Summer skills: Crafty workshop courses for adults

Get your hands dirty and try your design skills with textiles, wood, clay and much more

Louise Beahan gives private two-day courses in ring-making at her studio in Newcastle, Co Wicklow.

Louise Beahan gives private two-day courses in ring-making at her studio in Newcastle, Co Wicklow.

 

Going Potty

What could be more satisfying than enjoying your morning cuppa, or scoop of summer ice cream from a mug or dish you made yourself? The lovely people at Arran Street East have courses covering throwing and glazing that you can do in a day, or go for a week and let your ceramic talent take flight. Take the day course, and they’ll dry, fire and glaze your best pot for you to pick up later. From €60 for an afternoon glazing class, to €275 for the week. arranstreeteast.ie

Wooden Wonders

I’m told wood-turning is addictive. Find out for yourself as you learn how to transform storm-damaged trees into beautiful things for your home with Glenn Lucas at his studio in Co Carlow. One day beginner’s classes are €135, including home-cooked lunch. Or if you already have experience, why not try a three-day class to really let you get to grips with your chosen piece of timber. glennlucaswoodturning.com

Textile Treasures

The Print Block Studios in Dublin are a hub of creativity when it comes to printing on textiles. See and buy unique designs by the Print Block people, or take one of their courses and learn to do it yourself. No cushion cover or plain fabric surface will be safe. Courses run throughout the summer, including the Introduction to Screen Printing on Fabric, which takes place over two days and costs €175, including materials. printblock.ie

Screen printer Marie Varley. Photograph: Fran Veale
Screen printer Marie Varley. Photograph: Fran Veale

Put a Ring On It (1)

Grace O’Connell knows how to run a fun workshop. Join her to create your own unique ring from jeweller’s wax over a cheery glass of prosecco and snacks. Once you’ve come up with a design you love, Grace will get it cast for you in sterling silver, and return it to you within three weeks. Courses run monthly during the summer in Dublin, Limerick and Galway, and Grace will also do private workshops if you have a group (minimum 8 people). Workshop from €30 including food and prosecco, and add €50 if you want a silver version of your ring. carveworkshops.com

Basket Case

Head to Spiddal to try your hand at basket making with Ciaran Hogan. According to Ciaran, a day course should result in a bread basket, while if you opt for one of his weekend courses you can graduate to bigger things in willow. Courses run throughout the summer, with one-to-one tuition from €120. The weekend course costs €140 including materials. ciaranhoganbaskets.com

Ciaran Hogan basket
Ciaran Hogan basket

Most Noteworthy

Who doesn’t cherish a secret passion for notebooks and the promise they hold of being both creative and organised? Read That Image Collective run an afternoon bookbinding workshop at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin. You’ll learn both Singer stitch and the violently-named Japanese stab binding, and come away with your own tome, price €55. Alongside the rest of the Gallery’s photography courses, you can also learn to scan and preserve your ancient, damaged family photographs, negatives or slides; restoring old and forgotten treasures and bringing memories back to life. A 1-hour training session costs €50. galleryofphotography.ie

Who doesn’t cherish a secret passion for notebooks and the promise they hold of being both creative and organised? Read That Image Collective run an afternoon bookbinding workshop at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin.
Who doesn’t cherish a secret passion for notebooks and the promise they hold of being both creative and organised? Read That Image Collective run an afternoon bookbinding workshop at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin.

Outside the Box

Découpage – collaging cut out paper on to objects – was all the rage in Victorian times, though the practice goes back further. Both Marie Antoinette and Lord Byron were big fans. Try it yourself at Dublin’s Design House, where it’s part of their Afternoon Tea Classes series (which also include bead weaving and millinery). Materials, wine or tea and afternoon tea treats are all provided, price €56. Check thedesignhouse.ie for dates.

Flower Power

We’re back at Arran Street East to get creative with flowers and fronds at the Floral Design Workshop with stylist and all round creative person Jette Virdi. The courses run on selected Saturday mornings during the summer, and you’ll learn the basics before making your perfect bouquet to take home. Dumping some tulips in a vase will become a thing of the past. All the flowers and materials are provided and the morning session costs €60. arranstreeteast.ie

Spinning Class

Weave wonders on Clare Island in an idyllic creative getaway with Beth Moran. A weekend workshop will give you the basics of spinning, weaving and natural dying for €240; while if you stay for the week you can really get stuck into a serious project, for €320 including lunch and materials. Class sizes are small and as well as coming away with something special, it’s a lovely way to relax and recharge. Or go in August when Dutch designer Christine van der Heide of Studio Bon Bon will be leading a three-day workshop on Japanese Katazome printing, which involves stencilling on silk with rice paste and natural dyes from the island. €200 including materials and lunch. clareislandmayo.com

A weekend workshop with Beth Moran on Clare Island will give you the basics of spinning, weaving and natural dying.
A weekend workshop with Beth Moran on Clare Island will give you the basics of spinning, weaving and natural dying.

Screen Test

Make your own posters, or t-shirts and totes with the gang at Damn Fine Print. Their four-week Introduction to Silkscreen course takes pace on Tuesday evenings, and you’ll discover tips and tricks to transform photographs, or your own sketches and designs, into marvellous artworks. The course costs €220 including materials. Or try one of the Saturday T-Shirt and Tote sessions to create your own clothing range… €85. damnfineprint.com

Kim Willoughby Damn Fine Print
Kim Willoughby Damn Fine Print

Put a Ring on It (2)

For anyone getting married, or setting up a very special event, this is a gorgeous one. Louise Beahan gives private two-day courses in ring-making at her studio in Newcastle, Co Wicklow, at the end of which you’ll have a pair of handmade rings to call your own. Day one involves making your perfect rings in silver, while on day two, you’ll re-make them in gold. Apparently you can temper gold with a blowtorch to make it more pliable, but only 14 times. “Only 14 meltdowns?!” my friend said. “A useful benchmark.” Accommodation is provided and the whole thing costs €275 per person. The silver is included but the gold is extra. Email enquiries to louisebeahan@gmail.com

We’re Gonna Build a Wall

Yes, you can build walls, and they can be beautiful. Learn the craft at one of the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland’s festivals, events or classes. The Tír Chonaill Stone Festival in Glencolmcille, Donegal from 23 to 25th June, is a great place to start your love affair with rocks. Workshops at the festival cost €50 for a single day, or €90 for the full weekend. tirchonaillstonefestival.com. See dswai.ie for more workshops and events around Ireland.

Sitting Pretty

Imagine the bragging rights, and the bliss of having your very own handmade armchair. Start with a greenwood stool on a one-day course with Alison Ospina at her beautiful studio in Skibbereen, or spend three days on something more substantial. You’ll learn everything from selecting your material, stripping the bark, and finally putting it all together. Materials, refreshments and lunch are provided, and class sizes are very small, so you’ll get plenty of attention. One day €195, three days €580. greenwoodchairs.com

Further Afield

Artist and printmaker Liz Nilsson divides her time between Dublin and Beddingestrand on the south coast of Sweden. She describes the village as “her special paradise”, and you can join her there for a creativity and cultural retreat this June, with another retreat planned for September. You’ll go on excursions, work in the studio and outdoors, making patterns and motifs to print on paper and textiles. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or already creating, and you’ll also get to enjoy picnics, meals in, and meals out in local restaurants. Plus there’s yoga and creative writing as part of the deal. €690 including accommodation, food, materials and workshops. Flights additional. 12 – 18 June 2017 liznilsson.com/retreats

Artist and printmaker Liz Nilsson divides her time between Dublin and Beddingestrand on the south coast of Sweden. She describes the village as “her special paradise”, and you can join her there for a creativity and cultural retreat this June, with another retreat planned for September.
Artist and printmaker Liz Nilsson divides her time between Dublin and Beddingestrand on the south coast of Sweden. She describes the village as “her special paradise”, and you can join her there for a creativity and cultural retreat this June, with another retreat planned for September.

Inside Interior Design

Full on interior design courses are naturally more intensive, after all, there’s a great deal to learn. Try it in your own time with the Interior Design Academy of Ireland’s home-study Certificate Course in Interior Design, which includes 5 practical assignments covering the different rooms in the house, plus reading materials, instructional videos and feedback. It costs €450, and takes approximately three months. Classroom-based courses also available, idai.ie.

Meanwhile...

The 10-Week summer Interior Design Skills Course from the Dublin Institute of Design is aimed at people looking to get into the industry, and runs either one full day or two evenings per week and costs €1,095. The next courses start on July 3rd, and there’s an opening evening on Wednesday 21st June so you can see that career change might be on the cards after all… dublindesign.ie

Ooh là là

If you’re feeling très chic, the Paris American Academy runs a summer Interior Design course in, where else? Paris. The application deadline is June 15th, and the course runs July 2 to 28th. Fees are $4,600 (€4,200 approx.), with accommodation extra. Includes visits to inspiring spots, as well as the nitty gritty of visualisation techniques and 3D models. You’ll also look at furnishings, colour, materials and problem solving. Taught in English. Apply with work samples to parisamericanacademy.fr

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