Compared to today’s wet weather, the 18th of October was a lovely sunny day, perfect for travelling up to London! Gemma and I were heading to the capital to take part in an arty creative class with M.Y.O in London. Excited to see what our class entailed, we jumped on the tube from London Victoria straight to Borough station, and within a 4-minute walk, we were at the doors of M.Y.O.
Sam and Diana, founders of M.Y.O, greeted us at the door and welcomed us into the studio. This was their original re-creation studio, and they had recently opened another in Peckham, which was newer but slightly larger. Diana showed us where to hang our coats and bags, and kindly offered us a hot drink, which we were extremely grateful for after the autumnal weather outside.
The creative space was incredibly arty, and everything from sequins to pieces of cloth were delicately layered and placed in a rainbow sequence, making a beautiful backdrop to the room. The range of colour and materials was any artist’s dream!
Next, we were handed aprons, an orange one for Gemma and a purple one for me! We were going to try a taster of activities we sell on our website with M.Y.O. First up to try was tile and plate design. Using sponges, paintbrushes, and a range of beautiful watercolour paints, we began tracing out our designs. Gemma decided she would go down a mosaic, arty route, and create a uniquely styled face. She used a yellow base, black for the eyes and nose, and red for the rosy lips. I decided to design a tile - perfect for a desk coaster! I used a sponge to create a watered-down sunset effect, and it really did surprise me how beautifully the colours had mixed and settled together once dried. These are later glazed for a finished effect and can be picked up the next day.
Our next taster was T-shirts and tote bags. This was one I was extremely excited for, and couldn’t wait to try out! Gemma chose a navy tote bag for her design, while I decided on a white a T-shirt. There was a choice of cream, black and navy, and the T-shirts also came in various sizes. Diana supplied us with a booklet filled with stencil ideas, and I immediately spotted a flamingo, which is one of my favourite animals! I was completely adamant on having the brightly coloured feathered creature on my T-shirt. Gemma, on the other hand, chose a sweet design of two small elephants kissing! Cute!
After cutting out our designs, we used PVA glue to stick them to vinyl wrap. We had a large range of colours and shades to choose from, so I chose a hot pink and a glittery yellow/green - don’t worry, it looked better than it sounds! Gemma decided on silver and baby blue. It was then off to the heat press, where our designs were placed onto our T-shirt and tote bag, ready to transfer the design over. After 30 tense seconds, our creations were ready. What a success! You can judge both below.
Heading downstairs into their pottery and lino printing area, we were amazed by the amount of lovely pottery pieces that other customers had painted. There was a range for everyone, from frogs to Princess Belle of Beauty and the Beast.
Next, we were having a taster of lino printing! Once we had decided on what prints we wanted, it was onto tracing out our design, a pineapple for me and a little gem for Gemma. Learning how to use the linocut tool is definitely a skill that comes with practice. You need to press deep, so the paint doesn’t reach the surface, but not too low, otherwise it may cut through the lino completely!
Above you can see us having a go at cutting the lino! It was now onto the messy, fun part…painting. We chose our colours and got printing! My little pineapple was being placed onto a tote bag and Gemma’s pink gem was going on a t-shirt.
The outcome was fantastic! Our lino cuttings had transformed a plain bag and T-shirt into items perfect to give as a gift, or to use ourselves!
What a brilliant day at M.Y.O! Huge thanks to Diana and Sam for being fantastic hosts, and for introducing us to some arty techniques I will definitely be trying out again, as well as showing to my friends and family.