I recently taught 5 workshops at The Country Living Fair in Islington. It was an amazing show, with some stunning exhibitors. I had never been to this fair before and highly recommend you go. It is an experience, as soon as you walk through the doors the smell of Christmas is incredible, the whole atmosphere is so festive, with an array of Christmas themed stalls. The fair offers; accessories, decorations, gifts, crafts, fashion, jewellery, interior products, food and drink.
I spent several weeks prior to the event preparing my workshops, starting by liaison with the amazing event organisers. I had several ideas and they decided on my Christmas tree cats and Scandinavian origami stars. I then went about making samples and teaching myself the best way to teach how to make them. Once I had mastered the shapes I had to source the fabrics and notions. Each kit would need buttons for the eyes and embroidery thread for the stitching, the stars needed 4 different Christmas prints.
The Christmas tree cats
The cats were the most difficult, I made several before being happy with the final shape. This was also cut on a laser cutter, as I needed 150 cats, 2 per person. I did spend a whole day by a laser cutter watching it cut for me, it would have taken me days to cut by hand. The laser also improved the shape and the shape quality. I also made a video and a worksheet to help support learning. I teach these workshops from the front, with a microphone and camera on my hands, displaying my every move on a tv screen. 25 people all make at the same time within a 45 minute time limit, no pressure! Learning to make something new can be very stressful, especially as a group. I wanted everyone to feel like they could go at their own pace. if you would like to make a cat, you can watch the video on my Facebook page or you can also buy my Cat kit from my Etsy shop. I wanted to include some sewing skills, so whilst making a cat you also learn how to do a blanket stitch, chain stitch and a french not.
The Origami Scandinavian stars
The origami stars also had their own set of challenges. I need to remind myself when coming up with teaching ideas, to think of the amount of preparation needed. I had to cut and press fabric strips for 50 people, each person needing 4 strips each, totalling 200. Origami is easy when you know how, so I had to make loads before I was confident enough to teach. Trouble shooting all the potential problems, I went on to make a very simple, clear, detailed, visual, step by step worksheet and a video. Giving everyone a potential back up and enable them to work at their own pace. These are both available on my Facebook page and Etsy shop
Thankfully all my preparations paid off and the workshops went really well and everyone went away with a tree decoration. I met some lovely people, some of which have been attending the fair for over 10 years. Thank you to all at Country Living for supporting my ideas and I highly recommend you visit one of the outstanding Country Living Fairs and attend one of the craft workshops. If would like to follow my future makes, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook and or Instagram