Bikes, books and bending: get crafty at Barbican Make!

Tom Ritchey visits The Bicycle Academy in Frome, Somerset. 8-9 September 2016.

Ever since its refurbishment in 2016, the Barbican Centre’s shop has become a cultural destination in itself, offering the design-led gifts inspired by the artistic programmes and iconic architecture.

Now, culture vultures have another reason to hit the gift shop on their way home following the launch of the Barbican Shop’s first ever standalone season of workshops and events showcasing the stars of London’s arts and crafts scene.

Conceived in partnership with Crafts magazine, the Barbican Make! season includes talks, installations and practical workshops, allowing visitors to explore traditional crafts with a modern twist.

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The Barbican Shop will host its first programme of events showcasing the stars of London’s arts and crafts scene. Photo by Max Colson.

“We’re incredibly excited to launch Make!”, said Jo Davis, head of retail at the Barbican.

“This is an opportunity to watch the ‘making’ process happen, as well as a chance to take part, learn something new and walk away with a beautifully unique handmade product.”

Visitors will have access to some of the craftspeople behind the shop’s most popular products, and learn some of the tricks of their trade through hands-on workshops.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that craft has undergone a renaissance in recent years, capturing the public’s imagination,” said Grant Gibson, editor of Crafts. “We’re delighted to be joining forces with the Barbican to showcase some of the UK’s best creative talent this spring. I think visitors will be surprised and delighted.”

Here are four events to get crafty:

Discover the secrets of bookbinding

Let the experts from the London Centre for Book Arts show you the tricks of the ancient art of bookbinding. LCBA is an artist-run, open-access studio on a mission to foster and promote book arts and artist-led publishing in the UK. Participants to their workshop will have the opportunity to learn the basics of bookbinding and how it can be done simply at home. At the end of the day, everyone walks away with at least three distinct handmade notebooks with their choice of materials.

8 April, 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 3pm (1pm session is Barbican Members only), Cost: £40

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Learn the ancient art of bookbinding from the best at London Centre for Book Arts.

Learn how to make a bike frame

Cycling is more popular than ever and with it has come a renewed interest in the production of bespoke bicycle frames. No better time to learn how to build your own then. Frame-builders from The Bicycle Academy will hold a demonstration for everyone keen to learn how to build their own. The event will be part of On Bike Building – a larger series of talks, demos and displays, celebrating the craft of designing and building custom bikes.

1 April, noon to 5pm, Cost: free

Create your own paper lampshade

In a series of hands-on workshops, Scottish-born designer and paper-folder extraordinaire Kate Colin will share her expertise in creating handmade sculptural lighting. The classes will begin with the basics of transforming flat pieces of paper into three-dimensional sculptures until you’re ready to fashion an intricate lampshade to take home.

20 April from 2pm to 5.30pm, and 21 April from 10.30pm to 2pm and 3pm to 6.30pm. Cost: £75

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Christabel Balfour will cover the basics of hand-weaving to more advanced techniques like building shapes and blending colours.

Weigh in on weaving

As if weaving an entire rug over five days in the Barbican shop for London Craft Week wasn’t enough for Christabel Balfour, the tapestry expert will be leading a series of weaving workshops. Classes will cover everything from the basics of hand-weaving to more advanced techniques, such as building shapes, blending colours and creating texture. Each participant will receive their own handmade loom, weaving tools and instruction booklet to take home, along with plenty of wool to keep weaving with. Catch Christabel’s weaving demonstrations in the shop for London Craft Week from 9 to 13 May.

Workshops are on 13, 14, 15 May from 10.30am to 2.30pm, 20 May from 2pm to 6pm, and 26 & 27 May from 10.30am to 2.30pm. Cost: £100