Throughout the pandemic, many arts institutions and makers did a sterling job of hosting online workshops for audiences to enjoy at home. As with most events, however, digital classes can’t compare to the dynamic of an in-person experience. These arguably enjoy a greater sense of camaraderie, plus benefits you simply can’t get via a computer screen: hands-on help if you get stuck, the use of specialist tools and materials and the chance to visit somewhere new to name but three.
Some larger institutions have yet to restart classes but, thanks to the lifting of restrictions, a diverse array of makers and venues have resumed in-person workshops once again…and it’s these that this guide celebrates. Spanning a huge variety of visual and textile arts across the North, all are known for the quality of their content – taught by experienced creatives from the area – and most have inextricable heritage links, whether through special venues steeped in local history or the teaching of traditional crafts.
Discover trades that go back centuries, from blacksmithing at an old industrial hamlet in the ‘steel city’ of Sheffield to stone carving in the West Riding of Yorkshire and embroidery with BBC expert Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle’s infamous Witches Tower. Or combine learning a new skill with some of the North’s most distinctive locations, from Quirky Workshops in the Penrith countryside (complete with two-course Aga lunch and home-baked goodies) to Newcastle Arts Centre, close to the Roman landmark of Hadrian’s Wall.
Elsewhere have a go at glass making in Sunderland’s National Glass Centre, learn to linocut in an old Victorian school with the West Yorkshire Print Workshop or uncover the secrets of graffiti at Liverpool’s Zap Graffiti. You’ll also find candle making at Cheshire Workshops on the Sandstone Trail, pottery at Earth Pig Studio in Buxton’s esteemed Green Man Gallery, ‘yarnbombing’ at Blackpool’s Upside Coffee and much more besides.
All events adhere to covid guidelines, please see booking links for further details
Here are our picks