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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Hopkinson

Isn't it about time...

that we started blogging again?! We know it's been a while, but this year's just flown past and we've been having a blast - look!

Can you believe we've been here for almost 5 years?

In November 2018 then-Mayor Councillor Jane Riley cut the ribbon on Stoke Bridge Workshops and we celebrated our new venture.

Since we opened our doors, we're proud to have offered so many great workshops from a wide variety of professionals tutors, all with fabulous, creative skills. And we're delighted to be able to bring even more variety in the future.

Before we introduce the workshops that we've got coming up, we're excited to welcome the return of two of our previous tutors: artist and print-maker Hannah Farthing; and paper-folding professional Emma Fisher of Folded Side Project.

Also, before we launch into the huge amount of creative workshops that are still bookable in Ipswich, we want to thank all of you that have supported us over our inaugural years - we opened our doors and had to shut them pretty quickly due to lock-down, but through it all we've had enthusiastic guests booking our workshops, turning up, learning and having fun - you're what make Stoke Bridge Workshops rock!

So, without further ado, here's what we've got in store for you next:

Folded Paper Lampshades: Coming up next Sunday (15th), Emma Fisher of Folded Side Project is bringing you an opportunity to explore paper folding and to make your very own origami paper lampshade. This 4-hour workshop costs £45

Willow Catalan Tension Tray: On 21st October join the Coddiwomplers in the morning for a fun, relaxed willow weaving workshop. Under the tuition of two experienced basket makers, you will learn to make a willow platter, also known as a Catalan tension tray. This course is suitable for beginners, so no previous experience is necessary. This 3-hour workshop is £40.

Willow Weaving Stars: you will learn some basic skills and techniques of willow weaving whilst creating a range of beautiful stars for your home on the afternoon of 21st October. This course is suitable for beginners, so no previous experience is necessary. Tools, materials and refreshments will be provided. No previous experience needed, but some manual dexterity and hand strength is required. This 3-hour workshop is £40.

Soft Pastels: Learn to use the wonderful medium of soft pastel to create a Helmingham Stag picture with experienced artist and tutor, Teresa Seals.

Full guidance will be given so this workshop is suited to both the complete beginner and experienced artist (you don't even need to be able to draw!). You will be shown the versatility of soft pastel and depart, not only with your wonderful creation, but also the skills to continue your artistic journey. This 6-hour workshop on 28th October costs £65.

Weekend Stained Glass for Beginners: With 25 years' experience and many notable commissions under their belts, Danielle and Ian will teach you the basics of stained glass creation. You'll learn about the initial design, you'll get to grips with glass cutting leading, soldering and cementing and you'll leave, on the Sunday, with your own framed stained glass panel. This 2-day workshop costs £200 and, although we're full for this year, it is available to book for 13th-14th January, 10th-11th February, 16th-17th March and 20th-21st April.

Silver Bangle Making: Whether you're making it for yourself or for a gift for someone special, a bangle will always be a jewellery staple. You'll measure, cut and solder your length of recycled silver wire, before forming it into shape and adding your own choice of finish to personalise your bangle.

This 3.5-hour workshop on 12th November costs £80 and is our last jewellery workshop with the amazing Andrea Wright this year.

And then we start getting all Christmassy!

Letterpress Christmas Cards: In this workshop on 18th November you have two chances to learn how to set vintage letterpress wood type and print it on an Adana 8x5 press with talented artist and printmaker Hannah Farthing. Choose festive words or a short message (no more than 5 words) to print your own set of Christmas cards. Come prepared wearing suitable clothes (that you aren’t too worried about possibly getting ink on!) All materials will be provided. Choose a 2.5 hour morning or afternoon workshop for £40. You will take home a set of your printed cards.

Willow Weaving Christmas Decorations: On 9th December, you can learn some basic skills and techniques of willow weaving, whilst creating a range of beautiful Christmas decorations for your home. You will have the opportunity to make 3 or 4 decorations such as a wreath, a reindeer, a star or Christmas tree. This course is suitable for beginners, so no previous experience is necessary. However, some manual dexterity and hand strength will be required. This 3-hour workshop can be done in the morning or in the afternoon.

Froebel Stars: On 11th December, you can learn how to fold and manipulate paper into beautiful stars which can then be threaded onto a string to create a garland, or used as decorations or a gift. Our tutor, Emma Fisher, will begin with a short introduction and some examples - she will then give you a demonstration and move onto working through the process together, step-by-step as a group, making stars. We can punch a hole through the stars and thread onto a string, or you can choose to make individual hanging stars - the choice is yours ... you'll have created something impressive to take home in readiness for Christmas, along with a sheet of instructions on how to create more of these stars yourselves. 11th December, This 2-hour workshop costs £35.

Fused Glass Christmas Decorations: 13th December is our last workshop this year, and your last chance to learn the basics of glass fusing from Danielle Hopkinson. Our workshop will cover glass cutting and decorating with frits, stringers and high fire paints to create your unique stars and Christmas tree decorations. Your creations will be fired in our kilns after the workshop ready for you to collect a few days later, or have them posted at a small cost. 3-hour evening workshop costs £50.

In other news

We're going to be celebrating three things shortly:

  • 5 years of Stoke Bridge Workshops,

  • 30 years of The Stained Glass Studio and

  • another new venture for us - keep your eyes peeled for more news - it's something that we're really looking forward to offering and it'll be a completely new way of working - it won't affect our existing workshop offering, it'll be an extra, and it'll bring something new to our community.

We look forward to celebrating with you soon and to welcoming you to our workshops - new classes are added regularly. Take a look at all the new skills you could learn and book for yourself, or for a gift for others. Talking of which, we also offer gift vouchers if you'd like to give the gift of creativity but would rather let your friend or loved one choose for themselves.

Looking forward to seeing you at Stoke Bridge Workshops soon - let's great creative!

Danielle and Ian

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