your desk March 15, 2019 02:08 2 Comments

Crafting at work


Before I did Craft Club for a living, I worked in offices. There's a lot of good things about offices - from ergonomic chairs to the bond with your work husband or wife. I still miss a good office chairs not least because mine was a lovely place to craft!

If you work in an office, you’ve probably seen it all when it comes to lunchtime activities. Whether it's getting in those 100 squats, or meditating in the cafe, there are plenty of ways to utilise the time, and crafting is one of the best ways to do it.

As a lover of all things crafty and creative, I’m probably a little bit biased. But knitting, crochet and embroidery office-desk-style all come with a whole host of benefits, and they aren’t limited to looking like that ‘I’ve got my life together’ London-living woman. Yes, I am doing a bit of embroidery on the tube. So what?

Here’s my take on the top reasons why crafting at your desk is totally OK (and actually good for you).

Crafting has been known to boast some similar benefits to meditation, and losing yourself in some knitting or embroidery is one of the best ways of blocking out all the bits of working life that can eat into your free time. Losing yourself in crafting is one of the easiest ways to be mindful, without actually meditating or doing yoga at your desk.

This is what is known as ‘active rest’: you’re taking some time out, but you’re creating something, which makes you feel like you’ve used that lunch hour wisely. Despite the fact that you will have achieved a lot just by crafting for an hour, you’ll feel ready to grab the afternoon by the horns as a result.

Making something crafty has been proven to be one of nature’s ways of boosting your mood, and getting in some stress-busting crafting can release some of that all-good-vibes dopamine in your body. Not only this, but when people tell you that it looks great, you get another surge of the happy stuff, so it’s good news for your general mood.

You’ll soon see how much people are interested in your crafting at work, and when they spark up these conversations (and come out as closet crafters themselves) you’ll be collecting those feel-good vibes like there’s no tomorrow. 

More and more people are bringing their creative hobbies to the office desk, and with all of these health benefits (as well as the social implications of everyone looking at your awesome embroidery) it’s no wonder that crafting is getting the the space that it deserves at work. Come on, it even slows down the rate at which your brain ages, which we all need, right?

If you’re still not convinced, consider that crafting is an intergenerational thing. It's a lovely way to broaden your social circle in an unexpected way. So take it from me, it's definitely time to start crafting at work. So, what are you waiting for?

Choose from a bunch of beginners workshops here

Do you ever craft at work? If you do, I'd really love to hear your experience of it! What did your colleagues think? Were you proud of your work or did you feel a bit self conscious? Did people ask you about it? What are the practical limitations (my knitting used to tangle with chair arms, but I liked that my chair made me sit well! Hit sonia@londoncraftclub.co.uk and let me know. 


Should we worry about how digital our lives are? March 3, 2019 02:35 2 Comments

multitaskingPeter Korn, carpenter and Author of "Why We Make Things and Why It Matters", says he worries that that society is starting to understand humanity in digital rather than physical terms. And let's face it, you're probably reading this craft-focused email on your phone.  

But is the digital side of our lives always a problem? The world of craft is full of stories of communities built on Instagram, and for many of us social media is a giving and supportive environment. There's a lot that is wonderful about the digital world - try listening to the Digital Human podcast for some great examples. And although there is plenty of research, as a lay-person it's very hard to cut through the headlines and understand what's being said. In short, we are a the first humans to have the internet and to have it at our finger tips all the time and no-one knows what it's doing to us

However, I have a strong feeling that my phone and my laptop are not bringing me my best life at the moment! I expect, like radio and TV in the past, the idea that the internet is melting our brains is not true. But there is an element of the digital age that I think is incredibly destructive, and it's multitasking, and the demand to be constantly On. 

Up until I got my first smart phone, I could start something and work on it for days sometimes, zoning in intensely. Not now. Even if I turn off my phone, my powers of concentration have been eroded and my thoughts flit about horrifically. Sometimes there is such a flood of information and demands for responses that it is overwhelming. And the expectation that I can arrange a party, pay a bill and respond to a query in the digital world at the same time as I cook dinner and field questions about Lego IRL is ridiculous. The convenience of it is my undoing.  

So - I think the world can cope if I go back to doing one thing at a time, and here's my plan. 

Step One - Assess the Problem. I have an app called Toggle, which I'm using to track what I do. Actually, just tracking is changing what I do as feel compelled to stay on task just to make it easier to track! So far, an annoyingly large pie slice is devoted to "Dicking about on my phone" and I also see that I often spent less than ten minutes on a task before flitting to another. 

Step Two - Streamline. I've taken all my emails off my phone. In fact you may notice a new Auto-Response on our emails now. I can only check them in working hours (although you can always call our mobile if need help urgently) and I check them just 3 time a day. I think that's reasonable! The kids are getting used to hearing me say "Just wait a moment, I can only do one thing at a time". Social media is next...

Step Three - Motivate Myself. I love a challenge, so I'm using Forest to keep me on task. I'm still new to it but basically you grow virtual and real trees the more you stay on task! 

Step Four - Train! I'm going to practice doing things for a long time again. I'm going on a sewing retreat in two weeks time to kick start myself and I plan to re-learn the art of two hour focused sessions when I'm back.

And frankly that's it. Less is more in this case. 

Am I the only one with the goal of doing less? Anyone else trying to kick the habit of constantly doing and doing and not getting much done? If you've got tips I'd love to hear them (thanks Amber for the Forest one!) 

 


Two new collaborations coming up! February 17, 2019 10:33 1 Comment

Between us, Zoe, Amber and I cover a lot of crafts! But sometimes we like to learn new ones, and so we collaborate with other crafty experts. Here are our two latest experts:

Kat Campbell

Kat at West Elm

We met Kat at her gorgeous pop-up in West Elm last year, and were smitten with her watercolour designs. When it turned out she liked to teach too, we were straight on to collaborating with her! Look out for a botanical watercolour class coming up soon at London Craft Club, where Kat will share her inspiration and of course lots of skills. This is one of my favourite of her designs and it's been on our studio pinboard since we met her. Megababe indeed! 

Megababe

Ben Hendy

All three of us have had a go at printing of various types, but it's such a huge discipline, and it can get terribly technical. We wanted to learn from someone who knows both the practical details, and would inspire us to love print for its creativity. 

Meet Ben Hendy, an award winning printmaker, and an associate member of the  Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.  He also lectures on University courses, and is going to turn his expertise to making us the perfect beginner's linocut workshop. He's patient and knowledgeable, and brilliant at sharing his love for the art. We've all fallen for the smell of ink and the moment the printed image is first revealed - come and try it for yourself. There are templates if you don't trust your drawing skills, or you can freestyle it on the day. 

Ben's Hens

A beautiful linocut by Ben Hendy

We really hope you like these two new collaborations. If you want to try them,  keep an eye on the newsletter for dates coming soon! Which one catches your eye most? 


Our Secret Sister February 8, 2019 17:12

Secret Sister

If you've emailed us over the past couple of years, you may have got a reply from me, Sonia. But it could also have been from Briony, Amber or Zoe. Zoe is still here of course, we see her hands a-crocheting all the time. But where did Bri and Amber go? 

Craft Work

They went one table along, to Craft Work, and now between them they look after our events for businesses. That covers everything from our super cute Flying Goggles Workshop at the RAF Museum this half term, to customising diamonte hairclips for some wildly glamours bloggers with Nasty Girl at Elan this week. We go all over the country doing events for brands like Paco Raban and IKEA, and we design activities for Cath Kidston, Benugo and Google. 

Collaborative macrame

Our team building events a little different to your normal go-karting (I love go-karting, to be clear!) with things like Collaborative Macrame, and we run relaxing drop activities that are bit like doing a bit of yoga at lunch or before work. 

Flower crowns

You'll find us at festivals like Citadel and the WeWork Summer Camp, and popping up at venues like the Shard, Altitude and the Google Pixel Curiousity Rooms. 

So if you want a bit of creative craft in your working life - here's the perfect excuse! If you work in any of these areas, we can help! Craft Work

For PR and Brand =  For HR and Wellbeing = For Festival and Events. 

Give us a call on 0207 971 1267 or email briony@craftworklondon.com

 


Craft Helps - A personal story January 6, 2019 01:00 2 Comments

Craft helps

Zoe, our Head Crafter, tells a frank story of how craft helped her. 

"A few years ago I went through a really rough patch with my mental health - I was suffering from depression, as well as severe bouts of anxiety. It was affecting every aspect of my life, including my ability to work. And at the time it felt like the cycle of feeling down and anxious, not being able to get myself out of it, and so feeling more down and more anxious, would never end. Then one day I crocheted a granny square - just one square, and then I did it more, so I had something to keep my hands busy more than anything else. But it helped. It gave my brain something to focus on rather than endlessly worrying and thinking and turning things over. The next day I crocheted three more granny squares, and I managed to have a shower too. The following day I worked on an embroidered piece. And each day that I was creative in some small way, I felt a little bit better. Like I had achieved something. Like I had a bit of space inside my head.

 Weaving

For me crafting and creating has always been part of my life, but it was only when my mental health declined that I realised just how important creativity was to my wellbeing. And so I started to actively include time to make things in my day. Even if it was just half an hour of weaving whilst eating my breakfast, or an hour of cross stitch on my way to work. Just having that little bit of time to do something creative with my hands would leave me feeling so positive and refreshed. It didn’t matter about the end result really, it was the process of making that was important, and the way it allowed my mind to roam free and escape the endless cycle of anxiety. Using my hands to create also helped to ground me in the present, rather than worrying constantly about the future, and reliving moments from the past.

 Beading

Having a creative project on the go also helps give me focus and a purpose. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the ‘super important’ tasks you need to complete at any given moment in time, and when I feel bogged down by it all I stop and work on one of my many work in progress projects that I always have on the go. Adding a square to a blanket, or a few rows to a beading project, helps me feel like I’ve achieved something and made progress forwards, and that helps me feel like I can do the same with other tasks."

 Thank you Zoe for telling us the story. 


Your London Craft Calendar for 2019 January 5, 2019 11:11

A 2019 Creative Calendar 

Hello Londoners! Here's a ton of brilliant crafty things to look out for in 2019 to get your creative hands and minds at work. Do let us know if we've missed something off in the comments and we'll do our best to add it.

January

It's your last chance to see the stunning Anni Albers show at Tate Modern. It finishes on 27th January. We LOVED IT - don't miss it!
https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/anni-albers

The wonderful Poster Girls exhibition closes on 13th January - it's at the London Transport Museum so you get to see all the trains and try the Tube driving simulator too! https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions

February

3rd February see the Big Craft Swish! Back again for the third year, it's the perfect chance to reorganise your craft stash and raise money for Mind and Stop the Traffik 
https://www.londoncraftclub.co.uk/products/the-big-craft-swish-2019

The spending-fest that is the Knitting and Stitching comes to Olympia. Some people literally bring a trolley! 28th February
https://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/

London Craft Club Galantine’s Party! It's a dreary month so come for some fab fun at our lovely studio on 13th February. Look out for tickets from NEXT WEEK!

March

One of our favourite Instagram hashtags to join in with is #MarchMeettheMaker to see all the behind the scenes stuff from the makers you follow. New prompts every day keep it energised all month

The Craft Fox Seconds Sale is on 2nd March. Crafty Fox markets are reliably good, and this should be a great place to snap up some ethical bargains. 
https://www.craftyfoxmarket.co.uk/market-dates/2019/3/2/sat-2nd-march-sample-amp-seconds-sale-mercato-metropolitano

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize Exhibition closes on 16th March! Craft getting the exposure it deserves, if a little earnestly, thanks to good old Jenni Murray and pals. 
https://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/listings/womans-hour-craft-prize

April

The London Craft Club Spring Sale will happen. We'll have a bunch of new workshops that will be at early bird prices briefly. We don't do a lot of sales, so jump to it guys!

May

#MeMadeMay is another fun hashtag to join in. It focuses on sewing but we hijack it with other accessories 

London Craft Week is a relatively new but rather fabulous addition to the calendar, this focuses on hyper skilled artisans creating luxury goods and is a great chance to get behind the scenes of some high-end designers, makers and brands. 
https://www.londoncraftweek.com/ 

June

West Dean Arts Festival and Crafts Festival is not strictly London! But the grounds of West Dean College are beautiful and the craft workshops unbelievable. If the sun is shining, it’s an idyllic day out
https://www.westdean.org.uk/events/west-dean-arts-and-craft-festival

World Wide Knit in Public Day is exactly what it says it is! Astrid has been organising this for years, and although we can't see a date yet, it's usually June. We'll be doing a knit event for it of course. 
http://www.wwkipday.com/

The Art College Degree shows generally are great fun to look around. They are a real mixed bag of pedestrian, precocious and sublime, but there's so much to see and the smell of art college generally is thrilling! https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/arts/graduate-shows-where-to-go-to-see-the-capital-s-upandcoming-artists-this-summer-a3847906.html

August

The newest addition to the London craft scene is the MakeMore Festival. Last year it was in Bethnal Green's Victoria Park, keen an eye on the website to see if there are dates for 2019 
 https://makemore.art/

Festival of Quilts is in Birmingham but if you want to be wowed by incredible skills and enormous undertakings of hand sewing, this is the place. There are a lot of very traditional quilts, but you do see more and more with a modern aesthetic. 
https://www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk/

 September

#SewPhotoHop is a fun sewing hashtag - watch as amateur sewists show off their remarkable talents and feel inspired by seeing the same pattern sewn by different people 

For me, The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court is my favourite craft event of the year. There's lots to do, plenty of gorgeous stuff to buy and it can easily fill a fill days’ worth of pottering. Perfect for the crafty and also for the total newbie
https://www.thehandmadefair.com/hampton-court

Yarn in the City is London's best yarn crawl! Social and stitchy, it's a great way to discover new shops and grab a bargain. 
https://www.yarninthecity.com/routes/

October

Knitting and Stitching Show at back for round two, this time at Alexandra Palace. Not so easy to get to, but so huge it’s still worth the trek! 
https://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/

November

#BPSewvember is another fun sewing hashtag! 

The Creative Craft Show is another huge shopping fest. This one is for the seasoned crafter, looking for bargains and new gadgetry that’s hard to get elsewhere, and might be a bit overwhelming for a beginner!
http://www.stitchandhobby.co.uk/london/autumn/

December

This is Christmas market season - we'll do a roundup of the best markets closer to the time when all the dates are out. 

Have a fabulous crafty 2019, may it be filled with creativity for you. Check out our Craft Calendar while you're here! 


Small and achievable. Just what we need! December 31, 2018 02:40

No Lists! Just nice stuffThis year I am not making a bunch of resolutions, or going on a diet or joining a gym. I am not committing to changing myself. It's unlikely that I'll succeed in becoming a tidy person, or an on-time person, or a person who doesn't forget what they came into the room for. 

That said, I do want to make a sewing pattern for my perfect top this year. So when my friend suggested we go on a sewing retreat, it seemed like a brilliant way to make sure that got ticked off my list of life to-dos. I've booked - and that's my first New Years Resolution as good as done. Ta-da!

That same friend once told me to avoid having more than three things on my to-do list each day. Every January there is a ton of articles written about sticking to small, achievable goals. But it definitely works for me. Setting goals like "walk to the station twice this week" or "knit ten rows of that blanket by Saturday" work so much better for me than "go running twice a week" or "finish all unfinished knitting projects" 

So expanding the principal to fit the whole year, here are my three 2019 goals:

- make a sewing a pattern for my perfect top, and make a few versions of it (so I can look a bit smarter) 

- learn to cook three good vegetarian weekday dinners (so we eat less meat)

- join an intermediate netball team (so I get fitter)

Have you got any tips for getting your year heading in the right direction? I'm terrible for getting distracted so I'd love to get some hints on staying on one task long enough to finish it! Also any tips on easy veggie meals or North London netball teams in need of a defender welcome too. 

Happy New Year!

 


London Craft Club x Cath Kidston December 10, 2018 17:18

Cath Kidston x London Craft ClubWe are long-time fans of Cath Kidston here at LCC, so when they asked us to run a Wreath Making Workshop for their customers we jumped at the chance. Plus, we LOVE a good festive Christmas Wreath so love any excuse to make our own. Come and learn how to make your own with us and Cath Kidston on Thursday 13th December from 6-8pm at their flagship Piccadilly Circus store. Find the details and book your ticket right here.

And if you can’t make the workshop here is some inspiration to DIY your own wreath at home - we are loving ones with a contemporary twist right now.

Wreath inspo Wreath inspo
Wreath inspo Wreath inspo

Meet Rosha Nutt December 2, 2018 09:02

Here at London Craft Club we are so lucky to call so many incredible and talented creatives our friends. On Monday we took a break from the office and visited one of them, artist Rosha Nutt at her North London home and studio. Here she tells us a bit about her practice and what makes her tick:


I’ve been working with screen prints for the past 10 years and it’s only more recently that I’ve ventured into painting. This was both nature and nurture...with two kids it’s difficult to get to the print studio but I’ve always envisioned my future as a painter – a large studio, light flooding in and huge canvases lying around.
I make pop art, bold and bright, sometimes graphic and minimal. I paint and screen print and exaggerate the halftone dot pattern from the screen-printing process as a feature of my work. Over the past year I have been redeveloping my portfolio. At the moment I’m making a lot of floral studies, drawing in thin and thick marker pens and acrylic paint, with quick fluid movements where observation is key.



In September this year I took part in The House of Illustration’s 30-day one-inch drawing challenge on Instagram​. This was such a great exercise in observation, patience and precision. When you only have an inch-squared to draw within everything has to be so precise, the tiniest slip shows up. Naturally I’m drawn to making large bold images so to focus on the complete opposite was challenging. I found the habit of doing a new drawing everyday a great discipline, routine can be such a helpful process.

Rosha has had artwork commission by Roxy Music and AnOther magazine and sells her work through SaatchiArt.com, Artfinder.com and Etsy.com. She will be showing her work with 100 other illustrators at the HOI Winter Fair​ on 8 December 11-5pm.Visit ​www.roshanutt.com​ and https://www.instagram.com/roshanutt/​ to find out more.


Christmas Market Roundup November 11, 2018 08:44

We do love buying Christmas presents - picking something that’s just right for the recipient and then watching their face when they open it! Every year we try to buy as many handmade and locally sourced gifts as possible, supporting small independent businesses along the way. Our favourite place to shop is at craft markets - there is such a great variety, you can do all your Christmas shopping in one hit, and get in  the festive spirit at the same time! We have rounded up some of our favourite London christmas markets below....

What: Crafty Fox Market

Where: Mercato Metropolitan

When: Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December, 11am - 5pm both days

Why you should go: it’s more than just craft stalls - there is also a great selection of street food, a bar, and workshops too! Get all your festive shopping done and have a fun day out!

What: Renegade Craft Fair

Where: Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane

When: Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th 11am - 5pm

Why you should go: Renegade is the biggest of the festive craft markets in London, and has an amazing selection of traders showcasing some of the best creative talent around. 

What: Etsy Made Local

Where: Tooting Tram and Social

When: Saturday 1st December 11am - 5pm

Why you should go: You will be supporting London based creatives, and the market is always carefully curated with an amazing mix of products so there’s something for everyone! Plus we will be there running a FREE christmas craft workshop.

What: Pexmas

Where: Warwick Gardens, Peckham

When: Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th December, 11am - 6pm

Why you should go: Pexmas always has a great community vibe, and this year it’s bigger then ever with Sant’s Grotto (and Santa himself paying a visit) plus a great selection of stalls. It’s outdoors so be sure to wrap up warm!


Why I love making Christmas gifts October 28, 2018 10:37

Christmas craftsMaking the things you give at Christmas is incredibly satisfying in so many ways. First, just the making itself gives you a sense of pleasure, pride and achievement, not just that you actually made it, but that you did it in time for Christmas. Christmas gifts can be incredibly depressing to buy – you’re stuck between the fact that honestly the person you love really don’t need more tat in their lives, and wanting to give a gift that shows you do actually  love them (which is let's face it the whole point) So giving something hand made is the perfect balm to Christmas consumerism. 

I remember a few years back for a Secret Santa at work I baked gingerbread ornaments with ribbons through a hole to tie them on the tree. I packed them up as airtight as I could, but left a note on saying PERISHABLE. I remember sitting at my keyboard and doing some hideous task and hearing a someone oohing with delight at the other end of the office, looking up to see the receipient of the biscuits delightedly showing them around. Honestly I felt like I’d actually managed to do something lovely for someone, and it made me so happy to have had that effect. 

So now I made loads of gifts at Christmas. I love making cushions! They take me about 15 minutes to make, but the fun part is choosing the fabrics carefully, you can pick something to reflect peoples style and tastes, to show you pay attention! And then they have a luxury thing that they snuggle on, that reminds them that someone went to the effort to make them something personal. I made cushions for a friend with all her favourite colours, and when I’m at hers, we prop ourselves up on these cushions that have been in her sitting room for years, and they feel like part of the infrastructure of our friendship. 

This year a good gift is anything macramé, particularly plant hangers. I’ve made a few of them as gifts and I love giving them as they are so popular right now but actually not so easy to find!  And a little thing I like to make  is map coaters, where you give someone a coaster with a map of somewhere you have been together varnished on to it. I like to use a map that we’ve circled things on and feature the circles. As time goes by and these things you’ve made still hang around getting a bit ratty, it’s a tangible marker of a relationship progressing. That’s why I only ever make gifts that have a function.  What do you like to make for Christmas gifts? Or do you have good intentions to make stuff, only to run out of time? You wouldn't be alone!


Secrets of a Professional Knitwear Designer and Maker October 19, 2018 13:23

Secret Knitting Gadgets Most of us at LCC know how to knit – but not like Valentina! You might know Valentina as the utterly lovely regular host of our Craft Life events. But did you know that she is also a professional knitwear designer, specialising in machine knits?
Valentina Karellas
We’ve decided to shine a bit of a spotlight on her and her fascinating skills, because next week you can see her in action for yourself. She’ll be in her own gorgeous pop-up shop, selling her designs and demonstrating how a linking machine works.
A linking machine is the magic gadget that sews garment pieces together. For those of who knit by hand, it sounds like a dreamy piece of kit! I love a good piece of craft gadgetry, so I’ll be coming along to watch her demonstration, and also to snap up some bargains.
Valentina Karellas Linking machine

Valentina makes stunning colourful and unique knit pieces, using luxury yarns like cashmere. And…it turns out (and this is direct from the fashion insiders) that next year wholesale cashmere will go up in price. So not only will you be able to buy direct from Valentina at less than retail prices, but it’s also the moment to your cashmere items before the prices go up.
Valentina Karellas knitting machine
Her specialism is machine knitting, and you can se a Pinterest board of all the machines she uses here: 

So make a date to head down to the pop up shop at  The Crossing, 18 Lillie Road, London, SW6 1TS. And Remember, when you buy from a small business, you’re supporting our creative economy in the best way you can.
Details are here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ethical-fashion-knitwear-pop-up-tickets-51067574490?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

 

 


The Handmade Fair 2018 September 22, 2018 22:08

Last week the London Craft Club team took a well-deserved day off to visit The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. It’s one of the highlights of the craft calendar, and we always look forward to seeing what the fair will have to offer each year.

We started our day off with some craft workshops - I mean, how could we say no? I made a pom pom deer brooch with Ruby and the Squirrel, while Sonia made an incredible willow bird feeder with Blithfield Willowcrafts. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit in love with deer pom pom. Wouldn’t they make adorable Xmas decorations? 

It’s always so much fun crafting with a group of people and seeing strangers chatting and bonding over their love for making things. For us, crafting is a social activity and not just something we do at home alone!

Of course we couldn’t resist a wander round the shopping tents (it would be rude not to!) and we bumped into some of our crafty friends, including the gorgeous Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons, who is a total sweetheart and has the most gorgeous modern sewing patterns.

We had a lovely chat to the wonderful folk from Happy Fabric, and went totally crazy over the rainbow selection of iron on vinyls. Their stall was packed full of lots of ideas for projects using their materials and tools.

And we all oohed and aahed at the Cricut stand (where we bumped into craft legend Emma Jewell!) How amazing is this little personalised mason jar I made? And in the background are paper flowers cut using the Cricut. We’ve added the new Easy Press 2 to our wish list - maybe Santa will bring us one if we are really good?

The main reason for our visit to The Handmade Fair though was our very own Sonia was competing against Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It in the Mollie Makes Mash Up. They had 30 minutes to customise a plain pennant style wall hanging using a selection of craft supplies. And we couldn’t be prouder because Sonia only went and won! 

Did you manage to visit The Handmade Fair this year? We are already looking forward to next year!


LCC Launch Party September 16, 2018 12:30 2 Comments



The Best Things about Learning September 2, 2018 13:00

Learning

We all know that learning is beneficial in the academic sense - knowledge is power and all that. But recently more research has been conducted into the benefits of learning on our overall mental and physical well-being. And don't worry if, like us, you never did well in academic exams - the benefits of learning apply to any new skills, including craft!

Here are some of the main ways in which learning something new can actually be good for you;

1. It keeps your mind active - problem solving, concentrating, and memorising are all involved in learning, and these activities have been proven to improve cognitive functioning later on in life. Your brain is like a muscle - it needs to be used and strengthened regularly to remain healthy. Crafts such as quilting have been shown to be particularly beneficial, as they involve a higher level of problem solving and even basic mathematical skills.

2. Being engaged in pursuits that occupy your mind and require you to get 'in the flow' such as crafting can actually trigger healthy changes in brain chemistry. Repetitive crafts (such as a simple weaving) can cause an almost meditative state, that can help alleviate stress and anxiety.

3. Learning a new skill can help boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. There's nothing like mastering a new crochet stitch, or learning how to tie a new macrame knot to make you feel as though you have really accomplished something. This confidence in turn helps to boost your overall mental well-being.

4. Our minds and bodies require time to recharge to function at their best, but recharging doesn't have to mean lying down and doing nothing. In fact the best way to recharge your mind is to throw yourself into something that takes your mind off the day to day. Getting totally immersed in a craft activity is a good way to do this - if you've ever experienced that feeling of 'I can't believe I've been crafting for three hours - it's flown by!' then that means you're on the right track!

So there you have it - learning isn't just confined to schools, and to a particular time of your life. Learning and expanding your knowledge on a regular basis is actually beneficial to your mental health. We would love to help introduce you to a new craft - we have lots of exciting workshops available right now, so check them out!

 


Meet Zoe - A London Craft Club Update August 26, 2018 10:21

There have been a lot of exciting changes happening at London Craft Club recently - most of you will already know that we are moving into a brand spanking new venue this week, which will serve as the Craft Club HQ, as well as being where most of our workshops will now be held.

But the eagle-eyed among you have also noticed that our weekly newsletter is now from me, Zoe, instead of Sonia, and have been curious to know why. Well, there has also been a change-up behind the scenes here at London Craft Club! Sonia hasn't gone anywhere, but I've taken over the day to day running of London Craft Club. I'll also be helped by Baily - we'll introduce you to her properly very soon!  

We figured you might like to learn a bit more about me now I'll be popping up in your inbox and social media, so pop over here to read the Q&A with me!

Lovely Zoe has joined London Craft Club

 

Sonia - Zoe, can you tell us a bit about your extensive crafty background!

Zoe - I’ve been working as a creative for seven years now - I started off running my own jewellery business called Ladybird Likes, which I did for about five years, but I started to fall out of love with it as I was waking up every day and doing the same tasks over and over. I wanted something more creative and more diverse, but I felt more like a factory worker. So I started branching out into other creative areas, particularly teaching crafts. I now like to call myself a ‘freelance creative’ as I dabble in so many creative areas. 

Sonia - I remember hearing loads about you on the crafty scene before you joined LCC, you're a bit of a celeb amongst crafters! So tell the guys how you got involved with London Craft Club?

Zoe - I’ve been part of LCC for about a year now, and I started out just teaching workshops (which I still do because I absolutely love it!) Then I started helping out in the office with some admin work, and about two months ago Sonia offered me the position of ‘Head Crafter’ (which is the only job title we could decide on that didn’t sound super boring and corporate!)

Sonia  - So can you just explain what you do at London Craft Club exactly?

Zoe - Ha, well a bit of everything really - whatever is needed! My main roles are creating our programme of workshops - so coming up with new workshop ideas, finding creatives to work with, researching what we will need and how it would work in a workshop environment, making samples, that sort of thing. And then I also do the marketing and sales side of things - I’ve been writing the weekly newsletters for a while now, and will also be taking over social media and content creation which I’m really excited for.

Sonia - Zoe, I honestly think you are the most versatile crafter I know! What workshops do you teach?

Zoe - My biggest passion is yarn crafts - anything that involves yarn I just find so interesting and relaxing. I teach weaving, punch needle, crochet, felting, macrame... and lots of other stuff too! I’ve also been hugely passionate about a wide range of crafts, and have never been able to just pick one to focus on! I’m never sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s just the way I am!

Sonia - Why do you like teaching crafts?

Zoe - Honestly, I feel like craft has played a huge part in my life for such a long time, and making things has opened up so many doors for me, as well as helping me deal with anxiety and stress. I’m a massive advocate for the benefits of crafting on a regular basis, and I hope through teaching crafts and helping other people to find a craft they love, that I can pass on those benefits. I genuinely believe that we would all be a lot happier and more relaxed if we made time each day to do something creative.

Sonia - Thank you so much for answering our questions, everyone at LCC is so excited to have you in the gang! You're SO creative and can make anything, but  we think you fit in so well here because you really get our "be kind, be awesome at what you do" mentality. Hurrah for Zoe! 

If you'd like to find out what I've been up to, head over to www.craftworklondon.com for a little look! Me and the Craft Work gang still share an office with LCC so we haven't gone far but it's a little different... 


Meet Our New Teacher Yvonne August 19, 2018 15:00

 

Yvonne Teaching

As London Craft Club grows and expands and changes so does our team of craft teachers. We are so incredibly lucky to work with some super talented people, who allow us to bring you such a great range of different workshops. Our newest member of the team is Yvonne Pratt, who is going to be teaching our Hand Sewing Workshop starting from September, and hopefully some other workshops too in the future.

Yvonne has an interesting story as she has recently left her job in education and teaching to become a freelance creative - something which we know lots of you would also love to do! So we thought we would ask her a few questions to see what made her take the leap into freelance life!

1. Tell us a bit about your background.

I have worked in various educational backgrounds over many years, from teaching silkscreen printing and fabric dye workshops at universities, to teaching careers at West Suffolk Collage focusing on the Art and Design department and inspiring young minds about their future careers.

2. What made you decide to go freelance?

Whilst I have been working in teaching environments I have always continued to practice my passion for craft. This has developed into my unique style of bespoke mixed media textile pieces which combine my love of drawing, illustration, textile print and free motion embroidery. I have a fascination for the natural environment and our Great British Heritage.

Living in Suffolk I have continued to exhibit, showcase and sell my work, and have built up a community of friends who are craft makers like myself. Ultimately it was this community that encouraged me to become freelance, allowing me to fully embrace my craft and love of teaching.

3. What are the best and worst parts of being freelance?

The best part of becoming freelance is being able to concentrate on my passion to create and inspire others through my craft experience and knowledge of crafts. Also meeting and networking with likeminded people with the same passion as myself.

Since I’m new to freelancing, there aren’t any bad bits (yet!)

4. What crafts do you/can you teach?

I am extremely versatile when it comes to crafting as I use mixed media within my own craft. But also I love to experiment with different techniques and have been fortunate to attend and work at workshops at various crafting events over the years. I can turn my hand to almost anything, and I find it extremely satisfying to learn new crafts.

5. Do you still craft for fun? If so what do you make?

Yes, and this tends to be if I take a fancy to something new. But I love using free motion embroidery because I love that it is such a versatile technique, and I can have fun using different materials and fabrics. I love the textures and style it can gives an art piece.

6. Why do you love crafting?

Being an extremely creative person my mind is just bursting with ideas all the time, and I can only get these ideas out through using my hands to create crafts. So this is really just my way of expressing my ideas.

Thanks so much for chatting with us Yvonne! We hope you've enjoyed learning a bit more about the newest team member, and you can book to learn Hand Sewing with Yvonne right here.


Our stunning new home in the West End! August 12, 2018 09:45

Our new studio

We are so excited to announce that we are just about to move into our new permanent home in Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, in the heart of the West End. 

From now on nearly all our workshops and events will take place here. It'll be much simpler for you to book and of course it means we're free to do more socials and unusual crafts. We're starting with our big London Craft Club Party!

How to get there

It's a quick walk from Tottenham Court Road on the Northern and Central Line, and Russell Square on the Picadilly Line. Euston, St Pancras and Charing Cross mainline stations are all easy to get to, less than 20 minutes walk or quicker by Tube. 

Bedford Square backs on to the British Museum and you can walk to Oxford  Street or Soho easily from there. It's one of the best-preserved Georgian squares in London, built in the 1770s. 

Map of Bedford Square

We're looking forward to making it into a stunningly gorgeous space - you know we like a bit of Instagram so our challenge is to make the most Insta-worthy studio ever! Keep an eye out for updates on the studio and how we make it beautiful, and then come to our London Craft Club party and see the results yourself! Don't forget if you book a workshop, you'll get a free ticket (while tickets last) 

Party

 We're really looking forward to seeing you there!


Happiness Happens months August 5, 2018 08:31

The Happiness List

Sometimes it’s good to take a moment to remind yourself of all the things that make you happiest - plus who doesn’t love a good list?!

We've made a list of some of the things that make us happiest! What makes you happy? Try our free printable Happiness List for yourself so you can make your own version too. We recommend sticking it somewhere you can see it every day, and if you’re feeling in need of a boost try doing something off of your list.  

Download it here 

The Happiness List

There is actually quite a lot of scientific evidence to support the idea that crafting does in fact make you happier, as well as reducing anxiety and stress. When you get absorbed in a craft your mind goes into an almost meditative state, which in turn helps improve your mental wellbeing. So there you go, it's as good as a mindfulness app and keeps you off your phone. 

The social element of crafting is also excellent for boosting happiness. Not all of us like to craft in company, but it can be a lovely way to meet people you share an interest with. 

Crafting together

Plus you get to make something you can use/wear/have in your home, which will then bring you happiness every time you see it. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to reply ‘I made it’ when someone compliments something of yours. That first thing you made that you're super proud of can be a real milestone in your life, whether you're aged 4 or 84.

My newest thing is drop-spinning, and honestly a bit like catnip to me! The spin, pinch, draft, release rhythm is an additive and utterly absorbing thing! And I am so incredibly proud of my bit of spun yarn, even if it is only a few tens of metres...

So get some craft on your list and make August a really good one. 

My new love


Summer Lovin! June 17, 2018 07:00

London Craft Club Summer treats - workshops discounts printables and more

It's treats time! 

treat one

Summer is for hanging out with friends - so if you buy two tickets to a workshop, you get the second one half price!!!!!! Just use the code SUMMERLOVIN at the checkout. (It must be the same workshop on the same date, and you must book before midnight on 20th June 2018)

Choose a workshop

Summer lovin

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Treat two

Yes the tickets for the Twist Sandal Workshop are here!!! Book now because they are on Early Bird prices, and there are only two dates. 

Book tickets

Sandals on Early Bird........................................................................................................................

Treat three

Check out this round up of all our lovely Summer printables by Hannah of Utensils0 - super cute! 

See them all

Summer printables

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Treat four

Mega Insta-giveaway! Head to our account two win a pair of free tickets to a workshop of your choice, so you and a friends can hang out together 

Head to our Instagram

Instagram

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And guess what - there's more goodies next week! Don't say we don't love you :-)

 

 


Vote now on our Summer picnic workshop! May 26, 2018 22:57 2 Comments

Vote on London Craft Club's next Summer workshop

We're planning a lovely beach bag customisation workshop for the Summer, and we need your opinion. We've got two gorgeous woven palm bags and a mountain of stuff to customise them with. Here's a pinterest board of what we could do...

London Craft Club Pinterest board inspiration

And here's your chance to vote on which bag we use!

The Hand-Woven Palm basket bag.

London Craft Club Summer craft workshops customising beach bags

A generous bag made of best quality woven palm, its sturdy, robust and holds its shape well whilst still having a soft feel to it. With it's palm woven handles, it's the perfect beach bag - almost! It's just calling out for you to add colour and joy to it. 

The Round Palm Weave Bag

London Craft Club

This bag is brilliantly useful and super gorgeous. The soft plaited palm keeps its fantastic round shape, and the opening has a lovely structured edge that makes it easy to use and very practical. 

Vote classic French style basket

Vote Basket


Vote super gorgeous round basket 

Vote Round

 

 Watch this space to see which one wins!


My six favourite crafty bits of kit May 13, 2018 11:14

Our six favourite craft tools

At Craft Club HQ, we've had a really big clear-out this week, which has made us think about what we really do need. I have a bit of an addiction to craft gadgetry, although not all are as useful as others! These are some ours favourite, but there are so many other ones we could chose. What are your favourite crafty tools? 

Rotary Cutter

London Craft Club's top six craft tools

I thought rotary cutters were total magic when I first found them. Especially when I realised you can cut through more than one layer of fabric at a time. I actually find cutting the hardest part of dressmaking so these are a godsend! Find out all about them here 

Stix2Anything tape

Stix2

It sticks to fabric! It's doublesided! Seriously you can use it for everything. Gapey shirt buttons need holding closed? Bra straps need to stick under your dress straps? Need to stick a lampshade together? Want to add decorative bits to a Christmas stocking? The list is endless! Buy it here

Scissors

Ernest Wright Scissors

We have a few hundred pairs of scissors at Craft Club, but nothing beats a really sharp well balanced pair of dressmaking shears. Like these by fabulous traditional scissor makes Ernest Wright and Son

Water soluble pens

water soluble pens

Another magic trick! Draw on fabic, then when you've felted, emboridered or what ever else you want to do on it, you just spray water on it and it VANISHES! Get them here

Blank plastic cards

You can buy batches of blank white credit cards and they are great for so many things! I make map coasters with Mod Podge, and they help you smooth on a lovely smooth finish. Also great for spreading glue, grout and anything else you need to spread evenly. Way way better than a glue spreader! Get em here

 After the big clearout that made us think of this, we've decided to get a little Instagram sale or two going! Watch out for the dates coming soon! 

 


Sew Luxe Leather Book Review May 6, 2018 07:55

Sew Luxe Leather Book ReviewLeather is so bang on trend at the moment, and it’s popping up everywhere from the catwalk, to homewares, to accessories and we can’t get enough of it! It’s no secret that at Craft Club we love working with leather in our workshops (we’ve made everything from leather jewellery to leather clutch bags) 
Sew Luxe Leather by Rosanna Gethin
so when the talented Rosanna Gethin sent us a copy of her new book ’Sew Luxe Leather’ we were immediately keen. It’s packed full of gorgeous projects to make using leather, starting off super simple with a leather tassel keyring, or a travel card holder, and then increasing in difficulty all the way up to a cross body bag. There’s something to suit everyone’s taste, and it’s definitely a book we will be turning to when we are stuck for ideas for handmade gifts.
Sew Luxe Leather by Rosanna Gethin
Rosanna has detailed step by step instructions for each project, made even clearer by photos illustrating each stage, meaning the projects are easy to follow even if you’re not a very confident crafter. Although working with leather looks really complicated, with Rosanna’s expert guidance you’ll be creating beautiful leather items in no time.
Rosanna has detailed step by step instructions for each project, made even clearer by photos illustrating each stage, meaning the projects are easy to follow even if you’re not a very confident crafter. Although working with leather looks really complicated, with Rosanna’s expert guidance you’ll be creating beautiful leather items in no time.
Our favourite parts of the book though are the bits with information on what tools and supplies you will need, and what they are all used for. If you're buying this a gift for a crafty friend, it's got enough technical info to be a really good resource, as well as looking really pretty.
Sew Luxe Leather by Rosanna Gethin
At the back of the book are details of each technique used in the projects in case you need a quick reference. From from gluing, to inserting fastenings, to surface treatments, this is such a handy guide to have, and would be invaluable to anyone starting out working with leather. No more googling what a lacing pony is (yes, it’s a real thing!) or wondering what type of glue you should be using on leather.
Rosanna has detailed step by step instructions for each project, made even clearer by photos illustrating each stage, meaning the projects are easy to follow even if you’re not a very confident crafter. Although working with leather looks really complicated, with Rosanna’s expert guidance you’ll be creating beautiful leather items in no time.
Packed full of gorgeous photos, and lots of useful content (definitely no filler in here!) Sew Luxe Leather has found itself a place on our crafty bookshelf. We are heading out on bank holiday Monday to find some old leather items to upcycle into something new - perhaps a new purse?

Sew Luxe Leather is published by SewandSo and will be available from May 25th 2018

Don't forget you can meet Rosanna an make a luxe leather plant hanger with her. Find the details here
Leather Plant Hanger Workshops