Nowadays, too many of our hobbies are passive and require no skill or thinking – binge watching hours of television on Netflix, browsing Instagram during our coffee break, or scrolling mindlessly down an endless Facebook feed. Ingla wants our students to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the world, learning and engaging every step of the way.
Our first stop was at the City and Guilds Art School in Kennington, where workshops were being held on a range of crafts from making pigments, gilding, to carving wood and stone. Our students took in a stunning, close-up exhibition of a master gilder’s work demonstrating how she gilds insects and other creatures in fine films of gold.
Once we had dusted ourselves off, we made our way to central London and the Yunus Emre Institute for an interactive workshop on traditional Turkish block printing techniques. Our gracious hosts treated us to tea while we waited to start, and our students exchanged life stories – stretching and pushing the limits of their English. Once we got under way, we took our blocks and ink in hand and created our very own designs, first printing then colouring in our choice of tote, pouch, or scarf to our taste.
In this spirit, we recently took our students to two events during London Craft Week – a citywide, week-long extravaganza of hands-on workshops, talks, and exhibitions detailing and teaching traditional skills and crafts. Everything from woodworking to fashion design was on offer across the length and breadth of the city.
Then we wandered through a stone carving competition, in which a dozen entrants were chiselling away at tough blocks of stone turning them into every shape imaginable under the sun, gathering inspiration and courage. Then Inglans got to work, picking up chisels themselves and cracking away like seasoned artists.
Inglans kept their eye on every fine detail, making sure not to blot too much ink onto our textured, carved blocks and keeping our paintbrush steady and inside the lines. At the end of the day, we each went home with a keepsake of the day that we didn’t just sit around and let ourselves be passively entertained, but actually went out and made something during London Craft Week!