One of the things that has been great to see now we have come through the worst of the Covid pandemic, has been companies continuing with the online activities they launched during the lockdowns. Hobbycraft now offer a wide range of workshops online and in-store through the year, and I recently took part in an online lino printing workshop, so I thought I'd blog a bit more about what's on offer and the workshop I took part in.
What workshops are on offer?
These vary through the year, and can involve seasonal, adults, and kid's workshops in-store and online. If you click on the workshops you are interested in finding out more about, you can find out about what's included in the price, what you'll learn, and the available workshop dates, there's also the opportunity to request private events for groups.
While I'm writing this, there are workshops on Cricut, watercolour painting, knitting, paint pouring, seasonal wreath making, using clay, sewing, and a new section called Hobbycraft + with seminars aimed at small businesses and craft sellers on social media and marketing.
What came with my workshop booking?
I joined a lino printing workshop with a small number of other crafters. For my workshop price I received a hand guard, small notebook to sketch in, a bigger craft pad to do the lino prints on, a pencil, and a kit which contained two sheets of lino, a lino cutting tool with 3 blades, a roller, a tray for the paint, and a tube of black lino printing paint. There were also two templates, one of which was used during the workshop.
My course experience:
Booking on to the course was easy, I chose my date, paid and received an email quickly with further instructions and a Zoom link to use for the workshop. Unfortunately, the email lacked any information about using Zoom so on the day of the workshop I struggled a bit.
As a newbie that never uses Zoom, I found it hard finding the software I downloaded on my computer, then logging on, and finally managing to get access to the workshop using my internet browser. I only missed about 8-10 minutes in the end, but that did mean I had to dive straight into the activity and didn't have any time to figure out how to mute my mike and camera (that happened by accident), and how I could ask questions during the workshop.
The workshop focussed on using one of the two templates sent, with Emma, the workshop leader explaining as she went how to set up the carving tool and use it to best effect on the lino to create the design, and deep enough for it to print well. There were some useful tips I picked up about getting a smooth/pointed end to the end of line in the pattern, the best way to dig into each part of the design, and a few other things to watch out for. Emma was helpful and informative but gave plenty of time for us to work on our lino carving, and later inking up to begin printing (there were a few tips on this as well).
Although I knew roughly what was involved in lino printing, I hadn't done any since school, so I found
the tips and tricks a really useful part of this workshop, and something I can take forward as I continue to practice - and it definitely needs some practice, carving the lino to the right depth, using the right amount of paint (if you don't the paper can stick to the lino), how to prep the paint in the tray provided.
Despite the delayed start and having a few little teething problems (I wasn't the only one that had lino sticking to paper while printing), I still ended up with two completed prints and feel quite proud of myself for that.
It would have been nice to have another sheet or two of lino in with the package, as the ones supplied will be used up super quick, but other than that my workshop materials and online session were pretty good value for money.
Would I do it again?
Yes, although the longer answer would be it depends on the workshop. I think the value here is where it's a brand-new craft, or an advanced skill/something different related to a craft you know - then it's not only fun to take part in, but it's worth buying the kit etc. Something like the lino printing was ideal for me because it was something I had wanted to learn more about for a while. Learning from the Hobbycraft artisan and seeing what you can achieve with practice was inspiring.
Emma Hunt if you're reading this, the samples you showed on screen were amazing, and I appreciated the further reading you sent soon after the workshop and being able to ask you a few questions as well.
Customer service is so important and having a set up where you are in the zone 'doing' in a workshop but can reflect on and ask questions afterwards is really helpful.
Have you taken part in any Hobbycraft online workshops? What would you suggest to try next? I would love to hear any art and craft workshop suggestions. You can comment whether you are signed up to Blogger or not using one of the given options, and it would be great to hear from you.