There’s nothing like attending one of the many creative workshops available in Edmonton to get your creative juices flowing. Our city is full of highly creative entrepreneurs that have an abundance of talent and passion for their craft, and a willingness to share! Personally, I’ve made it a goal of mine to attend as many local creative workshops as I can because I find them inspiring, and it’s a great opportunity to learn a new skill that I might not otherwise explore on my own time. So, here’s some local creative workshops love!
UPPERCASE PRESS | Letterpress
This workshop is for anyone who loves typography, machinery, printing presses, letterpress prints, sweet treats, metal type, and everything in between. When I first attended this workshop, founder Lu Mascaro invited my best friend and I into her cozy condo on the south side, where we spent the afternoon eating treats, setting type into phrases of our choice, mixing ink colors and printing cards with our own two hands.
I thought my love of typography was complete until I did this workshop. Letterpress is beautiful and the process itself is challenging, meditative and so very enjoyable! Lu has since opened her own studio on 124 street and is a regular fixture at local craft shows like the Royal Bison. I love seeing local artisans thrive and grow their business!
JUSTINE MA | Modern Calligraphy
Another highlight for typography lovers, this creative workshop throws it back old school with pen and ink and the art of modern calligraphy. Justine Ma is a local calligrapher with a graphic design background that grew what was once a passion project into a full time venture. Justine’s work can be found in many places throughout the city, from printed goods at the Royal Bison, to custom lettering on walls in FaBLOOMosity and Plum Home + Design, and wedding goods for local photographers and wedding planners. She also does custom commissions!
When Justine started offering workshops, I was first in line, but they sell out fast and I couldn’t actually attend one until this past December. They’re popular for a good reason – there’s treats, swag bags, and all of the supplies needed for you to start learning how to letter. A couple of hours later, your hands are full of ink (if you’re messy like me), your paper is full of beautiful scribbles, and you wonder where the time went!
GET COOKING | Culinary Classes
For my husbands birthday a few years ago, I booked a private workshop with chef Kathryn Joel, founder of Get Cooking, for a group of 6 of our friends. Back then Kathryn was running workshops out of her home in Riverbend, which made the experience incredibly cozy and relaxed. We chose the theme of making pasta from scratch, and spent the better part of 3 or 4 hours hands-on learning how to make fresh pasta while sipping wine and enjoying our time together. We then ate the dinner we had prepared together at Kathryn’s big kitchen table, and left armed with recipes and the courage to try and make pasta again on our own at home. Kathryn was incredibly warm and welcoming, and cooking with her was memorable and delicious!
Get Cooking has since grown into a small group of chefs and culinary superstars offering courses for all different food types from a commercial kitchen at Grant MacEwan University. They constantly update their course calendar, but also offer private workshops for special occasions as well. I highly recommend an evening with Get Cooking if you like food, wine, fun, and good conversation!
LOVE LETTERS 2 STRANGERS | Spreading Kindness
This creative workshop is a simple concept with big impact, founded by local photographer Ashley Green. Spend an afternoon with a group of friendly faces and craft love letters full of inspiration and sincerity, and either donate them to be handed out at random, or take them home and hand them out to strangers yourself! The idea of spreading kindness in our city is heartwarming and I love that there’s a local initiative leading the way. What started as a seed of an idea in Ashley’s living room has since grown into a movement.
I’ve attended two of these workshops now and I’ll probably continue going to as many as I can. You leave with good vibes and a positive outlook on life, which is something that everyone can use a little more of, am I right?
LADIES LEARNING CODE | Web Design & Development
photo via Sarah Beck
Ladies Learning Code is a not-for-profit that empowers women and youth to learn modern technical skills using a hands-on and collaborative approach. They have chapters in cities across the country, each run by local leaders that are passionate about their craft and wanting to share their knowledge in order to foster digital literacy in their communities.
Two years ago I attended a creative workshop with Ladies Learning Code in order to better understand HTML and CSS. As a designer that works predominantly on websites, I wanted to get a handle on the code that goes into making the sites that I design function. Instead of communicating with the web developers on the KEEN team using completely inaccurate terminology, I now feel more confident in my coding knowledge and language, and have a greater appreciation for everything they accomplish!
MADE SOCIAL CO. | Modern Craft Workshops
photo via Made Social Co.
From painted mugs to hanging wall weavings, this creative workshop changes up frequently and offers a little bit of everything! Made Social Co. is a modern craft community that brings people together to meet, mingle, and make stuff. Started last year by local ladies Christine Shankowsky and Andrea Hanki, these creative workshops have been a big hit in the community. Check out their Instagram for a sneak peek of all their fun past projects, and their love of confetti photo booths!
I’ve had my eye on these workshops for a while, because it looks like a great excuse to spend a night with a bunch of friendly people and make stuff with your hands. In the age of Pinterest, I always have every intention of making my own things after getting inspired by all the great ideas out there, but I never quite get around to doing it.
OLIVER APT | Woodworking
photo via Oliver Apt
If you’ve been in any of Edmonton’s top restaurants lately (Duchess Bake Shop, Woodwork, Cavern, Three Boars, The Bower, Bar Bricco, Meat, Lock Stock Coffee) then you’ve seen the handiwork of Oliver Apt first hand. Oliver Apt began with one design-minded carpenter making furniture and homeware. When friends started noticing and placing custom orders, it gained traction, and eventually turned into commercial transformations and custom spaces.
Oliver Apt now offers workshops for serving boards, cutting boards, and the bench shown above, for people who are interested in trying their hand at design and woodworking. I’ve been itching to try this workshop! I’ve seen their cutting boards in person and they’re functional AND beautiful.
FIREFLY THEATRE | Aerials and Circus
photo via Dress Me Dearly
In case you didn’t know, KEEN Creative Director Lisa is an occasional circus and aerial performer, having trained with local performance company Firefly Theatre! I’ve loved aerial and circus theatre performances for as long as I can remember, and I was so excited to learn that Lisa had these skills in her bag of tricks. I went to see her perform once and absolutely loved it! Firefly Theatre has performed at a variety of local events, grand openings, special occasions and festivals, and it is definitely a sight to behold.
Though the idea of being dozens of feet up in the air with nothing holding me up but a few pieces of silk terrifies me, Lisa has tried convincing our whole office to do a Firefly Theatre workshop before. Firefly Theatre offers workshops for beginners in everything from aerial arts to the trapeze and hoops! If you want a good workout and you want to have fun while doing it, try this workshop out.
RAPID FIRE THEATRE | Improv
image via Rapid Fire Theatre
Everybody loves to laugh. It relieves stress and releases endorphins, giving you the feel-good warm fuzzies! Rapid Fire Theatre is a local comedy troupe that’s been around for ages, putting on countless entertaining improvisation shows at their current home, the Citadel Theatre. They offer public workshops for all skill levels, starting with the basics of improvisation and building all the way up to long from improvisation and improvising music!
If you’re notorious for making people laugh, or you just want to get over your stage fright, this workshop is a great way to build confidence and work collaboratively with others. Break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself!
CORY CHRISTOPHER | Florals and Terrariums
photo via Cory Christopher
Whenever I buy flowers from the grocery store, I throw them in a vase and call it a day. They’re still pretty and they still make me smile and cheer up my kitchen, but there’s something extra special about an artfully arranged bouquet. Cory Christopher now offers workshops where you can learn to put together a beautiful bouquet with your own two hands!
I’ve been wanting to try this workshop to learn some floral arranging skills, because I think it uses many of the same principles of design. From scale and movement to balance and emphasis – they all apply! Instead of designing on a flat surface, there’s an extra challenge of designing in the round to make sure it’s balanced from all angles. Cory Christopher has also done terrarium workshops in the past, so revisit his site every so often for new workshops.