Mixed Crafts Evenings: 8 Creative Crafts in 8 weeks
Between February and April I’ve been teaching Mixed Crafts Evenings: 8 Creative Crafts in 8 weeks. As you can probably work out from the title, this has been an eight week evening class and each week I’ve been teaching a two hour session on a different craft. I've been running it in York as part of York Learning.
It's been great fun and each week I’ve been delighted by the gorgeous things that the group have made. The eight topics were Clay Sculpture, needle felting, silk painting, candle making, applique embroidery, mosaics, soap making and finishing with paper craft.
Clay Sculpture I think that working with clay is a great ‘ice breaker’ for a group, so I thought it would be a good one for week one. We got started with some simple techniques, including making coil pots, pinch pots, printing surface texture and slipping and scoring to make simple figures.
Needle Felting This is the only week where we’re all making the same thing, adorable wee bumble bees. They’re a lovely starting project as you learn several great techniques in one item. They’re also going to come in handy as decorations for week 7’s honey and oat soap.
Silk Painting We’d chatted about the plan for tonight at the end of last week, so several people brought their own designs ready to paint onto silk. I also had a range of my favourite templates for folk to choose from (and there are some really gorgeous ones in my kit, even if I do say so myself). The group of lovely crafters took to silk painting like ducks to water and by the end of the evening we had a range of truly beautiful, vibrant and just fabulous creations drying ready to be handed out the next week.
Candle Making I think of candle making as ‘craft alchemy’ as you get to cook up batches of wax in all different colours and fragrances. Tonight we had a go at my twist on dip-dying a candle to give it a colourful gradient and making a container candle in either a small glass jar from me, or a container that they had brought from home. The image below (top right of the four) shows two of the great ‘tea cup candles’ that were made. Adorable and useful, what more could you want?!
Applique Embroidery Again I had a wide range of templates for the crafters to choose from and this week’s craft sheet had a small stitch library for everyone to take home with them. By the end of the night everyone was not only tackling running stitch, but chain stitch and blanket stitch and once again, fab things were made by one and all.
Mosaic Making The materials for mosaic making are just magic. The speckled tiles of vitreous glass and the rainbow of tiny, polished micro mosaics that twinkle and gleam as you position them are so fun to work with. And with the finished results are spectacular.
Soap Making Selecting only two of my favourite recipes from my three soap making classes was tricky, but I opted for two classics; ‘Lemon & Poppyseed’ and ‘Honey & Oat’. It was another week in the kitchen for the class as they set about making these scrumptiously fragrant soaps. And of course the finished items were packaged up with needle felted bees from week 2 and hand stitched lemons from week 5. Adorable!
Paper Craft Paper is a fantastically versatile media for craft. This week we had three options; paper cutting, paper marbling and book binding. I’d set up a table for each craft so each person could flit from table to table as they like. We had paper cut bunting and greetings cards in a variety of stunning shades. We had stacks of gorgeous marbled paper with matching envelopes and gift tags in every colour combo imaginable. And for the book binding, we bound together the weekly sheets that I’d been giving out each week full of instructions, idea for future projects and list of my favourite suppliers for each craft.
Across the eight weeks every one made so many amazing things, spanning an incredibly wide range of materials and techniques. It was great fun and I know that several of the group are going to keep going with one or more of the crafts they learned here, which is fab.