Aspen and I went along to The assembly Space which is a cute little studio in a beautiful shop house. Our host, Cheryl, made us feel welcome from the moment she greeted us at the door. We removed our shoes which made us feel right at home and went up the stairs to the shared studio space.
The cosy studio has a beautiful tall window which let in lots of light and has a lovely street view to the other Peranakan style shop houses. The studio was set up for five people and was arranged perfectly with every thing we could need. Cheryl’s organisation is a crafters dream – lots of boxes filled with colourful clays, a wide variety of cutters in many shapes and sizes, small drawers with beads, tassels and other accessories we’d get to explore to make our earrings later.
Like a kid in a sweet shop Aspen’s eyes lit up and she couldn’t resist picking up her favourite colours in anticipation. We were the first to arrive and found our name cards indicating where to sit where everything we needed was neatly set out.
I love learning new crafts so was eager to get started. Cheryl clearly knows what she’s talking about. The session started with an explanation of the different types of clay available and then the first technique was demonstrated. Cheryl’s passion came through as she delighted in explaining how to marble the clay. After that we could choose our colours – not an easy choice if you are indecisive! We settled on three and started to prepare our clay to marble. Aspen was able to follow Cheryl’s clear and easy instructions to marble her clay by herself. Seeing the colours transform is quite magical and I love the feeling you get when you make something new. We then used a pasta machine to roll out our clay to the right thickness and here is where the magic happens. Upon winding the handle the three colours we chose blended and swirled together to form a whole new effect.
I wasn’t happy with my initial blend. I had too much of one colour and the others were lost in the mix so I had a second try and was pleased with the final result this time. Cheryl was very generous with the equipment and wanted to ensure we made something we were happy with.
After the colour choosing we then had to decide on a shape for our earrings, or several. The great thing about these clay earrings is that they are very light to wear so making larger earrings is great and means you can add more details. I decided to make a teardrop style earring which is actually something I don’t normally wear. Aspen cut out her hair clips, she loves play dough so had no trouble cutting them out!
Once we had our clay cut it needed to go into an oven for around 45 minutes and then we moved onto our second technique – terrazzo. This is a more 3D effect and required even more choice! We could choose colours, flowers, prints, effects and shapes! Aspen had used a leaf cutter which I decided to use for my next set of earrings. After trying a few different shapes for the studs I started to add more green of varying shades to the top of the leaf. 45 mins passed so quickly. With the calming atmosphere all of us on the course were quietly decorating, cutting, rolling and enjoying the chilled playlist which was a mix of acoustic Disney and Musicals. Aspen was obsessed with the pasta roller! She must have spent the best part of two hours using my left over clay and rolling it, squeezing it and running it through the pasta maker and delighting in seeing the new blends of colours. She cut a variety of shapes which Cheryl kindly baked and let her bring home.
After our second batch of earrings were in the oven we had a chance to glaze one of our first pairs to obtain a shiny glass effect. This was extremely satisfying and I was amazed at how well Aspen was able to do this part with very little help. When everything was baked and dry we then had more decisions to make!
As Aspen was making hair clips, and a few badges too, I helped her superglue the finished clay shapes onto the clips and pins. Seeing her face look at the final product was priceless. That moment of ‘I made this’ which is also what she told everyone as she wore them with pride the next day. As she continued with the pasta machine, and I contemplated buying her one for her birthday, I chose which type of earring I wanted mine to become.
Studs, dangly ones and hooped were some of the options available and just when I thought I had my mind made up another box of treats was brought out with tassels and charms! Part of being creative is also knowing when to stop adding bits sometimes. I was pleased with my final earrings and set about using pliers to open O rings and attach the delicate clay shapes to the rings and glue on the studs. As I looked around the room we were all finishing our earrings and the 4 hours seemed to have passed just like that.
What I loved about the workshop is that we had so much freedom to create. Cheryl advised us as to what would work best to reach our desired ideas but was never pushy or too involved, the mark of a good teacher. All of our designs were so very different and I can see how this can become an addictive hobby – so many colours and styles to try out with limitless possibilities.
The next day on the MRT I looked down at the speckled grey floor and started to think what a nice colour blend the floor is and how I could use that to make an earring!!
Click HERE to see the process over on our Vlog and find out what Jonty and Milo got up to whilst Aspen and I got creative!
One thought on “Earring workshop at The Assembly Space”
Loved your descriptive words read after watching the Vlog. Lovely to see Aspen enjoying making things too. A budding crafter in the making.
So good how they are displayed too making them look professional.