Workshops Ideas

We offer a variety of different workshops. On this page there are some examples of things we've done before but we are also really happy to adapt our skills to fit the needs of the group we're working with. Between us we have experience in working with a variety of different materials and mediums. Every project we do is different and is adapted to the group we are working with. Below is a list of different projects and materials that we have experience in working with, some of them are things that we have done before whilst others are skills that we can provide to give ideas.

Any of the materials or workshops that are listed below can be combined to accommodate different projects. For example, felting and natural dyes often lend themselves well together because you can make something from wool and then dye it using plants etc. We ideally like to use as much recycled material as we possibly can with every project. We really like to combine all of our different skills to make new and fun projects!

Clay
Wool

Clay can be used in lots of different ways, in the past we've used it to make tiles, figures and sculptural objects, but these are just a few possibilities. There is an endless list of usefulness for clay. Clay itself is extracted from the ground, comes in lots of different varieties and is completely natural. The process of firing clay to make it hard is usually done in an electric kiln to get it up to really high temperatures but this can be done in other ways. If something needs glazed as well, this involves another firing process. We have a few photos from previous clay workshops HERE

Scotland is well known for it's wool industry and this is also a big part of Scottish heritage. Wool can be used in lots of different ways; it holds heat very well so can be used as insulation as well as for warm clothes. Wool is completely biodegradable and depending on what kind you buy can be very ethically sourced. It is also an easy material to get hold of because theres so many sheep in Scotland! We have a few photos from previous workshops with wool HERE

Felting
 
Figures

Exploring clay in a figurative way refers back to the sculptural use of it historically. It lends itself really well to capturing likenesses and can be worked very easily by individuals of all ages and abilities.

Felting is a process that involves deliberately matting wool to create a sort of fabric. It works in a very similar way to a jumper shrinking in the wash. It's probably the oldest existing type of fabric and there has been evidence of it's use found in lots of different cultures around the world.
Flat felting is the easiest way to felt and a good way to learn before doing bigger/ 3D things. In Mongolia, this process is used to make wool insulation for yurts even to this day.

 

 
Tiles

Clay tiles always look really nice once they're all laid out together. They can be done in lots of different ways and it can work well to do a project like this with a group because they can each make a few of their own tiles which are then displayed together as a large, visually striking piece of work.

Felting in 3D involves making a sort of template to work around. From this, you can make a variety of different shapes and forms including slippers, hats and gloves. It does require a slightly higher level of understanding so it can be good for people to have tried a bit of flat felting before experimenting in 3D.
 

Felting is great for making small individual pieces so it's really nice to bring all these small parts together to make bigger decorations.

 
 Hand built Pots

Clay pots are a very ancient way of carrying food and water, one that is still used now. There are lots of different ways to make pots from clay. The easiest way to do it is to make a coil or pinch pot.

 
Felting in 3D
Felt Bunting
 
 
Other Workshops

Here are a variety of other activities that we can provide. In the text about each one we've written a bit about the materials we use and where they come from. 

Thrown Pots

Turning pots on a potters wheel is another way to make pots, cups, bowls etc. This method is a bit more advanced than pinch pots, but once you get the hang of it, it is a really exciting way to work with clay.​

 
Willow

Willow is a great material to use because it's so versatile whilst also being cheap and environmentally friendly. All the willow we use comes from Musgrove Willows so is grown in the UK. Willow is very light but also flexible which means it's great for making large structures that need to be lightweight like parade sculptures. It's also a really easy way to make 3D shapes without having to spend lots of money. We have a few photos from previous willow workshops HERE
 

Parade Sculpture
 

Plants have been used for colouring fabric for 1000s of years, long before chemical dyes were invented. Exploring the history of natural dyes can be really interesting but it is also a cheap and accesible way to explore colouring fabric because you don't need to buy any fancy dyes, you can use plants that grow wild around Scotland or just waste from your kitchen! We have some photos from previous workshops in Natural Dyes HERE
 

Mask making is a fun activity and can draw on a wealth of information from cultures around the world and their different uses/functions for masks. When we do mask making workshops we use mostly recycled materials like cardboard and fabric as well as things like paint and glitter. We have some photos from previous workshops in Mask making HERE
 

Willow is often used to make parade sculptures because it is so light and flexible enough to make lots of different shapes. Fabric can also be used to add things like wings or to cover moving joints. Using willow in combination with tissue paper means it can be lit from inside, making them really beautiful when part of a night time lantern parade.

Willow Lanterns
 

Willow lanterns are usually made over a few days and are a nice way to involve a big group in something that can culminate in a lantern parade at the end.

Natural Dyes
Mask Making
 
 
Pinhole Photography
 

Pinhole cameras are a really simple way to explore photography. They take the idea of a camera right back to basics which can be a fun way for kids to learn how the process works. The chemicals used to develop the film used in pinhole photography is quite toxic so we like to explore pinhole photography through making solargraphs. These take a long time to make but produce exciting images that trace the path of the sun through the sky. We have some photos from previous workshops in Pinhole photography HERE

Bookbinding
 

Bookbinding usually takes about a day and is more suited to older kids and adults. It can be a bit fiddly and involves using a sewing needle. We have some photos from previous workshops in Book binding HERE

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email: hello@inspiralarts.co.uk

phone: 0131 629 8831

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