Since 2005, ‘Quirky Workshops’ in Greystoke has been offering an eclectic and unrivalled range of arts, crafts and heritage skills courses. We now run over 140 ‘Quirky Workshops’ each year from our pretty 17thC farmhouse on the fringes of the beautiful Lake District and Eden Valley in Cumbria. In July 2020 we opened a lovely new, listed & spacious 'Covid-secure' teaching studio - the 'Swallow Barn', which now enjoys consistently excellent feedback; please see below for all details. Our new programme for each year is sent out at the end of October, by email, directly to those on our database. Please contact us directly if you wish to join this list in order to have early sight of next year’s programme.
About the workshop:
Take artistic blacksmith Adrian Wood arriving with his apprentice Lee from Cleveland equipped with 4 portable blacksmithing furnaces, 8 anvils and many tools and you have the ingredients for a perfect blacksmithing day...
Our Blacksmith for a day courses run throughout the year Ramshead Firepokers or Sculptural garden flowers. Please see our website for which course runs on which date.
Adrian and his able apprentice will arrive early to set up his mobile forges for 8 people on the Cafe driveway. Fresh coffee and home made biscuits will be waiting as a welcome drinks and then, after a safety talk and with furnaces lit, Adrian will explain basic principles, the colours of hot metals, malleability, temperatures and the importance of getting just the right temperature for the right task.
The group will then start with creating a point on the piece of metal, quickly moving onto curves, bends and scrolls, punching, spreading and splitting. Once the fires are lit and the health and safety chat is out of the way we will get straight down to the business of hammering some hot steel.
The day is fully hands on and as well as learning the basic principles of blacksmithing, you will make up to three items to take home with you.
Techniques for tapering, hole punching, splitting and riveting will be covered.
Adrian Wood is a university graduate with a degree in fine art sculpture from The University of London. A chance visit to a forge gave Adrian Wood his first taste of blacksmithing. He recalls; ”From the first moment I hit the hot steel I knew what I wanted to do.” Adrian successfully completed his training at a blacksmiths forge in York, after which he worked for Brian Russell, widely regarded as one of the finest blacksmiths in the UK. Brian's approach and processes to creating bespoke and uniquely designed metalwork has an enormous effect on the sculptures and designs created by Adrian Wood Artist Blacksmith.
Even as a beginner under Adrian's watchful eye you should be able to make these pieces to take home, proudly display and of course, put to use!
Classes take place under cover outside. Please wear old clothing, sensible shoes, preferably leather (plastic trainers can melt) strong gloves and do bring a heavy duty apron if you wish (canvas/leather) however this is hot work and in doing so you are adding to your layers.
A unique opportunity for a really full-on day experience.
About the Swallow Barn:
“I’ve been thinking about last week’s workshop session. I am SO impressed with the loveliness of the Swallow barn. In the midst of this COVID world of chaos and uncertainty, it’s such a calm, safe space and I’m sure that everyone who visits will agree. I also appreciate the abundance of extra safety/hygiene measures that you’ve put in place. It works so well. Also, as Gwen mentioned, the extra space and its layout has made for a more social environment - it’s easier to chat and to look at what others are doing. I’m so glad I came, I feel uplifted, somewhat healed and much more positive as a result. Oh... and the salad lunch was just wonderful! “
“Attended an art class with artist Margaret 23 August and was extremely impressed with the tuition and the venue. All possible precautions were taken to maintain social distances and enable personal sanitization. The Swallow barn was a fantastic place to paint, light, airy and very peaceful, all mod cons were set up to show tuition and display our work on a screen. The lunch food was homemade, three types of soup, hunks of bread and two pudding choices. I couldn’t fault any of the day and look forward to going back if any more art courses are run. Well done all’
We spent the time during lock down upgrading a first floor barn and our very spacious ‘Swallow Barn’ is now up and running! The new Quirky Workshop studio allows plenty of distancing for up to 10 people using 8 separate tables, two hand washing stations, a one way system, 2 stairways, sanitising and a large screen on which to project the live stream of tutor’s detailed work, allowing students to stay at their desks for all the previous ‘gather round’ moments.
Lunch is provided on separate trays and brought to each student at their desk by staff wearing masks. We’ve had very positive feedback from students remarking how safe they feel, whilst still being able to enjoy a favourite crafting day out, under as normal as possible circumstances.
Here are some of the measures we will have in place, both within the Swallow Barn and its environs, to ensure the safety of us all during the workshop day:
• Each student has their own desk unless you have booked with others, in which case we could seat you together at the same table.
• Hand washing facilities and hand sanitisers will be available at key points, on entry and within your room. You will be asked to wash your hands frequently, especially just before and after breaks.
• There will be several windows open to ensure the room is well ventilated throughout the day. So please also bring ‘extra layers’ if the day outside is cooler.
• Lunch will be provided individually on trays and students can take this at their desks. Of course, you can bring your own lunch if you prefer.
• You will keep your allocated mug for the day, the usual hot drinks will be available and served at arm’s length.
• Please bring a face mask with you. Although, during the normal course of the day the wearing of face masks is optional, they may be required if you're moving about or in the event that close tutor contact is necessary for whatever reason - in which case both tutor and student should wear masks. We have some beautiful handmade masks for sale here for £3.
• We have a camera in place that films the tutor demonstrations close up, allowing a projected live feed to a large screen at the front of the room. This means all previous ‘gather round moments’ have been replaced with students remaining safely at their desks watching from afar.
• Sanitising procedures for ‘shared use’ tools will be in place. Many tutors will provide sets of tools for each student.
• There will be one-way circulation with distancing maintained in compromised spaces, including stairs ‘up and down’ for students.
We look forward to welcoming you here in Cumbria and the Lake District.
If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
All materials are included in the price.
Welcome drinks: fresh coffee & home-made biscuits; a lovely 2 course Aga lunch served on individual trays at your desks or outside on the Tea Lawn if it's warm enough. To finish off the day, a freshly made Cream Tea (including Aga-baked scones, cream and jam).
Our days are considered special treats; many come back time and time again and often combine it with a short break to the Lake District.
We have been hosting and organising 'Quirky Workshops' since 2005, from what was the original C2C Greystoke Cycle Café situated on the northern fringes of the Lake District. It was with great sadness that the Cycle Café was closed to the public in 2018; we since have become ‘Greystoke Craft Garden & Barns’. All our tutors are carefully hand selected professional experts and many are considered as national leaders in their field.
This craft course provider has been awarded Platinum status for receiving 50 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.
The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.
They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.
What a fantastic day! Poker much admired and has a perfect home. Thank you all, will be back! Annie, a special thank you for a delicious and sustaining lunch….. couldn't think of a nicer way to cheer up an unpromising November day. All the best Robert
An excellent day in the blacksmith artis workshop with Adrian & Andy, with friendly people, being taught traditional skills to produce something worth while to taking home to be proud of... a well set out Sculptured course building up techniques and confidence through out the day, and to top it off we where we’ll looked after and fed with delicious food home cooked by Debbie couldn’t of asked for more.
Would I recommend this course YES
Would I buy this course as a gift YES
Would I come back YES YES YES
Came on the Rams Head Poker course, really good instructors, very helpful and took time to explain everything. Very hands on course, loved it, lunch was amazing! Lovely day all round.
Enjoyable experience, relaxed atmosphere and good support from experts.
Relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Excellent tuition and patience for which I am grateful. Food great, nice that it is all vegetarian.
Really enjoyable day. Well worth the money and traveling. Interesting and interactive. Everybody friendly and great crack. Amazing food and drink.
Great day. Interesting and well worth the money. Another value. Nice food again.
Great practical course. Well instructed, with nice end product to take home.
Loved it! So interesting and really helpful and friendly. We are hooked !!!
Fab, rally need more muscles.
Thanks very much for the Blacksmith workshops yesterday - I really enjoyed it! Also lunch and afternoon tea were excellent.
Thanks for a fantastic day, I had a great time and loved both the hospitality and the course. The course was perfect as an introduction to blacksmithing and I'm really happy with the dragon. Dont worry Adrian i think I'm a long way off setting up my own forge!
I'll definitely be back for more in the future.