How’s your summer holiday going? Getting plenty of time to relax and chill out, or is it just as crazy as usual? We hope you’ve managed to get some time for a bit of sewing or crafting, as there’s nothing better than having a quiet moment by yourself or in a group to feel inspired and get creative when you need a break. Despite having loads of projects lined and ready to go, (and several uncompleted ones shoved to the back of the cupboard – shhh) we still like to seek out new and exciting inspirational things to get us thinking. If you are feeling in need of a little crafty inspiration or feel like heading out and about this summer, we have put together a list of workshops, exhibitions, fairs and courses in and around Ashford that will get your creative juices fizzing with excitement. So check out the links below and be prepared to get your craft on:
Taking place on Tuesday evenings from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, the lovely Melissa from Aye Aye, along with several other crafty types, will take you through a workshop involving various different disciplines all on a theme – currently everyone is working on a collaborative project based around the idea of Water. Whether you have never attempted any kind of craft before or are a real magnet for any kind of creativity, this is a fun and friendly workshop session that will have you getting to grips with new crafts and exploring old skills in equal measure. Melissa says, “We skill share, so we all help each other develop in different areas. The idea is that everyone has some talent and we pass that on to each other through projects, so we help each other as a group and explore together.” Located above Caffe Nero, the Craft Club is free to attend.
The CCE is a great place for crafters – full of local artists’ wares and inspirational people. If you are a crafty type or want to be one, this is the place to come to learn new skills or find out how to set up your own business. Combining networking and hot-desking with art and crafts workshops, the CCE truly brings together the creative and the corporate in the best way possible. New courses start up again in September, with a porcelain jewellery making course kicking off the new season on Saturday 20th.
Speaking of ceramics, Kippy’s is one of Ashford’s best kept secrets when it comes to drop in crafts. If you fancy decorating plates, cups, piggy banks or a variety of other pottery goodies, you can pop in and have a go, and then wait a couple of days for your item to get its turn in the kiln. Once it’s out and glazed, it’s yours to collect. An easy and simple craft for anyone with any arty skill or even none at all, its something you can do with the kids too. Prices start from pocket money level (£6.00) and go up according to the size and complexity of the original ceramic design, meaning it won’t break the bank as holiday entertainment.
Curated by the historical fiction novelist Tracey Chevalier, this exhibition of quilting takes place at the gorgeous Georgian mansion that is Danson House in Bexleyheath. Running until the end of October this year, this show makes for a fascinating day out for anyone with a passion for sewing. Find inspiration in quilts new and old, and see what kind of bed quilt your grandmother would have made for friend’s wedding or for a new baby. Ranging from huge celebratory pieces from the 1700s up to present day artworks by the likes of Turner prize winner Grayson Perry, this show is a must see for anyone who is thinking about venturing into the world of quilting but needs a bit of a shove in the right direction. Entrance to the exhibition is free alongside a ticket to Danson House – £8.00 for adults, £6.00 for children.
Taking place this weekend, 16th – 17th August, Alexandra Park hosts the annual Hasting Town and Country Show. Giving you the chance to make your own arts and crafts, as well as buy things from local makers, you can also indulge yourself with delicious locally produced food and specialties from farms in the area. All this plus birds of prey and working dogs shows, and plenty of other farm inspired entertainment, so there is loads to get interested in on both days of the show. Tickets are £5.00 for grownups and £2.00 for children.
And if all that wasn’t enough inspiration for you, there are vast amounts of craft courses taking place throughout the year at various locations around Ashford. Pottery, lacemaking, silversmithing, bakery, woodwork and metalwork, upholstery and embroidery are just some of the subjects you can tackle on these courses. Lasting either a few weekends or an entire year, you can learn fantastic skills that will develop your own crafty knowledge and could even lead to you thinking about a new career – how much more inspirational can you get? Day and weekend courses run throughout the year, and new termly courses start up in September. Prices start from around £15.00 for a one off session.
Emporia Market is back! Yes, the market is finally coming back to Ashford and bringing with it all the crafty and vintage loveliness that you have come to expect. Taking place over the weekend of Friday 19th and Saturday 20th September 2014, the market will be crammed full of all kinds of delicious crafts from the usual suspects, including Lil’ Tea Tank, Aye Aye, Richardson and Richardson, plus loads more. Come and find us in Park Mall and give us a big old hug – we’ve missed you!