Sonia London Craft Club

A Message from Sonia Bownes

The Courtauld Shop is thrilled to share this fabulous blog post from our friends at The London Craft Club. On Saturday March 25, we’ll join forces to bring you a day of DIY, artistic enrichment in celebration of Mother’s Day. Check out what LCC founder, Sonia Bownes has to say:

What must it be like to live a totally creative life? One where all your waking moments are devoted to creativity? I’ve been thinking about this a lot because of Bloomsbury Special Display – that remarkable group who made no compromises in their search for an artistic life, and produced a distinctive and glorious body of work in so many mediums. It’s the epitome of the artists’ life – wild and free and unfettered by laundry, tax returns and underwear.

Bloomsbury Bay Merchandised with Needlepoint

However most of us can’t really get away with all that – and anyway I like an evening ironing in front of the telly from time to time.  The ideal is to find the right balance of creative activity, so that it brings us joy, relief, inspiration and satisfaction – not chaos!

The reality of life is that we are often short of time and space for our creative endeavours, so it really helps to have a little supply of hand creative projects up your sleeve for when the moment is right. My personal favourite is anything to do with hand stitching.


Stitching is just you and a needle, and not much more, but you’re quickly on your way to making something lovely. Small hand-sewing project can fit in a purse, come on the Tube with you, go into the garden or even keep you company in front of the TV. Many can be done in one sitting, helping you avoid the guilt of the lurking Unfinished Object. Even novices can produce beautiful results, and yet there is infinite room to develop your skills. And of course, how remarkable is it to be able to say you made it yourself.

So, in celebration of the The Courtauld Gallery’s Special Display, London Craft Club’s needlework expert Zuzana Lalikova has teamed up with The Courtauld Shop to develop an introduction to tapestry (needlepoint) workshop. Zuzi has designed a set of four bright brooches, inspired by the bold colours and shapes of the Bloomsbury Special Display but on a very small scale. The badges make wonderful Mother’s Day gifts – what Mum wouldn’t be touched by a handmade gift?!


In Zuzi’s workshops, she’ll teach you the basics of needlepoint, then you’ll stitch a design and turn it into a brooch. It’s the sort of workshop I adore – a classic skill put to use creating something modern and very wearable. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll be ready to move on to something more ambitious, like the Cleopatra’ Needle Bloomsbury inspired tapestry kits.

Not to forget, on the day of the event, you take home a Bloomsbury Tapestry Kit, so you can immediately put your newly-acquired skills to use. Once mastered, you could even create your own project, inspired by the special display visited earlier on the day.

So, if you want to sneak a bit of the creative life into your day without having to go the whole hog –  tapestry could be craft for you.

“London Craft Club helps expert crafters and makers share their skills with you. Anyone can attend our workshops and discover the joy of making gorgeous things by hand. So let us bring more creativity into your life”

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