5 workshops to try in 2017

:: by Lizzie

It’s been a funny old year, hasn’t it!? Tougher than I had originally anticipated. There’s been a fair amount of picking oneself up, dusting oneself off and starting again. There have been changes to adjust to too. Changes we didn’t choose or ask for. But within that frustration and discomfort there has been inspiration and hope to be found.


The encouraging and reinvigorating things that have happened to me this year have been due to my accepting challenges, saying yes and growing as a result. Scary stuff. I’m learning that scary isn’t so bad as I once thought. I’m still working away on my pattern collection that officially launched in September. There’s so much more to do. Rolls of fabric going missing, a serious flood in Camden Passage (meaning closing SMUG for several days at our busiest time of year), fabric coating changes by the supplier at the last minute (meaning all of the fabrics needing resampling from scratch) and various other upsets to my ‘perfectly planned schedule’ have meant that some of this, my first collection, will launch in 2017.




A year ago, I not only didn’t know how to create a pattern, I considered myself someone who couldn’t even draw. It has been a year of learning. Learning to make marks. Learning to be patient with myself but disciplined all the same. Learning how to find my own illustrative voice/language. Learning new technology and new techniques. Trusting in myself. Giving myself time. To my slight surprise, I found that living in this considered and intentional way was not just beneficial to my development as a designer, but hugely rewarding in all aspects of my life. Health, skin, relationships, happiness, productivity, all strengthened by this methodology of giving myself time to learn.


So, my advice to you for 2017 is to learn a new skill. I think there’s something here for everyone but if the below ideas don’t take your fancy, I hope that this post inspires you to go find your thing. Go try something new, something that excites you, that you’ve previously told yourself you don’t have time for. My experience was not that it gave me less time for other things but that the joy of learning and the act of prioritising this new skill for myself, created a equilibrium in my life. A place that, after the whirlwind of Christmas, I am very much looking forward to getting back to in 2017.




1.  L O N D O N  T E R R A R I U M S   :

Who hasn’t been loving plants in 2016 I ask you!? Everything’s been plants plants plants and we’ve been all the better for it in my opinion. Even if you’re not the most green fingered, learning the skill of making a Terrarium with Emma of London Terrariums is a truly lovely way to spend an afternoon. You will learn how a terrarium works, how these self-contained ecosystems survive so well on their own, how to create your own and how to take care of it. 

Find out more here.





2.  B R U S H  L E T T E R I N G  :

Now this is my absolute new favourite thing. I took this class in the mad run-up to Christmas when I was so busy that I forgot I was even signed up to take part. Luckily the lovely Teri or The Lovely Drawer as you may know her, reminded me just in time and it ended up being exactly what I needed. So therapeutic and actually pretty addictive. I am really excited to get good and start using my own style of brush lettering on my Lizzie for SMUG cards and other products in my collection.

Find out more here.





3.  S P O O N  C A R V I N G  :

After something a little more earthy? Max of Forest + Found will teach you the skills you need to carve your very own spoon from a chunk of wood. The process is both messy and beautiful. A good amount of hand eye coordination is necessary if you don’t want to leave with too many plasters on your hands. Hard work but very rewarding.

Find out more here.





4.  W E A V I N G  :

Wanting to go even bigger? Then the Bezalel Weaving Workshop could be the one for you. It’s a 4 hour class designed to give you a thorough and intensive grounding in tapestry weaving. You’ll learn foundational weaving skills, such as shape-building, colour blending and structure. I absolutely loved it and got really quite excited about the endless possibilities open to you once you’ve gotten the hang of things. A really lovely class covering advanced techniques too such as pick-and-pick, soumak and rya knotting. The aim of the class is to not only cover a wide range of styles but also to encourage you to develop your own distinctive voice as a weaver which is a really lovely angle. I’d highly recommend.

Find out more here.





5.  O R I G A M I  :

A classic and time honoured option when it comes to creative skills to learn and master. Esther of Origami Est is a brilliant teacher who is as passionate about sourcing stunning papers to work with, as she is about teaching this beautiful and versatile craft.

Find out more here.