The city might be full of talented creatives who can knock you up everything from a cabinet to a cashmere jumper in a jiffy – but there’s something special about something you made from scratch yourself. Here’s our round up of the city’s top classes, workshops and events to bring out your inner creator.
01 Pencil drawing and oil painting at Ductac
That Armenian artist Jivan Hovhannisian’s work has been displayed internationally could cause nerves from a novice, but with eight years of teaching at Ductac under his belt, he does an admirable job of putting us at ease, despite our initially clumsy efforts. Beginners will start by learning the skills involved in line drawing, before moving onto painting, with tutoring on everything from composition to colour-mixing on offer. Many of his students have been attending his classes for years, and the work displayed around the studio will definitely inspire newbies to stick with it. Not for you? The studio hosts a huge variety of creative classes, covering everything from pottery to creative writing, fashion design to calligraphy, so there’s an opportunity to skill up for all tastes and interests.
Ductac, Mall of The Emirates, Dubai,
Sat 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, Sun,
Mon and Thur 10:.30am to 1.30pm, Tue 10.30am to 1.30pm and 6pm to 9pm, trial Dhs225, six sessions Dhs1,320, eight sessions Dhs1,600. Tel: (04) 3414777. Metro: Mall of The Emirates. ductac.org
02 Improv at The Courtyard Playhouse
Jealous of all your friends who seem to be better at public speaking than you? Learn how to improvise on your feet at The Courtyard Playhouse, which hosts a wide range of courses for adults and kids, covering everything from acting to confidence building. The venue is hosting an open day this month, giving interested UAE residents a crash course in all things Courtyard. Watch a show, participate in a workshop – there will be sessions for kids, adults and budding improv artists – meet the actors and find out about upcoming classes, all for free.
The Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz, Sat 11am to 3pm, free. Tel: (050) 7812269. Taxi: The Courtyard Playhouse. courtyardplayhouse.com/classes
03 Cookery at Fairmont the Palm
Belgian chef Romain Van Durmen is the heavily-accented man at the helm of Fairmont the Palm’s Chef’s Palette facility, and he makes for a seriously engaging host. While some of his classes are not for the faint hearted – we had to kill our own lobsters – the three-course menu for his masterclasses can be fully tailored. Classes, which can be booked in advance for groups of up to 12 adults, make for a fun night with friends, while there are regular children’s sessions on offer too.
Fairmont the Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily, from Dhs195. Tel: (04) 4573457. Taxi: Fairmont the Palm. fairmont.com
04 Paint & Grape with We Love Art
If it’s been years since you stood behind an easel, and you fear you might need a little Dutch courage, this is the class for you. Start with a pre-sketched drawing of one of the world’s greatest masterpieces – recent sessions have focused on Klimt’s The Kiss and Monet’s Waterlilies – and paint the night away amid a relaxed atmosphere at an upmarket wine bar. It’s perfect for cultural upgrade to your usual girl’s night out, and if you get the bug, organisers We Love Art host eight-week painting courses too.
Various locations across Dubai, Dhs369. Tel: (056) 7691995. weloveart.ae
05 Knitting at Craftland
It might be more commonly associated with elderly relatives, but knitting’s image is on the up, thanks to the embrace of hipsters and fashion-types the world over. At Craftland, the small but mighty Jumeirah Road arts and crafts shop, a packed schedule of classes covers all things wooly, from quilt-making to sewing and crochet. There are twice weekly beginners knitting classes that cover all the basics, from casting on, casting off and classic stitches, while there are also clinic sessions to help you iron out any glitches in your technique. The small and friendly classes are meant for those completely new to the knitting world, but once you’re feeling confident, sessions on hand and ribbon embroidery will help you upgrade your creations.
Town Centre, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Tue 9am to 10.30am and 5pm to 6.30pm, Dhs345. Tel: (04) 3422237. Taxi: Town Centre. mycraftland.com
06 Sculpture at Yadawei
If you’re an adult of a certain age, chances are your formative impression of pottery stems from the movie Ghost. And we hate to tell you, but Patrick Swayze lied – working with clay is seriously tricky and you’ll enjoy your first session more if you don’t go in expecting to leave with a professional-standard ceramic work of art. Thankfully, the team at Yadawei, from founder Mohammed to our faultlessly patient coach Seren, is so warm and encouraging that we don’t feel too embarrassed when our sculpture initially turns out more mess than masterpiece. We persevere and by the end of class we’re hooked – and seriously chilled out. Clay modelling: like meditation, but messier. Who knew?
Yadawei, Warehouse 30, 8th Street, Al Qouz 1, Dubai, Tue 7pm to 9pm, trial Dhs200, four sessions Dhs670, six sessions Dhs950. Tel: (04) 3791312. Taxi: TopChair Warehouse Compound. yadawei.net