When I first moved to London, I thought it would be nice to have a cafe where people could come to craft or paint. Then I found out that there already was such a place in Kings Cross: Drink, Shop, Do. Ah well, there went my brief dream of millionaire-dom. I was quite excited about Drink, Shop & Do and planned to go check them out but it took me almost 2 years to do so because Kings Cross isn’t exactly near my place of on my commute path. Recently, I thought of it again- probably when I was doing my mid year New Year’s resolution check-in- and decided to sign up for their silver ring workshop. Would you believe the darn thing was sold out? I was determined to try it so I made a note of the next event and made sure to book in advance. (A friend wanted to come with me but when she tried to buy tickets, it was sold out. Again. Maybe I SHOULD start that craft cafe after all…)
The day of the workshop came and the weather was awful. I really didn’t feel like hiking all the way there but I’d already paid 70ish quid. Sigh. So I went. And arrived 45 minutes early! I figured it was a cafe so I should be able to sit and wait for the workshop to start, right? At most, I’d order a drink, piece of cake? Wrong. I was told it was too early so I couldn’t go up. OK, before I get into all that, maybe I should cover the format of the cafe.
You step into the ground floor and there’s a section selling gifts, cards and what not. It reminds me of an old school gift shop and is pretty cool. The ground floor section is quite small- has 2 or so tables only and then you can go up to the 1st floor or down to the basements where the toilets are.
I was told I could sit in the basement- which was really dark, badly lit and generally unwelcoming- but not head up. I said I’d order a drink and something to eat. They said no it was too full. So I ended up waiting outside. Yup for 45 minutes. Luckily there was an old patio table and chair set- albeit a broken chair- so I could perch there and wait. This would have been OK but I kept seeing people heading upstairs. Perhaps 1 or 2 tables might have been joining people or have had a reservation but 5-6 parties of several people? Added to the fact the waiter had to check with someone whether I could go
up, I suspect they just didn’t want to allow workshop participants up early. I wasn’t very impressed.
It finally turned 7 or 730- forget the exact start time of the class- and I was allowed up. I’d actuall checked 10 minutes prior to the start. Still a no. I really would have left by then, except for the pre-paid money. Damn. That would teach me to commit in advance, I found myself wondering about service returns- we all know about returning goods you buy- how about services?
When I finally went upstairs, it was quite nice (picture above- apologies to all the diners I had caught on camera!)- and you walk straight down the room to a little enclave which is where the class was held. (It’s actually a lot darker than it appears in the photo!) Would you believe there were already 5 or 6 class participants inside?!
Apart from that, the room was set up quite nicely 🙂 Here I need to differentiate between the location (Drink, Shop & Do) and the workshop organisers (WorkBench, which was formed by 2 best friends) who were lovely people.
The workshop (£49) covered the price of making 1 ring and we had the option to pay for a 2nd (£25 for silver, £35 for gold) i was greedy and signed up for 2. BIG mistake. If you’ve never done this kind of jewellery making before, you will end up taking some time. I ended up quite stressed! I highly recommend doing 1 ring only on your 1st try.
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect before the class. I like the element of surprise so I didn’t do any research. It might have been better if I had! It turns out we were supposed to use a pen knife to shave a plastic-wax model which would then be cast into silver. OK, I had to revise most of the designs in my head then… (too intricate for my 1st attempt e.g. a thin wavy band with leaves curling all around it… uh huh… I’m sure my pen knifing skills are that good…)
We were split into several tables, with 4-8 people per table. I ended up solo as my friend hadn’t gotten the ticket in time- it would definitely have been more enjoyable with a friend as people tended to talk only to the people they knew and there wasn’t an air of camaraderie. All of us had a placemat of materials to start with: the plastic ring model (blue thing below), pen knife, torch and, most importantly, thimble! You don’t want to lose a thumb! The lighting in the room was pathetic- even with the torch, we could barely see. Some people ended up flashing the torch through their glasses in an attempt to magnify it AND using their phones as well. Not ideal.
The photo below gives you an idea of how dark the room was! I’d say it’s a pretty accurate depiction of the lighting situation in the room… You can see all the little blue bits around the ring- we were supposed to shave the wax off in that way. The technique’s quite difficult to master as you can’t shave too much or the ring would break. Apply too much pressure? The ring would break. Mine broke, Twice. It was really embarrassing.
These are the 2 rings I ended up making! You can see how different they are from the patterns I’d drawn at the start of the class. I actually didn’t have a model in mind for Ring 2. I was just trying to finish it before it was too late! I was like the last person at my table left!!!
All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good night out – the Work Bench team was really nice and it was fun seeing my creation take place. There was a couple who came to make their wedding rings. I thought that was quite a meaningful thing to do! I can definitely see myself going back- but only if my friend buys her ticket first! 🙂