The term ‘arts and crafts’ (apart from being an interior design movement in the late 1800s) could mean any number of activities. It’s anything in which you need to design and make something – it’s a creative way to explore new ideas and try new things, and you’ll always come away with a great souvenir to show others just what you’ve been doing, and what you can achieve.
Arts and crafts usually brings to mind something different, unique, and ultimately fun – and sometimes it can be a little messy (but no one minds that when art (and craft) is being made!
Try one of these arts and crafts experience days, and find yourself a new hobby, or try something you never thought you’d ever get the chance to. There are so many choices, and each one is unique as you are – try them all, and you’ll never be bored again!
There are so many options (blow glass, make candles, take a drawing class, even learn how to design and draw street art!) that you’ll be able to really let your artistic side run free! This is an incredible day out, whatever option you go for.
Drawing and painting
Fancy yourself as the next Van Gogh or do you have the talents of a two-year-old? Either way, brush up on your skills with a range of drawing and painting classes. An expert artist will be on hand to share tips and tricks to take your efforts from passable to masterpiece.
Try this for size:Could there be any better venue for a drawing class than London's Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)? This practical workshop teaches you about shading, lines, tones, scales, positioning, sizing, and more. You'll have ample opportunity to put this newfound knowledge into practice.
Sewing and dressmaking
If you’re into fashion, then perhaps a felt hat making course would be the ideal way to celebrate that fact. Or perhaps combine your love of making clothing with the fun and very ‘now’ idea of looking back to the 1940s and 1950s, and make vintage clothing from scratch, just the way your mother, grandmother, or great grandmother did it! Or why not try dressmaking? Superb! And of course, you get to take the clothes home with you afterwards to enjoy forever.
A top choice:Head to Brighton for a one-to-one sewing lesson. You'll learn skills such as overlocking, pattern-cutting, and working with different types of fabric and sewing styles. As it's a one-to-one class, the instructor can tailor the event to suit your skill level.
For those who love nothing more than to create with colour, the stained glass workshop would have to be the experience to remember. Choose from vibrant paints and make something magical. Or why not step further back in time and design and build your very own mosaic patterned tile? Ideal for sprucing up your home with afterwards!
Try this one:Create a masterpiece in glass at a glassworks in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. In a glass studio you'll work with molten glass from the furnace. Have a go at making a paperweight and at glass blowing. After the experience, your creation can be annealed overnight and posted out for a small supplement.
Feeling chilly? Try the ice sculpting class! Now this isn’t something you can do every day – those ice cubes at home are just too tiny to get really creative with. So go ahead and chisel something incredible out of a massive block of ice!
A top choice:Tour of Ice workshop in London and learn about the magical art of ice sculpting. You'll also have the opportunity to carve something yourself. You'll even get to take your mini ice sculpture home with you in an insulated box so it won't melt en-route.
Whether it’s the height of summer or the dead of winter, a splash of colour around the house is never going to be unappreciated. How better to cheer up a dull, cold day, or to add brightness to a gorgeous sunny morning than to enjoy some prettily arranged flowers? And how much better would it be if you didn’t have to have someone else arrange them for you? You may not think you’re much of a flower arranger right now, but after trying one of the amazing and great value flower arranging experience days on offer, you might even find yourself ready to enter your beautiful arrangements into the village fete’s competition!
Learn the basics of how to arrange flowers perfectly, thinking about colour, size, and variety with a hands-on session. In most lessons you'll take your creation home with you to really show it off in style!
How about this?:In Tutbury, Staffordshire, you'll learn the art of flower arranging. Learn professional techniques from the masters before having a go yourself. You'll even get to take your beautiful arrangement home with you.
Jewellery has always been with us. From the ancients (just think of Cleopatra) to the modern day (see any red carpet event, and the necklaces, bracelets, and rings are glittering away with the stars), it is a sign of wealth, of status, of taste, and of love. Sometimes it is all of those things, sometimes, it’s just the most important. But whatever your reason for wearing and enjoying jewellery, it’s a wonderful way to express yourself and your personality.
What could possibly make jewellery better? What could make it even more special, even more unique, even more spectacular? The answer has to be when you make it yourself. If you think that’s an impossible dream, then you haven’t seen the jewellery making classes yet! Choose which sort of jewellery you want to make and create something truly different and utterly unique.
Why not try making enamel jewellery? Fuse metal and glass and come away with something that has never been seen before. A necklace or pendant perhaps, that means the world to you. Or what about designing your own silver ring? It will be yours and yours alone, and it is bound to attract a lot of admiring glances! If you can’t decide what you might like to make, then perhaps a taster course would be the best option – here you can experiment with different materials and ideas, and no matter which course you pick, there will be an expert on hand to give you all the help and advice you could need.
Whatever you make is usually yours to keep (or give away, if that’s your plan), and all materials will be provided. The only things you need to bring as some ideas, some creativity, and a willingness to learn some new and intricate techniques that you might never have considered even thinking about before!
Food for thought:Enjoy an introduction to the fascinating world of jewellery making. Design and create your own piece of jewellery, taking your completed piece home with you afterwards. Locations include Weston Turville, Stockport, Lakenheath, Selby, Northam, Cowley, Sheffield, and Woking.
Pottery and ceramics
Whether your only experience of pottery is that scene from Ghost, or whether you’re a natural artist who just loves to get their hands dirty, you will love the chance to put your own stamp on a piece of craftwork.
Do as countless other potters have done throughout the centuries, and create something lasting and beautiful.
Create ceramics in a variety of experiences that will see you design a teapot, ceramic tiles, plates, or vases.
Food for thought:Start the day at The World of Wedgwood in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with a factory tour, learning about Josiah Wedgwood's world-famous company. After a two-course lunch, it's time to design and create your own Wedgwood plate. It'll be fired and posted to you at home after the event. You'll also enjoy a spot of tea tasting too.
Unleash Your Inner Artist - What You Need To Know
- WHEN: Events usually take place on selected dates in the year.
- WHERE: Locations vary depending on experience. Certain activities are limited to one or two places nationwide while others are hosted around the country.
- WHO: This is a wonderful gift for someone who has always wanted to find a new hobby, but isn’t sure where to start. If you know someone with an artistic flair, an arts and crafts experience would suit them perfectly. There's something for everyone and an opportunity to discover hidden talents.
- OCCASIONS: If you are looking for a birthday or Christmas gift that's a bit different and a bit more creative than others, this is it. Choose from a variety of arty options to suit the recipient.
- PRICES: Experiences start from around £30 per person depending on which type of class you choose. Experiences that require more materials for you to work with generally start from around £50 a head. (correct at the time of writing)
- QUESTIONS: Need help? Ask questions here and I'll try to help as best I can
- TRIED THIS?: Would you recommend it? Share your thoughts here
(Photo credit to Bodobe)