January 2006: New Year, New Craft! January 1, 2006

Want to learn a brand-new crafty skill as one of your resolutions for 2006? Take a fun class and you’ll be crocheting, printmaking or even making your own shoes by Valentine’s Day!

I’ve listed some of the best places to get your craft on worldwide, but I’d love to include your favorites, too, just comment or e-mail me and I’ll add them on. And don’t forget to check with your local bead, fabric, or yarn store to see if they’re offering classes. Many stores also offer private lessons for one or more people, so feel free to ask about something that isn’t listed!

United States

Portland, Oregon:

DIY Lounge
I may be prejudiced since I teach here, but I think this is one of the coolest DIY spots around… aside from the great selection of sewing, jewelry-making, and crochet classes, where else can you learn rock & roll keyboards, shrink art, how to run your small business, photography, zinemaking, podcasting, and poker, all under one sparkly pink roof?! Don’t deny your DIY!

*What’s craftastic: Rock the Stencil and make your own t-shirt designs!

Independent Publishers’ Resource Center
Though the IPRC has an amazing zine library, their workshops really stand out. Their printmaking, bookbinding, graphic design, intro to distro, computer, and letterpress classes are affordable and accessible, and even cheaper if you become a member. Once you join, you can use their letterpresses, copier, and other cool equipment, too. Bonus: Reading Frenzy is right downstairs!

*What’s craftastic: Gocco 101 and making your own books!

Oregon College of Art and Craft
Book arts, lantern and lamp-making, ceramics, millinery, metalsmithing, cabinetmaking, fiber arts, photography… it’s spendy but the course offerings are remarkable. It’s also in a beautiful wooded setting outside of town, and the school has a gorgeous gallery with rotating shows of fine craft.

*What’s craftastic: you can learn to make your own belt buckles using a hydraulic press!

Seattle, Washington:

Ballard Sewing & Craft Studios, 206-334-6090
Sewing classes for regular machines and sergers, plus scrapbooking and beading, right down the street from Cupcake Royale and Archie McPhee.

*What’s craftastic: you can rent studio space to work on your own projects!

San Francisco/Bay Area, California:

Stitch Lounge
Stylish sewing classes cover everything from machine basics to handbag and apparel design, plus making patterns from your own finished clothes. You can even throw a swanky sewing party there… very cool.

*What’s craftastic: Make a custom-fitted duct tape dress form!

The Craft Gym
This new spot offers everything from candlemaking to crocheted embellishments, plus jewelry-making, paper-making, custom lingerie design, and dyeing fabric. Plus they have a special “As seen in” series to walk you through projects from ReadyMade magazine!

*What’s craftastic? The lingerie class sounds awesome… but I have to spotlight the make-your-own silver-ID-bracelet-out-of-PMC workshop.

Los Angeles, California:

Otis College of Art + Design
Otis is famous for its apparel design program, but you also can take continuing education classes in illustration, jewelry-making, painting, woodworking, textiles, photography, and graphic design.

*What’s craftastic? Toy design classes!

Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Crafty Planet
Knit socks and mittens, sew your own pajama bottoms, stitch up a beginner-friendly bag–they offer lots of handy and functional classes to get you started! Crafty Planet also carries plenty of cool supplies from lines like Sublime Stitching and Amy Butler, and they host a Craft & Chat on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.

*What’s craftastic: There’s a drop-in knitting and crochet workshop every Wednesday–just bring a project you’d like a little help with!

New York, New York:

MAKE Workshop
MAKE puts a chic spin on all the basics (like a class on sewing a custom sundress), plus they offer more unusual fare like batik, block printing, Kool-Aid fabric dyeing, soapmaking, machine knitting, and millinery. The space also hosts sales, shows, and events, and look for special workshops taught by quilter extraordinaire Denyse Schmidt and embroidery queen Jenny Hart!

*What’s craftastic? Make your very own shoes–sandals, boots, or moccasins! Wow.

Boston/Somerville, Massachusetts:

Spark Craft Studios
Where to start…? Well, how about the classes–everything paper-related, from embossing to Valentines, plus knitting, sewing, and jewelry. If you want to work on your own projects or shop, you can come by the studio and browse the boutique with a cup of complimentary coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!

*What’s craftastic? Wine and Craft workshops every Friday night, featuring projects like “I Love Lucite Charm Bracelet” and “Stunning Stone Necklaces.”


Vancouver, BC:

This East Van craft collective hosts events at their gallery and workspace, plus workshops like doll-making, sewing, alterations, beading, and knitting.

*What’s craftastic? DIY underwear and fetish gear classes!

United Kingdom

Manchester, England:

Creative Recycling
An emphasis on reuse and style goes into the inventive class list here: papermaking, collage, stained glass, glass fusing, running your crafts business, and plastic bonding, to name a few. Check out the gallery shows for inspiring recycled artwork as well.

*What’s craftastic? Their motto is “Works of art from waste.”

Note: I suggest NOT supporting Sew Fast Sew Easy–you can do an internet search for their name and find out why.

Susan Beal is a West Coast crafter whose number-one New Year’s resolution is to (finally) learn to crochet in 2006!

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