In recent years there's been a definite surge in crafting in London. The Make Lounge filled the void for short workshops in contemporary crafts with an indie twist and was swiftly followed by the Papered Parlour and others. Whether it's cupcake decorating or crocheted arigumi classes you're after, it’s available.
So what comes next, when you've sewed your recycled tote bags, knitted the tea cosy and made fascinators to match every wedding outfit? If you fancy something more whimsical, try The Making Space in east London. Run by Simon Aronson, a RADA-trained prop maker, you can try your hand at creating chain mail - for jewellery or armour, apparently - making a wooden cane with a bespoke topper, or book-hollowing.
For Halloween, they’re offering their two day mask-making workshop this weekend. Dental alginate is painted on the face - over carefully vaselined eyelashes and eyebrows - and covered with strips of plaster to create a solid cast. Once carefully peeled off, this forms the mould for a plaster of Paris model - a precise replica of your face on which to sculpt your perfectly fitting papier mâché custom mask. The mask dries overnight after the first day, and you return on Sunday to cut, fill, sand and paint your creation.
Also catering for corporate events and hen or stag days, the Making Space’s atmosphere is noticeably less female than other London venues - this is a professional workshop and the class list means that it’s likely to appeal to men as much as to women. Aronson is keen to show participants how to use industry techniques to achieve the look they want. It’s within walking distance of Brick Lane and Columbia Road to grab something to eat during breaks. Welcome to extreme craft in London.
By Gail Haslam