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.
Willow Hares: make a life size willow hare to nestle in your garden border - looking alarmed - as they do.
Willow Deer: spend your day creating your very own life size small willow deer – some 2 ½ - 3ft high - to graze in the corner of your orchard (if you’re lucky enough to have one!), hide in your herbaceous border, luxuriate on your lawn - or if you want it to last forever it could watch you from a windowsill!
Willow Hens and Cockerels: spend another relaxing day with Phil sculpting your own farmyard birds… in vogue hens and cockerels, make both in a day if you're quick!
Willow Sheep: Phil has been responsible for creating several life size sheep around the north of England and for the last 2 years has been running very popular sheep weaving days here. Please note this course fee is higher at £90 to cover the extra materials, longer day and smaller group.
By the afternoon you will have created something quite unique - that will without a doubt be a fraction of what Phil charges for the same. Hopefully you will be incredibly proud of your impressive sculpture!
We are very happy that Phil runs several courses here at Greystoke- his days are always popular, inspirational and relaxing. People find it hard to believe that, by the end the day, they will be taking away their very own willow creation.
When not teaching, creating, demonstrating or weaving baskets, Phil manages and harvests his own organic willow beds near Cockermouth.
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.
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.
All willow days incur an extra charge payable directly to Phil for the willow used. This is variable and usually falls between £4 and £10. Please arrive with this ready to give Phil before the end of the class.
If you wish to be added to our database, please use the 'Stay in Touch' icon at the top of each webpage on our website (link above). Many of our early courses get booked up for Christmas presents.
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.
Inspirational workshop in spite of my willow hare needing some expert attention! Fabulous food - thank you.
Good introduction to willow with careful, clear guidance. Plenty of time to try out a new skill and understand that this is a journey.
Took a fair number of years to (make it) fun! Very enjoyable when I sorted my left from my right. Food fab.
Thoroughly enjoyable introduction to willow weaving. Step by step suited this quite tricky skill.Would love to do more of it in the future. Fantastic food !!
Very enjoyable - an excellent atmosphere. Stepped tuition is just the ticket for me. I will return. Food and drinks provided - superb.
The art of willow sculpture is more challenging and technical than I expected. We were very well supported to meet the challenges of the course.
Fab day of useful advice and tips. Excellent lunch - would definitely recommend to everyone I know.
Thoroughly enjoyable - very friendly tutor (Phil) and Annie. Lots of constructive criticism and clear instructions. Great lunch and friendly team. NB - Perhaps share phone nos and location before hand so we could share transport?
A very enjoyable time learning new skills. Lovely lunch. Would recommend to others.
Good speed of teaching techniques, plenty of advice and helpful hints. Wonderful lunch.
Through Phil's excellent instruction I created a willow sheep. I am an absolute beginner so I was very surprised and happy.
What an excellent day. Fantastic tuition. Clear and patient teacher, brilliant hospitality with delicious homemade treats and lunch. Would highly recommend.
Very clear explanations. Great atmosphere with lots of laughs. Great that at end of day you come away with significant piece. Tutor patient - pupil not so much. Thoroughly recommend.
Each step clearly instructed. Great to see the evolving sheep. I would love to make a herd.
Excellent step-by-step tuition and help when things didnt go quite right. The tutor makes sure that you have a completed piece of work that you've made from scratch. I will definitely sign up for more.
Good relaxing day. So glad to have achieved making an angel.
Phil was an excellent teacher with a sense of humour. Food was good. Venue really pleasant.
What a lovely day. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely a day to remember!
This is my second course here. Fantastic experience again. Thank you.
Really fantastic course, great venue, lovely food and company. Phil is a great tutor and kept us on track throughout the day. Will recommend to all. X
Fantastic day and wonderful food. My angel at least looks like one.
I have been twice now for willow weaving and the whole day is amazing from start to finish. Thank you so much
My sister and I visited today to take part in the Willow Deer making course and we loved it. Phil Bradley was great at guiding us through the process of willow weaving and the lunch and refreshments we received from Annie were great. The glorious weather certainly helped make it a great day too, but best of all we got to take home our finished deer sculpture. We will definitely be back!!!
As three art teachers, we had a wonderful and very informative day out on the willow course. Phil and all the Cycle cafe staff were lovely and it was a real pleasure to take part - not to mention our superb, quirky willow hares we made! Would thoroughly recommend!
An excellent day out. Beautiful setting, clear instructions & help. People can't quite believe that I made Harris, my willow hare.