Who? Crafty Pint run by the Seaside Sisters, who are Gillian Elam, Linda White and Xtina Lamb
What? 1950s-inspired textile printing
Where? The Stapleton Tavern in Crouch Hill (Finsbury Park tube)
When? Saturday 16 July, 2 – 5pm
Cost? £15 – All tools and materials are provided, including homemade cakes
Firstly, I think it’s important to say the following. Crafting in a pub is genius! It makes perfect sense: you’ve got large tables, space to make a mess, coffee or something stronger literally on tap, and sofas to collapse on when you’re done. The Stapleton Tavern made an ideal venue, with its huge, light back room.
I was the last of our group to arrive, so I quickly scuttled in and joined the 20 or so women looking through inspirational books of prints and 1950s textiles. We were each to come up with our own design, first to carve as a stamp and then use to print onto fabric. I initially wanted a fancy, complicated pattern involving lots of swirly lines, but wisely decided – owing to my general lack of drawing ability and some friendly encouragement from fellow crafters Keirra and Kristina – to opt for the LULR brand.
Once I’d transferred the design to a square of lino, the lovely Gillian taught us how to carve it out using a craft scalpel. The hardest part was remembering to cut away what I didn’t want to print, rather than the design itself. As soon as I got the pressure right it became really therapeutic. I loved seeing how my butterfly came to life. Note to selves – carving does require a modicum of concentration to ensure fingers don’t end up part of the cheese-like gratings we left scattered on the table. Don’t get too distracted by the homemade cake.
Then came the messy part. I practiced transferring the pink paint onto my stamp with a small sponge roller, but not before putting my left hand into another lady’s splodge of yellow paint. Oops! Luckily, Linda and Gillian were on hand to direct me to the loo and a big bottle of handwash. Hand paint free, I was ready to transfer my design onto a fabric bag (those who booked in advance got one free). I put newspaper inside the bag to prevent any paint leaking onto the inside, then coated the stamp with paint and placed it onto the bag, transferring the image by applying pressure to the back with a clean, hard roller.
It worked, hurrah! Nine prints later and I have a pretty swanky bag to take home with me.
The Cafty Pint team are super friendly, and full of inspirational ideas should you require them. The workshop was creative, but totally without pretension, and three hours flew by in no time. You’d be hard pushed to find a better value craft workshop in London.
The Crafty Pint team are planning to run monthly workshops at The Stapleton Tavern, and also hold classes in the Tooting Tram & Social. Visit www.craftypint.co.uk to see what they’ve got coming up.