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The Make Lounge
41 1/2 Barnsbury Street
Islington, N1 1TP
+44 (0) 207 609 0275

Closest station: Angel

Opening times:
Shop open Tuesday – Saturday: 11am-5pm
Workshops run Monday – Thursday from 6.30pm

Prices vary

Arts and crafts at the Make Lounge

Design and handicraft have never been trendier and The Make Lounge near Angel is one of the best places to get in on the action – even for those who weren't born with the creative gene, such as myself.

The Make Lounge is a creative centre offering an extensive programme of contemporary craft workshops including knitting, soap making, bookbinding, cupcake decorating and jewellery making.

In 2007, when former New York magazine journalist Jennifer Pirtle was looking for a place to learn basic crafts in London without paying a fortune, but unable to find one, she decided to set up her own creative hub and London's first contemporary craft venue, The Make Lounge, was born.

Since then, word of mouth has slowly, but steadily increased the number of customers walking into The Make Lounge.

Do-it-yourself

Creative workshops are offered in five studios (spread over two buildings less than a two-minute walk from one another). With the class average being just eight people, the atmosphere is supportive and relaxed.

"Cupcake decorating is by far the most popular workshop," says assistant Becky. "Although the lampshade one is popular too," she adds.

Prices for the workshops vary, but start at £29 (learn how to make your own scented candle in a vintage china teacup set) and can go up to £125 (design and create your own quilt over three sessions).

The popular cupcake classes are £49 and taught by cake sculptor Louise Hill, who has catered to London Zoo and Peter Andre among others.

Included in the price is a glass of wine (or a cup of tea) and some nibbles. Classes take place during evenings and weekends.

Visitors can also head to The Make Lounge for stylish and sociable hen parties, children's parties and corporate events.

But for those who, like me, can barely thread a needle, there is also a craft shop on site, offering supplies as well as handmade goods (that you can pass off as your own).

A class apart

In the age of readily available gifts and home décor, The Make Lounge strives to be different. It is not about store-bought, factory made and identical goods. Here is a place where people relish in the process of creation, and craft something that has a personal touch.

Whether you want to give a specially handcrafted gift or maybe you just want to look around your own home with a sense of pride and accomplishment, The Make Lounge is your one-stop destination. It is a fun alternative to the usual work do, an exciting way to meet people, get crafty and walk away with unique custom-made creations.

Alexia Dellner