Making Uncovered: Elena Blanco

summer-2013_10 Elena Blanco of Dreamy Me will be running an illustration workshop at Making Uncovered on 13 September for “artistically shy” adults.

So if you’ve always wanted to have a go at drawing but been too nervous, this workshop will help you build confidence through fun exercises and interesting techniques.

Tell us a bit about your work.

I do drawing and illustration. My work can be divided in two groups. One is the work I do as part of my art practice:  sketch books, drawing series, artist books. This is investigative work and my refuge, where I can be as happy as a child again.

The other is the work I do for other people, commissions. Lots of it comes from my Etsy shop. People contact me to illustrate their stories for special occasions such as weddings, births or even for the loss of a beloved one. I love doing this too.

For each commission I make sure I get the right level of excitement and interest needed to produce something truly special. If the excitement is not great at the beginning, I look into it to find points of interest until the project has become my own and my enthusiasm is huge.

Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered?


Making Uncovered is a wonderful occasion for artists and makers. It’s about celebrating the joy of creating with other fellow artist and makers and with the community – who are also makers that have not “come out” yet. 🙂 We are all makers and we have to share and inspire others to find their own creative outlet.

Making Uncovered is an event to look forward to every year, like birthdays and Christmas. It’s special, fun, moving, inspiring, encouraging… It’s just fantastic!

What will you be doing at Making Uncovered?

rob_pic_2My aim this year is to help “artistically shy” adults, as people have come to me saying I would love to draw but I’m rubbish. I want to help and inspire them and have fun with it! I’m running a two-hour workshop I’m very excited about as I am planning to run regular teaching if all goes well.

Out of the workshop I want to engage with people and their stories. I am offering to make a little artist book for them with whatever they want to tell me and I’m asking them to do the same by creating their own artist book about the event and their experiences.


Elena’s two-hour workshop starts at midday and costs £15, including materials. Book now on Eventbrite.


Add some fun, fizz and aroma to your bath time whilst learning a new craft

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Cheeky Suds makes vegan-friendly, unusual and fun bath and body cosmetics, and was started by Chloe Morais from Brixton.

At Making Uncovered on 20 April Chloe will be showing how to make body products and teaching a workshop. 

What do you like about your craft – and how did you get into it?

I started working on body products because I wanted a change of career and longed to do something more creative than what I was previously doing.

The thing I love about cosmetics is that it gives me a chance to be creative in terms of design, fragrances and product ranges. I can make anything, from soaps, lip balms and body scrubs to bath melts, creamers and soufflés. The possibilities are endless so I can always explore and add new products to my range.

I recently made soap for my brother that smells of freshly mown grass because he loves the smell. Chocolate is another favourite!

Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered?

I’m taking part because I’d like to share my craft and creativity with people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to try it for themselves. It’s also a nice way to meet lots of other crafts and local people and give something back to the community.

What will you be teaching at your workshop?

I am doing a workshop on making bath bombs. If you want to add some fun, fizz and sweet aroma to your bath time whilst learning a new craft, then my workshop will be a great place to be!

Bath bombs make bathing fun and fizzy – and smell lovely. They also make a fantastic gift to give to someone else.

Chloe’s workshop is at 11am at Making Uncovered / Brixton East Gallery, lasts 1.5 hours and costs £15. There are 6 spaces. The price includes ingredients and packaging, and you’ll be able to take everything home with you. You can book your space on Eventbrite:

“Art is a powerful learning tool…” Pam Williams at Making Uncovered

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREPam Williams is a Brixton artist who has worked in the UK and internationally, from Europe to the US to Hong Kong painting, drawing and teaching art.  Pam will teach a drop-in drawing workshop at Making Uncovered on 20 April at 11am


Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered? 

I’ve been a professional artist for over 30 years. I’ve loved art from an early age – it was the most enjoyable activity at school for me, always fun, always new and stimulating. So I love to share and teach art skills, whether to children or adults.

I’m taking part in Making Uncovered to support local artists and to help bring the awareness of the importance of drawing to the community. It is a powerful learning tool for us all as we grow in all walks of life.

From the peak (Hong Kong)

What are your plans for the day?

During my workshop I will be demonstrating and talking about ‘what to look for when we sketch’ – what we need to understand to create a strong foundation for our art.

I’ll also be showing my new spring/summer collection of Brixton T-Shirts and Brixton sketches.


Brixton Village



Letterpress: 15th century art in 21st century London

Rachel Stanners of PricklePress explains her craft and her workshop at Making Uncovered on 20 April.

Tell us about letter-pressing – what do you like about it and what brought you to doing it?

Letterpress dates back to the fifteenth century. It is an old, tactile craft that requires time, focus and skill to design and typeset faultlessly, master the machinery and produce a perfect print. Each piece of card is fed through the press, piled and cut by hand. The result is something you will instantly want to stroke, collect, frame or gift away.


I took up letterpress printing in 2009 when my partner and I bought a small hand-operated Adana letterpress. Although I found the amount of time and detail that went into every print run exhausting it was always worth the effort!

Until I tried letterpress I had never given so much time to one craft and it’s been rewarding to see my skill improve over the years.

Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered on 20 April?

I’d love to share the craft of letterpress. Some people have heard of letterpress but most don’t understand how it works or why letterpress goods are expensive.

rise and shine

I spend so much time explaining letterpress that when an opportunity came along to actually show people how it works I jumped at the chance. It’s not until you see a letterpress in action that you understand why it’s so special.

What will you be teaching people and why should they sign up?

I am going to be doing a few demonstrations throughout the day but I also want to use this opportunity to make letterpress accessible.

So, I’m giving a couple of people the chance to learn how to letterpress and print their own postcard designs: anything from a fun postcard to save-the-dates, birthday invitations, birth announcements.


You can design them yourself, ask me to help or use vintage wooden type to create something truly unique. On the day we will ink up the press and print up to fifty postcards on 100% cotton card.

It will cost between £30-150, depending on the complexity of your design. The price includes all the material costs. There’s only two spaces available so get in quick! Please get in touch before April 10 if you are interested.

To start your letterpress project and book a workshop space at Making Uncovered please contact rachel [at]


Try out willow-weaving and make your own plant climber! Naughty Magpie at Making Uncovered



Brixton’s very own willow-weaver Sarah Lovett talks about her craft and her show at Making Uncovered on 20 April.

Tell us about your venture

I am interested in permaculture and sustainability. Four years ago I planted 600 willows in West Somerset. I call my venture Naughty Magpie Willows.

Every year in the winter while the plants are dormant I cut them all down and sort the slender wands into bundles. It is hard work but satisfying.


I then have a crop of green willow, which can be planted and grow into structures like tunnels, wigwams and domes. It can also be woven into various useful things for the house and garden.

What will you be showing at Making Uncovered?

I am very pleased to be able to share my skills with you!

I will be introducing my one of a kind bean climber – an obelisk frame which you can grow lovely orange runner bean flowers up, or clematis, cucumbers or morning glories. It is suitable for the garden, balcony or patio, and helps make the most of a small space to grow vegetables or flowers.

will obs 1

While you are waiting for the plants to grow, you can hang a bird feeder in the top and watch the little birds fertilise your bean plants while they peck the food.

All you need to do is to find a big container, or plant pot, fill it with soil, plant your beans in it and plonk the frame over the top, you might have to tie it on in case its windy. Make sure it is watered and soon you will have a feature covered in free food!

I will also have with me large willow hearts designed to decorate the wall, bringing the outside inside. The hearts look fantastic on a feature wall in the living room, great as a notice board in the kitchen, or a hanger in the hallway.


Make your own plant climber!

If you would like to make a plant climber for yourself, or as a present for someone else, book your place at my workshop at Making Uncovered – there are only eight places.

I will demonstrate the easy to follow technique and then you can choose a dozen willow wands and begin to make your own climber with a little help from me. It is a lot of fun. Don’t worry about it being too big to carry, the structure collapses like an umbrella when you take the ring out of the bottom, so you have a long bundle and a ring to carry. More fun on the bus!

This activity is for adults. If you have a pair of secateurs bring them, but I have a few pairs we can use.

You can book your place at the workshop here.


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Product photography workshop

Last Saturday we ran our first workshop on how to take better product shots.

Eye-catching images are obviously very important when selling online, because potential buyers are unable to pick up and handle your work before buying, so it’s important that your photos show your work at its best. If your images are poor, buyers are likely to equate the quality of your photos with the quality of your work.

And it’s not just buyers – selection panels at trade shows, journalists and picture editors will make similar judgments. So if you’re hoping to get picked for a prestigious craft fair or have your work featured in a glossy magazine, you need to get your product shots right.

We started by discussing some of the images on the Makerhood website: which ones worked, which ones could be improved – and why. We also talked about the requirements of journalists and picture editors, and the resolution needed for print.

Then photographer Adrian Flower set up some shots of typical products, such as ceramics, cake, jewellery and bottles, using cheap and widely available props like cartridge paper and a tabletop tripod. He also photographed some of the products that makers had brought with them.

Finally – the fun part. Using the free photo-editing software Picasa, Adrian showed how even the most unpromising shots could be totally transformed. No more excuses for dark, blurry product shots!

Many thanks to Adrian, to Fiona Douglas of Oh Sew Brixton for letting us use her studio and providing tea and coffee, to Carly Telford of Picakes for the yummy brownies and shortbread, and to Maya Kar of Bright Side Dark Side for lending us her projector.

Pixel perfect: product photography workshop

Local photographer Adrian Flower will show you how to get people hooked with your images

No matter how beautiful the items you make, if your website photos are poorly lit, too far away or not in focus, you’re not going to sell much online. If people can’t handle your pieces before buying, you need great photos to entice them to buy.

And if you (or we) want to publicise your goods to magazines, newspapers and other websites, they will want excellent images. This photography forum will focus on how to take great product shots without fancy gear such as studio lights and flashy cameras.

Local photographer Adrian Flower will:

  • demonstrate how you can achieve great images with a compact camera and basic equipment, whether you’re shooting food, jewellery, clothes or artwork.
  • show you how to use reflected light, the importance of the background, and how to take close-up details
  • cover the basics of editing your photos with free software that’s widely available.

If you want to go further and take some shots of your own products in Adrian’s studio, you’ll also have the chance to sign up for some hands-on workshops in smaller groups, at a special Makerhood discount.

The workshop will take place on Saturday 25 February, 10am – midday, and costs £15. There are 20 places available – for more information and to book your ticket, go to EventBrite.

Meet the makers: Claire Mant

Claire Mant’s urge to go travelling meant that she had to postpone her plans to set up a glassmaking studio – but now she’s pursuing her creative dreams with Mantisglass

1. How did you get into making glass?
I started off doing stone sculpture in Australia. Then my teacher persuaded me to go on a glassmaking weekend. I was a bit reluctant because it was quite expensive, but I’m glad I did – I became hooked! I became good friends with the woman who ran the workshop so I used to go and help her out, and in return she let me put small pieces in the kiln. I started to sell these to friends, but I knew that if I wanted to make bigger items I would have to have my own kiln.

2. So you went off and did that?
Well, I also really wanted to go travelling, and I couldn’t afford to buy my own kiln as well as a visa to the UK! I figured that if I didn’t go travelling then, I might not get another chance, whereas I could always buy a kiln later. So I arrived in the UK about 10 years ago, and then it was another six or seven years before I could buy a kiln.

3. Was that in Brixton?
No, I was using a studio in Stoke Newington at first. But I was living in Brixton and working in Wimbledon. I had to leave work 15 minutes early to get to the studio and still arrived half an hour late – it was a real schlep. So when this studio in Morrish Road came up a year ago I jumped at the chance. It’s a real mixture of people – there are mosaics and costume makers downstairs and soft furnishings and upholstery next door. We opened the studios for Lambeth Open – it was a good way of getting to know everyone.

4. Tell us a bit more about your work with glass.
I do fusing and slumping – this is known as warm glass. Glass blowing is hot glass, which requires hotter temperatures. I use three different types of coloured glass, which you can’t mix, plus window glass. The coloured glass is more expensive, as they use metals like copper to produce blue and gold for pink – pink glass is the priciest! A lot of research goes into it because the quantities have to be adjusted so that all the different colours of glass cool at the same rate to avoid cracks. The fusing takes place at temperatures of up to 850°C.

5. And why did you decide to join Makerhood?
A friend told me about it so I had a look at the website and joined two days later. I have my own website, but I don’t have PayPal and I’m no expert on marketing and promotion. I like the fact I can just upload photos and text and Makerhood takes care of all the payments and technical stuff! It’s also important to me to be involved in the local community, so Makerhood provides a fantastic opportunity for networking with other local makers. I heard about the opportunity for a market stall through the site and also got in touch with a photographer, Nicky Cast, who is going to take better photos of my products.

6. Can you give us your top tip for an unmissable Brixton experience?
I love having breakfast at the Lido Café. I usually go for the eggs Benedict, but last time I had granola. I hear they also do a mean burger, but I haven’t managed to get there in the evening yet!

You can see the full range of Claire’s work at and buy her wonderful glass creations at

Claire is also running a one-day workshop on 17 December where you can learn the basics of fusing and slumping glass – see Makerhood for more details.