The Ten Best Places to Get Crafty in Melbourne
Express yourself through crochet, taxidermy and balloon art.
Sometimes our creative souls need a little encouragement. As children being arty was as easy as drawing on the walls with crayon or making mud pies for the neighbours. But in adulthood we need a way get involved with crafts that won't get us evicted.
That's when it pays to look to this list of ten great arts and crafts classes in Melbourne. Come with us and try your hand at splattering paint Pollock-style, creating crocheted blankets to give your gran a run for her money or perhaps even learning how to stuff a dead animal.
Located in the busy hub of Hawthorn, this gem follows the mantra that "creativity is contagious". But it is also damn trendy, with short evening courses ranging from terrarium-making to memoir-writing, fascinator creation, indie photography and even marshmallow-making. Prices range from $15 – $30, so perfect for those who want to dip their toes in but not sure whether they're ready to commit and settle down with craft just yet.
Community Arts Space, Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorn. Artwork by Klara.
Think life drawing is only for experts in photorealism? Think again. Every Tuesday and Wednesday night a large group of art enthusiasts gather at the hidden gallery in QV to sketch the human form in a laidback, untutored environment. All art materials and supplies are included in the class fee of $12 (cash only), with artists’ drinks of choice (cheap red wine and ALDI beer) available for purchase. Arrive early to avoid disappointment; these drop-in classes fill up quickly.
Tuesday and Wednesday, doors open at 6.30pm, class runs from 7pm – 9pm. 34–40 Jane Bell Lane, Melbourne.
Whether you’re a well-seasoned seamstress or an all-thumbs newbie, Thread Den offers small classes and courses to cater for all in a friendly, lounge-style studio teaching vintage glamour, sewing classes, dressmaking and how to sew up those pesky hems. Thread Den offers one-off workshops as well as longer courses, with prices ranging from $48–$200. There’s no need to BYO sewing machine, but some additional materials are required. Sewing machines are also available for general use for $10 per hour.
3d/26 Wellington Street, Collingwood, 03 9486 9821.
Holding classes in bars, cafes and pubs in the craftiest suburbs in Melbourne (Brunswick, City, Northcote and St Kilda), this creative organisation is leading the way with cheap and interesting classes, costing just $14 a pop. Laneway Learning has no fixed classes but regularly covers the classics — embroidery, jewellery-making and cross-stitch — as well as going off the beaten path with mindfulness, Spanish and card-tricks. Other classes of theirs aren’t even A Thing yet. Think balloon art and shower-singing.
Being crafty is not always about the end product; it can be about slowing down and enjoying the moment as well as learning some new skills in sustainability and becoming more environmentally conscious. Put Your Heart Into It runs evening and weekend workshops focusing on organics and gardening, eco-focused photography, styling and wellbeing classes geared for beginners and creative businesses. Classes cost $55–$125 and are taught by an expert in the field.
Big Bang Studios, 1/177 Beavers Road, Northcote.
Science class dissection lovers unite in this intensive workshop focused on the rare art of taxidermy. Attendees are taught to stare death in the face and stuff it, by embracing the step-by-step process from skinning to preserving and standing a specimen over a 10-hour period. At the end of the day you get to take home your own self-stuffed mouse, perfect for your mum’s birthday gift. The course will set you back $500, but get in quick because these classes book out sooner than you might think.
1B Westfield Street, Northcote, 0487 933 828. Photo by Grande Dame Productions.
Who said knitting is just for little old ladies? Classie offers pub crochet and knitting classes for beginners. It's the perfect combination of creating, socialising and drinking. These three-hour classes cost $39 and include all the materials to get you started — chief among them, your ball of yarn. Classes are small, making it easy to get help from the teacher, and run on weeknights and weekends.
Most of us know that the love of cheap textiles is detrimental to the planet and contributing to landfill. One way to help reduce our carbon footprint is to reunite with traditional crafts and learn how to make our own clothing. The Handmaker’s Factory offers eco workshops in screenprinting, mending and natural dyeing. Workshops range from $22–$165.
Level 2, Suite 206, 10 Elizabeth Street, Kensington
Demi Moore and Patrict Swayze and that pottery wheel. Need I say more? Re-enact the famous scene at Northcote Pottery Supplies’ ‘Try the Wheel’ class and impress your friends with lopsided tea mugs. There are also porcelain bead classes and workshops on creating the human form through sculpture. Classes range from one-day workshops to over six weeks and cost $50–$140.
142–144 Weston Street, Brunswick East, (03) 9387 3911.
Cake, coffee and craft. The perfect three combo of three c's and a perfect way to spend an afternoon in a hybrid cafe/art classroom. Relive your childhood curiosity by playing with playdough, painting or pasting things for only $10. Lose yourself in your own world without teachers and lessons telling you to colour within the lines. It’s a kid-friendly environment, so feel free to bring any sprogs along. Or not.
718 Sydney Road, Brunswick, 03 9995 2861; and 531 Nicholson St, Carlton North, 03 9077 6998.
Top image: Dollar Photo Club.
Published on September 21, 2015 by Shannon McKeogh