Pickling and Pottery: London’s Coolest Craft Courses

Tue, 25 February 2020

If any city is likely to ignite your creative flair, it’s London. We’ve found the capital’s best crafting workshops, including fermenting classes in Hackney, weaving in Clapton and the ceramics courses guaranteed to make you a devotee of all things handmade.

Maybe you’re a renaissance man (or woman) looking to add yet another string to your already rather well-strung bow. Perhaps you’re a few dates in and looking for a romantic gesture – something tender that will seal the deal – or you’re simply hankering for some creative stimulus to lift you out of a funk that won’t budge. Whatever your motive, we believe there’s never a bad time to try your hand at something new. From Scandi-style pottery classes in Hackney to bamboo bicycle making in Canning Town, these are the coolest craft courses happening in London right now.

Try your hand at these craft courses in the city

Newton & Pott Pickling and preserving

Perhaps it’s the onslaught of climate change or the current wave of Scandimania that’s had everyone in a pickle recently. Either way, we’re into it. Learn how to pickle, preserve and ferment seasonal vegetables at a kitchen masterclass with Hackney-based Newton & Pott.

You’ll leave with: Hand-labelled jars laden with spices and vinegars
Price: Evening classes cost £60, while a day course costs £170.

SkandiHus Pottery

Forget dressing like a Scandi, this course is one for people who want to throw pots like a Dane. Workshops here are all about crafting wobbly homeware and objets d’art in muted, natural tones – the types of tasteful designs you might pick up in Copenhagen or Stockholm.

You’ll leave with:A minimalist Scandi-style souvenir and a general feeling of Zen.

Price: Buy six weeks of evening classes for £180, or £320 for 12. Alternatively, if you have previous pottery experience, you can rock up to one of its £30 drop-in sessions every Thursday and Sunday.

Barn the Spoon Spoon carving

This humble craft won’t earn you much street cred – there’ll be no sparks, elbow grease or flames here – but regular dinner party hosts will get endless mileage out of the wooden salt or serving spoons that course participants take home. Hew a chunk of wood (bark still intact) into a pretty but functional sculpture, an abstract expressionist one perhaps…

You’ll leave with:A wooden spoon.

Price:A day class costs £175

Raw Ceramics Workshop Ceramic art

Bowls, mugs, thumb-pots? Please. This ceramic workshop run by Matthew Raw is all about the art of clay work. Courses here range from tile-making to “multiple workshops” in which participants produce various ornamental pieces using a plaster mould of their own creation. This course is for mavericks, not perfectionists.

You’ll leave with:Wildly experimental pieces in a kaleidoscope of dips, paints and glazes.

Price: Three sessions costs £95.

Knithub24 Macramé

It might be having a moment – every home in north London is decorated with at least one ceramic pot plant cradled in macramé – but this craft has centuries of history behind it. Knot your thing? Knithub24’s workshops cover the full gamut of knitting niches including machine knitting and sock making. It even has a men-only class.

You’ll leave with:A macramé pot plant holder.

Price:A two-and-a-half-hour class will set you back £49.

Bamboo Bicycle Club Bicycle making

Forget your sturdy carbon and feather-light graphene frames, all the DIY kids about town are riding bicycles made from humble bamboo, thanks in part to the Bamboo Bicycle Club. Construct the bicycle frame during its two-day workshop or choose to piece the whole thing together (wheels, cogs and all) over four days.

You’ll leave with:A fully functional bamboo bicycle – no need to catch the tube home.

Price:A two-day weekend workshop (frame only) costs £495 while four days (full bicycle) is £695. All materials provided.

Earl of East Candle making

How to define the Earl of East? It’s both a shop – one filled with exquisite little knick-knacks and things you didn’t know you needed – as well as a community space and a workshop where you can learn to make all manner of modern luxuries, including bespoke scented candles, all-natural face masks, bath salts and more.

You’ll leave with: A divinely scented screw-top candle.

Price: A candle-making workshop costs £49.50.

The London Loom Weaving

There’s something about the age-old practice of weaving that is undeniably therapeutic. Pick a bunch of spools from the magical wall of multicoloured yarns at The London Loom, take a seat and get weaving. An evening at this contemporary, whitewashed workshop is the perfect antidote to a long day in the office. Don’t just take our word for it…

You’ll leave with: A rainbow-hued wall-hanging

Price: A two-hour beginners class costs £55. Alternatively, hone your technique in a full-day workshop, from £200.

Blackhorse Workshop Carpentry

This contemporary workshop is housed within a cluster of primary-coloured freight containers in Walthamstow – former home to Arts & Crafts pioneer William Morris. Nab a place on its weekend-long metalwork course to make a small coffee table, or take a few woodwork evening classes and emerge with a modernist oak shelving unit.

You’ll leave with: Anything from a chopping board to a bedside table, depending on your dexterity.

Price: A weekend welding course costs £235.

Turning Earth Pottery

You’ll find Turning Earth’s two pottery studios on the top floor of an old hardware factory in Leyton and hidden under the train viaducts between Hoxton and Haggerston. The latter is delightfully Hackney – think stray bicycles propped up against exposed-brick walls and more beanies than you can shake a stick at.

You’ll leave with: A handful of simple, moody pots.

Price: A 12-week evening course will set you back £300.

London Flower School Flower arranging

Don’t come here for twee bouquets or symmetrical table centrepieces. The clued-up staff at London Flower School teach students how to make dramatic arrangements – the sort of things you see painted in oils and hung on the walls of the National Gallery. Its Dutch Masters Floral Workshop is geared specifically to this end.

You’ll leave with: A few exuberant bouquets and the know-how to make them all over again.

Price:It’s £285 for a one-day class.

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