Just because I made a pom pom wreath once, went to a gallery with neon pumpkins and designed a car bonnet using sugar and brown paint doesn't mean I know anything about art per say; that's when you need a lady like Nicole Line in your life. Not only one of the most charming characters in the city, Nicole hosts an amazing roster of hands-on craft classes in the city for adults and kids combined; classing me as a fully fledged adult, she was lovely enough to invite us down to get all sorts of mud-caked in paint at her latest screen print collaboration class with Richly Deserved.
The Venue and Food
Nicole Line's workshop (be that foiling, tie-dye or screen printing) doesn't normally find its footing in one permanent location, she's something of a crafty nomad in that sense, but we were lucky enough to land our class in the Richly Deserved pop-up just shy of Shoreditch High Street. Taking the part-grub and part-beloved Lennie's Cafe and transforming it into their foodie space, Richly Deserved (of blog infamy) was the perfect location to hunker down with art for the night thanks to their own clean bearings, hand-made art strewn across the walls and intimate but informed food menu.
Not only was RD owner Jack an absolute gem in rustling up a veggie bun of chunky sage and almond pesto, halloumi and nutty British mushrooms (£7), the event itself was exclusively BYOB, meaning the bargain £5 wine in the local corner-shop got its food in the door. I'll be honest, Jack knows what he's doing. While not a 'street food' name per say, the fact that people were too busy tucking into the likes of his burger special and clawing at his potato and chorizo hash show that a little hand-made commitment goes a long way.
The one thing i'd say from the off about this class was that Nicole knows not to pack 'em out for the sake of profit. More enamored with making sure everyone is chatted to, helped out and included, the class wasn't heavy with punters but space and comfort instead. Joining a strewn handful of others, we cracked on with a quick tutorial, some screen printing examples and a drawing test (you'll be FINE), before designing pieces ourself.
In amongst the now infamous 'shruggy man', a moth, some lovely industrial and shapely pieces, I decided to go for my tried and tested botany bits as my design. Practically nicked from a tattoo or two of mine, we first set out creating the stencil, before wasting no time with hardy pots of paint, mesh screens and squeegees. Not only does Nicole provide a lovely roster of materials from leather and cloth to try out your designs on, there's card and a tote bag to finish things off, meaning that anything you create on the night can now annoyingly be strewn about the house, or considered as Christmas presents as my boyfriend found out later that night. What's so rare is to feel little to no rush in a class like this, as Nicole is avid on creating an experience that doesn't pander to the scurry of London.
I hands down think that this Nicole Line Workshop has been one of my favourite things to do in London, and I wasn't even scrambling for another shot of tequila to do it. Nicole's classes are inclusive, they're mucky, they're informative, they let you walk away with pieces of 'if you want to call them' art to claim your own, and they promise a really casual and alternative night in the city.