THE JOY OF CRAFT

Taking a look at a new TV series which is a joyful celebration of all things handmade, plus I explain how you can discover your creative side with me in an inspiring environment.

“It’s lovely to create something that’s a bit of you.”

“This forces you to slow down. I have no sense of time.”

“I feel like a kid again.”

“It would really give me some me-time.”

If you’ve been watching the fantastic BBC Four series MAKE! Craft Britain, you may have heard the show’s participants uttering the words above. The programme follows members of the public as they attend workshops to learn a range of new-to-them crafts, from rag rugging to letterpress. It’s a wonderful watch.

The first episode of the series featured hushed voices, satisfied smiles and enthusiastic noises as the workshop attendees turned their hands to time-old traditional craft skills, while artists working in embroidery and paperart showcased their work and explained why they loved it so much. “Even a single sheet of paper can be made into something quite beautiful,” explained one origami addict.

That’s something you’ll discover on my papercutting workshops, when you learn basic cutting techniques with a scalpel before moving on to choose from a wide range of pre-designed templates (or you can design your own). The goal of my workshops is that you’ll leave feeling like the MAKE! Craft Britain participants – having learned something new, challenged yourself and made a beautiful piece of art.

GIVE YOURSELF SPACE

In our busy modern lives, it’s easy to get caught up in busy-ness. I don’t know about you, but as an adult I’m endlessly rushing around to get jobs done, I often put my own needs at the bottom of the pile while I make sure everyone else is happy, and my head is a constant flurry of important dates to remember, school events, play dates and to-do lists – that’s before I even get started on my work!

And those are just some of the reasons I love teaching workshops. Like the participants in the MAKE! Craft Britain workshops, I adore the me-time that my craft brings me, I love slowing down to create something beautiful from paper, and I love putting my heart and soul into what I do. Workshops give me the chance to share that passion, while helping others enjoy the benefits papercutting can bring – relaxation, quality time spent learning something new, challenging yourself with something creative you’ve never attempted before, and learning a skill you can enjoy for life and apply to lots of different things; whether it’s creating a handmade card for a loved one or making a personalised papercut wedding gift for your best friend.

Teaching at Swallows & Artisans

Teaching at Swallows & Artisans

WHY COME TO ONE OF MY WORKSHOPS?

So what sorts of things happen on a Beginner’s Papercutting Workshop with Holmes-made Papercuts? First up, we meet each other, share a brew and have a mingle to get to know one another. My workshop groups are always very small so that I can give you dedicated one to one time while I teach. It’s all very relaxed and laid-back; you can be as chatty or as quiet as you like – there’s no pressure (although it’s very likely you’ll make some new friends on my workshops!). Next up I go over what we’ll be covering during the session, which varies depending upon how many hours we have, but will always involve learning how to use a scalpel safely and accurately, trying out colour infills, developing an understanding of how to design your own papercuts (even without much artistic skill – perfect if you want to be able to translate your new knowledge into making gifts or cards for others!), and choosing from a range of pre-designed templates to cut, so that you leave the workshop with at least one completed papercut ready to gift or keep for yourself. If you prefer, you can design your own piece to cut – I’ll help you with this. There’s also the opportunity to purchase tools, a mat and more templates for a small fee, and I even offer framing if you’d like to take home your completed piece ready to display!

If this all sounds a bit beyond your skill level, please don’t worry. Everyone who comes on my Beginner’s Workshops is an absolute beginner (or at least has very limited experience), and I’m always astounded by how well participants do under my guidance. Within a few hours of practice, you can create smooth lines, steady cuts and beautiful works of art using my templates, or I can advise you on how you can design your own! After the workshop, you can use these skills again if you wish; either by downloading and printing more of my templates, or by creating your own designs for invitations, cards, unique art work or gifts. Papercuts make wonderful gifts for birthdays, weddings, Christenings or Christmas, and if you decide to continue your newfound skills after your workshop experience, I’m always on hand with advice via email should you need it!

YOUR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE

I’m really keen to teach at venues which reflect the vibe I want my workshops to have. It’s important to me that I teach in relaxing locations, like at Swallows & Artisans in the Lake District, or ArtisOn in the Yorkshire Dales. In these places, the stunning surroundings help to inspire creativity (the views across Coniston Water from the workshop at Swallows & Artisans are just breathtaking). These venues bring a touch of luxury for my attendees, with shelves filled with artisan makes and comfy areas in which to relax when we’re not busy learning. I also want to ensure that the venues where I teach help my attendees to feel looked after and nurtured – from warm, comfortable surroundings to a healthy, wholesome lunch.

I like people to leave my workshops feeling refreshed and inspired, and that they’ve had a great day which has been good value for money. The feedback I’ve received over the years certainly reflects this, and it’s why I continue to teach papercutting workshops to keen attendees – I just love sharing my expertise and passing my passion on!

If you fancy joining me at my next workshop, it’s taking place at Swallows & Artisans in Coniston, in the beautiful Lake District, on Saturday April the 14th. There are a limited number of tickets, and you can get yours here! Swallows & Artisans is a gorgeous purpose-built workshop space with sweeping views over the shores and fells around Coniston Water. There’s a really delicious hot lunch provided, and all the cake you can eat (it’s not a Holmes-made workshop if there’s no cake!). Tickets for the day are priced at just £75 for six hours of indulgent relaxation learning a wonderful new skill, along with all materials and tools, plus lunch and refreshments included. You’ll have the chance to take home your tools and more templates, and to have your piece framed up too if you like (small charges apply).

INSPIRATION ON TAP

Swallows & Artisans is right next door to Lanehead, the historic home of artist William G Collingwood, where Arthur Ransome taught William’s grandchildren to sail in Swallow II. This provided the inspiration for the book Swallows & Amazons – hence the workshop venue name! Lanehead is a beautiful period property, tucked away off the beaten track, and steeped in history with luxurious accommodation. If you like, you can book to spend two or three nights here when you book in for my workshop – why not make the most of your time in the Lakes? You could even book on to The Creative Nib’s Modern Calligraphy workshop, which is taking place at Swallows & Artisans the day after my workshop, for a weekend full of creativity and learning. You can find out more about accommodation options here or alternatively (if you need any more persuading) just look at this stunning bedroom view! Fancy waking up to that…

Lanehead, Coniston – bedroom view

The view from one of Lanehead’s bedrooms. Nice!

I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be teaching later this year at The Artisan Hub, a new venue between Stafford and Wolverhampton. The workshop will be on a weekend – we are still firming up dates, but the summer months are looking most likely. The best way to stay up-to-date on this event (and all of my events!) is to sign up to my mailing list here, where you’ll receive a newsletter about once a month letting you know about forthcoming events, new products and other Holmes-made goodness.

As always, if you have any questions about my workshops or my work, use the contact form on this website to get in touch, and I’ll get back to you soon!

The next episodes of MAKE! Craft Britain are on at 9pm on BBC Four on 28th of March and 4th of April. Make sure you tune in to watch more crafts being covered, including jewellery making, cross stitch, mosaic making and knitting. It’s definitely worth a watch!