Some of us like to relax with a book when we’re on holiday – and others prefer to get stuck into learning a new craft or developing an existing skill. St Ives, with its artistic heritage, is an inspirational place – and many visitors to the town find themselves drawn into one of St Ives’ workshops. From the sublime to the delicious, here are our recommendations for exploring your talents in St Ives’ workshops.


Barnoon Workshop

Formerly a loo with a view, Barnoon Workshop was established a couple of years ago in the unlikely location of abandoned public lavatories near the Tate. Thanks to its lively and accessible programme of Cornish arts and crafts activities, it’s rapidly become a popular place for artists and crafters across all levels of experience. With stunning views across Porthmeor Beach, we’re trying not to overuse the word “inspirational” about this place, but it’s hard not to.

Its programme is run by a collective of professionals who teach an astonishing range of arts and crafts skills. There’s watercolour and acrylic painting, tours of the town with a sketchbook, or you can learn to make jewellery, paper, soap or candles. There are regular art classes and guitar lessons, and a fab family programme over school holidays. It’s a welcoming and friendly place, just please reserve your place in advance. On a practical note, Barnoon Workshop is right next to Barnoon pay and display car park.


Blue doors of the Porthmeor Studios St Ives

St Ives School of Painting opened in April 1938 in the Porthmeor Studios – Nick Pumphrey

St Ives School of Painting

Don’t feel daunted by the name – this welcoming art school is wonderful for artists of all ages and levels of experience. Housed in Porthmeor Studios, a recently-renovated building which literally touches the sand on Porthmeor Beach, the School was established in 1938. Classes are small, and taught by professional artists. The art courses vary in length, and are aimed at a range of abilities.

You can choose your course based on medium (watercolour, oil, or drawing, for example) or by special category, including marine landscape and the St Ives Modernists. You can simply choose your course based on how much time you have to dedicate to it, and upon which courses are available during your stay in St Ives (the courses run all year, so are ideal for an out-of-season holiday). If you just want the experience of drawing in the famous Studios, there are also drop-in life drawing classes.


I Should Coco

Of course, food is also an art; and if you want to create something that isn’t a long-lasting memento but tastes divine, here’s a workshop with a difference. I Should Coco in St Ives is a delectable chocolate shop and workshop, which has been making Fore Street smell gorgeous since 2009.

They offer workshops for families, groups of children, and adults, which can be booked in advance online. You’ll learn lots about the art of the chocolatier, including moulding and dipping chocolate, and truffle making. The Junior Workshop is about getting as creative as possible, with all sorts of exciting ingredients and toppings to work with. And then you get to eat your creation – what’s not to like?


54 Lemons

If you fancy being creative but don’t want to book anything in advance, you can visit 54 Lemons on Tregenna Hill, and paint a pot with ceramic artist Michaela and team. This arty café is a haven of creativity and cake which opened in the summer of 2016. A well as pop-in pot painting, there is also a programme of workshops in place (from creative writing to DIY).

Have we tempted you? Put that holiday novel to one side, maybe just for an afternoon, and explore your inner artist with one of these Cornish arts and crafts activities. You’re in the right place.

Article info & credits

November 16, 2016
Written by Kate Waddon
Photography by Alex May & Nick Pumphrey

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