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Craft Workshop Weekender

Posted on November 27 2018

‘Tis the season to get thrifty! As a top supporter of all things sustainable, we’ve collaborated with Birdsong and Oh Comely magazine to bring you some fun and festive workshops this December. From creating your own print to cute Christmas pom-poms to snug Winter slippers, get your hands busy making something unique for yourself or as a gift to a loved one.

We spoke to the fabulous makers behind our upcoming events to learn a little about their creative processes and why they work ethically, read all about it below.

Joanna at Juta Shoes

11-2pm Saturday 1st December

£60 a ticket

How did you get into your craft?

We started Juta Shoes two years ago in response to a need we saw in our local community. There are so many women in East London with amazingly creative and craft skills, who are skilled and passionate and want to earn money making and teaching but face multiple barriers to work. We wanted to create a company that provided supported, flexible, creative work at the London Living Wage for our community.

Tell us about your special crafting workshop for our pop up!

We're running one of our famous shoemaking workshops, but with a special festive twist! We'll be bringing along our stock of upcycled vegan faux fur - in white, red, purple and blue! - as well as our reclaimed leather. People can choose whether to make our classic shoes, our winter slippers, or the peep-toe slides we have stocked in the pop-up! Our experienced teachers graduated from our employability scheme, will show you everything you need to know to hand-make your own brand new pair of shoes.

What inspires you to try and work more sustainably?

Like Birdsong, we think it doesn't make sense to try to have a positive social impact without a positive environmental impact - they're the same thing in the end! We love using reclaimed leather and vegan materials for our shoes because we think it has more of a story than new materials, and it means we create limited edition and totally unique collections. More seriously, we know we need to have less of an impact on the world if we want to keep living on it, and we think that finding creative, fun ways of doing it together will get us there faster.

What are your personal top sustainable tips for the festive season?

We always suggest making your own presents if you can! Even if you don't consider yourself creative, there's always something you can learn to put together online or find someone who can show you how to make something new. It's also definitely no longer a faux-pas to regift something you already own that you think a friend or family member would love more! We also love charity shops (our studio is above the amazing Ayoka) which can be perfect places to find unique gifts. If you do want to buy new things, we always suggest scoping out your local social enterprises or independent shops.

Rosy Nicholas

1.30-3pm Sunday 2nd December

£10 a ticket

How did you get into your craft?

I had a crafty mum who made our clothes, knitted, baked etc. so I was brought up in a crafty house and encouraged to draw or make things with clay when I was bored. I think that stayed with me as I grew up and then I went to art school so I've always made things with my hands, I was never very good at anything else. Being born in the '80s meant I had an appreciation for big outfits, jewellery, costumes, shoulder pads so I've kind of combined that aesthetic and being naturally crafty into my job!

Tell us about your special crafting workshop for our pop up!

I'm pretty dedicated to glitter and sparkly things all year round but obviously, Christmas is a time when most people really like to up the sequin factor in their wardrobes. This workshop is perfect for anyone who wants to make something really big and sparkly to wear for the festive season knowing that the materials are being recycled and reused. Guilt-free jewellery that will be completely unique to you, with guaranteed compliments when you reach for another party sausage at the Christmas drinks.

What inspires you to try and work more sustainably?

Being a freelance artist I've never had a lot of money so making my own things and buying second-hand clothes to jazz up myself has always been a much more affordable way to get to wear something original. We are surrounded by so much waste every day and I'm also big time hoarder, so it’s very natural for me to see a lot of potential in my recycling bin at home and keep things ready to reuse at another time. Good for the planet and I get to enjoy wearing the results!

What are your personal top sustainable tips for the festive season?

I made a headpiece for a friend by reusing all the gold packaging from a box of Ferrero Rocher once, it was fantastic, and I got to eat them first. There are so much foil and glittery packaging at Xmas that is perfect to recreate something else with. So when the tin of chocolates is going around the office, start collecting those wrappers and before you know it you've got a new pair of earrings.

Gabriella Marsh & Maya Avocado

2-5pm Saturday 1st December

£35 a ticket

How did you get into your craft?

Gabi: I'm an animator. I love drawing and making images to tell the stories that words alone can’t communicate. I’d been exploring with stop-motion on 2D surfaces and people seemed to really like the images themselves, so now I’m exploring with textiles. I want to make tangible things that people want to keep for a long time.
Maya: I have always loved making things. I studied product and furniture design and now run Power Project, a DIY and making programme in metal and woodwork for women and non-binary people. We aim to strengthen gender equality in the industry by skills sharing. Passionate about inclusive design and having always loved making clothes, I've recently set up an inclusive fashion project researching and prototyping with people with a range of disabilities to explore how we dress and shop.
Part of our practice has always involved workshop and sharing, it’s great to get others excited!

Tell us about your special crafting workshop for our pop up!

We invite you to our printing workshop where you will customise and block stamp your own sustainable top. Choosing from a range of styles you will sew your own straps to fit before selecting which stamps and colours you want to print with. All materials are included as well as a glass of punch to sip whilst your bespoke top dries.

What inspires you to try and work more sustainably?

The UN's warning that we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe.
We’ve known Sophie, Sarah and Susanna at Birdsong for a long time and they have been such an inspiration for us to trace back where our clothes come from and who made them.
When we were younger buying a top for £2 felt like a win, but now when we see those price tags it makes you question 'who has suffered in the process?'

What are your personal top sustainable tips for the festival season?

1.  Buy less to zero presents

2.  If you are buying, buy consciously in regards to what your gift is made of, the conditions in which it was made, and how far it's travelled!

3. Don’t buy wrapping paper, use newspaper or brown packaging paper.

4. Send e-cards where possible.

5. Buy local, why not support a local Xmas market - like the fabulous Birdsong market at Beyond Retro! 

Jordan @ SALT textiles

11-2 pm Sunday 2nd December

£15 a ticket

How did you get into your craft?

I guess it's been passed down the mother-line, my grandmother has a background in textiles and I've always admired her, it's a true cliche.

I'm also a very tactile person and have long been interested in texture and colour, this has translated into textiles and has always been the focal point of my work. When researching I'm always drawn to craft, there is so much history and depth hidden in every day, from clothes to ceramics, etc. All overlooked sculptural yet functional objects.

Tell us about your special crafting workshop for our pop up!

The workshop is an introduction into natural dyes, which I love working with for their gentle but alluring colours. I'll be teaching a technique called 'bundle dyeing' - which involves manipulating the dye matter and fabric to create unique patterns. (It's much easier than I've made it sound.)

At the end of the workshop, you'll have a piece of cloth to take home, which I'll teach you how to wrap gifts in, as well as a mind full of new knowledge about fabric and plant dyes.

What inspires you to try and work more sustainably?

Being conscious and respectful towards the environment is rooted in SALT. We live in a fast consuming culture that is only just beginning to recognise the damage done. I hope that SALT can inspire people to seek alternatives that are beautiful and functional, we all deserve to enjoy our possessions, they just don't need to come with such a heavy cost.

What are your personal top sustainable tips for the festive season?

1. Buy food and gifts locally, supporting small business, makers and designers. I can assure you that eating fresh minces pies whilst walking around a market is very pleasurable!

2. Find an alternative to wrapping presents in single-use paper; there is a beautiful Japanese cloth wrapping technique called Furoshiki.  

3. It is tempting to buy new things purely for the season (Novelty, I'm looking at you). Try to be conscious of whether it's an impulse or something you're going to love and use for years to come.

Katie Jones Tree Decorations

3-4.30pm or 4.30-6pm Sunday 2nd December

£10 a ticket 

How did you get into your craft?
From my family, my mum and my gran were super crafty! I really love that it was my mum that got me into craft and now I run my business and get to share this creative career with her!

Tell us about your special crafting workshop for our pop up!

We will be making super fun festive pompoms!! Making tree decorations or festive pompom crowns! To get you into that fun fuzzy festive feeling!

What inspires you to try and work more sustainably?

Because I think why would you not!? I wànt to make things that create a positive impact! I think I want to spread joy through what I make and that's not just about the final outcome.

What are your personal top sustainable tips for the festive season?

Make it Yourself! Make your presents, dedicate some time and a bit of creativity to your loved ones, as that's priceless!

Discover more at the Birdsong pop-up store in our Dalston store from Wednesday 29th November - Sunday 9th December and find more incredible events here!