There’s something special about making things from scratch yourself. Here’s our roundup of the city’s top classes and workshops to try.
1. 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 woolly, from quilt-making to sewing and crochet. There are twice weekly beginners knitting classes that cover all the basics, and clinic sessions to help you iron out any glitches in your technique.
Craftland, Town Centre, Jumeirah 1, Tues 9am to 10.30am, 5pm to 6.30pm, Dhs345. Tel: (04) 342 2237. More info on website.
2. 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. 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 Jivan’s students have been attending his classes for years, and the work displayed around the studio will definitely inspire newbies to stick with it.
Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Sat 10am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm, Sun, Mon and Thur 10.30am to 1.30pm, Tue 10.30am to 1.30pm, 6pm to 9pm, trial Dhs225, six sessions Dhs1,320, eight sessions Dhs1,600. Tel: (04) 341 4777. More info on website.
3. 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, make for a fun night with friends, while there are regular children’s sessions on offer, too.
Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, daily, from Dhs195. Tel: (04) 457 3457. More info on website.
4. Painting with We Love Art
If it’s been years since you stood behind an easel, and you fear you might need a little encouragement, this is the class for you. The eight-week beginner art courses start with the basics and focus on developing your artistic style and skill to build a foundation of painting techniques. The course costs Dhs2,750 and includes 24 hours of classes (with all equipment provided), your own portfolio book to keep your paintings, an exhibition night during the eighth week, and food and drink during classes.
Z-Gallery, Four Points By Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dhs2,750. Tel: (056) 769 1995. More info on website.
5. Drawing and painting with Fady Habib
With 20 years’ experience, Fady Habib holds classes at Soul Art Center, where budding artists will learn how to sketch, draw and paint, with personal step by step guidance. You choose the technique you would like to learn about, and Fady will help you to develop and reach your artistic goals.
Soul Art Center, The Residences 1, Downtown Dubai, every Monday throughout Ramadan 4.30pm to 6.30pm, Dhs250. Tel: (056) 757 4455. More info on website.
6. Sculpture at Yadawei
If you’re 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, are 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 the class we’re hooked – and seriously chilled out.
Yadawei, Warehouse 30, 8th Street, Al Quoz 1, Tue 7pm to 9pm, trial Dhs200, four sessions Dhs670, six sessions Dhs950. Tel: (04) 379 1312. More info on website.