Events: Walthamstow Wire Workshops & Jewellery Making

15 Apr

Last month I chanced upon a special kind of craft fair, showcasing the work of crafty men and women who make beautiful one-off jewellery and accessory pieces. The interesting thing about these folks is their fusion of traditional celtic-style stones and modern methods of handicraft.

Birgit Barret - Walthamstow Jewellery Group

They’re all member’s of Walthamstow Jewellery Group, headed up by the charming German expat Birgit Barret. For those unfamiliar with Stow, it’s a borough in north east London, a cosmopolis of all interests, generations and cultures, and home to famous English textile designer and writer William Morris.

Student of Craft

Ouzha, from Walthamstow has been with the group for 6 months, and says her passion is all down to her teacher; “you name it and she teaches it Birgit has taught me so many things like wire crochet, ring making and wire wrap.

She adds: “My real passion now is crochet jewellery, I’m really going to get in to it. It looks great, if you have little gemstones, you just put it in to the wire threads in the necklace and it looks stunning, plus you can adjust it to suit your size, or make a range of sizes if you’re selling your pieces.”

I ask Ouzha what this shift back to the handmade way of life is all about; “You go to to shops nowadays and everything’s mass produced, I think it’s a case of, you know what you like.” The office worker also finds it a calming experience, “when I’m at work and I’m stressed, I just take my crochet on my lunch break and I’m on my way. Also it’s a nice social gathering, because you’ll go to a class and you’ll meet like-minded people.”

The Teacher

The creative guru shares her home with frame making entrepreneurial husband and dog, Rusty. She’s no begginer in the crafting world, and started back in her teens; “I sort of forgot about it, then picked it up again seven years ago – I got interested in beds & crystals and wanted to wear them.”

Like many successful creative professionals she told me her crafting business grew by mistake; “two yrs ago, people ask me if I teach, I thought, what is there to teach? So I looked in to it and started a little class in my front room. I converted that and now I’m running classes in the evening every week.

” I also host two daytime workshops and classes on Saturdays, plus fayres and whatever I can fit in.”

Crafty Tuck Shop

Birgit let’s us in to her haberdashery of any material you can dream of; “I’ve got all the materials there. I run a little shop as well. Twice a month I get all my materials out and people can buy what they want.

“I’ve got all the tools there and materials in the classes, but they are allowed to bring their own materials as well.”


Birgit reveals what keen crafters are flocking to her Walthamstow studio for; “It’s the Shamballa bracelets, definitely, and they are expensive to buy, so people love learning to make them. I run a beginners workshop for the Shamballa bracelet so you don’t have to have any previous experience”

Birgit Barret is originally from Germany, but has lived in Britain for such a long time that she considers herself more of a Brit. The crochet queen also moonlights as a photographer, the ethereal shots she captures on her modest manual Canon camera are in fact  around the fair fields of Walthamstow.

‘If’ Bar, Ilford – Host to Walthamstow Jewellery Group’s Craft Fair

Getting Involved

-First timers attend a beginners workshop, and then a beginners class

– Once you’ve tackled any beginners workshop you’re free to join any class you like

– Email for more info
Here’s what to expect in the coming weeks from the modest crafting powerhouse:

Craft Level Time/Date & Price
HEARTS & KNOTS BRACELET Workshop BEG Sat 28 April, 10am-12.30pm, £20
MACRAME (SHAMBALLA) BRACELET Workshop BEG Sat 28 April, 1-3pm, £20
TREE OF LIFE SUNCATCHER Workshop BEG Sat 05 May, 1-3pm, £20
RAINDROPS & ROSES SET Workshop INT/ADV Sat 05 May, 4-6pm, £20
WIRE CROCHET NECKLACE Workshop BEG Sat 12 May, 1-3pm, £20
BLING RING Workshop INT/ADV Sat 12 May, 4-6pm, £20
BEGINNERS INTRO WORKSHOP  N/A Thu 17 May, 7-9pm, £20
CREATIVE COPPER 2 Workshop INT/ADV Sat 19 May, 2-6pm, £30
TWISTED WIRE EARRINGS Workshop INT/ADV Sat 26 May, 1-3pm, £20
JUNK-TO-JEWELLERY Workshop BAS-ADV Sat 2 June, 2-6pm, £30
CHARMING CHAINS Workshop INT/ADV Sat 16 June, 2-6pm, £30

Craft Haul: Walthamstow Craft Group creations – Feather & Glass Bead Earrings and Sandstone Disc Bracelet

Find full details of classes and workshops here on the Walthamstow Jewellery Group page.


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