[Workshop Shenanigans] Gift Wrapping with Jane Means

MbM_Gift-Wrapping_JaneMeans_1-WEBOkay, so for those who don’t know me well, I am probably the biggest gift wrapping/stationery geek you can find – my family and friends can definitely vouch for that! Ever since I was a little girl, I used to intently watch my Dad wrap all the gifts with such precision and finesse that it wasn’t long before I started to try my hand at it and slowly gained the trust to take on ‘gift-wrapping’ role at home! ;) I would even find myself gravitate towards gift-wrapping counters in department stores and shop window displays simply to swoon over the various styles and techniques….perhaps even take mental notes! (yep, I’m that much of a nerd!) And to this day, whether wrapping up a gift for a special occasion or simply parceling up an order for Made by Molu, I get such a high from experimenting with different materials and pretty details to add that personalised touch. I may not be a gift-wrapping expert (nor get enough time these days) but this is one area I know I can let my ‘perfectionism’ take over and feel completely at peace! ;) Besides….who wouldn’t want to receive a beautifully wrapped gift….I know I would!! :D

So, you can only imagine how excited I was when the lovely Marie (aka ScribbleYoga) invited me to come along to the beautiful Clifton Nurseries in Little Venice (north of Paddington) for a gift-wrapping workshop with ribbon designer and gift-wrapping extraordinaire Jane Means! If you are unfamiliar with the name, Jane is highly renowned for her expertise in luxury gift-wrapping having provided her services for large firms and fashion houses like Claridges, Selfridges, Harrods and Dior, not to mention for the Queen and other celebrities (which I found out later!)….and even runs her own series of workshops and classes, spreading the love and ‘Art of Gift Wrapping‘ – and boy was I glad for the chance to go to one!

MbM_Gift-Wrapping_JaneMeans_WEBThis was my first trip over to the Clifton Nurseries and I was hugely impressed to find (even at night time!) this stunning oasis of a garden, hidden away in heart of Maida Vale, West London, surrounded by gorgeous Georgian townhouses. What I later found out is that it’s been there since 1851 so I vowed to myself that I would return some weekend during the day to get a good feel for the place!

Anyway, the workshop was held in the equally gorgeous glasshouse (which houses the cafe and shop) and as we settled around the big wooden table with our glasses of bubbly in hand, Jane took us through some fabulous wrapping styles and techniques, even sharing some very useful tricks of her own! We learnt several ways of creating bows and flowers out of ribbon, making clever little envelopes and gift bags out of luxury wrapping paper, adding personal touches for that extra bit of ‘oomph’ to your gift, as well as the more challenging methods of pleating and wrapping odd-shaped objects. It’s all about show-stopping presentation that can be achieved through simple yet ingenious detailing and styling! No matter how much you’ve done or seen it before, you’d be amazed that there’s always plenty more to learn! :)

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Of all the amazing things made that night, I must admit I found the gift bag, the ribbon roses and the pleat-wrapping technique (around a biscuit tin) the most enthralling. Had I known more about ribbons and the endless things you could make out of it at the time of our wedding last year, I probably could have explored more options and even taken my handmade boutonnieres to a another level! :) It’s such a nifty little skill to have – don’t you agree?

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It’s really is amazing how much was covered in the two-hour session. I was tempted to share a lot more photos on here (quite surprised I managed to take so many in between all the fun and concentration that night!) but thought it was best to avoid a visual overload and give you a teaser instead of what the masterclass entailed. I must say, every time I look at these photos, I’m itching to get my hands on some wrapping paper, ribbon and all kinds of trimmings and ornaments for a gift-wrapping fix……. so it’s a good thing Christmas is just round the corner! ;)

Ooohh…. and on that note, I’m excited to tell you that Clifton Nurseries are holding another masterclass with Jane Means on the 9th of December with a focus on festive gift-wrapping seeing as Christmas is only a few weeks away! So, if you are interested in broadening your gift-wrapping skills in time for the festive season or simply fancy an evening immersed in creative goodness and great banter then I would highly recommend attending this workshop. Jane is truly amazing at what she does and ever so friendly too which made the class all the more enjoyable :) For more details or to book yourself a place (they are limited!) click here.

Well then, have I tempted you enough to sign up? ;) Perhaps, fellow crafter and stationery geek, Marie could help with her account from the night ;)

“Gift wrapping is a delight for a paper nerd like myself; it allows me to put my ever-growing craft collection to use and hopefully make someone feel special in the process. At Jane’s masterclass, beautiful wrapping papers, ribbons and prototypes adorned the table and set the scene for some fun. It was thrilling to learn unexpected tricks of the trade including turning an ordinary wide ribbon and a button into a beautiful rose with just a little help from florist wire and tape.  Like Jane I’m self-taught, but there’s always something to learn (that’s why we love Pinterest right?)  I’d love to tell you more but I don’t want to give it away for the next class, so instead I’ll share some photos later of my gift wrapping adventures.”   (You can follow Marie on IG and Twitter)

A huge and heartfelt thank you to Marie and Wendy of Clifton Nurseries for having me, and to Jane for whisking us off into this wonderful world of luxury gift-wrapping! Had an amazing evening and an absolute pleasure meeting all the other wonderful ladies there too! You can find more of Jane’s masterclasses over on her website or follow all her gift-wrapping antics on her blogFacebook and Twitter……you may find yourself spending hours drooling over hundreds of tantalising images so don’t say I didn’t warn you! :)

Right, I shall keep you posted of any experimenting I do in the run up to Christmas. Until then, happy gift-wrapping folks!! xx

[Image Credit: ©Made by Molu]

Screen printed goodies!

Following on from my last blog, here’s a wee look at the things I made using the designs I drew and cut up on that day. I’ve yet to complete the tandem bike print you see on the tea towel by adding the balloon in red…..and which I’m thinking I’ll turn into cushions. So that will be my task for the next spare time I get! :) What do you think –  you like them? :) I’m dithering about whether to sell some of these seeing as they are one-offs…. either way, I will most definitely keep one of each for myself! :DSCREEN PRINTING_TEESHIRT web SCREEN PRINTING_TOTE BAGS web SCREEN PRINTING_TEA TOWEL web

[Workshop Shenanigans]: Screen Printing with Zeena Shah

Well, I finally got round to giving screen printing a go! I have wanted to do this for as long as I can remember really and had planned on checking the Print Club in Dalston out when Zeena announced her screen printing workshop sessions. Having done the lino-printing workshop with her before I decided, without any hesitation, to sign up!  Now there are a few ways of doing silk screen printing but in this session we did the paper cut-out stencil technique and not the photo-emulsion one. What this means is you draw out your designs onto paper, keeping in mind the positive and negative parts of your design which dictate what areas you will cut out. The ‘positives’ is the bit you want to print i.e. where the paint goes through onto the fabric and the negatives are the bits you block out/seal off (now I hope I don’t get this the wrong way round!!).  Cutting out stencils using paper is a labour of love but what is truly great about this method is that you can easily set it up and do it at home, skipping out all the photo-exposing-of-designs-on-to-the-screens part of the process and not relying on bigger equipment, dark rooms etc. It’s ideal for those new to screen-printing or for those who fancy doing some quick short runs of printing as the stencils only last about 3 print runs, at tops,which makes this process all the more bespoke! So here’s a look at what went on that day. In the time we had, were able to conjure up two designs; the first illustration of mine was that of a tandem bike with a balloon (you’ll see I used both the positives and negatives to create my prints!) and then the second I did as a homage to shoe lovers like me! :D I’m afraid the photos are captured through my iPhone so they aren’t the clearest but in my defense, it’s not the easiest to document while juggling stencils, paints and screens! Let me know what you think though!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING  webAs you can see in the photos below, each and everyone of us had such a great time busying ourselves over our designs and prints! So much so I don’t think anyone of us cared to leave Zeena’s studio to grab a quick bite for lunch! Now there’s dedication for you! :D Seriously though, I think when you’re in your element and having so much fun creating pretty things I dont think you care much about your tummy or anything else for that matter! As part of the workshop, we were provided with a tote bag and a tea-towel to print on. If you wanted any more you could just buy them off Zeena or you could bring extra fabric or t-shirts yourself. I managed to squeeze in 3-t-shirts, two tote bags and one tea towel……and trust me, I would’ve happily sat there and printed away the entire day! It really was sooo much fun and the immediacy of the printing process especially on fabric is so SO rewarding!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING 2 webI got the chance to meet some lovely and super creative ladies too that day;  from graphic designers to crafters to a vintage furniture restorer! I couldn’t believe that some of them travelled quite the distance just for this event…unlike me who was literally just round the corner! Just goes to show you how popular these classes are!! Anyway, I’ve added a few images of the works of my fellow screen-printing peers just so you can see for yourself how fabulous there were! I’m hoping this will tempt you into signing up to screen-printing classes – whether it’s Zeena’s or some place near you. Zeena has added more workshops that run til September so go check her website out for more details!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING 3 webThanks again Zeena for this awesome workshop – you’re were totally inspirational and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I left your awesome studio totally buzzing from all the creativity and excitement! As a huge fan of all things ‘printing’ related (from lino printing, to letterpress) I think I may have found my new-found art medium!! ;) I just LOVE how you can transfer all your illustrations and typology onto fabric! I’m hoping to look up some pre-made screens to invest in so I can start churning away more designs from home! It may be a while before I do that but I’ll keep you all posted nonetheless. :D I will follow this post with another to showcase the final products I made…..still dithering on whether to give them away as gifts, sell them or just KEEP them all to myself! :D Hope you enjoyed this xx

My first craft class – booked!

I cannot tell you how excited I am (and weirdly a tad bit nervous!) about my first ever craft class that I’ve signed up to. There was no hesitation whatsoever – as soon as I received the newsletter in my inbox about the forthcoming ‘Craft It Yourself’ events I was onto their site in matter of seconds to hit ‘book now‘. I’m a huge fan of Clerkenwell’s Craft Central who hold some fabulous fairs and workshops that help promote and build the increasingly popular culture of craft and design. For this reason alone, classes are known to get booked up very quickly (which it did!!) and at £19.99 (inclusive of materials and complimentary wine!) these 2-hour workshops were a bargain too!

So of the three workshops, I opted for the Japanese Gocco Printmaking workshop…..I CANNOT WAIT eeeek!!! :)  I shall obviously report back to you on how it all goes (aided with plenty of photos!) but in the meantime here are a few visual treats to give you an idea of what Gocco printing is all about: check out Printed Wonders – founded by Xtina Lamb who will be running this workshop! Lets hope my stuff turns out half as good as hers! Also here’s a video clip on how its done!

Roll on 29th of November! :D