Makerspaces in Sydney
Local maker Iain Finlay teaches students how to cut, dye and stitch leather aprons, wallets and folios at this Marrickville warehouse, but that’s not all you can learn to make here. They have classes in woodworking, machine knitting, screen printing, ceramics and 3D modelling. An eight-hour ceramics course costs $195, but returning students benefit from shorter, up-skilling classes at under $100.
Rosebery design store Koskela not only sells ethically made Australian homewares, they also provide a space for local makers to share their skills, from floristry to indigo dyed textiles. In November, you can book in for an Aboriginal Basket Weaving course with Kalkadoon woman Ronnie Jordan, who’ll pass on the ancient craft in two hands-on classes on Saturday November 18.
Ceramicist Naomi Taplin handmakes functional and beautiful porcelain tableware in her new studio on Foley Street, where there’s a neighbourhood of Sydney makers taking up residency in the redeveloped laneway. The studio hosts workshops, such as the traditional Japanese art of Kintsugi – repairing broken items with gold or silver. The visible repair celebrates the ‘scars’ of the the product and promotes reuse.
If you want to get your hands dirty with blacksmith Matt Mewburn (pictured), this is where he teaches skills like forging, striking and using power hammers. Classes start at $320 for a one-day course in hammer forging, which includes designing a hammerhead from a block of steel, using an oil or gas furnaces and coke forges, then shaping the wooden handle.
Take a beginners’ class in resin, ceramic, metal or glass jewellery making at this dedicated studio in Parramatta. They offer masterclasses for those looking to make a living from the craft, but if you’re just starting out you can learn to make rings from precious metal clay or take an evening course in pearl knotting and stringing.
The Blak Markets will be running a series of art workshops on Bare Island every Saturday for during November including shell making with Marilyn Russell and Esme Timbery, weaving a fish net with Stephen Russell and storytelling through art with Cheryl Davison, who’ll guide you through sharing your own powerful story through designing your own greeting cards. All materials will be provided.
Accessory designer Melissa Tan-Lu set up this Chippendale studio to create a space for budding seamstresses and tailors to drop in and hire sewing machines on an hourly basis (from $15). The space also hosts workshops on a weekly basis, from kimono making and crochet to cross stitch and lampshade making.
On the last Friday of every month, couples can get down and dirty at the pottery wheel in a special dating workshop taught at Glebe Town Hall by not-for-profit organisation Kil.n.it (6.30-8.30pm, $120). The experimental ceramics community provides studios for professional makers, and introductory classes for the rest of us. Book in for a two-day clay throwdown with Luke O’Connor.
Cath Derksema’s Annandale shop sells items that are handmade here in Australia, including her own dyed textiles and homewares. The store doubles up as a workshop for classes in ceramics, crochet, indigo dyeing, floristry and jewellery making. And they also offer Tuesday Craft Night In – a three-hour slot where you can work on craft with other makers around a communal table ($50).
Named for the maximum number of products an Australian maker can produce before it’s legally considered mass production, the Fortynine Studio is a space committed to fostering a community of local designers as an antidote to the factory conveyor belt. The Marrickville studio hosts clay workshops, including a popular monthly plant and pot workshop with the Planthunter. You’ll walk away with a custom pot for your new plant.
Pick up a new pencil case
There’s nothing better than ticking off tasks on an old-school to-do list. And though online notebooks are convenient we still have a soft spot for hard copy notebooks and traditional letter writing. Luckily, there are still specialist stationers in Sydney where you can flick through an endless supply of paper diaries, greeting cards and pretty gift tags.