Alrighty Aucklanders, it’s back to school we go. We’re not talking about an old stuffy trigonometry class or anything that involves dissecting unfamiliar texts or creatures. We’re talking about classes and workshops dedicated to all things fun, frivolous and creative. Thankfully, for those wishing to sink their teeth into learning a new skill, a bunch of workshops have popped all over Auckland with every kind of class imaginable.
We’ve rounded up Auckland’s best workshops where you can learn a skill or two—from the art of the bonsai to fermenting your own fruit and veggies, as well as everything in between. No schoolbooks, protractors or calculators in sight.
Corban Arts Estate
True to it’s name, Corban Arts Estate has workshops dedicated to every artistic discipline you could dream up. Here you can fine-tune your paintbrush skills with their painting programmes that explore everything from landscapes and portraiture, right through to abstract. Or, branch out and try your hand(s) at other media types—they have classes covering everything from clay to carving wood. Words more your artistic weapon of choice? Not to worry, they’ve got writing workshops here too!
Studio One Toi Tū
Studio One Toi Tū is your one-stop shop for Auckland workshops relating to anything creative. With the Maori name for art, ‘Toi’ in in it’s namesake, you can be sure to find plenty of wonderful art and craft courses here in a range of disciplines. We’re talking jewellery making, resin art, painting and claywork and everything in between. Not only that, this iconic Ponsonby heritage building also houses regular exhibitions, to keep you well and truly inspired between workshops.
If you’re a bit of a magpie and fancy the idea of sporting your very own bling, then enrolling in a workshop or two at Whau Studios is most definitely in order. This Point Chevalier workshop offers a range of contemporary jewellery classes for all skill sets and tackles tasks like making wax casts and setting bezels. Not only that, they’ve also got workshop bench spaces available for short and long term, for you to prop yourself into as you create all the shiny goods than you can shake a stick at.
New Zealand School Of Art And Fashion
Although predominantly a full-time institute for those wanting to tackle their creative learning at a tertiary level, NZSAF—Formerly Hungry Creek—runs short courses for those wanting to satiate their creative urges in shorter spurts. Here you can spend your weekends or evenings at ceramic workshops pinching, slabbing and coiling your heart out (all industry terms, we promise). There’s also courses that will take you through the ins and outs of jewellery creation — leaving you with your very own sparkles to take home and treasure.
Tucked away on Cross Street you'll find the creative powerhouse that is The Warren, a dedicated wood workshop that offers classes for beginners and beyond. Focused on using recycled and salvaged materials—even the workshop was primarily constructed from vintage building materials and construction industry waste. Ka pai! Come for the classes or feel free to use their space for your latest project, you'll find a wealth of like-minded creators and guidance here. While you're about it, check out The Warren Store where you can pick up a revolving roster of handmade products, often made from recycled materials, by local craftspeople and designers.
Little Bird Organics
Learn the secrets to wellness from and the mastermind behind Little Bird Organics herself, Megan May, and her knowledgeable team. If pickling your own sauerkraut, learning how to embrace the raw life and whipping up raw treats sounds up your alley, then you’re certainly going to want to take a leaf out of the Little Bird team, by hopping along to one of their many year-round workshops. Get in quick, spots are hot in demand and tend to sell out in the time you can say ‘sauerkraut fermentation’.
Transforming yourself into a world-class domestic god or goddess has never been easier with Milly’s foodie workshops on the scene. Pick up a piping bag and learn the art of icing with the help of a certified Wilton Method instructor (that means a total cake boss in bakery terms). From there, you can progress onto all kinds of frosting fabulousness, from fondant flowers to marzipan lace. Better yet, workshops are housed in the Milly’s their dedicated cookschool, meaning all you'll need to bring is yourself to create sweet treats.
If your mind, body and soul or even your pantry, home or walls need a little sprucing up—look no futher than Uxbridge. This mecca of all things creative offers the best Auckland workshops for every skill you could ever need in life. From fine and applied arts, languages to performance skills, right through to cheese making and the art of the bonsai, sinking your teeth into the various workshops here will quite literally make you a Jack-of-all-trades.
Lakehouse Arts Trust
A little bit of everything fun and creative goes on at Lakehouse Arts Trust. Over four terms a year, you’ll find a range of workshops that leave no creative discipline untouched. Practise your pencil skills with drawing workshops, embrace the national mother tongue and brush up on your te reo, or kit our your kitchen with your hand made ceramics—all courtesy of this art centre’s workshop. They have rush-hour classes beginning at 5.45pm for those wanting to trade in red lights for resin crafts too, as well as workshops running during the weekday and weekends.
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Image credit: JJ Mendez, The Warren by Emily Raftery