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REVIEW: WECANDOO RUG-TUFTING WORKSHOP

The Zen Power of Guns and Wool

There was not a whiff of whale song, a wail of Enya or a single drop of ylang-ylang during the most therapeutic and relaxing morning I've had in months. There was just wool.


I left feeling breezy, revived and with a sexy Bowie rug rolled beneath my arm.


I’d been on a rug-tufting workshop by Wecandoo, which offers masterclasses with passionate artisans, to learn fascinating crafts in London.

Within Bermondsey’s Biscuit Factory, I amble through buildings named after leading tea-dippers, Bourbon, Garibaldi and Digestive and into artisan Vivi Li’s colourful workshop.


It’s a riot of colour and intriguing, shiny things - shelves heave with kaleidoscopic wools. There are rows of giant teddy sculptures for her fluid bear workshops, paints and trays of tiny charms for various customising classes.


You can tell Vivi does this for a living, because she exudes the sort of floating Zen that only a rug-tufting master can achieve.

I sketch my Aladdin Sane design onto my stretched tufting cloth, and she introduces me to the sexiest gadget I’ve played with for a while - the tufting gun. I learn how to thread it with my chosen wool colours. Then I practice making straight lines, curves and different types of stitch, by applying pressure variations to the gun.


The possibilities are endless, with different patterns, textures, designs and pieces you can create - from rugs, tufted mirror frames and cushions to stool covers.

It’s pleasingly easy to get to grips with and the gun handily cuts the wool between each line. So she leaves me to enter my own, Zen tufting world, occasionally popping by to offer encouraging words and advice.


And without realising it, three hours have passed and I have forgotten to eat the sarnie I brought for lunch.


It’s a sexy, nerdy thrill heading around the back of my cloth to see the shaggy rug which has been created on the opposite side from the base I have been stitching.

All that is left to do is cut around my design, cover my stitches in PVA glue and stick the base on. Then we trim my rug (no sniggering at the back) and ta-daaa, I have my own, hand-made, awesome David Bowie rug, which will be going on my wall, because nobody walks over The DB.


Wecandoo has a gaggle of workshops, from food masterclasses to heritage crafts, like making your own bespoke leather handbag, handcrafting a ring or blowing your own bauble, as well as a range of pottery and ceramics workshops.


Wecandoo Rug-Tufting Workshop, The Biscuit Factory, 100 Drummond Rd, London SE16 4DG. £145 pp for 3.5 hr session, including tuition, materials and your own hand tufted rug.


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