Ipswich offers plenty of scope for your creativity to run wild. Connect with pencil, clay, paint or charcoal, or try out print making, floristry, silversmithing, etching or jewellery making. Whether you’re seeking a half-day immersion, ongoing weekly lessons, or something you can just start at home, there are plenty of spots to learn new skills from practising artists.
Nestled in a prime spot at the top of town, Arttime is an art supply store, exhibition space, coffee house and classroom all in one.
Owner Kate Roberts, who has been at the helm of the business for the past 14 years, believes art is therapy and is accessible to all.
“It helps you solve problems,” she says. “You can get lost in it, and it makes your soul feel better.”
Her goal is to share everything she knows as a practising artist to facilitate enjoyment and escape for others. Classes in watercolour, assemblage, pastels and papermaking stand alongside a program of mini workshops covering everything from book binding to Viking knitting.
Sip ‘n’ Dip
We are sprawled on a picnic rug under the shade of a tree in Queen’s Park, using the blunt end of wooden skewers to mark a circular canvas with dots.
Inspired by the layered dot paintings created by our tutor Ronald, I’m attempting a series of swirls and curls, but it’s trickier than it looks.
Some of my dots swell like tadpoles; others are sparse apostrophes.
The class is one of dozens offered by Sip ‘n’ Dip Ipswich which, as the name suggests, encourages budding artists to nurture their tastebuds as well as their creative vision.
Founder Jaana Brown has assembled a roll-call of mobile tutors who cover charcoal sketching, macramé weaving, painting, resin coaster making and more.
Soul Nook Collective
Ipswich’s charming old suburbs host a range of intriguing diversions, which is how I come to be wrangling calendulas, roses and monstera deliciosa during a floristry class at Marburg’s The Soul Nook Collective.
Boho Posies run regular sessions here, and have wreath making workshops in the lead up to Christmas.
Flowers not your thing? There are many other classes to explore, including mala making, diffuser bracelet crafting, and ocean view painting. The price of classes typically includes a scrumptious grazing box to fuel your artistic journey.
Check out the work of other creatives in the onsite gift shop which sells ceramics, scented candles and other goodies.
Suzanne Matulich has long exercised her creativity in jobs ranging from wardrobe mistress to theatrical set designer.
She also worked at Ipswich Art Gallery for many years, before deciding to build an art school from scratch.
Launched in 2004, Arts Alive runs classes for children and adults, including drawing and mixed media, clay sculpture and painting with acrylics.
Matulich says that Ipswich, as a city, hums with creativity, due to its culture of dance, music, Eisteddfods and, of course, visual arts.
“There’s such a thriving arts community here,” she says.
Arts Alive’s teachers encourage students to explore their creativity and build strong skills in a friendly, supportive environment.
Magenta Quinn – Artist
Magenta Quinn loves the intuitive and unpredictable results of acrylic paint pouring.
“I’m very emotive,” she explains. “So when I create, generally I’m creating from colour inspiration and just feeling something.”
From her Springfield Lakes studio, Quinn creates commissioned artworks and regularly instructs others.
“I’m loving this,” she says, as a student lifts a paint-filled cup to reveal an abstract beauty. “Aurora borealis!”
Quinn also creates small scale works which she drops off all over town for others to find, with location hints provided on social media.
“People get in touch with me and say, ‘My kids have been waiting for you to put your post up. Where are you going this week?’”