article on great, creative and physical craft courses you can do in London

Get your craft on!

20 October 2015 |

Sara Colohan London Life

Image Credit: Wildes Cheese

Image Credit: Turning Earth

Image credit: Turning Earth
Image credit: Wildes Cheese
It may be a bustling metropolis, but there is somehow still space in London for learning and appreciating crafts. London Calling has a look at some of the best craft projects around.

As busy Londoners, we know how easy it is to lose touch with the simple pleasures in life. We don’t have time to develop or nurture practical skills like pottery or gardening, not least because most of us don’t have the luxury of a garden or a shed full of tools to craft objects. Unless we actually work in a trade, it’s not uncommon for Londoners to go through life never having turned wood, moulded clay, churned butter or dug up a sod.
We love to sneer at them, but really, it’s thanks to the London hipster for this revival of crafty projects and earthy careers in the city. New spaces like The Camden Town Shed and The Good Life Centre have boosted interest not just in the retired community (where The Shed project was initially aimed) but at all ages and walks of life. Craft markets and in particular events likeSelfridges Meet the Makers can encourage people to take their hobbies to the next level but, even if you have no interest in turning it into a career, the simple enjoyment from doing a hands-on craft class has been proven to help deal with all kinds of stress. Why not try a silversmith or cheese making course and take a day or a few weeks to dip your toe and release your creativity. London Calling is here to help you get down and dirty with a chosen craft. We’ve compiled some of the best tactile, hands on courses London has to offer.
Central St Martins will always be synonymous with high end craft courses and has a recognised worldwide name. Its Kings Cross central location makes it extremely easy for Londoners to access. However, it’s an obvious and easy choice, where you will probably spend more money on a course there than elsewhere. Do a bit of digging! (pun intended to the wannabe gardeners). We found plenty more practical and cost effective classes about so we’d suggest you shop around although CSM does offer competitive fees on a Silversmithing course.
For the more traditional amongst us, perhaps a spot of gardening could help you get back to nature. Most of us don’t own a garden or in some cases even a balcony so in doing one of these gardening courses you can look forward to getting some soil under your nails and maybe heading home on the tube wearing muddy boots. You can sign up for either a short or lengthier gardening course in London’s College of Gardening Design. From January English Gardening School offers an intensive 10-week course in garden design, or you can visit Kew Gardens – and do an array of courses including Orchids for Beginners, photography and art classes.
One of the oldest skills we have is the ability to fashion things from wood, yet it’s not a skill many of us have chosen to keep or even to try the once! Wood turning is a hugely satisfying tactile hobby and there are several courses available around London. The Camden Town Shedoffers a great beginner’s day - just £55 including your own oak bowl to bring home.
London based Mes Leather offers a two day course where they promise you’ll learn how to make small leather goods, using vegetable tanned leathers. Materials are included in the course fee and at £280 it’s good value. Mes Leather doesn’t use any modern equipment so you are guaranteed to enjoy a rustic tactile weekend.
If you’ve always yearned to re create that infamous scene in Ghost, then a course in pottery and ceramics may be the chance you have been waiting for. Turning Earth Ceramics based in an E2 London railway arch offer lots of choice – a beginner’s class, a four week or 12 week course. A single day porcelain masterclass is £95 and a 12 week course is £255.
Wildes Cheese started making cheese in June 2012 when its owner (and soon to be the head cheese maker) was made redundant from his job as a management consultant. Wildes Cheese started in a kitchen before being moving into a small garage space on a North London industrial estate. They are now selling cheese across London to retailers and restaurants, and have a market stall in Alexander Palace and Borough. Maybe even more interesting than their very urban location (they are based in Tottenham!) is their cheese making course. You can choose a one day course or short set of evening classes which teach you the art of cheese making at home without the need for any special equipment (a bucket, cloth and colander). They even provide all the equipment, milk and starters for your experience – you just show up. They also have packs for you to take home e.g. milk and rennet etc so you can develop your own cheese.
So go forth Londoners! Get messy, get dirty and get back to basics. London is full to the brim with exciting and cost effective courses and who knows what it could lead to – you may decide to drop that office job after all….



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