I was delighted and a little intrigued on my way to this workshop – organised by Joe Blogs Network with Curry’s – some sort of upcycling involving washing machine drums? What could it all mean? But I love a challenge and any excuse to try a brand new skill, so juggling my camera, umbrella and google maps I headed off to South London.
It was absolutely chucking it down on the day and my umbrella was destroyed within minutes of leaving my flat – I felt like I’d been put through a cycle and just hoped there would be some sort of industrial strength dryer at the other end. I made my way down to Battersea and found our venue for the day – The Old School Club. I’ve read about this workshop venue before but never been there so it was a fantastic opportunity to check it out. They’re tucked away in a business estate but don’t let the plain exterior fool you – once inside my eyes lit up at the mountains of pretty craft materials, colourful paint swatches, beautiful furniture pieces hanging from the ceiling and a really glorious feeling of in-progress making. My kind of place.
The focus of the day was on upcycling – and the item we were to transform was a washing machine drum! You could create a stool, table, decorative box, shelving unit or lampshade. I opted for the lampshade as we’ve needed one for our sitting room for months (it’s been on my to do list and I’ve just never quite got there – sorry Martin!). I was really excited about combining the industrial look of the drum with something quite chic and feminine and maybe even a little crafty. We started by drawing our designs (because everyone loves putting pen to paper – am I right ladies? no?). I was actually pleasantly surprised by how clear my ideas were. I started thinking about painting the whole thing bronze (magpie alert) … and then I started thinking about combining soft greys with a bright colour to give it some oomph! The main picture in my head that I just couldn’t get rid of was using the holes in the drum as a canvas so I could add cross-stitch style embroidery.
The lovely Inma gave us a intro and was on hand for design ideas and advice across the day. Her husband Nick was then on hand for all things drilling, sawing, sanding etc. We selected our drums and got to work painting – the colour selection process was a hilarious highlight – who knew there were so many shades of grey (ha!). I went for French Grey and a summery yellow for the top – I love how they compliment one another.
We had to paint several layers and wait for the paint to dry in between – a process that tested my patience to the limit as I could see time ticking away. What had seemed like a hugely long workshop actually became like the generation game – fast-paced chaos while everyone tried to finish, photograph and dry their drums on heaters in time!
I was determined to make my cross-stitch idea a reality so the next step was to find some yellow string or cord to use. After a slight tangent of painting some string bright yellow as quickly as I could (while keeping my monochrome trousers paint free I should add!) I finally found some beautiful embroidery thread – perfect. I sewed my cross-stitch into place and was finally ready to cut the hole in the base for my lampshade.
And here’s my finished lampshade!
Thanks so much to Joe Blogs for inviting me and to Curry’s for holding this brilliant event. You can see highlights and pictures of the day on their blog HERE.
Have you ever tried upcycling? Which project would you have gone for?
Also do check out the other fab write-ups of this event below: