Bespoke Crafting Workshops

Welcome to our new bespoke craft workshop database, designed for those who would like to bring private groups to Birkhill. These crafting experiences are ideal not only for learning new skills but for being creative together in a social way. Suitable for hen party attendees, baby shower groups, reunions, family outings, self-care & team-building days and good old-fashioned catch-ups with friends.


These workshops have all been tried and tested at Birkhill and are largely delivered by local artists and instructors - with a few from further afield thrown in. 


If you are interested in booking one of the following sessions, contact us in the first instance at hello@atbirkhillhouse.co.uk. We will take some details and then liaise with the artist to organise the proposed session.


If you are an artist looking to be included on our database, contact Lara Armitage directly: director@atbirkhillhouse.co.uk.

Lara Armitage

I am director At Birkhill House CIC. My vision when my husband and I bought the Birkhill Estate was to create an offering that would encapsulate my experience and love for crafting, animals and the outdoors. My approach to craft incorporates natural materials, including the fibre and feathers of our gorgeous residents, alongside upcycled and reclaimed items. Origami is one of my passions and I always have paper near to hand. My workshop space hosts overflowing bowls of cranes awaiting flight, files full of maps and old music sheets yearning to be rediscovered and objects in need of new lives. I am partial to upcycled crafts, using things that would otherwise go to waste. I enjoy teaching children and have spent many years running workshops designed for kids. Having made my start in costume design during my English Literature degree at the University of Edinburgh in the 1990s, I still fly a flag for theatrical/dramatic presentation and look to use things in unique ways.

Origami Flowers

£20 per person

Learn the ancient art of Japanese paper folding to create a bouquet of these delicate flowers. Choose from a huge variety of delicate origami papers, or bring something special to fold - scans or colour print outs of old letters or photos, for example. Create any colour scheme you can imagine! These make beautiful table centrepieces, or even a wedding bouquet!

All tools and materials will be provided.

4-8 people

Adults or accompanied teenagers only (14+) 

Length 2 hours

Paper Crane Mobile

£ 25 per person

 Tap into the ancient art of Japanese paper folding in this relaxing, mindful workshop, where you will learn to fold the iconic paper crane. Repeating the process nine times, you will then string our cranes from either copper wires or pieces of wood to create beautiful hanging mobiles, embellished with ceramic and glass beads. Make individual mobiles or work together to make a huge piece of art. These make beautiful gifts for new parents. No prior experience necessary.

4-6 people

Ages 14+

Length 3 hours

Christmas Tree Scenes

£25 per person

Learn to make beautifully folded origami Christmas trees and create festive scenes in balsa cheese boxes. Learn how to construct these gorgeously intricate folded trees and then mount them in balsa wood boxes to create charming festive tableaus. These look delightful hung on a wall, or on a sheltered or internal door in place of a wreath.They are a bit bigger than your average tree decoration but look lovely on the top in place of a star or an angel. You can continue with your festive folding skills at home to make Christmas card toppers, gift tags or decorations, or holiday bunting. 

4-8 people

Ages 12+

Length 2 hours

Cass Barron - Bookbinding with Cass

Cass is a self taught bookbinder who has a particular interest in working with pre-loved and everyday materials. She first delved into bookbinding while studying Fine Art Sculpture at Glasgow School of Art, making her own sketchbooks to record her creative process.​

After a brief stint in Newcastle and at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where she studied a Masters in Art Museum and Gallery Education, Cass moved to Edinburgh to take up the role of Development Officer with Voluntary Arts Scotland, where she worked for 8 years, providing support to voluntary-led creative groups across Scotland.​

In her early Edinburgh days, while volunteering with Remade in Edinburgh, a donation of leather (from an old sofa) re-ignited Cass’s interest in bookbinding and has led to her developing a range of upcycled bookbinding workshops, which she now teaches full time, both independently, under the name ‘Bookbinding with Cass’, and in collaboration with a range of artists and venues across Scotland as well as offering kits and workshops online.


"I get a real buzz out of sharing my passion for bookbinding and inspiring others to see the creative potential of pre-loved materials that might otherwise end up in landfill. It’s great to see people leave each workshop with a unique and usable book, ready to start its creative journey, plus the skills and know-how to make more at home."

Bookbinding - leather/pleather journal

£45 per person

Create a leather or pleather covered journal with and eye-catching exposed stitch and decorative inside pages. This book makes for a great sketchbook, memory book, journal or bespoke gift, with lots of opportunity to personalise. The focus will be on using remnant and recycled materials to make your book, with lots of tips and guidance on everyday materials you can incorporate. You are welcome to bring along your own papers to work into your book or if you have a theme in mind the workshop can be tailored to fit. Cass teaches a variety of bookbinding workshops so if you have another book structure in mind, please get in touch to discuss. This workshop is suitable for beginners or those who might have dabbled in bookbinding before.  

All tools and materials will be provided.

8 people

The workshop is aimed at adults but can be tailored for teenagers if a member of support staff is available to assist. 

Length 3.5 hours



Emma Jones - Wee Blue Press

Emma became fascinated with printmaking as an antedote to digital and web design. She loves sketching with and painting, getting covered in ink and using beautiful tools to create art.

Having experimented with linocut printmaking and monoprinting, she bought her own press - the wee blue press - which is neat enough to fit in her small studio/office. Over the last five years she has experimented with intaglio techniques, lithography and screen print. She also work with watercolour, ink and collage.

She documents her emotional reaction to the landscape around her using drawing, printing and natural materials.

Emma lives in the Scottish Borders with her husband and three kids, and two spaniels. 

Introduction to Linocut

£55 per person

Linocut printing is a great introduction to printmaking, and one that requires little specialist equipment. A design is carved into the lino block, then is covered in ink and printed. The design can be simple or complicated – the possibilities are endless.

We will create a simple linocut design to make a small edition of prints. You can then take your design away to print at home. All tools and materials provided. Some design ideas will be provided, but please feel free to bring along images, sketches or thoughts to work from. No experience necessary. Old clothes and an apron advisable.

5-6 people

Ages 16+

Length 3 hours

Introduction to Drypoint

£55 per person

Drypoint printing is a wonderfully simple technique, which involves marking the plate with a point (a needle/pen without ink/nail etc), working ink into those marks, and printing it. It can stand on its own, or be combined with watercolour, monoprint or other techniques. We will create a simple design to make a small edition of prints using a press. You can then take your plate away to print at home. All tools and materials provided.

No experience necessary. Suitable for beginners/refreshers and those wishing to experiment. Old clothes and an apron advisable.

5-6 people

Ages 16+

Length 3 hours

Introduction to Monoprint

£55 per person

Monoprint is a wonderfully expressive medium which is all about playing and experimenting. We will create trace monoprints (using a variety of implements to create lines and shapes), subtractive monoprints (removing ink from the plate to create an image) and will experiment with using leaves and feathers. This technique really is a chance to explore and get messy!

We will create a series of prints with and without a press, and cover what you need to get started at home. All tools and materials provided. No experience necessary. Old clothes and an apron advisable.


 5-6 people

Ages 16+

Length 3 hours

Magdalena Sobula

Since I remember, there was always yarn in our house. I grew up watching my mum and auntie knitting and crocheting and very early I became an enthusiastic crafter myself.

After moving to Scotland with my family I ran a small business, Stitching a Rainbow, selling custom made patchwork blankets and small crochet makes. I stopped in 2016, when I decided to turn my love of yarn and fabrics into a career.

I enrolled for BA in Design for Textiles Associate Programme with Glasgow Clyde College and Heriot-Watt University and followed with Master’s Degree, graduating in 2021.

I am a weave designer, self proclaimed alpaca fibre ambassador, knitter, crocheter, spinner and it brings me a great joy to share my passions with others.

In addition to leading workshops At Birkhill House CIC, I also run my own small business, Soft Stories Design.

Wool Processing for Spinning and Felting

£240 for up to 6 participants

If you have ever felt confused or overwhelmed by fibre processing, all the equipment, vocabulary or just the sheer volume of a single fleece, this workshop is for you. Working with small wool samples from several different wool breeds you will learn about wool properties by going through all processing steps yourself: skirting, washing, carding and combing. You will become familiar with fibre processing equipment and learn tips and strategies for processing at home and scaling up to process the whole fleece. Whether you choose to do it by yourself or get a group of likeminded individuals to join you, you will leave equipped with knowledge and confidence to choose and prepare fibre for your next project. 

6 people max

Ages 16+

Length 6 hours

Alpaca Fleece Academy

£700 for up to 4 participants

Why start small when you can start by taking the whole alpaca fleece all the way from dusty mess to fluffy clouds ready for spinning? This series of workshops is for crafters who want to take their skills to the next level and learn how to process alpaca fibre into yarn. Over the course of three sessions, you will learn the theory and practice of fibre processing, starting with skirting and washing, through picking, combing and carding, all the way to spinning into yarn. You will receive expert tuition and support to get the most of your fleece and walk away with the materials and knowledge to produce a ‘sweater quantity’ of handspun yarn. You are welcome to bring your own fleece (providing it is not moth infested) or buy fleece from one of our alpacas. All the tools and equipment will be provided. Please note that although drop spindle spinning and yarn design will be introduced but this is fibre processing course, we have separate workshops and courses to learn yarn spinning. 

4 people max

Ages 16+

Length 18 hours (3 x 6 hours)

Processing Wool and Alpaca Fibre

£240 for up to 6 participants

This all day workshop is an excellent choice for someone who wants to process their own fibre for spinning or felting but is unsure where to start. By taking various samples of wool and alpaca fibre through all processing steps from washing, through carding and combing to blending you will learn all about fibre properties, differences between wool and alpaca and how to choose the right fibre for your project. You will get a chance to try different fibre processing tools and equipment and you will learn how to scale up if you would want to work with a whole fleece. 

6 people max

Ages 16+

Length 6 hours

Blending Fibres and Yarn Design

£150 for up to 6 participants

Come and create an exciting colour palette while learning how to blend fibres of different colours and qualities in preparation for spinning or felting. You will get to play with a selection of natural fibres, including fibre from Birkhil’s own alpacas and sheep and other locally grown wool, and you will learn how to create bats, rolags and tops. You will get the chance to play and experiment with different proportions and preparations and see how your creation looks when spun into yarn. This workshop is great for crafters that would like to further their understanding of fibre and yarn properties, but no previous fibre knowledge is required to join in with the fun.

6 people max

Ages 16+

Length 3 hours

Drop Spindle for Beginners

£150 for up to 8 participants

This workshop will take you through the basics of yarn spinning, plying and using a top-whorl drop spindle. This portable method of spinning is an excellent first step before progressing to spinning yarn on the wheel. Working at your own pace you will be guided through progressively more challenging spins. You will be working with different fibre preparations, from commercially processed roving to hand made rolags. You will leave the class with your first length of handspun yarn as well as knowledge how to choose fibres, tools and projects for your new crafty hobby.

8 people max

Ages 16+

Length 3 hours

Introduction to Spinning

£300 for up to 6 participants

This double workshop is for crafters who want to learn how to spin their own yarns. It is a comprehensive introduction to spinning process, spinning equipment and natural fibres. During the first session you will learn the basics of yarn spinning and different fibre preparations. You will work on the drop spindle using park and draft method to spin your first length of yarn. In the second session you will be introduced to the spinning wheel – you will learn how it works, how to choose your first one, and you will practice treadling and plying. Both sessions are designed as a mixture theory and practice to ensure that you have hands on experience as well as good understanding of the spinning process to continue on your own. All equipment and a wide selection of fibres to learn and practice will be provided.

6 people max

Ages 16+

Length 6 hours (2 x 3 hours)

Understanding Fibre, Yarn and Textiles

£300 for up to 10 participants

For smallholders, sheep and alpaca owners, this whole day session is designed to provide knowledge and tools to make decisions about fleeces and fibre they producing. Part lecture, part demonstration, the session is designed to provide essential knowledge and practical advice to help navigate confusing world of fibre processing. The participants will learn all they need about how fibre becomes yarn and textile, different routes, costs, steps and actors involved. After booking, the attendees will be asked to fill a short questionnaire that will help tailor the session to their specific needs. On the day here will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion to ensure everyone leaves with answers and action plan.

10 people max

Ages 16+

Length 6 hours

Crochet for Beginners

£130 for up to 8 participants

This workshop is for complete beginners as well as ‘prodigal’ crocheters who would like to refresh their skills. You will start with slip knot and chain and end wherever your patience and enthusiasm will take you! A variety of yarns and suitable crochet hooks will be provided to help you find your favourites. We will talk about patterns, diagrams, symbols and techniques, yarn choices and hook brands. Whether you tried crochet before but got discouraged or never held hook in your hand before, rest assured you will be working at your own pace, stress free and with as much support as you need.

8 people max

Ages 16+

Length 3 hours


From Chain to Square

£420 for up to 6 particpants

This block of crochet workshops is designed with complete beginners in mind but if you have dabbled in crochet already, you will still get the full benefit of the course. Starting with slip knot and chain, you will be guided through a series of small tasks and projects to build a solid foundation of techniques and stitches. With expert tuition you will be guided to produce a selection of crochet squares and learn how to join them to make blankets, cushions, shawls or jumpers. You will learn how to choose yarns suitable for a chosen project and how to work with written pattern and diagrams. Patterns, crochet hooks will be provided as well as a wide selection of yarns to make your samples.

6 people max

Ages 16+

Length 9 hours (3x3 hours)

Doily Masterclass

£130 for up to 8 participants

Take your crochet skills to the next level and learn how to craft intricate doilies. During this three hour workshop you will learn how to work with fine cotton crochet threads, how to read patterns and diagrams and how to finish and care for your doily. Starting small with a simple coaster- size doily you will progress at your own pace to more challenging patterns. Your tutor, Magdalena, will guide you every step of the way, answer all your questions and provide advice for your future projects. Please note that this workshop is aimed at confident crocheters, it is not a ‘learn to crochet’ class. All materials and hooks will be provided, however feel free to bring your favourite hook (size 2.5 – 3mm will work best).

8 people max

Ages 16+

Length 3 hours

Crochet Makes

£100 + £5 per person for materials

This crochet workshop is a perfect choice for a crafty night out – grab a few friends and come work together on a little, fun crochet project. Plenty to choose from for every skill level and any occasion: heart coasters for Valentines day, Christmas stockings, rainbow keyrings, snowflakes, flowers, and more. Choose a project, book a date and we will provide hooks, yarns, instructions and expert tuition to ensure you all leave with a finished item. Please note that this workshop is not suitable for complete beginners, the ability to make a chain and a treble is essential.

8 people max

Ages 16+

Length 2 hours



Collaborative Art Session

£300 per group

Bring a group along to beautiful Birkhill to design and create a collaborative piece of art to put on your festive cards. Enjoy some early festive refreshments and banter, build your team’s resilience and take a moment out to be collectively creative. Magdalena will be on hand to guide you through the design process, suggest appropriate techniques and advise on materials and execution. Aimed at small businesses in the Lothians & Borders, these evening sessions are ideal for teams of 10 or fewer. How it works:

  • Arrive and tuck into some seasonal delights
  • Discuss potential design ideas and look through materials
  • Divide up tasks and begin to construct a design
  • Work happily and craftily until the card design is complete
  • Pop finished design into our photographic light box and be blown away by the result
  • Let Birkhill usher your card through the printing process
  • Receive your box of cards with plenty of time to send out to stakeholders, service users and valued customers

Please note: there will be an additional charge for printing that can be discussed at the time of booking.

4-12 people

Ages 12+

Length 4 hours


Sunshine Stewart - My Mama Knits

Hi – I’m Sunshine, the indie yarn dyer behind My Mama Knits. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I grew up surrounded by crafty types both in family and friends, and later studied Art and Art History at the University of NM. I made Scotland my home in 2004 and as an avid multi-crafter continue to be inspired by the nature, history and cultures of both places. Along with being the occasional workshop lead, you will most likely find me at Birkhill over excited while extracting and recording colour in the Dye Garden, quietly loving on one of the animals, or openly encouraging others to experiment with all manner of crafts.

Fabric Coil Coasters

£15 per person

Come join us for a fun session of companionship and crafting and go away with your own coiled coasters. There are no special skills necessary and materials will be provided for two sets of coasters, with lots of colours and fabrics to choose from. All tools and materials provided.

4-8 people

Ages 14+

Length 1.5 hours

Fresh Leaf Indigo Dyeing & Leaf Pounding

£20 per person

Explore uses for fresh indigo and woad and come away with your own hand dyed silk scarf or handkerchief as well as some leaf and flower printed paper.

Materials will be included. Indigo can stain clothes and hands and we will be working outside, so dress suitably.

4-8 people

Ages 14+

Length 1.5 hours

Eco-Printing and Petal Paints

£30 per person

Explore leaves and petals in this hands on session starting with eco-printing around a fire pit. We'll also work with ph sensitive petal paints and oak gall inks. You'll come away with several A5 sheets that can be later used for a variety of crafts. Materials included. Wear suitable outdoor clothes for the weather.

 4-8 people

Ages 14+

Length 2.5 hours

Halloween Needle Felting

£15 per person

Enjoy a Spooktacular session of Halloween themed needle felting. 

Learn to make eyeballs, pumpkins and witches cauldrons, or let the spirit of the season spark an original creation to life.

All tools and materials will be provided and additional supplies will be available to purchase.

4-8 people

Ages 12+

Length 2 hours

Quick Cowl

£18 per person

The Quick Cowl is a fun and funky knitting pattern that uses basic knitting skills, big needles and a variety of yarns to quickly produce a gorgeous and cosy knit. We will have an array of yarns in varying textures and colours to work with. Materials provided. Basic knitting skills are needed, such as the ability to cast on and knit stitch. 

4-8 people

Adults only

Length 2 hours

Gingerbread Houses

£15 per person

Come and join us at Birkhill House and make your very own needle felted house for the holidays. 

These sweet little houses look great on mantles or strung on the tree as ornaments. All tools and materials will be provided and additional supplies will be available to purchase. 

 4-8 people

Ages 14+

Length 2 hours

Solar Dyeing and Cyanotype

£40 per person

Harness the power of the sun to create naturally beautiful yarn and stunning cyanotype prints using flowers and plants from the At Birkhill House dye garden. We will be out in the dye garden gathering dyestuffs so dress accordingly.

*We will be setting up your jar on the day, but it will take a couple months for the sun to work her magic.

 4-8 people

Ages 14+

Length 2.5 hours

Tartan Rag Wreaths

£20 per person

Make your very own festive Tartan Rag Wreath in this easy but satisfying workshop. Choose from a huge variety of tartan scraps and create any colour scheme you can imagine! All tools and materials will be provided.

4-8 people

All ages, but under 10s must be accompanied by an adult.

Length 1.5 hours

Solar Dyeing

£25 per person

Harness the power of the sun to create naturally beautiful yarn, fibre or fabric. Easy, eco-friendly and sustainable, solar dyeing is a great way to play with colour without lots of expensive kit. We will be out in the dye garden gathering dyestuffs so dress accordingly.

*We will be setting up your jar on the day, but it will take a couple months for the sun to work her magic.

4-8 people

Ages 14+

Length 1.5 hours

Wizard Wands

£15 per person

Come and join us at Birkhill House for a fun session crafting your own wizard wand, perfect for finishing off a costume or simply adding to your everyday magical vibe. These wands also make a great handmade gift for your favourite Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings fans.All tools and materials will be provided. Please be aware that we will be working with paints and you may need to transport your wand semi-dry if time runs out! 

4-8 people

Ages 14+

Length 2 hours

Peg Loom Weaving

£65 per person

Make your own gorgeous soft seat pad, pet mat, or rug while learning an ancient weaving craft. Easy and fun, peg loom weaving is suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities. We will go over how to warp the peg loom, weave, finish off, and wash your piece. You can choose from dirty/natural fleece, coloured rovings, yarn or fabric. Use of a loom, materials, and tuition included.

At the end of the day should you like to continue your loom weaving journey, there is the option of purchasing the loom used during the workshop. Kits and materials are also available from our in-house shop.

3-8 people

Ages 14+

Length 5 hours


Roslyn Whiting - Roslyn Whiting Leathercraft

Roslyn was thirteen, at a youth camp, when she got the opportunity to learn how to hand-tool designs onto leather, and instantly loved it.

"I grew up in the city of Aberdeen.  My Grandparents lived on a croft around 30 miles away in the beautiful Aberdeenshire countryside.  I used to love visiting and felt ‘free’ listening to the birds and animals.  Although I grew up in a city, I had a strong pull to the countryside.  I now live in the small town of Melrose, surrounded by beautiful Scottish Borders countryside.  I use my surrounding countryside as inspiration for my designs making my products unique.

I have an HND in Spatial Design.  Although I don’t use my HND to design interiors and exhibitions anymore, I still use my college drawing board for coming up with new product designs.

I am a detailed person; I like to make the best products I can and work hard to use traditional methods and source quality materials to make products that will last.  I love the thought of my customers enjoying using my products for years.

I enjoy learning and developing my leatherwork skills.  Keep watching my website as I develop new products."

Hand-Stitch a Card Holder or Wallet

£85 per person

You will learn all the processes involved in hand-stitching leather and the extra finishes that make a quality card holder or wallet, using a choice of various leathers. All leather, materials and tools will be provided.  Bring a pack lunch!

3-5 people

Adults or accompanied teenagers only (14+) 

Length 6 hours (including over lunch), usually 10am-4pm

Learn how to Hand-Tool Leather

£35 per person

Learn the traditional craft of hand-tooling designs onto leather by making a coaster, keyring or picture. You will be taught how to take your own drawing and hand-tool it onto leather. Don’t worry if you don’t like drawing - templates and books of designs will be provided. There will also be stamps available including lettering and numbers. All leather, materials and tools will be provided.

4-6 people

Adults or accompanied teenagers only (14+) 

Length 3 hours

Hand-Stitch a Quality Leather Belt

£75 per person

You will learn all the processes involved in hand-stitching leather and the extra finishes that make a quality belt. All leather, buckles, materials and tools will be provided. All you need to bring is a belt that currently fits so we can measure it and make your new belt the perfect size, and a packed lunch!

3-5 people

Adults or accompanied teenagers only (14+) 

Length 6 hours (including over lunch) usually 10am - 4pm


contact

Birkhill House

Earlston TD4 6AR

email & phone

lara_armitage@hotmail.com

07779 339 653