Swanky West London has a surplus of classes on how to create your own clothes, furniture, glassware, jewellry and pottery. So, step away from the highstreet shops by being a bit more creative and self-sufficient. We’ve chosen 10 of our favourite design classes and workshops from Chelsea to Chiswick.
Ceramics Sculpture Studio
Making pottery in a ceramics class | Courtesy of Ceramics Sculpture Studio
If making clay bowls and vases is your thing, then take a class run by Ceramics Sculpture Studio. Founded by ceramic artist Cosmin Ciofirdel in 2015, the studio offers a range of classes for beginners – like taster sessions (£35) and a five-week crash course (£280) – through to professional artists. You’ll learn all about the art of hand-building clay, including pinching and molding techniques, as well as throwing pottery on a wheel, glazing and firing. Classes must be booked in advance and are run in small groups (between 4-8 people), so you’ll be well-looked after.
Make some prints to decorate your flat at London Print Studio. The artist-run, not-for-profit organisation has being going since 1974 and offers courses at beginner and intermediate levels. Currently available is a two-day course in screen printing (£182), where you’ll create (and get to take home) two prints using different techniques. There are also two-day courses from £182 in etching (a less work-heavy alternative to engraving); letterpress (where a printing press is used to produce an inked, raised impression on paper); and one-to-one tutorials in digital illustration. The studio has worked with some pretty interesting people in the past, too – like the Sex Pistols, painter Lucian Freud and social campaigners.
Chelsea College of Arts BA Interior and Spatial Design student Karen Von Esse's graduate show
This college, part of the University of the Arts London, has plenty of short courses for those keen to draw out their artistic side. There are classes in painting (including abstract, landscape and portrait styles); sustainable architecture; garden design; fine art (combining a variety of techniques like drawing, sculpture and collage); and textile printing. Prices range from about £215 upwards. Anyone who is more serious about a career in the world of pencils and paintbrushes should also check out the college’s degrees and diplomas in art and design.
Learning about interior design | Courtesy of KLC School of Design
For those who want to dip their arty toes into interior or garden design, pop down to KCL School of Design. The body runs a number of short classes from £185 – on offer right now are an introduction to kitchen design, how to style your home in preparation for rent or sale and a course on the basic principles of garden design. Or, if you want a complete career change, the school also offers diplomas and a degree in interior design.
Paintbox Studios was formed by a group of artists from different cultures and even offers art courses in French. The body provides a two-hour taster session in painting or drawing (£65), with six students per tutor. You can also enroll in longer five- to 10-session courses in these disciplines. Check out the life drawing classes, starting from a very reasonable price of £18, too.
Be more sustainable by learning how to make your own clothes and accessories. Saturday Sewing Session gives lessons to beginners for stitching your own laundry carrier (£45), makeup bag (£50), and pyjama set (£120). Those with basic skills can opt for classes in sewing underwear (£50), skirts (£105) and dresses (£115). You need to bring along your own fabric, but all other equipment is provided.
Pottery from a class at Kite Studios | Courtesy of Kite Studios
Kite Studios has lots of good workshops to get your imagination whirring – including sewing, textiles and printmaking. The social enterprise specialises in pottery – and works with BBC Great British Pottery Throwdownfinalist – providing one-off introductory sessions (from £25) to 12-week courses (£275). Better still, it’s registered as a Community Interest Company (which means it wants to use profits for public good), and does a lot of work with local schools to create large outdoor murals.
Design your own chic glasses, necklaces and bowls – Kensington Chelsea College offers classes in glassmaking, jewellery and ceramics. There are taster courses (starting from about £30) through to four- to ten-week workshops (ranging from £76 to £225 respectively). You can also take sessions in interior design, including how to make your home snazzy and stylish (£76).
Trousers made at a Little Hands Design sewing class | Courtesy of Little Hands Design
From £18, fashion your own patterned wide-leg trousers, lace or plain tops using Ted Baker suit materials and cushions (even heart-shaped pillows for Valentine’s Day). There is also a more comprehensive course in dressmaking and tailoring, over five (£100) or ten weeks (£150). Sessions are suitable for adults and children, and most include materials.
Sign up for the next ‘Inspiration Day’ (£150) on 3 February at The Interior Design School, and get a cracking overview of the process of design thinking. The school also provides a more intense one-week summer course (July 9–13, £750), with lectures on the various elements of interior design such as colour, lighting, materials and furniture.