If you feel like boasting about more than a haze of beach days and outdoor barbeques by the time summer draws to a close, we’ve rounded up some of the best summer workshops to catch. Drop by a drawing class at the NGV, learn to stand up on a surfboard, make a classic tomato passata and more.
Learn to Surf at Urbnsurf
Set to be the first surfable wave park in not only Australia but the southern hemisphere, the highly anticipated Urbnsurf is due to open in mid-January in Tullamarine. The lagoon holds 25 million litres of water and can throw as many as 1000 waves per hour, so you’d be forgiven for thinking you need to be a surfer to play. But for those who’ve only dabbled in the sport, or never attempted (because, sharks), you can take a lesson with an expert who’ll provide personalised tips to get you confidently up and riding. Classes are limited to just eight surfers, and when you’re done you can stop by Three Blue Ducks – a popular Sydney cafe that’s opening its first Melbourne outpost.
Where: 309 Melrose Drive, Tullamarine
When: From mid-January
Cost: $69 on weekdays, and $79 on weekends, including board and wetsuit hire
Pizza-making at Ladro Tap
Woodfired pizzas star at Prahran restaurant Ladro Tap, as they do at the Fitzroy original. And from February, you can make your own masterpiece at one of the eatery’s pizza-making sessions, held on the first Tuesday of the month. Start with a Spritz and a few light snacks, then get onto mixing, kneading and throwing your own dough before adding toppings. Your pizza will then be cooked and served with salads and a glass of beer or wine, and there’ll be enough dough left over to take home. BYO apron.
Where: Ladro Tap, 162 Greville Street, Prahran
When: The first Tuesday of every month from February, 6.30pm–8pm
Maker Session at Four Pillars Gin
Recently crowned the International Gin Producer of the Year, Four Pillars Gin is a force to be reckoned with in the boutique spirits scene. And you can get in on the action this summer in a private space overlooking the distillery in Healesville. You’ll be walked through gin’s history and rise in popularity, and the processes and botanicals involved, before working on a micro-distillation within the smallest copper still on the property – dubbed “Eileen” after one of the founder’s mothers. You’ll also get to try five gins and be treated to a few bar snacks, and taste test a powerful 90 per cent alcohol by volume gin. Each class takes 16 people and attendees will be sent a 700ml bottle of the day’s brew a few weeks after the session.
Where: 2A Lilydale Road, Healesville
When: January 18, 9.30am–12pm
Plant Parenting 101 with Plantsmith
Being a plant parent is a fickle business but Plantsmith is the house plant’s answer to a doctor. Run by horticulturalist Liz Turner, the Preston store’s Plant Parenting 101 class will cover light, heat and humidity as well as watering, feeding, maintenance and troubleshooting. Find out how much water is too much; get schooled in possible causes for that lacklustre leaf complexion; and work out if your home is properly plant-proofed. Then you can purchase another plant baby for your collection with a little more confidence.
Where: 109 High Street, Preston
When: January 21, 6pm–7.30pm and February 24, 7pm–8.30pm
Drop-by Drawing at NGV
Every Sunday in January, among the 18th century collection on level two at the NGV, you’ll find people drawing – and you can join in. Each day is led by a different artist who specialises in drawing, painting, teaching or all three, so you’ll pick up tips and tricks while free-drawing your way through the afternoon.
Where: NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
When: Every Sunday in January, 2pm–4pm
Passata Workshop with Home Make It
If you’ve always dreamt of playing out a Looking for Alibrandi ‘tomato day’, this passata class has it all. From sterilising, preserving and storing, you’ll learn the art of an end-of-summer Italian tradition and take home a jar from the batch. Classes are capped at 12 people, and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour over some freshly cooked pasta to round out the day. Home Make It also offers cold meat, beer, wine and olive classes throughout the year.
Where: 265 Spring Street, Reservoir and 4/158 Wellington Road, Clayton
When: February 8, 3.30pm–6.30pm (Reservoir) and February 15, 10.30–1.30pm (Clayton)
Pinching With Porcelain at Bisque Studios
Founded by ceramicist Kate Brouwer, Bisque Studios is home to some of Melbourne’s most exciting up-and-coming ceramicists and artists, and it hosts workshops for the public, too. The next session will have you making your own porcelain spice bowl and spoon over two-and-a-half-hours. Catering to the novice, this class will teach you decorative techniques and how to craft a unique piece. By the end of the session, you’ll have shaped two bowls, a spoon and a flat dish that’ll be fired and glazed for you to pick up another day. There’ll be some light snacks and tea to keep you fuelled up, too.
Where: 2/167 Beavers Road, Northcote
When: January 19, 10.30am–1pm
DIY Bathers with Sew This Pattern
If you’re taking an eco-conscious approach to what you wear, this session is a summer wardrobe essential. Guided by the sewing studio’s founder Annie Mollison, you’ll learn to sew a classic one-piece swimsuit while navigating the nuances of stretch fabric. Measure and cut on Friday, over a glass of wine, then assemble and sew during a second session on Saturday. Basic sewing skills are required to handle the sewing machine provided, and it’s BYO swim fabric, thread and swim elastic for the garment.
Where: 26 Horne Street, Elsternwick
When: January 31, 5pm–7pm and February 1, 10am–2.30pm
Acting Essentials at NIDA
If you’ve ever watched an actor on screen or stage and thought “I could do that”, now’s your chance to back it up. This course is for beginners and runs over 13 hours across two days. With the likes of Anna Torv (Mindhunter) and Sam Worthington (Avatar) as graduates, NIDA’s cultivated some of the best Australian-bred Hollywood stars, so you’re in good hands. Focusing on rehearsing and performing short scenes, this weekend-long class covers improvisation, voice, movement, script analysis and – albeit dreaded – constructive feedback. There are separate screenwriting, directing and costume essential courses in January, too.
Where: NIDA Melbourne, Suite 4, 152 Sturt Street, Southbank
When: January 11–12, 10am–5pm
Body Positive Life Drawing at Pink Ember Studio
No body is the same, and therein lies the beauty of everyone. That’s the point of the Body Positive Life Drawing classes at artist-run retail and workshop space Pink Ember Studio. Led by multidisciplinary artist Frances Cannon, the class will take you through drawing the human form in proportion, with a variety of different exercises. Both queer and marginalised bodies will be represented, with clothed and nude models. Snacks and art supplies, including pencils, ink and charcoal, will be provided. There are also sewing lessons and screen-printing design on offer in the same month.
Where: 40A Ohea Street, Coburg
When: January 23 and 30, 6pm–7.30pm
Reflection and Intention Setting With Self Practice
If you’re running from one year to the next without pause, this online workshop will force you to sit down and reflect. It’s also ideal for those who want to do some self-improvement but aren’t up to doing it in front of others. Led by Self Practice founder Lauren Trend, you’ll work through a series of exercises that encourage reflection, learn some practical tools, and map out intentions for the 365 days ahead. More than a diary or a place to record your resolutions, it’s both a cathartic and mindful resource, with a focus on growth, action and planning.
When: Available until January 20