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Muddy gets creative: with Japanese tie dye


Have you heard? Crafting, not cocktails, is the new cool. I’m not saying that champagne martinis in your local bar is totally *out* but the new way to unwind with the girls is by getting creative. Yup, there’s real figures that show, not only are ‘Stitch ’n Bitch’ sessions around the UK on the rise but so are pottery, crochet, baking and jam making classes. That’s right, folks, granny hobbies are in – in a big way. And I think I’ve worked out the reason why. Read on for the first in my new series of Muddy Get Creative posts…


The view from the Canvaspace studio

Canvaspace is a purpose built studio tucked on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells, in Kent. I spent the day there one Saturday in March and having rushed around madly, first thing, getting the Mudlets to various morning clubs I drove down High Woods Lane and within a minute the road turned into a track and I was immediately lifted. As the surrounds changed into open rolling fields full of sheep and a splendid view unfolded – I felt my stress melt away with the town behind me.


Soon I was in a very different place, Dodhurst Farm to be precise, and a grown up day of doing something entirely for myself stretched before me. I was about to try out Shibori, otherwise known as Japanese tie dye. The last time I tie dyed anything was when I was seventeen, which, come to think of it, is pretty much also the last time I remember having free-time on my hands.

And there of course is the explanation for why these good ol’ fashioned crafting courses are having such a comeback. None of it’s really about ‘improving’ ourselves. They just provide a simple pleasure and are the perfect antidote to our busy lives. Meditation? Pah! I don’t know about you, but ‘Mindfulness’ and me do not go well together. As an ex-health & fitness editor I know it’s good for me – and might just solve every ailment known to modern man. But I just can’t keep my mind in the present moment. I’ve tried it at home, I’ve tried it in the car, I’ve tried it in a spa. Trying to sit and relax doesn’t work because my brain simply won’t switch off. Are you the same? The only way I’ve found to relax is to *do* something different. Something that takes me away from the everyday. Something that I’m so momentarily absorbed in that I will forget about work deadlines, the vet bills and the Mount Everest-sized pile of washing that needs sorting.


Oh and at the end of the day I *do* like something to show for my efforts. So I was delighted when Amanda Duke, who led the course, said my scarf was the star of the day. Here I am, above, beaming proudly, in those fetching Latex gloves, as I unfurl it for the first time. Competitive, moi?12645141_1681182048791343_8606316753126300854_n_Fotor_Collage

Above is just a selection of the amazing bits that we produced that day. If you’re feeling inspired, Canvaspace does a whole host of other courses, from Portrait Photography to Spoon Carving. You’ll no doubt meet a bunch of lovely new people like I did and have lots of interesting grown up conversation. And you’ll get to eat home baked cake, and soup and bread, all included in the price, thanks to Anne who runs the studio. Look at this fab spread, below.


The next Shibori – Japanese tie dye course with Amanda Duke is on July 15, 10.30am to 4.30pm, and costs £70. Be quick if you want to snap up one of the remaining places. I definitely got my value for money out of the day, making as many items as my enormous pile of elastic bands and marbles would allow.

Friends and family, please look away now, *leans in and whispers* it’s tie dye totes for everyone’s birthday this year!

Find more ideas here


4 comments on “Muddy gets creative: with Japanese tie dye”

  • Jacqi A April 5, 2016

    Canvaspace is the most beautiful relaxaspace of them all. About to go again and cannot wait.

    • aliagnew April 6, 2016

      Relaxaspace – that’s the perfect word! I couldn’t agree more Jacqi. The great thing about a creative course is taking something home to remind you of your day. Enjoy your next visit! (And Anne’s cakes!)

  • Amanda Duke April 6, 2016

    Great to read your words and see your photos. Glad you enjoyed the day and that you found it relaxing. I am looking forward to teaching this course again at Canvaspace on July 15th and cannot wait to sample the yummy cakes again.

    • aliagnew April 6, 2016

      Thanks Amanda and I am continuing to enjoy my beautiful scarf (I kept if for myself of course…! LOL) Have fun on July 15th.


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