The Makery: monster making, bunting and nipple tassels

The Makery: monster making, bunting and nipple tassels

Kate and Nigel left their safe 9 to 5 jobs in London to follow their hearts and set up The Makery in Bath, a creative hub where you can take part in bunting workshops, learn how to make your own cake stands, eat cake and get inspired. the love of it hopped on a train to Bath and got crafty…

What is the Makery?

We teach people how to make things. We want to re-kindle peoples’ imaginations and spark creativity in people that don’t realise they have it. Often we meet people who think whatever they’re going to make will look rubbish, or won’t be as nice as the person sitting next to them, but they’re always so proud when they finish and make the most beautiful things.

It might sound ridiculous to say that we’re changing lives, but we often hear back from people saying they’ve started a new hobby thanks to our workshops, which is just lovely. That’s one of the things we wanted to do – to teach people skills that have got a little bit lost.

We also hate seeing things go to waste so we try to make new things out of old things. We want to show you how to save yourself money and, hopefully, be less dependent on big faceless corporations. If you can make it yourself, you won’t need to buy it. If itʼs broken and you can mend it, you won’t need to replace it. If it’s old and you can reinvent it, you won’t need to update it!

How did you get started?

08-Dec-2009 15:29, FUJIFILM FinePix A370, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 100

We used to work in advertising in London, but it didn’t make us happy, so we moved to Bath and set up something that we love.

We had lots of brainstorming sessions, went on a few road trips, brought things backs and realised that we’ve always made things and loved making things. We don’t have any formal qualifications but we make a lot of our clothes and all our furniture is reclaimed. Our friends are always asking “can you show me how to do that?” and we just thought – we’ll show people how to make things.

Four days later, I handed in my notice to start The Makery and found out that we were expecting a baby! We had the baby last September and we got the keys to the shop in Bath the week after. She’s been very involved, she’s asleep upstairs at the moment.

Tell us more about the types of workshops you run…

We have workshops in basic sewing, reupholstering old furniture, making your own beauty products out of natural ingredients, appliqué, children’s clothes and jewellery making – to name just a few – and we’re always looking for tutors for new types of workshops.

People come not knowing anything about sewing and doubt their skills and they leave with a reversible tote bag. It’s lovely to see their pride at having made something themselves. I love that feeling; you start with a piece of fabric then you end up with something beautiful and useful and for people who’ve never made anything before it’s just lovely.

What else do you do?

Our children’s workshops and hen parties have taken off in a huge way. We have children’s monster making parties (the monsters are made from old t-shirts). I put all the things we need for the party in the middle of the table – buttons, ribbons, sequins, lace, ribbon – and they’re amazed and want to dive right in; they love it.

This weekend we’ve got two hen parties that will be making nipple tassels, it’s a big mind spin going from nipple tassles to monsters! I’ve had a few hens email afterward a workshop to say they’ve started making jewellery or sewing as a hobby, which shows people finding skills in the most unlikeliest places.

And what’s this about The Makery café?

Every Friday morning we open our doors to anyone wishing to come and work on their own projects. We have a few regulars and people that just drop in.

We haven’t really advertised it word is spreading. It’s not a money making thing – just a way for people to get together, share inspiration and have tea and cake.

What’s been your biggest challenge?

In the beginning we completely redecorated the place. Nigel was working three days a week then coming home and working here. I was looking after the baby and not sleeping at all. It was hard work, but we could always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What’s the best thing that’s happened since you opened?

The best feeling was our first week of proper trading when people started calling up and making bookings – we were like “really? OK that will be like £30 please!” It was wonderful that people were willing to part with their hard earned cash for what we’d been working on for months.

How can we get involved in making stuff then?

Ring or email us, or book online or pop in on a Friday between 10am-1pm, then we can talk about what you want to learn. If we’re not running the course you fancy, ask us anyway and if we can get enough people involved we’ll add it to the agenda.

Any big plans for the future of The Makery?

We’re flying by the seat of our pants a little, mainly because we don’t have any time as Nigel is still working and being a mum is a full time job. We just want to establish ourselves as a place where people can learn new things and be creative. We haven’t done much on marketing so it’s quite a big task ahead of us.

Ultimately, five years down the line, we’d love to open another Makery – maybe in the countryside where people can stay for the weekend and we can teach things like smallholding. For now we need to concentrate on getting this place going, but I don’t know, wouldn’t that be nice?

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