5 small & independent Bristol businesses that run creative courses, craft classes & workshops

Do you enjoy indulging in a little MYI (Make It Yourself) if your spare time? I genuinely believe that there’s no greater pleasure than making something yourself – whether it’s a fruit bowl, Christmas decorations, handbag or bunting (yes these are all classes that I’ve taken!), there’s an immense satisfaction in knowing that you created a piece with your own two hands.


Ok ok, I know what you're thinking....but you create handmade jewellery for a living, of course you'd say that! But honestly, give it a go. As well as hand crafting something awesome, attending a craft workshop, creative class or course is also a brilliant way of spending some low key time with your friends and meeting new people. Make a cushion cover and come away with a whole host of crafty new chums. What’s not to like?!


So if this sounds like your kind of thing and you can't wait to get your craft on then check out my 5 favourite Bristol-based small businesses that run creative classes, courses and crafty workshops.


Above: BAM Store + Space, Easton, Bristol


BAM Store + Space, Belle Vue Road, BS5

Run by the lovely Fran, Easton-based BAM has got it all. A not-for-profit lifestyle store and event space, it sells a range of beautiful homewares, prints, gifts, toys, books and more as well as hosting regular creative classes.


There’s so much to choose from here with kids’ after school sessions including Polymer Clay Necklace Making with local creative Sophie Filomena and Halloween garland making and adults classes such as a Macrame Wall Hanging Workshop with Macrame Emma and Beginners Crochet with Emma from Stitching Me Softly Artist Hannah Broadway also hosts a regular monthly Grown Up Craft Club where you can try a range of craft activities in a relaxed and informal setting. Heaps of fun! For a full list of upcoming events, visit the BAM website.


Bristol Folk House

The original and the best, the Bristol Folk House has been running adult education classes since 1920!!! With its origins dating back even earlier, it provides a community space for those wanting to learn for pleasure.


Based in central Bristol, just off Park Street, the Folk House offers a wealth of opportunities with courses ranging from crochet to lingerie making, photography to burlesque and pottery to line dancing. There are also a huge range of one day workshops, visit www.bristolfolkhouse.co.uk for details of everything that's coming up in the next few months.


Above: Clay Shed, Lawrence Hiill, Bristol


Clay Shed, Lawrence Hill Industrial Estate, BS5

As you may not be surprised to learn, the Clay Shed is a ceramics studio in Lawrence Hill, Bristol. Established in 2018 by four local makers, it provides co-working membership opportunities for potters and ceramic artists.


They also host a range of events for everyone from beginners through to more experienced makers. The class programme for this Autumn (2021) includes multi-week courses, one day throwing and porcelain workshops and masterclasses led by invited guests from the South West and Wales. You can check out all the dates and details via the Clay Shed website.


Chandos Atelier, Chandos Road, BS6

If you’re after some unstructured creative fun then Chandos Atelier has got you covered. Run by Emma who is on a mission to facilitate learning through art, this Redland space offers un-prescriptive, exploratory, art & making experiences to everyone.


After school clubs run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and at the weekend you can book a two hour Art Party for up to 8 children which can be themed around a particular material or activity. There’s also a Friday morning session for adults where you can enjoy some creative exploration with no pressure or expecations, just plenty of materials and expert guidance on hand should you need it! Find out what's on when and book your space HERE


Above: Kiln Workshop, Bishopston, Bristol


Kiln Workshop, North Street, BS6

Kiln Workshop is a pottery painting venue near the lower end of Bristol’s famous indie shopping location Gloucester Road. Run by Lou Ogden and her small and friendly team there’s something for all ages in this warm and inviting space. You can choose from a range of fun pottery blanks that include everything from mugs, bowls, vases and jugs through to ornaments and hanging shapes. Over the past few years it’s been an annual tradition with my kids to come and paint a decoration or two to hang on our long suffering Christmas tree.


If you want to ditch the kids and come with friendly then they’re also open Tuesday and Thursday evenings for late night BYO sessions and can even be booked for hen dos or work parties. Alongside the pottery painting they also host range of crafty workshops that can be booked through their website, including Jewellery Making Classes (with yours truly!), ceramics and a brilliant looking Jesmonite Casting Class where you can make some beautiful terazzo candle sticks with Ella from Sorrel Studio


I hope you've spotted something that looks appealing in that round up. Bristol is such a fantastically creative place that there are always loads of classes and workshops to choose from. If you know of any other venues or courses do get in touch, I'd love to know more!


Elin Horgan is a British jewellery designer & maker of beautifully simple handmade pieces crafted from sustainable materials in her Bristol studio. You can read more about her work and the ethos behind her understated jewellery brand HERE. If you’d like to enquire about a specific product or discuss a bespoke commission please e-mail info@elinhorgan.com

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