As winter's embrace settles over London and you lose count of the times you've heard All I Want For Christmas is You on shop sound systems, along with the number of presents you still have to buy, a craft workshop offers a great opportunity to recharge and unwind while learning a new skill. From a deeply satisfying dive into the ancient Japanese art of kintsugi to an open-air all-natural winter decorations workshop, here are seven to try out (including one online option, for crafters who can't get to London).
Get your craft on: seven London workshops to sign up for
Get to grips with leather craft
Ever fancied a new career in artisanal handbags? This is where to start. A theoretical and practical taster session for total beginners, the six-hour workshop will introduce you to different types of leather and teach you how to mark, cut, edge, finish and hand sew, as well as try your hand at leathercraft techniques such as beveling and burnishing. Small groups allow for lots of hands-on help, and you'll finish up with your own completed project - a passport holder, glasses case, purse or card holder - to take home. Saddle stitch, here we come.
Blow your own glass bauble
Everyone knows that handmade Christmas tree decorations are the best, but if you're stuck for inspiration, the sustainability-minded Gather Glass is here to help, offering the opportunity to make your own handblown glass bauble over the course of an hour. Under the expert tutelage of studio founder Phoebe Stubbs, who has over a decade of experience in glassblowing in the UK and US, you'll be given a piece of gathered glass to design and apply colour to, before blowing the bauble up. Stubbs says she can't guarantee that it will be perfectly round, but - as with kintsugi - the joy is in the imperfection. The glass has to be cooled overnight, and will be ready for collection (or mailing to you, at a small extra charge) 48 hours later.
Celebrate imperfection with kintsugi
Various locations around London
Celebrating imperfection is the ethos behind the ancient Japanese craft of kintsugi, where treasured ceramics are fixed using a gold epoxy resin. Don't worry if you don't have any broken items to bring along: at this friendly two-hour class taught by Brandon Le, you'll learn how to safely break pottery with a hammer and drill (therapeutic in itself), before fixing it the kintsugi way. All materials are provided, along with a lesson in the artform's 15th-century origins - its surge in popularity having correlated to the rise of the Japanese tea ceremony. Along with a renewed sense of calm, you'll take away your own piece of kintsugi at the end. Just don't put it in the dishwasher (unless you're looking for an excuse to come back): your finished masterpiece is for display purposes only.
Design all-natural decorations
For a more rustic take on the season's usual tinsel and glitter, get yourself to the London Wetlands Centre, where an al fresco over-18s-only winter crafts workshop sees participants create some beautiful decorations made out of natural materials. Set on a site formed of four disused Victorian reservoirs nestled in a loop in the Thames, the centre offers Londoners an opportunity to explore vast swathes of lakes, pools and gardens while spotting a multitude of birds (and stopping to watch the Asian-clawed otters at play along the way). When legs get tired, reconnect with your creative side, making tree baubles out of grasses, twigs and twine, or bird feeders to hang in your garden or balcony back home.
Knit a festive cat
Ready to put down your phone and pick up a pair of knitting needles instead? Kalika Kulukundis is a textile artist who uses heritage wools to produce bold, beautiful hand-knitted pieces with a focus on the history and culture of ovine pastoralism and the slow craft movement. Having recently graduated from the National College of Art and Design, her regular You Can Knit With Us (YKWU) workshops at Stratford's The Lab offer expert guidance on getting your own project off the ground. The December iteration coincides with The Lab's Christmas Market, meaning that you can pick up stocking fillers and warm up with a glass of mulled wine before settling down to learn how to knit a plush cat to hang on your Christmas tree - or give as a super-personal gift to a cat-loving friend.
Free entry; eventbrite.co.uk
Become a candle maker
If you're the kind of person that loves scented candles, why rely on unwrapping some over the holidays when you could learn to make your own? There's something deeply grounding about slowly heating up the right amount of soy wax, adding your own choice of essential oils - think orange, cinnamon, tonka bean and clove - and setting the wick in place. Led by Emily Lynam, the founder of candle studio Yougi, this beginner-friendly Christmas candle-making workshop is a relaxing way to escape the synthetic scents used in many mass-produced candles and make a beautiful 170ml festive creation to your own bespoke recipe.
Unleash your inner scribe
Sick of buying overpriced seasonal cards and gift tags and want to craft your own this year? Can't get to London? This two-hour class is for you. Led by The Modern Calligraphy Co's Maisie Minett, the Christmas-themed live-streamed workshop offers an introduction to calligraphy, taking you from the basics of mastering a pointed nib to fancy scripts and using metallic paints to form shimmering letters. You'll also learn how to add simple illustrations such as holly and stars to your finished stationery, and have access to exclusive templates to work from.