It wasn't until I found my seat on the train on Saturday morning that I really believed I was on my way to the Folksy Summer School in Sheffield. I saw the event advertised in Molly Makes magazine last month and knew I would love to go. It was in the most idyllic location in the Discovery Centre in a clearing in Ecclesall Woods, on the outskirts of Sheffield, a city I know quite well (I went to university there and my brother lives here too). Folksy, just incase anyone isn't sure, is an online marketplace, the British equivalent of Etsy and they are based in Sheffield, hence the choice of venue.
On the agenda was a full programme of talks by makers, bloggers, and business people, craft demonstrations, photography workshops and the chance to meet people from all over the country who like the same sort of things. Our main classroom was a big marquee. But there were various outposts for different activities, and everything had been thought of. Lots of help-yourself free fresh coffee and tea and fruit, a delicious picnic lunch at cost price, free ice cream, sweeties and biscuits, and a lovely tuck shop just incase energy levels dipped....
In the main classroom, above, we heard stories from small craft businesses which had grown from tiny roots, inspiring tips and hints from people such as Tilly Walnes of The Great British Sewing Bee fame, Doug Richard, a shouty but charismatic American from the first two series' of Dragon's Den who had some really helpful messages about starting a small creative business, craft fair organisers, and of course, the Folksy team themselves.
I particularly loved the chance to do some hands on making, in between the talks, and was so impressed by this lady, Gemma Nemer from The Button Tin in Rotherham. Gemma was running mini sewing workshops on both days.
But I've always wanted to try lino cut printing, so that's where I headed for my first lesson on Saturday.
Zoe Badger of Zebedee Print showed us her inspiring journals, and then got us started on our own simple design.
Zoe's leaf prints
Of course it's not as easy as it looks! It's hard to make a precise line without shooting the cutter off to one side, or slicing into your fingers. But I really loved doing this and the best thing is that it's a relatively inexpensive way to print. Here's how I got on that first day....
I had another go on Sunday, with very different results.
Time for a tuck shop break.....
I'll be back soon with part two of my Folksy weekend.