In Depth

School of rock: Create objets d'art with a master craftsman

Want to fashion your very own masterpiece? Ditch night school and enrol with an established atelier

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Mastering a craft can take decades, but there are plenty of ways to get a taste and appreciation for the workmanship that goes into fine objects in a much shorter span of time. These hands-on short courses offer an experienced insight into creating precious works, as well as behind-the-scenes glimpses into some world-famous ateliers.

 
Van Cleef & Arpels L'Ecole

Immerse yourself in the sparkling world of Van Cleef & Arpels at its school of jewellery arts on the glamorous Place Vendome in Paris. Its series of short courses range from mocking up a gouache – a rendering that helps the buyer envisage and the artist create the jewel – to learning different setting methods for the final stones. While you're there, avail yourself of the opportunity to learn unusual and breathtakingly intricate decorative techniques used by the maison to adorn its stunning watches and jewellery, including different forms of enamelling and the ancient art of Japanese Urushi lacquer.

Classes from €100; lecolevancleefarpels.com

 
Hand & Lock

Over its 250 years, Hand & Lock has been responsible for some of the most eye-catching embroidery seen on the runway, the red carpet and adorning the British royal family. It now shares its centuries of knowledge through a plethora of courses run from its central London workshop, from one-day sessions where you can try your hand at monogramming, beading and goldwork, to more intensive week-long courses that allow you to delve deeper into haute couture techniques. It also partners with the Williamsburg School of Needlework, offering a similar roster of skills in Virginia, USA.

Classes from £95; handembroidery.com

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London Glassblowing

Drop by this Bermondsey gallery-cum-workshop and towards the back of the space you're likely to catch a glimpse of a glass artist at work. But the best way to truly understand this most malleable and magical of materials is to have a go at glassblowing yourself. A full one-day course will introduce you to the basics, and you will be rewarded at the end with your own handcrafted creations, which you can pick up after they've spent 36 hours in the kiln.

One-day class is £450; londonglassblowing.co.uk

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