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.
Whittling is addictive once started, therapeutic from being relaxing, absorbing, and creative & richly rewarding in a sense of personal achievement. It has a small and low tech kit list: a lump of wood, a craft knife and your lap. This means whittling can be done almost anywhere when spare time is available and it is also easily transportable.
During this course Dave will teach you traditional hand carving, whittling skills, using craft knives and other specialist hand tools provided to enable you to complete your carved bird, which can be attached to a display base if you wish.
If you wish to purchase you own tools before you arrive (not necessary at all) the knives required are Stanley code 10- 590 and Stanley 10-598 Blades are coded Stanley 5901. Dave will have all these tools available to borrow for the day or to buy at the end.
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 8 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.
Tools will be provided, but may be purchased after the course if you find you're bitten by the carving bug. It is recommended that you bring an apron.
There will be a materials charge of £15 to cover the cost of the specialist wood payable on the day to Dave depending on what you use.
2 days (9:30am to 4:00pm)
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.
My sisters and I would just like to thank you, and Dave, for the wonderful day we had whittling our birds. Everything was fantastic, from your amazing food to us completing our birds with brilliant instruction from the very patient Dave. We are still reeling from what we achieved and some of us are still whittling and improving our birds further.
Please will you pass on our thanks to Dave, we hope to come back to your lovely home to learn something new soon.
Susan, Christine, Liz and Linda
Had A great day at the whittling yesterday. Dave is a great tutor. The venue is lovely and the food was wonderful. The people were very nice and friendly.
I attended the 'whittle a bird in a day' workshop with Dave. It was fabulous. Clear and friendly instruction enabled us all to produce quality birds. Lunch was excellent too... soup, Greystoke mess...yummy! Highly recommend.
Greystoke cycle cafe is set in such a beautiful location. Annie and all the staff were so welcoming. The food made me want to move in with them. The 'bird in a day' course was so much fun, David is such an incredible teacher and artist. I would highly recommend a visit and doing a course, I will definitely be back. Thank you xx
Other than some hamfisted attempts at DIY round the house, I've never worked with wood before, but this was just a joy, and I was amazed with the results we all achieved. David is a great tutor, good company, and the quality of his own finished work is amazing, so we knew we were in good hands. We started with a part trimmed down block of wood, with the bird outline marked up with pencil, a stanley knife, some sandpaper, and plasters. Once David had set us off, there followed two hours of slightly surreal near silence from all of us until lunchtime as we frantically whittled away, completely absorbed by what we were doing. I ended up with more plasters on my fingers than the rest of the group put together! But I was just delighted with the end product, due in no small part to the lovely design David chose for us, and my friends and family were hugely impressed too. Annie kept us fuelled with delicious tea and cakes, and the lunch of delicious home made soups and puds was worth the trip alone. More intense whittling and sanding in the afternoon, and voila, a bird appeared! It still needs a little work to finish it off (I'm waiting for my arm muscles to recover first!), but I have invested in a few good books on whittling and bird carving and am looking forward to doing a lot more whittling in the future. Thanks Annie and David, for a brilliant day.