10 Creative Workshops You Can Take Virtually or IRL in 2021


No hobbies? No problem.

As shelter-in-place waxes on during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have been busying ourselves at home by trying to learn new skills. At this point, you've probably crushed out sourdough bread baking, learned a foreign language and how to play a new instrument. So sign up for fresh beginner workshops—in weaving, wood carving, floral arranging, creative writing, phone photography, and more—with creative makers and instructors based in the Bay Area. There are tons of virtual options as well as a few socially distanced IRL classes. Have fun!

Make a custom woven wall hanging with Meghan Shimek.

(Courtesy of Meghan Shimek)

Oakland-based fiber artist Meghan Shimek is bringing her popular off-loom weaving workshop online. Learn how to work with wool roving—the fluffy cloud-like material that makes up her pieces—and create your own one-of-a-kind, large-scale work of art. The workshop ($40) covers basic skills and allows for lots of time to explore and dive into your creative process.

// Register online at meghanshimek.com.

Learn Japanese wood carving with Melanie Abrantes.

(Courtesy of Melanie Abrantes)

Melanie Abrantes is known for lathing, where she turns simple pieces of solid wood and cork into unique bowls, plates, cups, and stands. In her workshops, she teaches Japanese wood carving, focusing its age-old meditative tradition of making things with your hands.

Her Mel's Carving Club is a subscription-based carving box ($30/ monthly or $360/year) that includes instructions, wood butter, sandpaper, and tools for creating a different project—think spoons, vases, and bowls—each month.

// Sign up at melanieabrantes.shop.

Polish up your smartphone photography skills with Anna-Alexia Basile.

(Courtesy of Anna-Alexia Basile)

San Francisco-based fashion, travel, and commercial photographer Anna-Alexia Basile has an eye for beautiful moments. Now, she's channeling her professional experience into an online photography course. Don't have a camera? No sweat. Basile will teach you how to capture those IG-worthy snaps on your phone. She'll offer tips on what makes a compelling image, how to train your photographer's eye and develop your own style, plus she'll share some techniques and editing know-how.

// Upcoming classes ($65 for 60-90 minutes) are offered on Jan. 21, Jan. 24, and Feb. 3; register at annaalexiabasile.com.

Make your own cutting board with Aleksandra Zee.

(Aleksandra Zee)

Oakland-based woodworker Aleksandra Zee, known for her signature chevron designs, has plucked a project from her recent book, The Way of the Woodshop, for a tutorial and digital workbook. In this online class, she'll walk you through the creation of a cutting board from sourcing lumber to its completion along with a list of all the materials and tools you'll need, plus safety and styling tips. Once you're registered, you'll receive a video link to complete the tutorial in your own time.

// Sign up ($70) at aleksandrazee.com.

Throw pottery at Dusted and Blue.

(Courtesy of Dusted and Blue)

Learn the foundations of the pottery wheel during a six-week course with Dusted and Blue founder/ceramicist Sam Lee, who'll teach you the basics of throwing, trimming, and glazing. By the end of the course, composed of weekly two-and-a-half-hour classes, you'll be able to make your own cups and bowls on the wheel. Plus, you'll have access to the studio during business hours to practice at your leisure.

Classes are kept to just five people to guarantee social distancing and allow for one-on-one attention with Lee. All wheel stations are set six feet apart, masks must be worn at all times, and temperatures will be taken at the door. Classes sell out quickly and are updated every six weeks.

// Six-week courses are $325; 1242 Mason St. (Nob Hill), dustedandblue.com.

Create bespoke floral arrangements with Ash + Oak.

(Courtesy of @ashandoakfloral)

Everyone knows that flowers make you happy, and spending a bit of thoughtful time creating floral arrangements can be a valuable mindfulness practice. The creative women at Ash + Oak are now offering Zoom workshops to help you start arranging flowers like a pro. In only eco-friendly packaging, you'll receive a bucket of fresh seasonal blooms (locally sourced, our course), a pair of shears, some chicken wire, and a vase delivered to your home in the Bay Area, Sacramento, or Grass Valley/Nevada City.

// Two-hour classes ($175) are one on one, but you'll receive a discount when you sign up with friends (groups of 10+ get $15 off per person); register at ashandoak.co.

Fold paper stars and geometric garlands with Zai Divecha.

(Courtesy of Zai Divecha)

San Francisco-based artist Zai Divecha creates intricate art with the simplest medium: paper. Via infinite folds, pleats, and rolls, she transforms plain white sheets into delicate yet precise forms. But before you can take a stab at recreating her take on Coit Tower, you'll want to learn some basic shapes. Divecha's free online tutorials will guide you through the making of simple paper stars (this one is doable for kids) as well as more complex geometric garlands.

// Get started at zaidivecha.com.

Breathe and flow with Moxie Yoga and Fitness.

(Courtesy of @sharkysugar)

We're all feeling a little out of whack. Realign and breathe along with anatomy nerd and yoga teacher Caitlin Ryan during Moxie Yoga's new Foundational Alignment workshop. Fitting for both beginners and seasoned yogis, Ryan's class centers around a Hatha-style slow flow that is accessible to all and emphasizes injury prevention and modifications as needed.

// Foundational Alignment will be offered at at 1pm on Feb. 6 (more classes will be offered monthly); register ($20 for 80 minutes) at clients.mindbodyonline.com; moxie.yoga.

Paint, write, and draw with Case for Making.

(Courtesy of Case for Making)

The Outer Sunset's Case for Making is stuffed with handmade watercolors and thoughtfully curated art supplies from around the world. But more exciting is that you can take classes in practically everything—creative writing as art, paint auras and portals, collage and watercolor, and more. Classes ($30-$35) are offered on an ongoing basis and fill up quickly.

// Case for Making, 4037 Judah St. (Outer Sunset), caseformaking.com.

Learn a little bit of everything at Workshop SF.

(Courtesy of @workshopsf)

Need a new hobby but don't have a clue what you're into? Get inspired by the many classes offered by WorkshopSF. With affordable rates ($25-$95), you can try your hand at block printing, soy candle making, or even macrame. They've even posting DIY videos on their Instagram, and offer private Zoom-based classes in a variety of skills for group events and parties.

// WorkshopSF, 1310 Haight St. (Panhandle), workshopsf.org.

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