Play Hard

11 creative workshops and craft courses at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, this summer

From throwing clay at the potter’s wheel to carving your own linoprint and crafting with other sewing señoritas, spark your creative flair with The Biscuit Factory’s programme of adult craft courses.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 21.04.2022

advertisement feature


Lino Print: Saturday 1st May and Sunday 23rd October (10.30am – 4.30pm)

Drypoint Print: Saturday 18th June (10.30am – 1.30pm)

Rubber Stamp: Saturday 24th July (10.30am – 1.30pm) and Sunday 20th November (10.30am – 3.30pm)

Artist’s Book: Sunday 21st August (10.30am – 4.30pm)

Fabric Printing: Sunday 18th September (10.30am – 4.30pm) 

The workshops: With their fleeting presence, birds pronounce themselves with a song and a glimmer. There’s something magical in their flight, especially when gliding over the rolling waters of the sea.

And in these workshops, you’ll discover just how to capture that magic across a variety of mediums in a unique work of art created by you.

Experienced printmaker and art tutor Michelle Wood will teach you everything you need to know about carving and printing your own linoprints, etching your own drypoint prints, designing your own rubber stamps, making your own collages and books, and printing your own tea towels and bags – all themed around her gorgeous sea tern prints.

Each craft session is suitable for beginners, as well as those looking to further develop their printmaking experience, and includes tuition, all materials and use of printmaking equipment, including the use of a traditional printing press.

Lino Print Tickets: £75.00

Drypoint Print Tickets: £37.50

Rubber Stamp Tickets: £37.50

Artists Book Tickets: £75.00

Fabric Printing Tickets: £75.00


Repair and Making: Sunday 8th May

Inspired by Nature: Sunday 8th May

Portraits: Saturday 4th June

Time: 11.00am – 1.00pm

The workshops: Ailish Henderson is an artist, researcher and teacher, who has worked with paint and textiles for the last 13 years.

In these three creative workshops, Ailish will impart her wisdom and delve into the world of emotional repair and making, while helping you create your very own textile masterpiece.

In Repair and Making, you’ll discover ‘Boro’, which is the Japanese word to describe clothes and household items which have been patched-up and repaired many times – a technique passed down now for centuries and often used to create family heirlooms.

In Inspired By Nature, you’ll be guided through the process of making your own nature-inspired work of art with paper, collage, other media and held together with stitch.

And in her Portraits craft day, Ailish will help you use various techniques – including sketching, portraiture, collage, painting and hand stitch – to create a portrait ready to adorn any of the walls in your home.

For each craft session, all materials are included, as well as free tea, coffee and a sweet treat from The Factory Kitchen.

Tickets: £28.00 (Portraits workshop £32.00


 A Sense of Place: Sunday 15th May

Wildflowers: Sunday 5th June

Beach Hut: Saturday 9th July

Time: 10.15am – 4.00pm (for all three workshops)

The workshops: With years of experience in investigating the power that the natural landscape has to ground, nurture and strengthen, textile artist Donna Cheshire is ready to impart her wisdom and expertise in a series of three workshops focusing on A Sense of Place, Wildflowers and Beach Huts. 

Do you love pottering about in the garden, strolling along the shoreline or striding across the open countryside? Creating a textile artwork inspired by your favourite place is for you. Or maybe you find the sense of detail in nature to be the most amazing thing about it? In which case, focusing on local wildflowers could be just your cup of tea. Do you dream of having your own beach hut by the sea one day? You know which workshop we’re going to suggest…

In all three craft days, Donna will help you use textile techniques such as appliqué, hand stitching and needle felting to create a textile artwork that really brings your chosen theme to life in the most innovative and personal way – ready to brighten up your home afterwards.

All textile materials will be provided on the day.

Tickets: £45.00 (per workshop)



 Date: Saturday 21st May  

Time: 12.30pm – 4.30pm

The workshop: Sewing señoritas, have your needles at the ready – because this is an unrivalled opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business.

Experimental textile artist Lucy Freeman takes a modern look at embroidery, using large, textured stitches in a bold, painterly style. In this craft day, she’ll teach you contemporary embroidery techniques used specifically for hoop art – an easy-to-learn, quick and innovative way to embroider.

Together, you’ll cover the whole process from designing, stitching and how to finish hoops neatly for your work of art to be hung on the wall. And expect lots of gorgeous botanical and floral imagery to draw from, as well as plenty of finished embroidery pieces to look through for inspiration.

All materials are provided and whether you’re a complete beginner of have years of sewing experience behind you, Lucy will be on hand throughout the day to give you some expert guidance.

Tickets: £65.00



Date: Sunday 22nd May

Time: 11.00am – 3.00pm

The workshop: Electric hand tufting isn’t something we get to try our hand at every day, which is why we’re so excited for this workshop from Loop and Yarn creator, and South Shields local, Ruth O’Reilly.

Here, she’ll teach you how to use an electric hand tufting machine to produce a wall piece with one-to-one guidance and support. All materials are provided – including yarn, backing cloth, tufting machines and frames (accommodating pieces up to 45cm x 45cm) – and there will be basic motif templates available on the day. However, participants are encouraged to attend with a simple design in mind.

Ruth will then take your finished pieces away to back them, before returning them to The Biscuit Factory within 14 days for you to collect and take home.

Tickets: £90.00



Date: Saturday 28th May and Saturday 16th July

Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm

The workshop: Learn about the Japanese craft of origami and make your own origami paper lampshade, in this one-day craft session led by creative design studio Cabinet of Curiosity.

Here, you’ll learn about the heritage of this ancient craft, explore origami crease patterns, learn about traditional Japanese paper folding and contemporary techniques, and hand-fold a series of origami samples using different techniques and patterns.

Whatever your skill level, the experts from Cabinet of Curiosity will be on hand throughout the day to lend their guidance and support – enabling you to develop your paper craft skills towards making an origami lampshade from Italian paper using a pre-prepared design template.

All materials and equipment will be provided.

Tickets: £80.00



Date: Saturday 28th May and Saturday 16th July

Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm

The workshop: Explore Japanese Katagami stencil patterns that inspired the artistic textile designs of Liberty & Co and William Morris in this one-day workshop led by creative design studio Cabinet of Curiosity.

You’ll learn all about the craft and heritage of Katagami patterns – featuring Monkiri cut paper emblems of flowers, plants, animals and birds – and there will also be the opportunity to hand-print a series of Katagami stencils on paper using the artists’ stencil library, as you work towards creating your own patterned stencil to take home with you.

Whatever your skill level, the experts from Cabinet of Curiosity will be on hand throughout the day to lend their guidance and support, with all materials and equipment provided on the day.

Tickets: £80.00



Date: Every Wednesday from 8th June to 13th July

Time: 10.30am – 12.30pm

The workshop: There are plenty of still life classes knocking about, but how often do you get the chance to examine a little of the North East’s profound industrial heritage while you sketch?

Well, that’s exactly what local artist Mick Smith will help you to experience in this six-week craft course, designed around helping you to develop your observational skills through the still life studies of industrial machines and objects.

Suitable for all levels, Mick will take you through the basic and more advanced drawing techniques, while also having some fun and breaking the rules to allow your personal style to shine. The result can be as traditional or as contemporary as you choose.

Over the six sessions, you’ll use pencil, charcoal and pastel or bring your own preferred medium to life.

Tickets: £120.00



Birds: Saturday 11th June and Saturday 23rd July

Cats: Saturday 16th July

Dogs: Saturday 20th August 

Time: 10.15am – 4.45pm, (Birds workshop at 10.30am – 1.30pm)

The workshops: Discover the world of working with wire with North East sculptor Zoe Robinson, who will help you immortalise some of your favourite animals into quirky and characterful works of art.

With their fleeting presence, birds pronounce themselves with a song and a glimmer. There’s something magical in their flight, so why not try and capture that magic in a unique work of art created by you?

Or what about our feline friends? Their swiftness, sure-footedness and agility never fail to amaze us. Plus, they give some of the best cuddles going!

And who could forget our four-legged family members… we reckon our dogs deserve a little immortalising through the medium of art, too – don’t you?

In each of her creative workshops, Zoe will provide one-to-one tuition throughout the day to help you learn a variety of techniques that will help you examine form, shape and balance.

All materials are provided and no previous experience is necessary. Participants are encouraged to bring along an image of their chosen animal, preferably with views from the front, back and sides. Sketches or photographs of details – such as beaks, paws, feet or head profiles – will also be useful.

Birds Tickets: £60.00

Cats Tickets: £125.00

Dogs Tickets: £125.00


Date: Sunday 26th June

Time: 10.30am – 1.00pm

The workshop: It’s the one you’ve all been waiting for – your chance to get behind the potter’s wheel and recreate that iconic Ghost moment!

Award-winning ceramicist Kirsty Adams will teach you everything you need to know in order to throw and turn a moon jar vase and base in textured white porcelain, ready to take home and fill with all your favourite flowers.

Before you do, though, Kirsty will take your creation away to be glazed and fired, and will arrange a time with you for the jar to be collected again from The Biscuit Factory.

No previous experience is necessary, as the craft session is suitable for everyone from complete beginners to those looking to further improve their pottery skills. Plus, all materials and equipment will be provided for you, so all you need to bring is yourself and a willingness to get messy and creative! 

Tickets: £45.00



Date: Sunday 10th July, Sunday 25th September and Sunday 11th December

Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm

The workshop: Yorkshire-based landscape painter Paula Dunn will lead this informal craft day that will see participants learn how to create expressive landscapes using oil paints and cold wax medium.

An experimental course, during this workshop you’ll be creating quick, wet-on-wet and dynamic paintings which are malleable from start to finish. Paula will share her expert techniques for creating real atmosphere in your work, including blending techniques using brayers, palette knives and brushes.

Designed for all levels of painting experience, it’s recommended participants wear aprons or old clothes as things are sure to get a little messy! But at the end of your day, you’ll have completed a series of small landscape paintings to take home and display with pride.

Tickets: £125.00

Other stories by Becky Hardy

What’s on in the North East this June

Becky Hardy

5 of the best herbal teas and their benefits

Becky Hardy

What to expect at the newest of Ponteland restaurants, Bawn

Becky Hardy

We went to the opening of Lilidorei at The Alnwick Garden

Becky Hardy

7 of the best summer rosés under £10

Becky Hardy

13 of our favourite bottle shops and wine bars in Newcastle

Becky Hardy