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.
Learn how to make a pair of your very own seamless felt slippers, moulded cleverly to your feet, unique and warm in every way. Make them as plain or as fancy as you like!
About Marieke- Marieke is a very talented and largely self-taught felt artist who happened upon the history of felt and felting whilst examining the use of wool in sustainable living and her environment workshops. She loves the fact that many fleeces now sadly discarded by farmers can be reworked through felting into something equally beautiful and useful that will last for many years, so creating a further positive impact locally.
With roots in both of Holland and Wales, Marieke now lives in the Eden Valley and runs workshops in textiles, the environment and sustainability, taking inspiration from her beautiful Morland village in the Eden Valley.
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.
Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 4 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.
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.
I had such a splendid time at the café last Saturday I wanted to write and say a special thank you.
I've never been to a craft workshop before, and, given the extensive and interesting range, had trouble deciding which one to choose having received a voucher for Christmas.
The felting choice was great. Marieke was lovely and a great tutor. The day was a joy from the moment of arriving and getting a cuppa with the yummy warm-from-the-oven biscuit until it was time to go.
The venue was excellent, food fantastic and welcoming friendly atmosphere spot on.
My partner was delighted that his gift to me had made me so happy and I'm hoping that future birthdays and Christmases might result in more vouchers coming my way!
With very best wishes
What a fun day. We went home exhausted, each with a very different pair of wearable slippers. Annie joined in and happily supplied bundles of towels to mop her floor as we added more and more lovely organic soap and water to our creations as we rolled and rolled trying to remember which way up it was and how many layers we'd done. (Future sessions could do with some sort of chart to mark off as one goes along - all the chatting takes one's mind of the job at hand.) Annie's helpers provided a choice of three delicious soups (I tasted all three!) and two puddings for lunch at a table set out in the sunshine in the garden - time to gather our energies for the afternoon.
Thanks especially to Marieke who managed to get her instructions across against all the chatter, while making her own perfect pair.
I thought that making a pair of felt slippers would be so easy - just sew up some felt and hey presto ! But no we had to make the felt ourselves ... Lovely Marieke helped us to gradually build up layers of merino wool and patiently explained how to create patterns and colours. We worked so hard rolling and soaping and throwing and massaging and chatting -but what a result. An amazing pair of very cosy slippers which I designed and made myself ! A lovely day - helped by delicious soups and 2 puddings for lunch and scones with jam and cream for tea. Highly recommended!
What a great course! Beautiful location; delicious, healthy lunch and refreshments; excellent, friendly tuition, complete with dashings of science and history (local and global) of felting.... this course takes your knowledge and skills of felting to a higher level. It would be suitable for the beginner or the experienced alike as there is always room for improvement. Marieke and demonstrates the process in an unrushed, clear, step-by-step fashion, resulting in beautiful, unique, warm slippers. The other ladies on the course were lovely to be with. We shared ideas, thoughts and knowledge. Ideas for embellishment were shared and observed. Annie made us feel very welcome, even offering childcare at the end after school pick-up in order to finish the slippers. I would recommend this course to anyone needing an uplifting day...and desiring special slippers! I still feel a warm glow from it nearly 2 weeks later. Thankyou.