Believe it or not, Ottawa offers really cool and inventive ways to learn new things. I did the searching for you, and if you’re curious, you might find something here that intrigues you, interests you, and lulls you into a reality you’ve never experienced before. I love to learn, so I finally signed up for some classes that I had never pictured myself ever doing. But, I can now say, that they just might have become one or two of my own labours of love.
sewing

Sewing 101 – Fabrications

Memories from childhood swirl in my mind of other people sitting down at sewing machines, making these amazing creations out of patterns, or simply on their own terms. I had never had any interest in sewing, but after a good look at the Fabrications Ottawa website, I was really drawn to the beginner classes. There are only a couple of those to choose from, so it isn’t too overwhelming to pick a preferred option. First on offer is the Express Beginner Sewing, which has you making an infinity scarf. The second is a course where you create an Easy Lined Tote. Simply for the reason of scheduling, I made a commitment to the tote class. For $65.00, this is perfect for the person who has never touched a sewing machine, or someone who does have a bit of experience but needs a refresher. There’s a supply list online, and if fabric is completely foreign to you, the employees at Fabrications are more than happy to help you pick something out. Otherwise you have the option of grabbing the fabric from wherever you please. This class requires 1 meter of main fabric, ½ meter of lining fabric, and thread.

Once everyone was settled and ready at their sewing machine (for in class use), we watched our instructor demonstrate what exactly we were going to be doing and how we were going to do it. This enabled us to practice the basics and create a functional tote bag with lining and top stitching. Another great thing about this class is that it’s a small group, so the instructor can come around and help out whenever you need it. The store itself is super cool, with an amazing array of different fabrics to choose from, patterns, and sewing machines you can rent by the hour. This learning experience actually had me registering for another class and buying my own machine. Stay tuned for the sale of my very own tote bags….maybe.

glassblowing

I turned to glassblowing for the second workshop on my quest to becoming an artisan. There’s only one glassblowing teaching studio in Ottawa, so it was easy to choose a place. Originally I had bought a Groupon for the new “beadteaser class” – a beginner entry-level class on flameworking, which is a small-scale version of glass blowing. However, this class was so popular, that I couldn’t even find a date that wasn’t already fully booked, so I turned to the “Paperweight Class”, the first part of the “Beginner Glassblowing Series”. Throughout the three hours of this class, be prepared to learn the fundamentals of glassblowing, along with five of your peers. Everyone gets a chance to work one on one with the instructor, while the rest observe, help out, and/or ask questions. After a flawless demo, it was our time to make signature paperweights (each person took about 20 minutes). We learned how to gather multiple layers of glass on the end of a punty, by inserting it into an extremely hot furnace and dipping the end in molten glass. Because I went last, I had the luxury of learning from those who went before me. Gathering the glass is easier than it sounds – there are multiple times that you have to collect the molten glass, always rotating the punty. After you gather this glass, you marver it across a steel tabletop, with the intention of pushing as much glass off the punty as possible, so you are able to shape a nicely sized paperweight and break this glass off. Before finally breaking off the glass and essentially finishing your paperweight, you dip the still molten glass into a pile of small shattered pieces of coloured glass so that your paperweight picks up a design of some sort inside – mine was a flower modeled after an example paperweight.

After another surprisingly gratifying workshop that could truly become a potential hobby, I’m definitely looking forward to taking more classes in the future. There’s a glass pumpkin class coming up in the fall – what a fabulous way to get crafty for Halloween!

Finding a hobby is not an easy task – especially a creative one. It’s fabulous that our own city offers these learning opportunities that are also supremely beneficial for our minds. They teach not only the skill itself, but creativity, hard work, and the ability and opportunity to work with others. I don’t know what exactly you’re into, but I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone once and a while and try out something new. I don’t think you’ll regret it.