From concrete planters to spoon carving; how craft workshops have turned Leeds macrame barmy.
It seems that more than ever, we are looking for alternative ways to keep busy. Perhaps it’s rising drinks prices, an effort to recycle materials, or an escapism from our digitally driven lives. Maybe we are just darn bored. But if you are, it’s likely there’s a place nearby that’ll show you how to grab a needle and thread, patch up those socks and make do and mend.
Open Source Arts
A short hop from town, Open source Arts is a mecca for all things creative. October was their month of making with the chance to explore the world of sci-fi and fantasy through their Pen Wizardry Illustration workshop, release your inner Irene Cara welding scrap sculptures, or throw it back to school DT with a three week woodwork course. If you’ve got a project on the go, but just need a bit of support to pull it off, their Open Workshop on Wednesday evenings is a drop in session where you can use their range of tools and studio space, under the watchful eye of artists and makers full of handy hints and advice. Forget Ikea, you’ll be knocking together your own shelving in no time.
1A, Aire Place Mills, Kirkstall Rd, Leeds LS3 1JL opensourcearts.co.uk
Bowery has been a go-to for the students and locals of Headingley for some time now, their popular Drink & Draw workshop filling up every Friday night with those looking to let off steam after a hectic week. The informal setting above the cafe, is the perfect place to have a go at producing a piece of artwork; there’s a chilled soundtrack, and all materials are provided - all you need to do is rock up with your favourite bottle and let those creative juices flow. Check out the event listing on their website (below) for some more unusual courses as well. Little hands will enjoy the regular Sunday sessions from ages eight and upwards.
54 Otley Rd, Leeds LS6 2AL thebowery.org
New to Headlingley, this beautiful light cafe is a hangout and haberdashery for all sewers and embroiderers, kitted up with everything you need to design gifts for loved ones, your home, or simply yourself. With Janome machines and overlockers available to use at just £5 an hour, you can stitch away with likeminded dressmakers and hobbyists, fuelled by coffee from Hull’s James The Blending Room and Porterhouse Cake Co treats. If you’d rather tailor from the comfort of your own armchair, Workshop have an online store where you can get a range of gorgeous fabrics, needles and notebooks. With more crafty classes being added to their timetable, this is a space to watch for all your aesthetic inspirational needs.
24 Otley Road, LS6 2AD helloworkshop.co.uk
On Potternewton Lane up in Chapeltown, Inkwell Arts offer a weekly programme of classes if you are looking for a bit of calm creation. Specialising in the link between arts, crafts and mental health, Inkwell work with Leeds Mind to hold referral classes for service users, aimed at exploring confidence and self-expression. There are plenty of open workshops and courses too, from monthly abstract painting and jewellery making classes, to felting and sewing group. There’s also a lineup of more performance based arts; jazz choir and African drumming, if you prefer things a little louder
31 Potternewton Ln, Leeds LS7 3LW inkwellarts.org.uk
This cute gift shop is the place to be if you’re after a twinkly little craft session as Winter sets in. They often team up with Done Up North, who up-cycle vintage furniture with colourful contemporary graphic designs. Coming up, they’ve got clay coaster making, doodle masterclasses, and (if you can bare to think about it) Christmas fabric wreath workshops. Stocking a whole range of cards, paints, woven baskets and plant pots, you can pop in Tuesday to Friday if you’ve forgotten any bits and bobs for your latest masterpiece.
148 Harrogate Rd, Leeds LS7 4NZ chirpystore.co.uk
Looking for a city centre art hub? Fabrication on Edward Street have creative studios to rent, alongside a roster of classes, including leather work, bookbinding and photography. Swarthmore Education Centre near the University offers everything from pottery to pom-pom courses, and the central Art Library’s Drawing Room is a free to use well equipped spot overlooking Victoria Gardens. A number of cafes too have jumped on the craft-wagon and are hosting workshops perfect for a cuppa and a de-stress. Check out what's on via social media, then get off your phone, get inspired, and put your thumbs to good use.