Chawton House, Hampshire, October 2020. With staying at home becoming the rule rather than exception, many of us have returned to traditional ways of occupying our time, making things with our hands, growing plants in the garden, or picking up a pen and starting to write. These activities have a long history at Chawton House, where generations of the Austen and Knight families entertained themselves with creative pursuits: whether through literature, embroidery and lace-making or painting, sketching and more.
November is therefore craft month at Chawton House! This means plenty of opportunities to hone one’s creativity as the nights draw in. With workshops including photography, willow working, creative writing, wreath making and bead embroidery, it’s the perfect chance to learn a new skill. Chawton House will also share free online tutorials, including a how-to guide on lace tatting and making your own fabric flower.
As well as hosting a series of creative workshops, Chawton House is also launching its special exhibition, titled Made in Lockdown, showcasing items created during Lockdown.
“I’m particularly proud of what the team and volunteers achieved during Lockdown and it’s wonderful to be able to feature some of the hard work in our brand new exhibition,” says Chief Executive, Katie Childs. “When Chawton House closed its doors in March, we were determined not to mothball but continue to create connections and community when people needed it the most. We knew we were in the midst of a pivotal moment in history so in April we asked our volunteers to create something for us that we’d later feature in the house when we could re-open. Chawton House is a place where people meet, celebrate and share ideas, and there was a wish to still perform that function during lockdown. The result is Made in Lockdown and we are grateful to all who participated.”
Did you make something in lockdown, or are you now inspired to embark on a creative project? Share your work with us on social media or set a new goal, using #MadeinLockdown
Wednesday 11 November to Sunday 29 November
Over Lockdown, many of Chawton House’s volunteers used their deep knowledge of the house and gardens as inspiration for a creative project. The result is Made in Lockdown, an exhibition that runs throughout Chawton House, showcasing poetry, arts, crafts and other imaginative projects created during lockdown. In their own words, volunteers explain the story behind their work, reflecting on both the escapism and isolation of entertaining yourself at home. Placed suggestively within the historic rooms, these contemporary pieces encourage connections to be made between solitude and creativity, past and the present.
Included in price of admission
Tuesday 3 October
Saturday 14 November
In-house photographer Claire Lewis will guide you to take your photography to the next level. Don’t worry about what type of camera you have, it’s all about enjoying the craft of capturing images! Taking place in the beautiful setting of Chawton House.
£45 (includes 20% discount on lunch from the Old Kitchen takeaway service)
Saturday 14 November
10am – 1pm **SOLD OUT**
1.30pm – 4.30pm **SOLD OUT**
Held in the historic Dyers Barn on the Chawton House estate, this socially-distanced outdoor winter workshop is the perfect way to get ready for Christmas. In this 3-hour festive star willow workshop, you will make a large willow star covered in random weaving and decorated it with fairy lights. The workshop will be led by Farnham-based willow weaver and basket-maker, Judith Needham.
£45 per person
Sunday 15 November
Booking slots 11.00, 12.00 or 1.00pm
To help brighten up the gardens for Spring and Summer next year, this Autumn we’re planting 20,000 bulbs across the gardens from late winter flowering yellow Aconites, vibrant blue Scilla to narcissi in brilliant yellows, whites and creams.
What you’ll need: a trowel, suitable clothing and footwear and lots of enthusiasm! Our gardener, Julia, will hand out prepared pots of 25 or 50 bulbs and you’ll be given a spot in the garden to plant them in.
Saturday 21 November, 10.30am – 1.00pm
Sunday 29 November, 10.30am – 1.00pm
Get ready for a cosy Christmas at home by making a festive or advent wreath on this 2.5 hour workshop in the spectacular surroundings of the Chawton House parkland. Led by Rebecca Tiller, an award winning, Master florist and qualified teacher. Rebecca was awarded a silver gilt and bronze medal at RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year Competitions and loves to pass on her skills and knowledge and adores all things Christmas!
£55 per person
Sunday 22 November
6pm – 9pm UK (GMT)
1pm – 4pm USA (EST)
This virtual class is the perfect workshop project for book lovers and Jane Austen fans looking to try their hand at bead embroidery. Materials are included in the course cost; you will be sent a full kit with all the necessary materials and a printed instruction booklet.
£45 plus shipping. Includes all materials
Saturday 28 November – 11am UK GMT
Sunday 29 November – 5pm UK GMT
From windswept moor to rain-lashed coast, weather adds another dimension to a story. This session considers harnessing everything from heatwaves to blizzards and how these affect both plot and character.
£7.50 per session